Friday, November 9, 2018

Guns in the Hands of the Mentally Ill-Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting

We live in a scary world. Of course, other times in history were scary too, but in the great country of America, there are too many mentally ill people who are in possession of guns and most of them are owned legally. So really no where is safe.
It's quite the conundrum. How do you get guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, while allowing law abiding citizens to have legally owned guns? This is the dilemma.
Yesterday as I watched the horrific news of yet another senseless mass shooting in southern California, in Thousand Oaks and watched as a father broke down after learning his young adult son, Cody Coffman had been killed, I once again was in disbelief.
In this modern world of technology, there should be a way to keep track of the mentally ill who show violent tendencies and make sure they do not own guns or have access to them.  It seems so simple and yet at this time in history, there is no follow-up (or follow-ups) when a person is showing signs of mental illness and has been evaluated. (At least in this case there didn't seem to be.)
I don't get it. People are suffering, innocent people are dying at the hands of people who should not own guns. Fathers and mothers, relatives and friends are crying, losing innocent children and young adults in senseless gun violence, as the holiday season draws near.
It's scary, senseless and sickening.
NJA

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Desecration Of A Sanctuary-Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

My husband and I have many Jewish friends.  We've attended all their sons bar mitzvahs and weddings. We've been in temple with them for special occasions. We've prayed with them and their family. We all grew up together in Old Mill Basin and then later Marine Park, Brooklyn. In those areas of Brooklyn, NY, (and other NYC neighborhoods as well), it didn't matter what religion you were. We all played together, had similar values and our cultural and religious differences were not important.
It's unimaginable that someone can be so mentally disturbed and so filled with hate that they can walk into a place of worship, where innocent people are praying and kill them. What kind of world is this?
Those who were killed were the most dedicated, committed people, the ones who showed up early at the synagogue, and began early morning prayer. And yet in what should be a holy, sacred, safe place, evil flew through the door. One member of the congregation said, "We are questioning everything." I would be too. I do believe we need better security in places of worship, (and schools) so we can all feel safer while worshipping God or learning. This is the new reality.
Why are there always so many warning signs on social media and yet violent people fall through the cracks and are able to carry out heinous crimes? People blatantly post hateful threats which go unnoticed or unchecked. None of it makes sense to me.
God bless those poor, innocent people who were killed, as they prayed and their families who grieve.
God weeps.
NJA



Friday, October 19, 2018

Reason To Hope-Kim Jong-un Extends Invitation to Pope Francis

For the people, religious, priests and bishops of South Korea and others who have been praying for the people of North Korea,  and the conversion of Kim Jong-un, I consider it a miracle that South Korea's President relayed to the Pope at a meeting, at the Vatican this week, that Kim Jong-un would like Pope Francis to visit North Korea. What? Can it really be true?
After watching a documentary about North Korea about two years ago, I've been praying for the repentance and conversion of Kim Jong-un, since the people of North Korea are not free to worship God openly or read the Bible or take part in religious services. Sadly, Christians and Christian missionaries are persecuted in North Korea, and apparently there are thousands suffering in labor camps. According to a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, "The North Korean government's approach to religion and belief is among the most hostile and repressive in the world." Watching the documentary, it struck me that North Koreans have to have a picture of Kim Jong-un in their house to honor. I thought when I watched the show on CNN, wouldn't it be wonderful if Christ's picture could be hung alongside Kim Jong-un. I brought it up at my prayer group and we prayed for those suffering oppression in North Korea and for the conversion of Kim Jong-un. And I continue to pray.......
So when I heard this news, I was beside myself. It sounded too good to be true.
Let us all pray for the repentance and conversion of Kim Jong-un and the people of North Korea and for all those suffering in labor camps. I pray the Pope will visit North Korea for an historic meeting between the leaders,  and be able to help the imprisoned Christians there.  Pope Francis can witness to faith and belief in God and all the benefits that brings and give hope to Christians in that part of the world.
It's such wonderful, hope-filled news!
NJA

Friday, October 12, 2018

Cardinal Wuerl Resigns, His Influence Wanes

After losing the confidence and support of his priests and many lay faithful in Washington, DC, Archbishop Wuerl will be departing. Pope Francis accepted his resignation and many are puzzled by the Pope stating Wuerl's "nobility" in volunteering to resign.
I think Pope Francis is a great religious leader and human head of the Church, but that remark makes it seem that he is out of touch with the severity of the sexual abuse crisis and the disgust it is causing Catholics. Cardinal Wuerl was not only named frequently (over 200 times) in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report as not doing enough to stop predator priests but also many were disgusted by his claims of not knowing about disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick's bizarre behavior.
Mary Pat Fox, president of Voice of the Faithful, said ( and many Catholics would agree), "It doesn't sound like the Pope has gone far enough at all........They're removing him from this situation where people feel betrayed, but he's still got all the power pretty much that he ever had."
Wuerl should act humbly......and live a life of prayer and contemplation. He should willingly give up his other influential positions. Catholics in Washington DC, and elsewhere have lost confidence in him. The Church needs a new archbishop but also someone new to advise the Pope. Whoever agreed with Pope Francis' assessment of the situation and encouraged him to say that it was noble of Wuerl to resign has not advised him well at all, in my humble opinion. Our Lord Jesus Christ was truly humble and understood humility and the power of humility to transform and how it pleases the Father. All servants of God, in all roles must understand the depth of Christ's humility.
NJA

I am among you as the one who serves.  (Jesus' humility shown in the Gospel of Luke:22:27)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"Salvation is From Our God...."-The Church in Crisis

In light of the latest disturbing news about yet more enormous pay-outs, from the Church,  because of child sexual abuse and negligence and how it was hidden and covered-up and allowed to continue, one has to ask, "what were they thinking," "how could they have put children at such risk"....It's all too bizarre, unreal and horrific.
And so thinking about and reflecting upon this Scripture verse from the Book of Revelation, it is apparent that the only one who can help the Church, at this low point in its history is God. Reform and renewal is needed, greater holiness for the clergy, religious and laypeople and common sense and pragmatic strategies to move away from this ongoing crisis, must be a priority for all pastors, bishops, cardinals and for Pope Francis.
As I read this quote this morning, I thought, yes it's only God who can save a wounded Church.
"Salvation is from our God and from the Lamb" (Rev.7:10)

Our only hope is the love of God, forgiveness, retribution, reparation, greater holiness, deeper prayer lives, penance and Christian hope and charity. Lamb of God have mercy on us.
NJA

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How Can We Leave Jesus or Our Faith?-The Church in Crisis-2018

I went on a retreat on Sunday to the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island NY. The Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist led the retreat. They live at the beautiful retreat house and regularly give Eucharistic Retreat Days (as well as other types of retreats), which helps the seminary and helps the faithful. They create a very holy and reverent atmosphere, which includes Mass, Adoration, Reflections, Confession, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction.
A priest from the Order, who spoke at one of the conferences said that in light of what is happening in the Church, what can the faithful do. We can't leave the Church, because we can't leave Jesus. So true. In the end its about our relationship to God and the Most Holy Trinity. Those of us, who have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, are holding on and praying that real reform and renewal will happen within the Catholic Church. For the good of the Church and all Catholics, (lay and religious) that better happen sooner than later. As long as there are those in the hierarchy who are in denial and don't see the enormous harm that has been done by this crisis, throughout the world, then I get frustrated as others do (and young people walk away from the Church).

I gave a talk and led a discussion about St. Therese of Liseiux yesterday. I know a lot about her, since many years ago I took a long distance course from the Carmelite Institute, centered on her writings, including her poetry.  She is a remarkable saint and Doctor of the Church. Her love for Jesus was mystical. She could feel his presence and loved him in a way we all should.
We can't leave our faith and we can't leave Jesus. Even in the midst of great suffering and a dark night of the soul, Therese never stopped loving Jesus.
NJA

Therese-the Little Flower-Her shortest prayer:
"Jesus, make me like you."

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Who Will Make Reparation to God for the Sexual Abuse Crisis?

After the horrific Grand Jury Report from Pennsylvania on child and teen sexual abuse and numerous articles about the failure of Church leaders in protecting children and teens from predatory priests, there are a lot of changes that need to be made. Reforms must be instituted. And women in leadership roles must be consulted for their opinions as well as all lay leaders.
But what about the Bishops and Cardinals in our Church?
Upon leaving Mass on Sunday, after our pastor spoke at all the Masses about the damning report and how it was such a difficult week to be a priest and hear the devastating news about failures in our Church, on the way out, I said, "Father, we need a day of reparation, that goes into the evening." He replied, "I've been thinking the same thing."
Well, that would be a good start- a day of reparation throughout the United States and in Vatican City. Let all the Bishops and Cardinals in the Church fast, put on sackcloth and cover themselves with ashes and take turns lying prostrate on the floor of churches and cathedrals and pray for God's forgiveness. And for the lives that have been destroyed through sexual abuse and the poor handling of the crisis.
God weeps that the beautiful religion that is Catholicism has been mishandled and corrupted through crimes, cover-ups and sins against the people of God and against the holiness of God.
Who will make reparation for the gravity of this situation?
NJA