Friday, December 24, 2010

Guess Who’s Coming To Our House ….

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why…Santa Claus is coming to town.

And so is Christ. Well, not literally, just the anniversary of His birth. And, while we wait, we do not cry, we do not pout, but, rather, we rejoice and are glad.

Isn’t it interesting that we celebrate the coming of Santa at the same time as the coming of Christ.

How did this happen?

The basis for the Christian-era Santa Claus is the 4th century Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna (Turkey). He was very rich, generous, and often gave joy to poor children by throwing gifts through their open windows. He is also said to have thrown three bags of gold coins down the chimney of a poor man who couldn't afford the dowry for his three daughters. In another version of the story, the bags of coins fell into stockings the girls had placed by the fire to dry. And so was born the modern tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace and coming down the chimney.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Sint Nikolaas, the nickname for Saint Nicholas, into Sinter Klaas. His legend was brought to America by Dutch settlers. It was Clement C. Moore, however, who really popularized the legend of the saint including his appearance, his method of transportation and the names of his reindeer. He originally wrote the poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," ("The Night Before Christmas") for his family, but it became quite popular after it was published anonymously in 1823.

The Orthodox Church later raised St. Nicholas to a position of great esteem. It was in his honor that Russia's oldest church, for example, was built. For its part, the Roman Catholic Church honored Nicholas as one who helped children and the poor. His feast day is December 6.
For more see: (http://hubpages.com/hub/Santa-History-How-Saint-Nicholas-Became-Santa-Claus)

As I wrote last year, the custom of giving gifts to loved ones on a special day in winter probably began in ancient Rome where people gave these gifts as part of their year end celebration to honor Saturn, the god of harvest. The festivities began in the middle of December and continued until January 1st. In 350 A.D., Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the official date for celebrating the birth of Christ. Saturnalia was considered a festive time for Romans, but Christians believed it an abomination to honor such a pagan god. Eventually, the Church was successful in removing the merriment, lights and gifts from the Saturnalia and transferring them to the celebration of a Christian Christmas.

It was only natural that Santa bringing gifts and everybody giving gifts would come together at Christmas. While our fondest memories are of our childhood when we opened presents left under the tree by Santa, on Christmas day we bring presents of love to a child, the baby in the manger.

So, do not pout, do not cry, but, come, all ye faithful….come, let us adore Him, joy to the world....

Merry Christmas


.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Gracias, grazie, merci, danke, thank you.

Today, we celebrate Thanksgiving, the giving of thanks.

Whenever we give thanks, we usually hear a response like “no problem, think nothing of it, sure, glad to do it, de nada.” The one I prefer is the one we should be hearing when we thank God: “You’re welcome”, which means that we deserve what He has given us. But, I’m ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at the history of this wonderful feast:

The precise historical origin of the holiday is disputed. Although Americans commonly believe that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the pilgrims who landed aboard the Mayflower at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, there is strong evidence for earlier celebrations in Canada (1578) and by Spanish explorers in Florida (1565).

Good luck with that. The traditional origin of Thanksgiving in the United States, for my money-and, generally speaking, most agree-is the one that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation. It was early in the history of what would become one of the original colonies that later were to become the United States.

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. (Obviously, they didn’t have football on TV!)

Interestingly, while no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, it was recorded Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. (How’s that for bringing a covered dish!)

Historians have suggested that many of the dishes, by the way, were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts. Bummer.

The Pilgrims who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were originally members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect). They had earlier fled their home in England and sailed first to Holland to escape religious persecution. There is no doubt, then, that their feast began with prayers of thanksgiving. Probably the first ‘grace before meals’.

So, let’s all remember that these original Pilgrims celebrated just being alive after a perilous journey, finding a new home that gave them safety and a bountiful harvest. Let’s not worry about what’s for dinner. Let’s just thank God for our lives, for every breath we take. If we listen carefully, we might even hear in our hearts, “ You’re welcome”.

The question will be: are we?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Least of These

We get more upset in this country with smoking in public than we do with killing unborn babies in private.

It seems to me, anyway. If someone suddenly lit a cigarette in WalMart, there would be a riot. People would be screaming,” Are you nuts? ” Why then, don’t we get outraged when, according to the latest statistics, we brutally end the lives of 2 unborn babies every minute. Every minute! Why? Because it’s legal! Good grief. How did we make smoking in public illegal and abortion legal?

Blame the Supreme Court for the legalizing the murdering of unborn children. In Roe v Wade (1973). the Court decided as long as the fetus was not “viable” or able to live on its own outside the womb, it could be killed. How’s that for euphemizing the euthanizing?

Well, some of us are “screaming” a different way. On September 22, “ 40 Days For Life” began a 40-day journey of prayer, fasting, vigil and outreach in 238 locations around North America. To quote one of the founders, “The first 40 Days for Life effort began six years ago in Bryan/College Station, Texas. As we prayed for God's guidance on what to do about the evil of abortion in our community, we were reminded of how God has used 40-day periods of time in order to bring about transformation and conversion. We were reminded of Noah and 40 days in the flood, of Moses on the mountain, of Jesus and in the desert. When God repeats himself, He does so for a reason. The message of 40 days is simple, yet profound.”
(For more : http://40daysforlife.com/about.cfm )

It’s all about ‘rights’ today. The ‘right to do this’ or ‘the right to do that’. Not always a bad thing. This country was founded on the Bill of Rights that included the right to speak freely, carry a gun, get a fair trial.

Unfortunately, many women believe they have the ‘right’ to end a pregnancy before it’s term ends since it’s taking place in their bodies. Mistakenly, they are using that Court anointed right to justify and camouflage a brutal act of murder.

Conspicuous by it’s never being mentioned is the right of the child to live that is granted the moment it is brought into this world as a single cell. Conception should never be a death sentence.

I’ve been down this road in this space before. Some have even told me it has been too often. Really? Too bad. Someone has to speak for the fetus, since a voice is the one ability it does not achieve until it comes out of the mother’s body and is slapped.

Not caring for the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, the sick, Christ said “…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:41-45)

Well, the least we can do for the least of us not yet born is pray that they are allowed to live.

Till next time...

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Patient's Prayer

They descend on you like mechanics in a pit stop at a NASCAR race. But, they don’t bring oil cans, wrenches, hoses or lug nuts. They bring portable x-ray machines, blood pressure wraps and forms to be filled out. They are nurses, the wonderful, compassionate extremely efficient nurses at CRMC. And, they cared for me recently when I was scared into making a pit stop at Cullman Regional.

Chest pains are not to be ignored even when they are suspected to be indigestion, which mimics heart pain. (That’s why it’s called “heartburn”.) No, I have had bypass surgery and ablation for a fibrillation episode, so, although I have reflux disease, these were a little worse.

Even though an EKG revealed no heart problem, my doctor urged me to admit myself into the hospital to rule out angina. I’m embarrassed to say it took me four hours to act on that advice. Hey, I had stuff to buy at Wal-Mart! (Why do we do the stupid things we do?)

Not long after I checked in- the truth is while I was driving over- I prayed. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams”, I thought. Isn’t it fascinating and wonderful that we usually turn to God when what seems like the train of our life feels like it’s going off the track. Of, course, when there is a real wreck, we always turn to Him. Unfortunately, some of us pray for help while others scream “ why me? ”

The belief in prayer is part of the Christian DNA. The New Testament makes several references to the extraordinary power of prayer. A good example: Matthew 17:20, Jesus said to His Apostles, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you

Yet the Bible does not simply depict prayer as a means for submitting petitions to God, but at times portrays it as a method of obtaining personal strength. Best example, for my money, was Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane petitioning to be relieved of the burden, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me”. and strength to bear the agony, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt….” ( Matthew 26:39)

In Psychology of Prayer, the authors suggest that “ belief in prayer has deep roots in the human psyche and, although it may be suppressed by rational and scientific debate, it often resurfaces at times of distress for it is a primary language for communicating with the supernatural world.”
So, I prayed there would be no problem when the test results arrived and the strength to bear whatever problem those tests might reveal. Were my prayers answered? As the late Bishop Sheen said so memorably, “ All prayers are answered. Sometimes God says ‘No’.”
I got a “yes”. There was no problem. Thank God. Literally.

Let us pray.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday, America. You’re what, 234 years old now? How about that!

It seems like yesterday when you sent that wonderful farewell letter to Mother England. You were declaring your independence. Good for you! Do you remember what it said? Let me read it to you.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And, here’s the part that’s often quoted: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Well, isn’t it interesting that God and Creator are mentioned. Unfortunately, these days God is taking a beating. The great men who had the courage to separate from Mother England felt God was blessing their decision and would be watching over them. After listing all of the reasons why they were upset with the King, notice how they ended this declaration with these words:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”.

How about that? They called upon Divine Providence. It looks like they really never stopped thinking about God.

Guess what. Since they made that momentous decision, we seem to be forgetting that God. Our culture is morally polluted and our environment is physically polluted. It’s safe to say God is not in our thoughts and actions as He once was.

Granted life is different now. But, that’s no excuse for the greed and corruption in government and business and the breakdown of family values. Believe it or not, same sex marriages are gaining acceptance and respectability. Heaven help us.

Another thing. God is not welcome in schools. He’s not to be mentioned in our Pledge of Allegiance or taught that He created the world. Soon, no one will be allowed to say “God bless you” when someone sneezes, for Pete’s sake. We seem to be thumbing our noses at that God.

The good news is you are a beautiful country. In fact a song was written to describe you: “ O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains’ majesty above the fruited plains. America, America, God shed His light on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” There’s that God reference again. That’s the same God your forefathers wrote about.

Well, look. I’m not going to ruin your birthday. Let me simply congratulate you on this special day. Do I dare mention His name again?

OK. God bless you, America.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Advise and Consent

Buckle up. The American Inquisition a/k/a “Senate Confirmation Hearings ” for a Supreme Court nominee has now begun.

You have to wonder why we make such a big deal of these appointments. The Founding Fathers certainly didn’t and they lived in a simpler time when a big deal would have made sense. It’s my guess that they probably never imagined that the ‘power’ to select would someday result in a court of nine people who would resolve life-altering issues. “Miranda” and “Roe v. Wade” come to mind.

The reason, in my view, for the hullabaloo of hearings is the same as what causes the Court, as I wrote last year, to appear like royalty. These are lifetime jobs.

Let’s take a closer look again at how the Court was formed:

The special power to choose (nominate) justices was given to the President : " nominate, by and with the advise and consent of the Senate" and curiously was buried in Article II, Section II of the Constitution. It was stated after " appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls.." and followed by " all other Officers of the United States, whose appointments....",and on and on.

I’m no Constitutional lawyer, but, the use of ‘advise’ is also curious. The original meaning from Middle English means ‘consider’ but the generally accepted meaning is the transitive verb ‘inform’ as in “ advise him of his rights”. Certainly, both of these meanings imply “check ‘em out ” for the President who has nominated them, but I gotta tell ya, I seriously doubt they performed like the Congress of our time. The Founders, of course, had no TV.

So, yes, I believe the process is prolonged because these judges remain on the bench for life. Holy smokes! Why? Because the authors of the Constitution wrote,“ The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their Offices during good behavior.”(Article III/Section I ) Good behavior ? Were they kidding? (At the risk of offending my fellow seniors, how bad can you be at 80 or 90?)

Since the average lifespan at the time was in the mid-40’s, I guess how long they served was probably of no real consequence to them. Today, being considered for a lifetime job would be a big deal in any business and, as far as I know, doesn’t exist in this age of contracts.

In due respect, the Founders really blew this one. But, the Constitution is, as they say, a “living document ”, so, we can and should amend the constitution to create term limits.

If and when this is done, these Congressional hearings with televised posturing that gives birth to sound-bites might mercifully disappear. And, the important process will be in better proportion to the simple task of confirming a nominated person to perform an admittedly critical responsibility.

Too bad, by the way, the Founders didn’t include “during good behavior” when establishing Congress. We probably wouldn’t need term limits!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Church Will Prevail

Like a recurring nightmare, sex abuse by some priests is again in the news.

What seems to have been the index finger to the lips, the ‘don’t tell’ attitude of the bishops and, heaven help us, the Pope, is getting wide media coverage. That has the unfortunate effect of exaggerating the extent of the despicable behavior of a few priests. Simply put, it sounds like the Catholic Church is filled with pedophile priests. Not true. Not fair. It’s as if some critics are lying in wait to attack the Catholic Church.

The good news is that the bishops have long been aware of the abuse of some priests. Eight years ago, they examined the problem and have since been dealing with it. The bad news is that there was a problem in the first place.

In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a thorough study for the years 1950-2002. Their findings were sad and shocking: a total of 4,132 priests of the 109,000 priests who were active during that 52 year period were accused of sex abuse with minors. Although the total represented, roughly, only 4%, even one priest accused should stagger the mind http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/PriestAbuseScandal.htm

Why did the Catholic Church tolerate this depravity in the holy priesthood for so long? Well, I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like the church hierarchy too often considered the abuse as only a sin not also as a crime. And, although some priests were reported to authorities, a few imprisoned, some ‘laicized’ (de-frocked), some sent to rehab and some, strangely, transferred, apparently, mostly, the molesting was considered as committed by ‘one of us’, a parochial attitude that ‘we will deal with it.’ Colossal error.

The Pope, however, is getting unjustly criticized In the one case in Munich, an accused priest was transferred without the knowledge of Cardinal Ratzinger (before he became Pope).In Milwaukee, in an awful case of 200 deaf children being molested, civil authorities were unable to prosecute the accused priest and dropped the charges. Someone from the Vatican- not the Pope-recommended the trial be canceled because the priest was gravelly ill. (He died weeks later).

The disturbing fact remains, however, that two priests committed the dreadful sin of molestation. No excuse. None. Shame on them.

There are those who feel that the Catholic rule of celibacy is the reason for these priests’ sins and they should be allowed to marry. Nonsense. These transgressions were not acts of philandering, but were acts of pedophilia, a recognized mental disorder that is often found among married men. Allowing priests to marry is not the solution. Making sure these pedophiles are never ordained is the only solution.

Having studied for the Catholic priesthood a very long time ago, I believe, however, the rule of celibacy is more than just a rule. It is the price of admission to that life of unparalleled happiness. It is a magnificent sacrifice for the special “calling” for which few are “chosen”. Trust me. Been there and couldn’t quite do that.

For me, then, as a Catholic, these are troubling times. The sins of these priests are disgusting and disappointing, not to mention destructive of innocent lives. Compounding the mess, the apparent failure of the bishops always to report these crimes was disgraceful.

While all of this is disheartening, the Catholic Church will certainly weather this storm. After telling Peter that he was “the rock” upon which “I will build my church”, Christ then said, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Not even the sins of some of her priests.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sins of the Rich and Famous

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

We are living in a time of public apologies for everything from an actor's drunken racist remark to a traffic cop to admission by a baseball player that he used steroids. My concern here is with public confession of marital infidelity. Big difference.

A little more than twenty years ago, televangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert tearfully begged for forgiveness after revelations of their sexual scandals. In the past few years, we have heard painful, public confessions mostly from politicians but recently from pro golfer Tiger Woods. Honestly, I’m getting weary of listening to “ I am so sorry ” soliloquies about sexual dalliances, these embarrassing confessions of sins by the rich and famous.

Strictly speaking, there should be no public confession since it’s really none of our business. And, while there might have been a private confession with family and clergy, I found it bothersome that, in all these public mea culpas, they never admitted that their behavior was a sin.

Whoa. Sin? I’m kidding, right? No, I’m not.

All Christian faiths have teachings on sin. Catholicism offers this explanation: “To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to Him” (Catechism Catholic Church)

Christians believe that God made us in His image to enjoy the world He had created. Our very first parents disobeyed God’s command and chose to eat an apple because Satan, the fallen angel, said it would make them God-like. That was the first or original sin. Simple, yet horrifying: an offense against God.

It amazes me how often we see celebrities raise their eyes to heaven and thank God, their “Lord and savior, Jesus Christ”, whenever receiving awards or how often we watch as athletes point to heaven whenever a touchdown is scored or a home run is hit. Yet, we never see or hear a politician or professional athlete point to heaven and apologize or express regret for breaking one of God’s commandments.

While we recognize that our behavior is sometimes socially unacceptable, Christians seem to shy away from labeling it as sinful. (In due respect, Tiger did, however, express regret that he had drifted away from the teachings of his Buddhist faith.)

OK. Maybe it’s hopelessly na├»ve to suggest that these confessions by Christians, couched in apologetic language, should indicate there were sins committed but, that’s what these transgressions were. Forgive me, but, I think we have lost our way, probably because it’s no longer the ‘straight and narrow’.

The good news is that the rich and famous are confessing their sins.
The best news is that God forgives us of our sins when we repent. What better time than Lent to reflect not only on our sins but on the act of supreme love that Christ showed by His passion and death to redeem, to pay for all our sins.

The Catholic prayer in confession is really worth repeating:

“O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all, because I have offended Thee, my God who are all good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, do penance and amend my life.”

In this “one nation under God”, that trusts in God, swears by God, we apparently cannot say that we have offended God

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Heart and Mind of Love

This is the month when we celebrate the feast of Saint Valentine, who undoubtedly was the reason for our custom of exchanging love letters and gifts on February 14. Last year, writing about the origin of Valentine’s Day, I tried to define love but, not surprisingly, was unsuccessful since it is really indefinable.

Let’s look, then, at love from other angles:

According to studies, at last count, there are 665 songs with ‘love’ in the title. How many songs are about love, God only knows..

Famous quotes about love are endless, but here’s a sample:

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ….(from “My Love Is Lost “ by Judy Garland, who wrote beautiful poetry )

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”…..Frederick Nietzsche

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” ….Mother Teresa

That eclectic group shows how universal the emotion of love really is. Ah, it’s an emotion, isn’t it? It has always fascinated me that love is associated with the heart, yet, as an emotion, it is a brain activity. Now there’s an angle worth investigating.

Some people, by the way, have difficulty believing that our individual, tangible brain controls emotions that many consider to be intangible, such as being in love. However, studies have shown that in the case of love, brain does equal behavior.

In the interesting report, “ Neurobiology of Falling in Love”, the author wrote, “Researchers think that falling in love is a basic emotion like anxiety or fear. When falling in love, the same brain structures as in anxiety are stimulated: the amygdala and related circuits and neuro transmitters. Human beings are anxious until the bond with the loved one is accomplished. Anxiety is than replaced by positive feelings of stability and pleasure. The euphoria and focused attention when falling in love is explained by involvement of the reward and motivation systems in the human brain.”. (http://www.shockmd.com/2009/04/03/the-neurobiology-of-falling-in-love/ )

OK. Is love, then, just a function of our brains? Hard to say, but probably so. Although this does not rule out other areas that many believe play a role in love, the brain does play a vital, if not ultimate role in all aspects of love.

So much for romantic love.

This is also the month when we observe Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the prayerful and penitential journey that ends with the greatest act of another kind of love. Christ suffered and died so that our sins would be forgiven.
(“No greater love hath man than he lay down his life for his friends”- John 15:13) That’s love above and beyond romantic love.

As I wrote last year, Christ chose love as the mark to identify His disciples. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 31-35)How wonderful that loving one another is the mark of a Christian.

As we celebrate these feasts this month, perhaps some will find that person of their dreams, their soul mates, their special romantic love while others may share love already found. But, all of us need not look anywhere but within ourselves to find the love that Christ has already given us and commanded us to share.

So, here’s to love of every kind. As the song says, “All you need is love….love is all you need…”

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Promises, Promises

By now, many of you have probably started smoking again, given up on your diet and worst of all, stopped going to church. Ah, broken New Year’s resolutions.

What are New Year’s resolutions? Or, is it New Year resolutions? How did we ever get into that good habit? When did all this “promises made, promises broken” begin?

First of all, the celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar. (Don’t ask)

The tradition of the New Year's celebrations , however, doesn’t go back quite that far but does go back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. Depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back, he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune.( Try that today. Good luck!)

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1. (http://www.goalsguy.com/Events/n_facts.html)

From primitive man to today, New Year’s Day has been recognized as a day on which rites were done to abolish the past so there could be a rejuvenation ( a changing) for the New Year. Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year. There is no record of making “resolutions” to do better but, there was a strong implication to improve behavior caused by the looking ahead. http://wilstar.com/holidays/newyear.htm

OK. Breaking bad habits is one thing, but why not begin again a good habit that, for whatever reason, you stopped. Gym? Daily walks? Being nice? (Am I’m getting warm? ) Praying? Attending church? Ah, yes. In many ways, going back to church is more difficult than staying away from cigarettes and too much food. (Doing ‘bad’ is always easier than doing ‘good’. Ever notice that?)

It’s not the end of the world if you’ve broken your promises to yourselves, your resolutions, to stop smoking or overeating. But, it could be the end of your future world, figuratively speaking, of course, if you stopped praying and/or going to church.

The condition of our soul is infinitely more important than the condition of our body. That’s not to say that we should be careless with our physical well being, but that we should be just as careful with the condition of our souls.

So, if you have returned to the gym, started your diet or thrown away your cigarettes, your physical body will be grateful. But, if you’ve returned to church, the gym for your spiritual body, if you will, and begun to pray again, your soul will be eternally grateful.

Eternally.

Happy New Year.

Until next time....