Courts of Praise
Thank you, my Lord, for my life long,
For beloved family and friends,
And all dear hearts touching mine.
My treasure trove of souls
Spills far beyond my time
To number as my own
Those who have gone before,
Your saints of ages past,
The cloud of witnesses on high
And pure angelic beings
In realms veiled from the eye.
There never was a day
In which I was alone,
Before Your throne.
There, at Your feet,
All heaven sweet anthems raise,
To set celestial hearts ablaze.
My heart, in chorus,
Swells, dilating in love,
Grown great in gratitude.
Beside Your All Love,
I make small return.
You count my debt as paid,
And bid me enter courts of praise.
©2011 Joann Nelander
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Five paths of repentance
Would you like me to list also the paths of repentance? They are numerous and quite varied, and all lead to heaven.
A first path of repentance is the condemnation of your own sins: Be the first to admit your sins and you will be justified. For this reason, too, the prophet wrote: I said: I will accuse myself of my sins to the Lord, and you forgave the wickedness of my heart. Therefore, you too should condemn your own sins; that will be enough reason for the Lord to forgive you, for a man who condemns his own sins is slower to commit them again. Rouse your conscience to accuse you within your own house, lest it become your accuser before the judgment seat of the Lord.
That, then, is one very good path of repentance. Another and no less valuable one is to put out of our minds the harm done us by our enemies, in order to master our anger, and to forgive our fellow servants’ sins against us. Then our own sins against the Lord will be forgiven us. Thus you have another way to atone for sin: For if you forgive your debtors, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
Do you want to know of a third path? It consists of prayer that is fervent, careful and comes from the heart.
If you want to hear of a fourth, I will mention almsgiving, whose power is great and far-reaching.
If, moreover, a man lives a modest, humble life, that, no less than the other things I have mentioned, takes sin away. Proof of this is the tax-collector who had no good deeds to mention, but offered his humility instead and was relieved of a heavy burden of sins.
Thus I have shown you five paths of repentance; condemnation of your own sins, forgiveness of our neighbor’s sins against us, prayer, almsgiving and humility.
Do not be idle, then, but walk daily in all these paths; they are easy, and you cannot plead your poverty. For, though you live out your life amid great need, you can always set aside your wrath, be humble, pray diligently and condemn your own sins; poverty is no hindrance. Poverty is not an obstacle to our carrying out the Lord’s bidding, even when it comes to that path of repentance which involves giving money (almsgiving, I mean). The widow proved that when she put her two mites into the box!
Now that we have learned how to heal these wounds of ours, let us apply the cures. Then, when we have regained genuine health, we can approach the holy table with confidence, go gloriously to meet Christ, the king of glory, and attain the eternal blessings through the grace, mercy and kindness of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Not everything is about race in this country. But when it is about race, then it just is. So when a guy who has been depicted wearing a jacket featuring an apartheid-era Rhodesian flag allegedly walks into a historic black church and guns down nine African-American worshipers at a Bible study meeting, common sense leads one to believe his motivations are based in racism. When a survivor of the ordeal reports that the killer shouted before opening fire, "You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go" — well, that sounds to me a lot like racial hatred.
Let’s call this sickness what it is, so we can get on with the healing. If this were a medical disease, and all the doctors recognized the symptoms but refused to make the diagnosis for fear of offending the patient, we could call it madness. But there are people who are claiming that they can lead this country who dare not call this tragedy an act of racism, a hate crime, for fear of offending a particular segment of the electorate.
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I understand the sensitivities. To some, calling the events in Charleston, S.C., a hate crime reinforces a stigma, which they have fought hard to put behind them. But refusing to call it what it is — racism — is a far more dangerous proposition. It reminds me of the early response to Ebola. American health officials were alerted to an epidemic in West Africa, and yet when a patient who had recently left one of the most affected regions showed up at a hospital displaying all the symptoms, the doctors failed to diagnose his condition. This not only led to the eventual death of the patient due to inadequate care but also exposed dozens of others to the deadly virus. When you wait too long to identify the problem, you miss your best chance to stop it.
We know what’s at stake here, so let’s stop all the interpretive dance around the obvious. Was it a depraved act of violence? Of course. Was it an act of unspeakable evil? Affirmative. Was it an attack on innocent Christians? Manifestly so. Is this killer a sick individual? In my professional opinion, yes, he is. What is his sickness? It’s the sickness of racism, a spiritual sickness that distorts the mind and heart and causes irrational and baseless fear and hatred in people of all colors. Racism was once epidemic in America, but through struggle, sacrifice, soul-searching and meaningful social change, we have made much progress. Clearly, the struggle is far from finished, and we must own up to that fact and that challenge.
Charleston slaughter demands we heal our sick society: Column
Let’s not delude ourselves here. The stakes are too high. If we do not do something as a people to directly address the divisions caused by this sickness, we risk losing all of the ground we have made as a country over the past 50 years. And certainly the youth will take cues from their leaders. If we teach them it is OK to deny racism exists, even when it’s plainly staring them in the face, then we will perpetuate this sickness into the next generation and the next.
When an event of this magnitude occurs in the middle of an election cycle, politicians are often quick to try to score political points, look for scapegoats and easy answers. That’s the lowest common denominator of politics at a time when we need true leadership. Now is the time to abandon political expediency and seize this opportunity to demonstrate what we are really made of as a people, as a great country. We have come together in times of crisis, and we have risen to the test time and time again. We are a people whose courageousness has consistently triumphed over fear. We can come out stronger on the other end of this terrible tragedy, and we can heal this sickness that is crippling our nation. I know we can. But first we have to face the facts.
Ben S. Carson is a Republican candidate for president in 2016. He is the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.
Today we celebrate two great saints; St. Louis IX and St. Joseph Calasanz. St. Louis IX was King of France in the 13th century, having become king at age13. Throughout his reign, St. Louis defended justice and promoted peace. He organized ‘the court of the king;’ bringing regular reviews of feudal cases. He prioritized the poor; founding many hospitals and charitable organizations. Also, he loved architecture; supporting the famous Sorbonne University and the Sainte Chappelle, the ‘Holy Chapel’ known for its architectural complexity with stained glass. He was canonized in 1297 by Boniface VIII.
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