Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quadruple Rainbow on Long Island-A Sign of God's Presence

Yesterday morning after a night of storms, Amanda Curtis captured this rare photo of a Quadruple rainbow as she was waiting for the train in Glen Cove, Long Island. She said, "I didn't realize how rare it was, I just knew it was beautiful." Lucky for her, she didn't miss her train, as she took the photo quickly and then rushed to catch her train. The photo has gone viral and rightly so.......She paused and noticed the beauty of nature, of the natural world and with modern day technology was able to capture that in a blessed moment.
I've always believed that New York is a blessed place......so much good here, so much positive energy, creativity, lots of religiosity and prayer comes out of New York...some might find that strange but I know it to be true. Yes, a quadruple rainbow in the early morning, of an ordinary day,  is a sign that God is here, with us, still providing awesome beauty, still in charge of the vast and amazing Universe, we call home.
NJA

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ron Reagan's Tasteless Ad for Atheism

Easter Sunday was a great day. The Church was filled, the flowers were beautiful, the music uplifting. I love Easter morning, especially after Good Friday services. I hosted my family for Easter, and though we share the cooking, it's still exhausting. I hide Easter eggs for my young cousins and give them baskets as rewards for finding the eggs. Simple pleasures at Easter-a beautiful Mass, grace before dinner, a great family meal, good conversation, laughter and children enjoying themselves.
Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, celebrating the Incarnation and all that Christ gave to humanity and to be aware of it and "awake",  is a great gift. A gift I am most grateful for.
I feel sorry for people who have no faith, who do not believe, who doubt and deny God's existence. As I wrote in my last blog post, even some scientists (new ones are being added) are coming to the realization that there is too much design, complexity, diversity and mathematical exactness in the Universe for creation to be an accident. It's no accident, there is a Divine Creator, but some people, because of pride, refuse to give God the glory and respect due to God.
One such person, who denies God in a bold way, is former President Ronald Reagan's son, Ron Reagan. (President Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, my own father was a big fan of Ronald Reagan.)
Ron Reagan is doing a commercial which I just saw air on CNN, in which he proclaims that he is a lifelong atheist and "he is not afraid of burning in hell." He wants people to support his cause.
It seems I had the same gut reaction, when I saw the ad,  as his own brother. Ron's brother, Michael Reagan was quoted as saying, "For Ron to do the ad is one thing but the way he ends the ad was, 'I'm Ron Regan, I'm not afraid to burn in hell' just slaps our father in the face, in a terrible, terrible way".....
And that was my gut feeling, Ron knows that his deceased father would be appalled at the ad and Ron Reagan just doesn't care. He only cares about his pride and his atheism and his lack of openness to mystery and to God. He isn't proving anything because eventually science will prove God's existence as the only logical explanation of why we are here and they'll come up with the statistics to prove that. (They already are doing just that.)  Believers will simply say, "We knew God existed all along!")
I doubt that Ron will burn in hell for his beliefs, (God is too merciful for that), but he'll have to live with the knowledge that he disrespected his deceased father, his brother Michael and probably other members of his family. Sad that he doesn't see it that way.
And I'm also disappointed in CNN for airing the tasteless ad. Most other networks wouldn't do it.
NJA

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CNN's Show Highlighted Atheists and the World of Non-Believers

I watched most of the CNN special last night, "Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers," about atheists in America. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the people (and ministers) who had lost their faith. It was so sad to see the parents of a young adult atheist, struggle with their son's atheism.
Personally, I couldn't live a meaningful life without faith in God and a relationship with Jesus. I'm baffled by anyone who can live without faith. But there are a lot of people in America who have lost their faith, or were never raised with it. It's frightening that so many millennials are giving up on God. They're losing so much hope, meaningfulness, connectedness to the Divine and spiritual benefits.
I suggest that since atheists are so fascinated with science (as many believers are too!) they should read the Wall Street Journal article published a few months ago titled, "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God." It seems many astrophysicists now believe that "the appearance of design is overwhelming" (in the Universe)........Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox ( I assume he's very, very smart and isn't living in some fairy tale world!) is quoted as saying, "the more we get to know about our Universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator..gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here...." Thank You Dr. Lennox!
Well, atheists can believe what they want to believe but its not the truth. It's pride that makes them think they are smarter, that they don't need mystery or God.
No one knows why not every prayer is answered or why Jesus had to suffer, or why God remains silent at times,  but as a believer I know God exists, I have eyes of faith and with eyes of faith I can see the workings of God in the world. I also know I am loved by God and that is priceless!
NJA

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bishop Barros of Southern Chile Should Resign For The Good of the Church

Catholic bloggers have questioned the appointment and the silence from Rome.  Why would Pope Francis insist on appointing Rev. Juan Barros, Bishop of Osorno, Chile when the appointment was controversial from the start? Whoever advised Pope Francis on this decision, missed the mark.
In today's New York Times it stated that, "Hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black barged into a cathedral in a city in southern Chile on Saturday and interrupted the installation ceremony for the city's
new Roman Catholic bishop, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of complicity in a notorious case of clerical sexual abuse, blocking his passage and shouting, 'Barros, get out of the city.'"
There was a chaotic scene in the cathedral with demonstrators as well as the media and Barros' supporters as well. Outside the cathedral over 3,000 people chanted that he should resign.
Demonstrators were claiming that they received a "slap in the face from Pope Francis himself," with the unpopular appointment.
The article claims that Pope Francis was well aware of the controversy surrounding the Rev. Juan Barros but my question is was the Pope well advised, was he made aware of the public outcry and the amount of upsetness this appointment caused the Catholic population of Chile?
How can this Bishop be effective in his role? In my humble opinion, and for the good of the Church, Bishop Barros should humbly resign and do other work in the Church where he can be more effective. I'm not judging him because I don't know all the circumstances but I do know that the Protestant ministers in that area of Chile will only be too happy to welcome all the disenchanted Catholics who decide to leave the Church over this appointment.
NJA

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Will Pope Francis Resign One Day? Resigning Popes-The New Normal?

It seems like Pope Francis has opened the door for the possibility that he might resign one day, as Pope Benedict did in 2013. That resignation was a shock for everyone, including Cardinals and Bishops, who were caught by surprise.  In a recent interview Pope Francis said, "I have a feeling that my pontificate will be brief-four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed. It's a somewhat strange sensation. I feel the Lord has placed me here for a short time."
That's a fascinating statement. For one, it makes you think that Pope Francis had a premonition that his pontificate will be short. Though the Pope is a healthy 78 years old, he is obviously considering retiring at some point, before he dies. He said, "I share the idea of what Pope Benedict did."
It's amazing that Pope Francis has the stamina he does at 78 years old. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, he is very well liked and has great popularity (as most people realize). Who could possibly fill his shoes and connect as well with the people as he does? Who else can preach the importance of God's mercy, as convincingly as he does? He's the right Pope for this time.
And so it seems like Pope Benedict changed things by resigning.  It seems likely that other Popes, when they feel they can no longer fulfill the role because of age or illness, or they lack the energy, will consider resigning.  I think that's a good thing, it puts less stress on the Pontiffs of the future.
NJA

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Good News About Pope Francis

Who doesn't need a little good news with the weather we've been having in the Northeast?  I certainly do as it's just been another day of being snowed in, shut in the house.  This winter just keeps hanging on, when everyone just wants it to be over. Actually, I shouldn't complain.  We did travel to Florida for a week. That was very nice,  but it's weird when you hear some Floridians complain about 65 degree weather being too cold for them.  And they're serious.
I needed to read something uplifting and so when I read an NBC news story online about how Pope Francis' popularity just keeps growing, it did just that.
Apparently (and it's no surprise), Pope Francis is more popular than ever in the United States. "With ninety-five percent of Catholics who go to Church every week giving him high marks and 7 in 10 of  Americans of all faiths rating him favorably in a new survey.....His popularity puts him on par with Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s." He's even respected by non-believers and that's saying much. And to have achieved the popularity of St. John Paul II is truly amazing and no small feat.
So it seems Pope Francis was the right choice for this age and his kindness, compassion and humility was just what was needed at this time in history. The Cardinals who elected him Pope, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit got it right.
Thank God it's all turned out so well. Something to be happy about as the mounds of snow have to be faced tomorrow.
NJA

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bill O'Reilly Has His Catholic Faith To Sustain Him During Controversy

Bill O'Reilly who is the Fox News host of "The O'Reilly Factor, political commentator, best selling author and media star has been swirling in controversy recently over alleged exaggerations and distortions in his reporting. I don't know all the details nor do I know if it's true that the "liberal media" is out to get him, but what I do know is that Bill O'Reilly is a person of faith, he goes to Church, he prays and his relationship with God will be a source of comfort and support to him during this trying time. It's very plausible that people with a political agenda are trying to ruin him, and he certainly believes that, but he also believes that God will help him and see him through this. I saw on a video clip where he mentions his faith in God and how he believes in God and miracles.
I often tell people how important it is to have deep faith because you never know when a crisis will strike in life and it can come in many forms. When you have faith and when you nurture that faith through the sacraments and prayer, it will always be available to you as a source of inner strength and courage. Jesus said, "As they persecute me they will persecute you," and that can come in many ways, at different times in life. But if you stand firm in your belief in God, if you pray and humble yourself then as the great St. Julian of Norwich said, "All will be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing will be well."
I have no doubt that Bill O'Reilly will overcome this present trial and the accusations against him. And until the controversy passes, he will have his deep faith and his relationship with God to sustain him.
NJA