A Paralyzed Woman on The Front Line

31 07 2013

A Paralyzed Woman On The Front Lines

Every morning Connie opens Diane’s door to begin the long routine of exercising and bathing her severely paralyzed friend. She has to be fed everything, pushed everywhere. The creeping limitations of multiple sclerosis encroach further each year; her fingers are curled and rigid.The sun’s rays slant through the blinds, washing the room in a soft, golden glow. The folds of the covers haven’t moved since Connie pulled them up around Diane the night before. Yet she can tell her friend has been awake for awhile.
“Are you ready to get up yet?”
“No…not yet,” comes the weak reply from under the covers.
Connie sighs, smiles and clicks shut the door.
The story is the same each dawn of every new day at Connie and Diane’s apartment. The routine rarely changes. Sunrise stretches into mid-morning, by the time Diane is ready to sit up in her wheel chair. But those long hours in bed are significant.
In her quiet sanctuary, Diane turns her head slightly on the pillow toward the corkboard on the wall. Her eyes scan each thumb-tacked card and pieces of paper carefully pinned in a row.
The stillness is broken as Diane begins to murmur. She is praying. She moves mountains that block the paths of missionaries. She helps open the eyes of the spiritually blind in southeast Asia. She pushes back the kingdom of darkness that blackens the alleys and streets of gangs in east LA. She aids the homeless mothers…single parents…abused children…despondent teenagers…handicapped boys…and dying and forgotten old people in the nursing home down the street where she lives.
Diane is on the front lines, advancing the gospel of Christ, holding up weak saints, inspiring doubting believers, energizing other prayer warriors, and delighting her Lord and Savior. This meek and quiet woman sees her place in the world; it doesn’t matter that others may not recognize her significance in the grand scheme of things…
Some would look at Diane—stiff and motionless—and shake their heads. People might look at her and say, “What a shame. Her life has no meaning. She can’t really do anything. But Diane is confident, convinced that the Merciful Heart of Jesus cannot but hear her prayers, her labors of love.


Why doesn’t everybody believe that there is a purpose in Life?

23 06 2013

why deosnot every one believe that life has a pBecause some people think there is no real purpose or destiny to human life! They believe that only the things we make, like cars and watches, have design and purpose in them. We know what the purposes of these objects are because we designed them. (For instance, we know that the purpose of a car is transportation, and the purpose of a watch is to tell time.) But the things in nature, like trees and stars, were not designed by any human beings, so we do not know their purposes as we know the purposes of the things we design. So some people believe that there are no real purposes in the things in nature, but only in humanly designed artificial objects.
But one of the things in nature is human beings. They are not artificial objects! They are not artifacts like cars or watches. We did not design human nature; we only carry it on, by reproduction.
So the people who deny that human life has any real purpose argue this way:
If only artifacts have purposes, while things in nature do not; And if we are things in nature rather than artifacts; Then we have no real purpose.
So the answer to the question “What is the purpose of my existence?” is that there is no real purpose; we can imagine or make up any subjective purposes we want, but there is no objectively real purpose to human life. Life is purposeless, pointless, meaningless, in vain. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Eccl 1:2).
This is the worst philosophy in the world. For it denies us the things we need most: meaning and purpose; a reason to live, learn, grow, and endure.
Meaninglessness is unendurable. Even pain isn’t as bad as meaninglessness. We can accept pains if they are meaningful: for instance, the pains of childbirth, or the pains of sacrificing for someone you love, or even the pains of martyrdom for a good cause. But we cannot accept meaninglessness. Even pleasures are not worthwhile if they are meaningless. (That’s why a billionaire can choose to commit suicide.) And even pains are worthwhile if they are meaningful. (That’s why a woman wants to give birth to a baby.)
The idea that objective things have no purpose is really atheism. For if God is real and if He created and designed everything, then everything has a purpose.
We can see some of the purpose of the things in nature. For instance, we can see that one of the purposes of stars is to enable us to think. For (a) if we did not breathe and bring oxygen to our brains, we could not think; and (b) if there were no green plants, we could not breathe, since their photosynthesis replaces carbon dioxide with oxygen; and (c) if there were no sun, there could be no green plants, for green plants need sunlight and heat, and (d) if there were no stars, there would be no sun, for the sun is a star. Therefore, if there were no stars, we could not think.
But many of the things in nature have designs and purposes that are not clear to us. They do not seem to be useful for us. (For instance, we wonder why God made so many mosquitoes.) So it takes a little faith, a little trust, to believe that everything has a purpose and that “all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom, 8:28), though we do not see this. This is especially true of things that make us suffer. We do not always see how suffering has a good purpose.
But if the Creator is all-wise, all-good, and all-powerful, then the quotation above from Romans 8:28 is true. If He is all-good, He wants what is best. If He is all-powerful, He is able to bring about what is best, in the end. And if He is all-wise, He knows what is best.
And since we are not all-wise, we do not know what is best in the long run. That is why we have to trust Him with all those mosquitoes and even with much worse things, like cancers. He knows how to bring greater goods out of great evils. That is what He did two thousand years ago on the Cross of Calvary when He brought about the greatest good for us, the greatest gift we have ever been given–salvation from sin and the ability to enter Heaven–through the greatest evil that ever happened, the torture and murder of Jesus Christ, the only perfect man who ever lived, the man who was God Himself.
Christians believe this. Many people don’t. Can Christian give them any reason to believe their religion’s answer to the question “Why do I exist”?
The best reason we can give them is ourselves: our love and our joy. You can’t argue with the happiness of a saint.
The greatest love, and the greatest joy, is mutual: it comes from both loving and being loved. The next-greatest joy comes from loving, even without being loved back. Even this second-best joy of loving without being loved back is greater and deeper than the third joy, the joy of being loved without loving. That is why saints are so happy: they are never in the third level of joy but always in the second or the first. (In fact, since they know God always loves them, you could say they are always in the first.) That’s why the prayer attributed to Saint Francis says:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, may I always seek not so much to be condemned as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

By Peter Kreeft

The murder of a courageous woman and her seven sons

11 06 2013

woman with seven son1s

Here is a story of a courageous woman and her seven sons who fought to the death against a government law that compelled them to act against their conscience.

Shortly before the revolt of Judas Maccabeus, Antiochus IV Epiphanes arrested a mother and her seven sons, and tried to force them to eat swine flesh. When they refused, he tortured and killed the sons one by one. One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, “What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers.”

The king fell into a rage, and gave orders that pans and caldrons be heated. These were heated immediately, and he commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out and that they scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, saying, “The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song which bore witness against the people to their faces, when he said, And he will have compassion on his servants.'”

After the first brother had died in this way, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore off the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, “Will you eat rather than have your body punished limb by limb?”

He replied in the language of his fathers, and said to them, “No.” Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. And when he was at his last breath, he said, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.”

After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, and said nobly, “I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again.”

As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man’s spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. And when he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”

Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. But he looked at the king, and said, “Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!” After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, “Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!”

The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, and said to them, “I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.”

Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: “My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.”

While she was still speaking, the young man said, “What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king’s command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. For we are suffering because of our own sins. And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of ever flowing life under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation.”

The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. Last of all, the mother died, after her sons.
2 Maccabees 7

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