Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Advocate

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Acts 2: 1-2

The days were absolutely gorgeous while we were in Medjugorje, nothing but blue sky and sunshine. Each day my daughter and I would walk from the home where we were staying to the downtown village where St. James Parish is located. We would walk alongside of vineyards, huge vegetable gardens and watch the children climbing fruit trees. The village women gathered on the paths to sell rosary beads, linen tablecloths and local honey.  Occasionally we would encounter the neighborhood peacock that proudly guarded his own yard. It was a walk we looked forward to each day.

But this particular morning we gathered into small vans with the other pilgrims in our tour group. We were going to visit a group of Franciscan nuns that had relocated their convent to the Medjugorje area after their original convent had been bombed by the communists.

Sister Janja (pronounced YAN ya), one of the original people to help the visionaries while they were still children, spoke with us about the broken crucifix that hung on the chapel wall. This crucifix, which the nuns had brought with them, had hung in their previous chapel. Sister told us that though the communists had broken this cross, she and her Franciscan community took it here with them to symbolize that we all have broken Christ in our lives.

After Sister Janja spoke, Fr. Patrick Crowley, SS.CC., our spiritual director while in Medjugorje, held mass for us in the nuns chapel. As he was praying for an increase or outpouring of the Holy Spirit among us , a strong wind shook the chapel walls and stained glass windows. The doors blew open and slammed shut with unbelievable force and the crowd inside began to praise God loudly, some of them sang praises in tongues. It was truly amazing.

Father, a very humble man, smiled and stated that the Lord had let us witness a small version of Pentecost. Ask and you shall receive!

The good Lord always wants to share His gifts with His children. And just as Christ gave us the Advocate which is the Holy Spirit, we, too, are called to be advocates for Christ Jesus in the world today. May we continue to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Ps 104

June 02, 2011 Message to Mirjana  from Our Lady Queen of Peace, Medjugorje "Dear children! As I call you to prayer for those who have not come to know the love of God, if you were to look into your hearts you would comprehend that I am speaking about many of you. With an open heart, sincerely ask yourselves if you want the living God or do you want to eliminate Him and live as you want. Look around you, my children, and see where the world is going, the world that thinks of doing everything without the Father, and which wanders in the darkness of temptation. I am offering to you the light of the Truth and the Holy Spirit. According to God's plan I am with you to help you to have my Son, His Cross and Resurrection, triumph in your hearts. As a mother, I desire and pray for your unity with my Son and His works. I am with you; you decide. Thank you."

…the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:17

Thursday, May 16, 2013

IRS Scandal Explodes

The Internal Revenue Service scandal regarding the harassment of tea party groups who sought tax exempt status appears to be exploding as groups from Billy Graham’s apostolate to the National Organization for Marriage have come forward to say they were targeted. Meanwhile, the president’s half-brother received special treatment.

IRS bldgVarious news outlets are reporting that the IRS scandal is burgeoning as new evidence is found that more than just conservative tea party groups were targeted for extra scrutiny. This extra scrutiny meant some applicants had to provide information such as copies of all of their Facebook posts, Web pages, blog posts, and social media postings. Some were asked to provide the resumes of their board members, transcripts of interviews with the media, or copies of all board meeting minutes since the creation of the organization. In some cases, the requests were so onerous the groups gave up and withdrew their application.
Others continued the process and are now suing for relief. For instance, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown announced on Tuesday that his organization plans to sue the IRS for allegedly leaking their confidential donor information to gay activists.
“Not only has the IRS retaliated against conservative, small-government and tea party groups as they apply for recognition of tax exemption and lied about it, but it has criminally released our confidential tax return including the identity of dozens of major donors to a political enemy,” NOM President Brian Brown said in a statement.
According to Politico, both the Huffington Post and the Human Rights Campaign, a gay activist group, posted IRS documents showing contributions made by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to NOM.
“In addition to being our principal combatant in the war on traditional marriage, [the Human Rights Campaign’s] president at the time was serving as a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign,” Brown said in Tuesday’s statement. “This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation.”
Lois Lerner, IRS official at center of scandal
Lois Lerner, IRS official at center of scandal
He plans to file suit later this month.
Todd Starnes of Fox Radio is reporting that Billy Graham’s ministries such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse have also been the targets of IRS nit-picking, as has the Biblical Recorder, the news journal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.
Pro-life groups have also felt the wrath of the IRS. Peter Shinn, founder of the pro-life Cherish Life Ministries, said that when he filed for tax-exempt status, he was told he didn’t qualify because he didn’t provide information on abortion.
“The representative was telling me I had to provide information on all aspects of abortion, I couldn’t just educate the church from the pro-life perspective,” Shinn told World Net Daily.
In another case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa, insisting that they send a letter to the IRS with signatures of their entire board stating that under perjury of the law, they would not picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.
According to Politico, the Jewish organization, Z Street, sued the IRS in 2010 after being told their application for tax exempt status was delayed and sent to a “special unit…to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
Meanwhile, evidence has surfaced that the president’s half-brother received his tax-exempt status in record time, even though he had been operating his organization illegally prior to making application.
The Daily Caller is reporting that Lois Lerner, the same IRS official who revealed the agency’s habit of targeting tea partiers, signed the paperwork that granted tax exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a somewhat shady charity headed by Abon’go “Roy” Malik Obama, the president’s half-brother. His application was approved within a month of filing while some conservative groups have been waiting as long as three years for their cases to be approved. Not only did he get approval in record time, but Lerner also granted him retroactive tax status.
As the Daily Caller reports, Malik Obama, who was the best man at the president’s wedding, has quite a history. “In addition to running his charity, Malik Obama ran unsuccessfully to be the governor of Siaya County in Kenya. He was accused of being a wife beater and seducing the newest of his twelve wives while she was a 17-year-old school girl.”
It’s no wonder that the latest Rasmussen poll found that 55 percent of the American people believe the President or his top aides knew what was going on at the IRS.
In spite of the agency’s repeated insistence that their behavior was not motivated by politics, the public isn’t buying it. A whopping 57 percent say they believe the agency’s behavior was all about politics.
The people also want to see something done about it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Fifty-seven percent want disciplinary action taken against the perpetrators of the IRS scandal and want them to be either jailed or fired.
UPDATE: The acting head of the IRS, Steven Miller, announced yesterday that he is resigning his position over the scandal. However, Miller was planning to resign his position in June anyway, leading some to speculate that he was a willing scapegoat used by the Administration for political purposes.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

The Gathering

Acts 1:13-26
And so we gathered,
All of us together,
Men and women both.

We had much to think about,
Much to take into consideration.

Some of us had been with Him from the start,
Others of us not as long.
But He had changed our lives forever.

We wanted to continue in His steps,
Yet we feared.
We needed wisdom,
We needed understanding,
We needed prudence,
We needed courage.

So we prayed and we waited.
In perfect trust we clung to His words.

We spoke about where we had been,
The hardships and the strife.
We prepared ourselves for the future,
Whatever it would bring.

We knew that in order to make this journey
We would need to make peace with each other;
We would need to make peace with ourselves.

We continued to pray,
We knew He was listening.

 “…The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.’ John 14:26

"Dear children! This evening I would like to tell you to pray in the days of this Novena for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your families and on your parish. Pray. You shall not regret it. God shall give you the gifts with which you will praise Him to the last breath of your life on earth. Thank you for having responded to my call."
Our Lady, Queen of Peace,  gave this message on June 2, 1984 in Medjugorje.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One True Altar

For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I ..discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God’  Acts 17:23
As in the days of old, oh Lord,
We, your people have lost our way.
Like the Athenians, we have turned to an Unknown god,
One that feeds our inner passions, our whims,
 One that satisfies our earthly desires.

Idolatries of the current times have taken hold of our minds
And we have turned our gaze from You, oh Lord,
Our one true God,
Our benevolent God that gives us life and breath.

Creator of the universe,
You, who sent us your only begotten Son;
You are never far away from those who seek your face.

Show us the idols in our lives,
The ones that keep us in bondage.

Open our eyes to that which we have made the center of our lives,
To that which controls our thoughts,
That steals our peace.
Open our eyes to the known God,
The true and only God,
For it is in You alone the we live.

Open our hearts that we may sing a song of praise before you,
And feast at the one true altar,
The altar of Your Son Jesus Christ.