Deborah Gyapong: April 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hearing John O'Sullivan and meeting Stephen Taylor



I attended a most interesting talk tonight by John O'Sullivan about his latest book The Pope, the President and the Prime Minister: Three who Changed the World, on how John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher defeated communism.

Great talk and most interesting take on the era. O'Sullivan is an amazing speaker and at least one of the attendees in the packed room described it as a tonic. And it was--a bracing, clear brew that provided an antidote for the confusion and negativity that can so easily descend on Ottawa.

I look forward to writing up the talk and when my story gets published, I'll provide a link.

Meanwhile, aside from the terrific talk, one of the highlights of the evening was meeting fellow blogger Stephen Taylor, who is one of the founders of Blogging Tories.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day arrived to pick up one of the books. I got a chance to take a photo of Day and Taylor together.

National March for Life attracting younger crowd


Next week's the 10th National March for Life in Ottawa. Here's a link to the story I wrote on the upcoming event.

OTTAWA (CCN) -- Activities for this year's 10th annual March for Life May 9-11 in Ottawa will include the producer and lead actor in the award-winning film Bella as keynote speakers at the sold-out Rose Dinner.

Bella won the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Producer Lee Severino and actor Eduardo Verastegui are co-owners of Metanoia Films, a company that aims to inspire people and change lives.

The annual march is making a positive impact, according to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) President Jim Hughes. Since the CLC organized the first march in 1997, younger people have become involved in the pro-life movement, awareness of fetal life has increased, and Canada's low birth rate has caused examination of the role of abortion.

"Thank God, they do appear to be turning around," he said in a telephone interview. Last year, the majority of the approximately 6,000 marchers were under 25, all born since Canada adopted a permissive abortion law in 1969.

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My testimony appears in The National Post

Finding god in a drug dealer's den

Deborah Gyapong
National Post

In an ongoing series, Faith: Lost and Found, the National Post is publishing the tales of readers whose life experiences have imbued them with a belief in a higher power -- or taken that faith away. Today, Deborah Gyapong explains how she found God in the most unholy of places.

Though I was baptized Russian Orthodox and my parents sent me to various Protestant Sunday schools to expose me to the Bible, I rejected the Christian faith and derided the faithful. By the time I graduated from college, I was "spiritual," into New Age and the occult. I embraced the 1960s hippie ethos.

All that changed one night in September, 1973, when I hitchhiked to a bar in Cambridge, Mass.

The bartender, an ex-con named Frank, invited me into a back room to snort cocaine. By closing time, I felt like Superwoman. I then accompanied Frank as he sold drugs. At each location, we snorted lines of white powder. ("By the way, that was mescaline you just did," Frank told me at one point.)

Frank and I took a bus to his trashstrewn basement apartment in a dangerous Boston slum near some elevated train tracks. In the front room, a sleeping bag lay on a bare mattress surrounded by cardboard boxes full of marijuana stems and seeds.

When I resisted Frank's physical advances, he told me he wanted to "be with a woman." So he left, promising to return at 8 a.m.

Alone, I expected to be fine. Soon, however, the noise from the trains passing overhead got to me. I sensed evil.

In New Age magic mode, I decided to gather up the evil and flush it down the toilet. So, with sweeping arm gestures, I pulled evil through the filthy hallway, into a long narrow bathroom. I flung the evil into the toilet and flushed. The toilet shook violently, as if it were going to explode. Horrified, I ran into the hallway.

I began to pace, saying, "I want to live. I want to live." The clock on the wall read 3 a.m. Wraithlike shapes seemed to rise from the trash piles surrounding me.

I recited the 23rd Psalm, surprised I remembered it, then the Lord's Prayer. Still, the evil seethed.

In the damp bedroom, I flicked on the TV. A trio of musicians were singing folk songs. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Precious humanity. The music stopped for a commercial break, and my relief vanished when a Marines recruitment ad came on, reminding me of the Vietnam War. I changed the channel to see a man dressed as the Devil, introducing the nightly horror movie.

Usually, he looked silly. But this time, he was the Devil, his eyes burning with intense hatred and malevolence. Then he leaped out at me.

Terrified, I shut off the set. My cigarette's burning end suddenly shone with the same spiteful malevolence as the TV devil's eyes. I crushed it out and began to pace again, desperate.

Maybe if I restored order, I might feel better. So I removed a box of marijuana seeds from a pile of newspapers. A front-page picture displayed three hooded Ku Klux Klansmen. I could not bear the hatred they represented, and so kept foraging. Underneath, I found a paperback book, Hey God! by Frank Foglio. What was a book like this doing in a drug dealer's apartment?

The evil in the room swelled and buzzed as I opened it with trembling hands. Feeling surrounded by hundreds of evil spirits trying to get inside me, I read about Foglio's mamma and her 10 kids, and how she was touched by the Holy Spirit. I'd never heard of such a thing. I read about how Mamma spoke to God in simple straightforward prayers, and about the miracles they experienced, like praying over the spaghetti and having it multiply to feed unexpected guests, or praying over an empty gas tank so the car would keep on running. Mamma was always telling people about Jesus.

Whenever she asked someone a question, I felt as if she were asking me. Did I know I was a sinner? Yes! Did I believe Jesus died for my sins? Yes! Would I ask Jesus into my heart? Yes!Would I turn my life over to Him? Yes!

I was doing some heavy-duty bargaining. Hey, God: You save me from the hell in this room and I'll serve you the rest of my life. I promise. I profoundly understood that Jesus knew the depth of the world's evil, and that's why He died on the cross, to save us from it. I also understood that without Him, I was powerless against it.

Despite my bargaining, the evil seemed to be gaining in power. I kept reading, though, and eventually I came to a line in which God seemed to be speaking directly to me. He said: "Be still, and know that I Am God."

Everything in me was fighting for life, struggling to save myself. But God was telling me to let go, to stop struggling, to know that He is God. Jesus is Saviour. Could I trust Him? Could I stop trying to save myself?

Obeying God's command to be still was the hardest thing I'd ever done, a terrifying leap of faith.

As I willed my release, I could feel Heaven rejoicing. I felt as if God's invisible arm was reaching down and cupping me in His palm. His presence seemed stern, as if He was saying: "Look what kind of mess you got yourself in this time."

The evil vanished. My tears of fear and angst turned to tears of joy and repentance. The sun started to come up, lightening the basement window curtains.

When Frank returned as promised, I was smiling, so in love with Jesus that I could have knocked on strangers' doors, bearing witness of my faith --just like Mamma. Thirty-four years later, I'm still in love. - Deborah Gyapong is a freelance journalist who covers religion and politics in Ottawa. Her suspense novel The Defilers won the 2005 Best New Canadian Christian Author Award. www.deborahgyapong.com.

© National Post 2007

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Afghan prisoners dilemma

Father Perry, a professor at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba, said even a suspicion that handing over prisoners to torture demands that one adopts the conservative position. “We can’t smugly say they promised us they won’t do this and we believe them.”

Allegations that Afghan officials are torturing Taliban captives have dogged Canadian officials for months. Most recently an April 23 Globe and Mail story based on 30 face-to-face interviews with prisoners reported they claimed to have been beaten, starved and otherwise mistreated.

Counterterrorism expert John Thompson, a Catholic, is more skeptical of the Globe’s allegations. In a telephone interview from Toronto April 23, he said Jihadis have all been instructed to say they’ve been tortured. “The claim is always there. Often there is no physical evidence of torture at all.”

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Watch out for little old ladies with guns

Tough isn't a word necessarily associated with Miss America, but three thieves arrested after their truck tires were shot out by 82-year-old Venus Ramey might beg to differ.

Ramey, who won the elite beauty crown in 1944, confronted one of the three robbers on her farm in Waynesburg, Ky., about 140 miles south of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"He was probably wetting his pants," said Ramey, who balanced on her walking stick as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.


H/T Small Dead Animals

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Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt on NBC's airing of the Cho videos

MS: Well, I think there’s a difference between something that just happens to turn up, and something that is in fact mailed to the media as the final act in the killer’s drama. So in other words, NBC is fulfilling the killer’s last request. That’s disgusting. That’s disgusting, because in effect, you have colluded in this kind of show of slaughter that he’s concocted, and I think that’s disgusting for NBC.

HH: Last night, as I drove home from a book signing, I was listening to a psychiatrist at NYU, Dr. Welner, who will be on Larry King tonight, and we hope to have him on tomorrow, he was apoplectic, saying that this is playing right into this fevered, crazy, insane mind of which there are many in America, by giving them a blueprint on how to get to their glorification. And I immediately thought of the rule of law firm compensation, that which gets rewarded, gets repeated, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yes, and I think we have to understand the one reason why mass murder, random mass murder by crazy guys is a phenomenon of our time, is because mass media gives you the opportunity to enlarge the act. You know, there will always be people who go crazy and kill a couple of people around them. But one reason why a guy like this decides he’s going to go somewhere and kill dozens of people is because he knows that he can then access a national stage, and an international stage. He’s on the front page of newspapers all over the world. And I think in a sense, to make a crazy guy, to upgrade him from kind of small town burlesque to planetary wide superstar, which is what NBC is colluding in here, I think is terrible. I mean, in a sense, they’ve upgraded the show business aspect of the crime, and that is disgraceful.

HH: Now at this very hour, California police are on the lookout for a Yuba City man who called his pastor and said he was going to make this week really memorable and referred to the Virginia shooting. There’s lots of copycats out there, Virginia Tech shooting, and I think that the media’s playing right into this, Mark.

MS: Yes, I think that’s true, and you know, I think the media coverage is actually disgraceful, because it does seem designed to in effect provide a conduit for these crazy guys. You know, the media are the first to say guns are to blame. They’re less quick to actually look at their own role in providing the oxygen of publicity to these fellows, because if you are just a nobody, and you kill somebody, and nobody but your local paper gets to hear about it, that’s a very different thing from staging an act of mass slaughter, and then getting a major network, in effect, to cooperate in the network premiere of your deathbed video. I mean, I think that is a totally different scale of things.

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Director of Human Genome Project sees no conflict between faith and science

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project said the following:

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?"

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Dr. Sanity on "carefully taught" depravity

While North America is shocked by the behavior of the Virginia Tech shooter, why are we not more shocked by the behavior of terrorists who deliberately target civilians? Why is the Left so quick to excuse that kind of behavior?

Grab a coffee and click over to Dr. Sanity's site this morning for a lengthy post on how the kind of depravity that makes whole cultures slide into the kind of paranoid psychopathy manifested by Cho Seung-Hui needs to be carefully taught.

She writes:

As I discussed in the previous post, there are a variety of [psycho]paths that can be taken which lead to the same paranoid delusional destination. Once you have arrived at the final destination, then all that stands between you and evil and depravity is your character.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Some thoughts on the Virginia Tech massacre

Gagdad Bob writes:

I don't pretend to know exactly what motivated the mass murderer, but I think it is safe to say that he felt victimized by someone or something, and therefore entitled to lash out -- as indeed all victims feel entitled to do. I can only say that there will only be more absurd lashing out if we continue our inexorable slide into nihilism, the only alternative to theism.

This is not a "false dualism" unless one views the situation in a perfectly myopic temporo-centric manner, just because we're not "all the way there" yet; one has only to extrapolate from the trends of the past 40 years. In other words, leftist assumptions inevitably lead to nihilsim, and they know it. It's just a matter of time before we live in the time of the martyrs -- not the old martyrs who were true victims, but the misappropriation of that existential category for the purposes of instinctual expression -- i.e., sex, violence, or general envious acquisitiveness under cover of a "progressive agenda" -- for no one is more greedy and acquisitive than the leftist who believes he is intrinsically entitled to the fruits of another's labor. But his victimhood is a convenient way to conceal his soul-destroying envy from himself -- and even to convert what is a soul-illness to a political virtue.

There's lots of interesting comment and links over at The Anchoress. Scroll down.

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Janelle Clare Schneider on gratitute

Janelle Clare Schneider has a great post over at the Canadian Authors Who are Christian blog about modelling gratitude.

Here's a sample:


In reward for a significant accomplishment at school, we had purchased for Offspring #2 a toy he’d been drooling over for months. Every time the ad for this item showed up on TV, we were asked to pay attention to it, then given a litany of “really cool stuff” that could be accomplished if only this toy were added to the already overpopulated play area. The delight in this young one’s eyes as the toy was assembled, tried out and experimented with made the price tag worth it.

Then mere days later, this same offspring went into a crying, whining fit because Offspring #1 had birthday money to spend, and he did not. I attempted what seemed to be me to be a logical argument. “Now before you get all upset,” I soothed, “what special toy did you get just last week?” My darling child paused, thought, then replied, amid more tears, “I don’t know.”

I offered a reminder of the accomplishment for which the toy was a reward, but memory was not restored. All he could think of was the new toy now on the “must have” list.

Hubby and I discussed this distressing chain of events later that evening. We both recalled hearing parents lament our own lack of gratitude. That’s when we realized gratitude isn’t something we can “give” our children, like we give them new toys. It’s something we have to model, day after day, no matter how unaware they may seem.

This made me wonder how often my Heavenly Father bears the brunt of my ingratitude. I make a request, such as, “Please show me how to solve this plot problem.” He answers, I thank Him, and then I carry on. “Please give my manuscript favour in an editor’s eyes.” “Please help the book to sell well.” And so on.


The authors blog has good posts every day by different Canadian authors. Bookmark the site!

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Mark Bertrand on lies and fiction

My fellow Master's Artist J. Mark Bertrand has a great post today on lies and fiction.

He writes:
I am not a great believer in the therapeutic value of writing. A lot of things make us feel better, but that doesn't mean they're right. But there's no denying that the lie of fiction is an outlet. It is a means of telling the truth, yes, but it tells more than that. It expresses the self, but goes beyond that, too. We often talk about the difficulty of writing a "good" character, and attribute the challenge to lack of conflict, but I wonder if it's not that good people have no need to write good characters, any more than Jekyll needs a potion to express his nobility. The vial he pours down his throat brings out his bad side, and I think sometimes that fiction serves a similar purpose. It airs our jealousies, our violent impulses, our sophistry and philistinism. Making up stories is a way to sublimate the desire we cannot act upon. I'm always embarrassed for the authors of exaggerated, melodramatic sex scenes, because I can't help feeling they've unwittingly revealed too much of their fantasy life to the reader, an exercise in wish fulfillment. But then, every lie reveals something about the liar who tells it, right? If nothing else, it says something about what he thinks other people want to hear.

We extoll the power of stories, and I think we're right to do so -- but it's a power that has more in common with fission than flowers. It is not an unqualfied good. The stories we tell are a map of our guilty knowledge as well as our faith, a record of some of our worst tendencies, not just our best.

Assuming, of course, that we tell honest lies. Because of what we are, I imagine there should always be a wariness, a discomfort with what we do. Our Hydes are showing, and that's enough to scare anyone. As much as I value 'transparency,' there are some things I'd just as soon keep to myself (and I imagine you're the same). But consider this. Wouldn't it be worse, if they didn't show at all?

Then what kind of liars would we be?

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Kathy Shaidle on global warming and Earth Day

Relapsed Catholic Kathy Shaidle has posted a column on Earth Day that Our Sunday Visitor refused to print.

She writes:

That millions may fall prey to a seductive New Age faith that seems based on good intentions (and "irrefutable science" that seems to change weekly) is a much greater danger than the remote possibility that polar bears are doomed to extinction. (As a matter of fact, and contrary to mainstream news reports, their numbers have increased, not decreased, in the past few years...)

Your child's immortal soul is infinitely more important than the size of his "carbon footprint", or yours.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chris Humprhey took some great photos!







At the end of March, Chris Humphrey took some great photos of me.

Here are some of them:

See how to reach Chris below. He often travels to Toronto and Ottawa, so if you want some great photography check him out. CHPhotography@verizon.net

(Chris Humphrey Photography)

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The National Post has published my testimony

One of Canada's National newspapers, the National Post, has published my testimony as part of a series on finding (or losing) faith.

I'll have to go out and buy a stack of papers!

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Jeanne Damoff on Christian worldview

My fellow Master's Artist Jeanne Damoff has a great post today about Christian worldview.

Here's a sample. Please read the whole thing!

There's no shortcut to a thorough knowledge of the Bible's stories, characters, doctrines, themes, poetry, or eternal principles. If we spent our whole lives pondering the attributes of God, the nature of man, sin, redemption, judgment, sovereignty, and free will, we'd still never exhaust the mystery.

It's not enough to be sprinkled with truth; we have to soak in it--to stand back far enough to see the whole glittering mosaic, then zoom in close to examine the nuance of color and texture in each tile. If we do this consistently, the Word will whisper in our thoughts and enliven our imaginations.


and

And now to bring it home. Please don't hear this wrong, but I fear at least some of what we Christians have done in CBA is reactionary. It's about what we don't do--not what we do. And yet, here we are, children of the King, seated in the heavenly places in Christ, stewards of the mysteries. Among every perspective available to man, our worldview is uniquely rich. Not only do we possess God's revealed truth in His Word, we see all created things--all human drama, tragedy, joy, ecstasy--from the throne room of a sovereign God. I'm not suggesting we announce this in so many words to the world. But we do need to know who we are, where we are, why we are, and what we believe, and then write honestly from that knowledge.

Whatever anyone else is doing, we should be acting, not reacting. If we enter the battle (of words, ideas, creative expression) equipped, we alone have the potential to revolutionize the game. We are seated in the heavens, my dear artistic friends. Our Master is a military genius. And the enemy's gate is down.

Isn't it time we enjoyed our position and shared the view?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Israeli professor gives life to save students

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."





Mark Steyn as the "Al Gore" of demographics

Read the whole thing for the context of this vintage Steyn:

If he had a tail and hung from a tree in the rain forest or was shivering on that ice floe instead of Al Gore’s polar bear, we’d all be chipping in donations to the Save The Italian campaign. But, because he doesn’t, it’s “racist” even to discuss it.

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Why its important to stay the course in Iraq and Afghanistan

From the American Thinker:

I ask Democratic Party leaders to put hatred aside long enough to pretend that it is their sons and their daughters, their wives and their children who are being harassed, tortured, maimed and killed by oppressors here in Iraq. Please realize that if you Democrats get your early withdrawal, the torturers and murderers will control Iraq. And emboldened by that victory, and in possession of Iraq's substantial resources, it will only be a matter of time before those hunters of humans -- the beheaders, the torturers of women and children, the suicide bombers and the hyper-religious fanatics - bring death to your own cities and towns and streets.

Then, you and your loved ones will have paid a dear price for your unending hatred of one man, your naked self indulgence, your utter, rank hypocrisy and your unquenchable thirst for power.
Read the whole thing. See what's really at stake in Iraq. H/T Michelle Malkin.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Dr. Sanity diagnoses conspiracy theories

Dr. Sanity has a long post with some excellent links that are not only well worth reading, I hope they promote a bit of self-analysis.

She concludes:

Paranoia strikes deep. It will creep into your heart when you are afraid of your own feelings and try to disown them by blaming the "Jews", the "Blacks", or "Gays" or even President Bush. History has been littered with millions of dead bodies resulting from the denial, distortion and projection of paranoid leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, and Bin Laden. But those people had followers who believed just as they did, and did most of their dirty work.

You have to stop, look and see what's going down in your own heart and face some unpleasant and devastating facts about yourself--if you want to understand how such evil can exist.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Traditional Anglican Communion seeking unity with Holy See

Here is a link to Salt & Light TV's Focus documentary on the Traditional Anglican Communion's dream of unity with the Holy See.

Because our cathedral is too small, the Ottawa Roman Catholic Archdiocese lent us the use of St. Basil's. Generally we would kneel for communion, but St. Basil's is not set up for that.

Sign up for Salt & Light TV. It's a terrific Catholic network.

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If you thought Piss Christ and the chocolate Jesus were offensive . . .

Michelle Malkin exposes us to the latest outrage.

What could the warped artistic world possibly dream up next to denigrate the faithful? Well, having exhausted bodily excretions and the candy store, they are now taking religion-bashing high tech. Big hat tip to The Ugly American at Sondra K's blog, who e-mailed me last night about an exhibit by a Los Angeles-based "artist" that opened yesterday in southern California. It's called "Christ Killa:"

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

N.J. Lindquist tells of an Easter birth

At the Canadian Authors who are Christian site, N.J. Lindquist tells about the birth of her first child on Easter 31 years ago:

As Saturday night became Sunday morning, I began to worry. I knew women had died in the past because of difficulty in childbirth. Could it happen today? I said nothing to my husband. He was as exhausted as me, and I didn't want to worry him.

Around 10:00 AM, he left the room. I felt so alone. Was the baby going to survive this? Was I?

Suddenly, I felt another presence in the room. A warmth came into my body. The pain remained, but I felt as though God were holding me in his hands. And in my mind, I heard him say that he understood. That he knew what it was like to lose a child. And I remembered that it was Easter Sunday—the day Christ rose from the dead. And I realized that if God loved me enough to send his son to die for me, I could trust him now. I told him that I trusted him to do what was best about the baby and me. Whether we lived or not was his choice.

I felt peace flow through me. The pain was still there. But my fears were gone. I wasn't in the intern's hands, or the doctor's, but God's.

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Pope Benedict's words at last night's Easter Vigil

Only the Risen Christ can bring us to complete union with God, to the place where our own powers are unable to bring us. Truly Christ puts the lost sheep upon his shoulders and carries it home. Clinging to his Body we have life, and in communion with his Body we reach the very heart of God. Only thus is death conquered, we are set free and our life is hope.

This is the joy of the Easter Vigil: we are free. In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil. Love made Christ descend, and love is also the power by which he ascends. The power by which he brings us with him. In union with his love, borne aloft on the wings of love, as persons of love, let us descend with him into the world’s darkness, knowing that in this way we will also rise up with him. On this night, then, let us pray: Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death. Descend into the darkness and the abyss of our modern age, and take by the hand those who await you. Bring them to the light! In my own dark nights, be with me to bring me forth! Help me, help all of us, to descend with you into the darkness of all those people who are still waiting for you, who out of the depths cry unto you! Help us to bring them your light! Help us to say the “yes” of love, the love that makes us descend with you and, in so doing, also to rise with you. Alleluia. Amen!

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Cowardice our default position--Kathy Shaidle

Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic writes:

When we blithely say, "We don't know what we'd do under those circumstances", we make cowardice our default position.

A classicist as well as a soldier, Stockdale based his actions on those of an ancient hero he'd remembered from his studies. Catholic saints base their lives (and deaths) on that of Jesus and saints who've gone before them. I've suffered a few (relatively minor in comparison) painful blows in my life; I was always shocked when I was asked, again and again, how I coped with, say, being bedridden and in constant, excruciating pain for years at a time, while retaining something resembling a sense of humour, and eventually turning the experience into a book.

Why, hadn't everyone else rehearsed such an eventuality in their heads a thousand times? Hadn't everyone read about the death of St Joan or even watched a frickin' cheap-o TV movie about struggle and triumph even once in their lives? Apparently not. Other (decidedly non-heroic) people have been a constant source of disappointment to me since my first day of nursery school, so I had no right, I suppose, to be dejected once again by evidence of their shallow inner lives and lack of self-discipline.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Peter Kreeft on Islam and Christianity

OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Despite frequent clashes and enmity, no two world religions share more than Islam and Christianity, said a Catholic author and philosopher.

“There are only two religions that send out missionaries and try to convert the world,” Peter Kreeft told hundreds who packed an auditorium at St. Paul University here March 30 for the annual Weston lecture sponsored by Augustine College.

They share a belief in the same God, and the same moral code based on the Ten Commandments,” he said, as well as a belief that the purpose of life is to love, obey and serve God.

Muslims and Christians, like Jews, also believe that morality is objective, not subjective, he added.

“God did not give Moses the ten values, He gave him the 10 Commandments,” said the Catholic author and scholar, who has written about 50 books, including the 1996 work Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War.


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