Hear ye! Hear ye!
Welcome to “The Good News Blog!”
We hope and pray you subscribe to our blog at the bottom of any page on our site!
PLEASE SEND US YOUR COMMENTS, TOO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POSTS PAGE.
And then ask all your friends, relatives, co-workers, and acquaintance to subscribe, too!
Our overall goal is to reach across the entire country with His Good News…
Our goal for the first month… 1,000 subscribers.
Our first posts for our new blog center around the quote from above from Louise Hay, a noted author and motivational speaker. She was raised by her mom, a lapsed Catholic, and her step-dad, an atheist. And… she turned out pretty good… helping both cancer and AIDs victims to believe “healing” both physically and spiritually was possible for them all!
I bring this to everyone’s attention who has joined us today and hopefully in the weeks, months, and years to come, because like Christ… whose ministry began and ended with acts of love for ALL people… our ministry is NOT geared toward any one religion. Like Christ, we wish to Spread His Good News to all people… believers and non-believers alike.
We are NOT here to pound Roman Dogmatic Theology into your heads.
We’re here to hopefully pound the LOVE and the WORD of The Carpenter from Nazareth into your hearts!
Yes, the three of us are Catholic Christians… thus, our core beliefs come from our faith. In the same breath, we can say… Yeshua bar Maryam… Jesus Christ son of Mary was a Jew. Many of the early disciples were Greeks, Macedonians, Syrians, Persians, Romans, and Egyptians. All could have rejected His words… some did… many did not.
Thus… If you are Catholic you are obviously free to reject whatever we write here. The same goes for any of you from other Christian denomiantions. And… the same for those who are agnostic, atheist or members of other religious sects or cults.
However, we ask that you keep an open mind… and listen to the words of The Christ.
The Carpenter from Nazareth, as you read in John’s Gospel, once asked the Twelve when everyone else had deserted Him after the discourse known as ‘The Bread of Life,’ … “Will you also depart and go away?”
What about now in the 21st Century?
Will the three of us or you also depart and go away?
We pray not. We hope not.
Lastly… we thank you for joining us on this journey!
Our next posts will be on March 17-2023. We hope you will join us again.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’… But I say to you…” (Matthew 5: 43)
Many years ago, as a young adult, a spiritual darkness crossed the threshold of my soul. I entered a period of deep bitterness caused by another individual. I can’t recall what sent me into this spiritual abyss, probably some small slight against my fragile ego. Yet, I held onto that hurt, and could not forgive the person who may have unknowingly said or done something to me. My not forgiving the other person right away, obviously did no harm to that person, but it had a terrible effect on me.
A quick sidebar… I do not know the origin of the word ‘bitterness,’ but this experience took a ‘huge bite’ out of my spirit, my joy, my peace, and my freedom to be creative or be fully loving to those around me. This ‘descent into darkness,’ this state of negativity, affected much of what I thought and felt, and provided my mind with many ‘anxious and racing thoughts.’ throughout each passing day and night. Trust me when I say, this feeling of bitterness did not depart from me overnight. Days turned into weeks; weeks to months; months to years.
I then attempted many of my spiritual exercises and rituals: hours of walking outdoors, meditation, inspirational reading, and prayer, all the while attempting to forgive the other person.
At last, within my mind and heart, I was able to forgive… my spirit found solace… I was once again at peace.
Yes, I felt alive again. “Letting go” allowed for “living again. It was a life lesson.
However, the decades of my life passed… I discovered that ‘bitterness,’ like ‘grief,’ can return a hundredfold when a new hurt or a new loss occurs. The negative side of me wants to fuel that with resentments and grudges. I can descend again into bitterness if I choose to. Wisdom, however, urges me to ‘trust the process,’ to re-enact the rituals, to walk and exercise, to pray and meditate, and ultimately to ask the Lord to help me forgive the other person and want for some good to come to both of us. And so this has become a continual process in my life and it has allowed for more “Light” and “Love” to enter my life.
Specifically… His Light and His Love!
So… this journey of forgiveness continues. Today, I attempt to be compassionate towards those many people in the world who have been deeply hurt or traumatized. The many who have experienced abuse, neglect, injustice, or racism. Those who have suffered the deaths of loved ones through tragic violence. I think of how these people must experience grudges, resentments, and bitterness in a deeper way. And… despite what happens to the perpetrators of the violence toward them, these souls have to live through the “darkness” that enters their spirits. They must, then, somehow emerge on the other side from that darkness into Light.
As a counselor and public speaker, I have suggested and encouraged the need for forgiveness, not only for the sake of the other person but also for themselves. Some people respond in anger or denial stating that they could never humanly forgive. I take that in and understand it.
And who is to say they are wrong? Maybe, we as humans can never forgive some offenses committed against us. Maybe, we have to ‘turn it over,’ to some Higher Power, some loving God, who can help us to heal in some way. A God, who can lead us from some inner darkness to emerge with the ability to ‘live again.’ Maybe we have to trust our own process… our own spiritual exercises and rituals… asking for forgiveness, just doing something positive. Being kind to others… and in the long run, hopefully… life will come back to us.
There are many inspirational stories, floating on the internet, of people who were finally able to say: ‘I forgive this other person who took the life of my loved one’, or who have dedicated their lives to some Charity so that their loved one did not die in vain. Some people, somehow, have emerged on the other side of darkness. Knowing this… well, I can say there is hope.
There it is… HOPE, the eternal word.
I pray in this first post, that I have not overstated the obvious. In closing, I’ll say this… Jesus, the God/Man, said that the greatest of all the Jewish laws was: “To love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves.” He attempted to complete that by saying, “We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” (Matthew 5: 44)
Not sure about you… but I find this teaching of all the Lord’s teachings… the most difficult… but in our world today… absolutely necessary.
I hope to see you here in two weeks!
Peace in Christ.
“Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23: 34)
Growing up in Delco (Delaware County, outside of Philly), I saw my fair share of situations that I would label “unforgiveness.” It could have been two high school guys from my neighborhood duking it out with bare knuckles on the basketball court. Or two non-sober individuals yelling and screaming at each other, neither hearing the other. The basketball guys then become enemies for life. The drunks… well… if they could even remember the episode… might label it a miracle. I guarantee the word “forgiveness” never entered any of their vocabularies. Tough times. Tough neighborhood.
So… stories, I believe, connect us to our souls. They are healing to our spirits, enriching our imaginations. They seethe with meaning, with truths and half-truths, evasions and honesty. Verbal communication potentially has far more weight and urgency than writing. But writing lasts.
Years ago, a woman named Mary Ehrlichmann of Minneapolis followed Christ’s example regarding forgiveness when her husband was shot and killed by three hitchhikers he had picked up.
At the funeral in the Lutheran Church, one son, a ministerial student, asked for their friends’ and society’s forgiveness of the three who murdered their father and husband.
In the evening, after the burial, Mrs. Ehrlichmann wanted to tell the three unapprehended young men that they were welcome in her home if this was the kind of love they could understand and need.
She eventually wrote this Open Letter to the Three Boys Who Murdered My Husband:
During the past three days, she wrote, my grief and desolation have been erased and comforted by the love and faith of so many wonderful friends and relatives. But, in the midst of all this, and especially in the quiet moments, my thoughts keep turning to you three. You may feel that you are men, but to me, you are just boys — like my own sons — and I wonder to whom you are turning for comfort and strength and reassurance.
I suppose I will never know what motivated your actions that night, but if the shots were fired out of sheer panic, my heart aches for you, and I wish there were only some way I could help you in what you must be suffering now.
If hate made you pull that trigger, I can only pray that you can come to know the love of God that fills the heart and leaves no room for hate. If you were under the influence of drugs, please, for my sake and your own, don’t waste your lives, too. Get help and rid yourselves of that stuff.
Please, if you see this, find a church… someplace where you can be alone; then read this again. Know that God forgives you and that my family and I forgive you — then go out and make something worthwhile out of the rest of your lives.
God keep and bless you.
Because of this great love, her own and God’s, there today exists more peace and less war in that city. And perhaps those three now older men have discovered the Lord’s love, stopped the wars inside themselves, and are making something worthwhile out of their lives.
Jesus’ favorite daily miracle is his merciful, forgiving love. Pray that we can be as generous in forgiving one another.
In closing… even as a priest, there have been moments in my life when forgiving another has not been easy. That kid from Delco still resides within my being… the kid who wants to lash out… judge and condemn. But then I remember the words of Christ…
“…, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34)
In Corde Christi
Many who are reading this blog today have heard the old saying, “You have to give it away… to get it back.”
Yep… Sooner or later, we must forgive… in order to be forgiven.
Great song by Matthew West. Enjoy.
“And so I tell you, every human sin and blasphemy will be forgiven, but sins against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
(Matthew, 12: 31)
Really? Every human sin will be forgiven?
I believe we must ask the Nazarene, the God/Man some questions that need answering.
- These ordained Catholic priests that sexually abused children… forgiven or not?
- The bishops who knew about them and did nothing… forgiven or not?
- Men or women, who murder their own children… forgiven or not?
- The terrorists who murdered 3,000 people on 9/11… forgiven or not?
- What about those, if it is proven, who were responsible for spreading Covid-19 throughout the world… killing millions? Forgiven or not?
Let’s come back to these questions later in this post.
But first… let’s tackle the entire quote from Matthew’s Good News from above.
I have to be honest with all of you. When I first read this quote from the Christ during my seminary years, written by the evangelist Matthew (similarly in Mark’s Good News)… I felt pretty good.
Jesus said this amid one of His tirades against the Pharisees and Sadducees. I was probably around 19 years of age at the time. Heck, I was nowhere near being a Pharisee or Sadducee. At 19, I didn’t know what a Sadducee was! (FYI… they denied the immortality of the soul, bodily resurrection after death, and—according to the Acts of the Apostles (23:8), the fifth book of the New Testament—the existence of angelic spirits.)
Thus, for the Sadducee, there was no afterlife. I could definitely scratch them off my “sin” list. I believe in life after death. I was no Sadducee.
But what are these sins against the Spirit that cannot be forgiven? Shouldn’t we want to know… so as to avoid them?
Now, at age 70, I get the sense, especially after reading what Aquinas said about sins against the Spirit… that these are sins committed by people who deny God’s mercy. Our Triune God forces no one to accept forgiveness or entrance to the kingdom of everlasting life.
Richard John Neuhaus once a Protestant minister, then later a Catholic priest, wrote a book called, “Death on a Friday Afternoon.” (You can find it on our Favorite Readings page). Neuhaus mentions that John Paul II in his book, Crossing The Threshold of Hope, that although the Church teaches that there exists a hell… nowhere is there documented, in any era, that someone actually resides there. Not even Judas Iscariot… or Hitler… or Stalin… or Osama bin Laden.
And Jesus said, “… every human sin and blasphemy will be forgiven…”
I have a friend in recovery who was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boy decades ago. That abuse led him to a life of alcoholism, drug addiction, failed relationships, and two failed marriages. When we met in Alcoholics Anonymous and he heard me speak about my recovery and my Christian faith, he decided to go on a retreat. He wanted to rediscover his faith. He wanted God back in his life.
The next week when I saw him and asked him how did it go… he hesitated. He told me that at one of the talks, the speaker used the quote from above… Matthew 12: 31. Then he told me it was then that he “shut down” at the retreat. He said he couldn’t understand how the priest who raped him could ever be forgiven.
I said to him that I could not understand that either… but then, I’m not God.
So… between you and me… I think there are certain things that happen in life to us or those we love that appear “unforgivable.” It is beyond us to forgive. However, God in His mercy, if that sinner truly asks for forgiveness, according to His Son… then they will be forgiven.
But, you might be saying… “What about us?” What about my friend?
We have a saying in recovery, “We can either forgive them or choose to let them ‘rent space’ in our heads forever.”
You see, Louise Hay is correct in the quotation attributed to her a the beginning of this blog post…
The act of Forgiveness takes place in our own minds. It really has nothing to do with the other person. You need not even see or talk to the other. They may be long gone from your life or from this world.
But you and I are meant to be “free.” Trust me when I say this; your act of forgiveness will give you that freedom and “they will no longer rent space in your head.”
Not sure about you, but I’ve had to ask for forgiveness in my life on several occasions. From God… Yes, I believe I’ve been forgiven. From certain people, I’m not so sure. However, all you and I can do is keep our side of the street clean. We can make amends, apologize, and move forward.
The sins I mentioned above.
- Pedophile priests who sexually abused children.
- Bishops who covered it up.
- Men or women who murder children.
- The terrorists that killed 3,000 on 9/11.
- If proven, those who spread Covid-19 that killed millions.
I can only speak for myself here… you’ll have to do the same for yourself.
I’m not sure I can forgive the priest who raped my buddy.
I’m not sure I can forgive the bishops/cardinals who covered the abuse up.
If someone murdered one of my children… unforgivable.
The same goes for the terrorists on 9/11. Evil. Unforgivable.
If it’s proven, killing millions with Covid-19… Pure Evil… Unforgivable.
I know intellectually that Louise Hay is correct. Forgiveness is about me… and not really about the other person(s). Maybe someday, I’ll get there.
But, God is God. The Creator, the Savior, and the Counselor.
If the people who committed these heinous crimes… along with the likes of Judas Iscariot, Hitler, Stalin, bin Laden, and other notable sinners throughout world history… and they truly repented for their sins before death… God being God… well…
Forgiveness is God’s to give and bestow upon the sinner.
To conclude… And I’ve said this many times in my life as an adult, plagiarizing Paul of Tarsus in his first letter to Timothy, “I am the chief of sinners.”
Meaning… I can only look in the mirror and judge myself. I cannot judge you or the pedophile priest or the terrorist or even Judas Iscariot.
Looking into my own soul I can only say, “I’m the greatest sinner I know.” And…”Lord, please forgive me.”
Hope to see you in two weeks.
Pax in Christo