Monday, February 21, 2011

Obese World-Too Much Feasting

It's not just an American problem, it's a worldwide problem as well. Obesity rates throughout the world are growing and have doubled over the last thirty years. According to an article in The Lancet, after doing extensive research (in 199 countries), researchers found that because of rising obesity rates, heart disease will be a growing problem in the future.
I've written about obesity problems before because of my own desire to lose weight and keep my blood pressure in check, but also because there is such a strong and obvious connection between being overweight and having medical problems, especially as you age. And who wants to have medical problems? That's something to try to avoid. I prefer trying to prevent illness through proper diet, excercise, Christian meditation and prayer.
It's hard to be disciplined when it comes to eating, I know that firsthand but like being disciplined in other areas of your life, there are many benefits (spiritual, physical and emotional) from being able to control impulses and eat and drink in moderation.
Fasting has always been part of the Catholic tradition, especially during Lent. Jesus fasted in the desert. Many other religions also practice fasting. In the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus' followers fasted and prayed before making important decisions. Many people believe (and it is supported by Scripture) that fasting and prayer together is a powerful way to grow spiritually and deepen one's prayer life. Fasting helps us to focus on God and our relationship with God, while strengthening our ability to be disciplined.
It's sounds good, it is good but not that easy to incorporate into daily living. It takes patience to be a disciplined person, to do all the things that we know are good for us and will keep us healthy and balanced as we grow older. I always encourage people to take "baby steps" and in time, if you keep adding positive, healthy habits, it does make a difference in your life and in your health. It's worth striving for, in my opinion.
By the way, over two hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the great American statesman, wrote the famous phrase, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away." It was true then and true now. Apples are very healthy and amazingly I recently read that eating an apple everyday helps prevent strokes. Apples are also filled with antioxidants. Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about and he didn't have modern research methods, just a lot of common sense.
I'm taking a couple of weeks off from blogging. Be back soon.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
(Acts: 13:2-3)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deacon Frank Bice-An Inspiration

There was a great article in Monday's NY Newsday titled, "High-tech Tidings of Hope," about a special deacon, Frank Bice whose inspirational videos now appear on YouTube. I've met Deacon Bice and I've heard him speak and I was greatly moved by his story. It brought tears to my eyes. He inspires me and I've told him that. Sometimes (I speak for myself but I know others share this), I get caught up in nonsense and worry (though I'm not suppose to because of my deep faith), but then I see Deacon Bice (and others like him who share a disability) and he always seems upbeat and hopeful. His story is: "Frank Bice was a senior in college and captain of the football team when a bungled tackle fractured his spine and left him a quadriplegic." When I first heard him tell the story, I was saddened, yet amazed. Throughout his ordeal people reached out to him to help and he's mentioned people who were there for him, who made all the difference. He took a negative, debilitating experience and turned it around for good. You can only do that with love, support, prayer and belief in God. He also has a lot of continuing encouragement from friends and he has a wonderful, supportive wife. The importance of caring relationships in life can never be underestimated. That is a great blessing in life. But still, he is in a wheelchair and that must be very difficult to deal with on a daily basis. Yet he has courage and he has a deep faith in God, in the midst of difficult daily circumstances. That is inspirational.
His wife Liz, encouraged him to start "Daily Hope" a 2 minute taped message of daily inspiration and hope which can be viewed at YouTube. His messages are becoming increasingly popular. He bases them on the daily Scriptures and many times they are related to stories about sports.
Deacon Bice believes in miracles and the positive power of hope and faith. He was quoted as saying, "Miracles today are right in front of our faces, but we don't see them." That is so true. And I would add, "Hope is not an option for a Christian, it is essential to our faith." Hope brings possibility and God's favor.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt-An Evil Regime Falls on February 11th

The date is significant. There were 18 days of protest in Egypt. Many of the Egyptians who were protesting for change in their country were young, marginalized, poor in spirit, but they had great heart and courage and little else. They protested against injustice. Justice won the day. On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, on February 11, 2011, an evil regime fell in Egypt and history was made. The crowds chanted, "Fear has been defeated," and "Egypt is free." Hope, courage and belief were rewarded. During prayers in Egypt, the prayers of the protesters were answered dramatically. Hosni Mubarak finally faced reality and resigned. A regime filled with lies, false rumors, threats, torture, killing and evil ways fell on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The feast is celebrated on February 11, because that is the day St. Bernadette's visions began. An amazing coincidence or an answer to prayer or both. This feast that celebrates the visions of the Blessed Mother that young, poor, weak and uneducated Bernadette saw at Lourdes, France. Eighteen visions in all. At first, people didn't believe in Bernadette but as time went by, they started to believe in her and her miraculous story of faith. The weak and marginalized using prayer, filled with hope and through peaceful resistance can do great things. "With God all things are possible." The Egyptians fought for freedom, such a priceless gift and well worth fighting for. I pray for their new democracy that it unfolds with peace, wisdom and for the good of the people.
(Interestingly, Mary is highly regarded in Islam.)

This is the power of human dignity. (President Obama- 2/11/2011)