Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My "Summer of Hell"

Well unfortunately, it turned out to be the "Summer of Hell," for me. Of course that term was coined to express mass transit delays for NYC transit, because of train and station repairs and I thought when I first heard it, that's very negative. Well, I didn't think it would affect me personally, since I don't commute daily.  And for the first half of my summer, all was well. And then out of nowhere, bad news came. Everyone is OK but I don't like dealing with a crisis but there it was. My son was suppose to get married in two weeks but the wedding was postponed, just like that. One day all was well, plans were going great, the Church was set, the priest was wonderful who would preside, the reception and everything seemed splendid, until it wasn't. Just like that a crisis. The "Summer of Hell" unfolded.
Well, this is why I pray, why I belong to a prayer group and have friends and family members who pray for me and my family. Because out of nowhere, problems can surface, in a moment. Just when everything seems fine, it's not.
I can't imagine life without prayer. I wouldn't survive it. There is just too much uncertainty in life.
So I pray for my son, for the nice girl he was going to marry and pray that everything unfolds from here according to God's plan. It's in God's hands now.
But I would have preferred a nicer, calmer summer. I didn't want all this drama. Of course people have it worse and I hate to even complain.  My relationship with God is always the anchor in my life. Thank God for that! My prayer life is always there to save me, for whatever unexpected things happen.
NJA

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Warning from the "Benedict Option" Unfolding in Real Time

In my last blog post I asked if Rod Dreher's book, "The Benedict Option," was too dire. I still don't know the answer to that but a question that haunts me is, "Do young people feel they need God or religious services or Mass?" I would hope they do. I certainly do, but young people have grown up in a different world and that world is changing quickly and drastically. Young people certainly need their smartphones, they can't live without them. I think of the strange cases I've read in the news.  A young woman who was recently electrocuted in the bathtub while charging her phone, while using an electrical cord. Sadly she died. Or teenagers who have thrown fits if their parents take away their phones even for a short time. Other young people have jumped into rivers trying to retrieve their phones. It's a crazy world. And no one can predict where it's all going.

Rod Dreher predicts that unless something changes, our churches will suffer greatly in the future. Yesterday in the New York Times was an article entitled, "Eighteen Shuttered Catholic Churches May Soon Be Up For Sale," by Luis Ferre-Sadurni. It tells of the deconsecration of churches in the Archdiocese of New York, churches that were closed in 2015. "Fifteen of the churches were closed in 2015, when the archdiocese consolidated more than 140 parishes and closed nearly 40 churches. Ten of the 18 deconsecrated churches are in Manhattan, three are in Westchester, two are in Duchess County, two in the Bronx and one is in Sullivan County." Some of the churches might be sold to make way for luxury apartment houses or hotels, as has been done in the past. Manhattan real estate especially, is very valuable. It is estimated that the property that St. Elizabeth of Hungary (UES of Manhattan) sits on is worth more than $25 million.
The revenues from sale of church property would go to the parish that owned it. It's still sad for parishioners who become very attached to their churches and many try to fight the closing.
But as dedicated, long time parishioners die, the reality is young people are not taking their place. If you go to Manhattan on a Sunday morning, you will see lines of young people waiting to have brunch,  some may have gone to Church beforehand but not enough.
NJA



Thursday, July 13, 2017

"The Benedict Option," Is It Too Dire?

The Summer Book Club that I facilitate read, "The Benedict Option-A Strategy For Christians In A Post-Christian Nation," by Rod Dreher. The book has received so much press, so many reviews and I was curious what the fuss was about, so I thought it was a good choice for the book club. I heard Cardinal Dolan talking about it on "Conversations with Cardinal Dolan," I saw a panel discussion about it on TV, with notable people including Rod Dreher, the author, discussing "The Option," so what's all the hype about.
Dreher who is a journalist, author and blogger who coined the expression, "The Benedict Option," has a rather dire assessment of modern culture and the West. He thinks we are about to enter another Dark Age (similar to what happened to Rome after the Roman Empire fell) and just as St. Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century withdrew from the chaos and maintained the Christian faith, building a community based on "principles of order, hospitality, stability and prayer," he thinks serious Christians will have to do the same.  He suggests that Christians of all denominations, consider withdrawing from the "fallen" society and forming intentional Christian communities based around monasteries, churches etc, to be in the company of like-minded, serious Christians.  He thinks the culture and all the ills associated with young people's obsession with modern technology (most especially their phones and the internet), and all the negative influences that abound in society along with the fact that young people are turned off to institutions (including organized religion) demands a new and creative response.
He thinks that most priests, ministers, pastors, religious and the hierarchy don't realize the perilous situation we're in. He wrote, "I have written "The Benedict Option," to wake up the church and to encourage it to act to strengthen itself, while there is still time."
He makes the startling claim that if current trends continue, our churches will soon be empty. Sounds like the apocalypse is coming or creeping in without too many noticing.
I'm not sure what to make of it. I do think he's onto something in that the Church needs new and creative ways which are practical (and work) to evangelize young adults and teens. They are the future of the Church and the Church needs to listen to them.
I've visited the community of Ave Maria in Naples, Florida many times. I've spoken to young adults there. They like it there. They are surrounded by like-minded young people and faith filled families. Its the only community I've ever visited that is close to what Dreher is suggesting. A lot centers around the beautiful Church and town square. (There is also a Catholic university there-Ave Maria University). According to what the young adults told me, some of the Catholic families have large families, with lots of children, so there is a lot of energy.
Is withdrawing the answer? Or do faith filled Catholics have to stay near their churches trying to build them up, make them more appealing to young people and newcomers. I'm not sure what the answer is but I do know that the book gave us a lot of interesting things to discuss.
NJA

Friday, July 7, 2017

"Summer of Hell" For Some Commuters But Also For Those Who Love the Church

The phrase "Summer of Hell" has been coined to describe delays, derailments, inconveniences and chaos caused by unreliable transit in NYC. But it also describes what will take place this summer as Penn Station in NYC will reduce the number of trains to repair old tracks, causing commuters to take alternate routes and causing stress for people just trying to get to work. Sad.
I started thinking about that phrase-"Summer of Hell," while reading a scandalous report on AOL today about a supposedly lurid news report coming out of Vatican City. I can't even get into the details, it would be too upsetting.
First there was the recent accusations against George Cardinal Pell. He was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children. Of course, he is innocent until proven guilty, but considering his high position in the Church, it's terrible news. The Church in Australia has suffered enough.
Now this damaging report from the Italian newspaper, il Fatto Quotidiano, which claims a top priest was arrested, on drug charges. And that's only part of it.
I feel sorry for Pope Francis. I don't know what he can do. I'm not sure what the Cardinals can do. But someone is going to have to stand before God and give an account.
This hurts the Church. It hurts the people who love the Church, like me. It hurts all the good, honest, holy priests. I know so many of them, admire them, they work hard and do the right thing.
But this One, Holy, Apostolic Catholic Church needs to be purified. Someone is going to have to give an account before God.
NJA



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Five Priests Ordained for Diocese of Rockville Centre-An Extraordinary, Holy Weekend on Long Island

This was Catholicism at its best. Five men (Fathers Michael Bissex, Liam McDonald, Michael Plona, Christopher Sullivan and John Wachowicz) ordained at St. Agnes Cathedral, the first priest ordination for Bishop Barres on Long Island. I watched it re-televised in the evening on Telecare. But as I watched I knew I had made a mistake. I was invited to the ordination but had previous plans. I should have tried to change my plans. But in any event, I watched it in its entirety on TV that evening and probably had a much better seat than I would have had at the Cathedral. It was very moving. I was especially moved when Bishop Barres sincerely thanked each set of parents.  Also, when Bishop Barres bestowed the sacrament of ordination during the laying on of hands and then every priest in attendance (it looked like at least 75 or more of them) placed their hands on the heads of the newly ordained priests to give them a blessing and to show solidarity with them. Catholicism at its best!

The next day on Sunday I attended the first Mass of Fr. John Wachowicz at St. Mary's Parish in Manhasset, where he is from. The Mass was too awesome to put into words. Fr. John had us all crying as he spoke to his father and mother from the pulpit, it was very emotional for him and us.

Fr. Nicholas Zientarski gave the homily at the Mass and noted that St. Mary's lost a beloved pastor, Msgr. John McCann who retired and then suddenly died last year and yet we were blessed to have another Fr. John come from our parish to strengthen the Church. Msgr. McCann was instrumental in encouraging John Wachowicz to become a priest.

The party afterwards was well planned with good food and plenty of parishioners and clergy to enjoy it.
We all waited in line for Fr. John's first blessing on each of us. And there was a long line.
Fr. John knows he is greatly blessed. His first assignment is St. Rosalie Parish in Hampton Bays, a very vibrant parish whose pastor, Fr. Edward Sheridan is a wonderful priest and pastor. Fr. Ed, as it turns out,  also happens to be presiding at my son's wedding this summer at Queen of the Holy Rosary in Bridgehampton. All good.
NJA


Friday, June 9, 2017

St. Hildegard of Bingen-Catholic Summer Reading Group Keeps Us Engaged

     During the late spring/summer I am involved with facilitating a book club in my parish. It's a good way for me to keep up with my reading. We've read biographies of two women Doctors of the Church over the last two years and this year we are tackling St. Hildegard of Bingen. She was named a saint and Doctor of the Church in 2012 by Pope Benedict who wanted to see the process completed during his pontificate. It took the Church over 800 years to canonize her. She was a very unusual woman mystic. Hildegard lived in the Middle Ages (1098-1179) and was a remarkable and influential woman, who is most noted today for her music. She was a German Benedictine abbess, composer, musician, expert in herbs and using them for healing,  philosopher and polymath.
     I didn't read the biography before suggesting it to the Church readers' group. I should have I might have considered a different biography.....don't want to go into the details here but she used herbs for all sorts of medical problems and I didn't realize what this would entail. Oh well, I figured she's a doctor of the church, how can I go wrong,  but secular writers highlight different things in saints' lives then theologians would. But anyway, everyone seems to be enjoying the book. I didn't know much about Hildegard which is why I was happy to read about her. I find the saints' very inspiring. We've read about St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and now St. Hildegard. Since there are 4 women Doctors, next summer (God willing) we will read about the youngest doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Liseiux. I know the most about her, I've taken a course about her, with a Carmelite expert and have a great devotion to her besides, so I saved her for last.
     The next book we are reading this summer is a much discussed book (I've heard Cardinal Dolan and others speak about it on TV), titled, "The Benedict Option-A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation" by Rod Dreher. Probably my next post will be about that book.
NJA

"Let us always invoke the Holy Spirit, so that he may inspire in the Church holy and courageous women like St. Hildegard of Bingen, who developing the gifts they have received from God, make their own special and valuable contribution to the spiritual development of our communities and of the Church in our time." Pope Benedict

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Holy Oil and Miraculous Weeping Icons From St. Paul's Greek Church Can Soothe and Help

When people get bad news about their health, they often become worried and filled with despair. It puts family members in a difficult situation, as doctors are consulted and the best course of action is planned by medical doctors, the patient and the family. At times like that, people need faith, belief and prayer. It helps in more ways than one.
Some time ago my friend called to tell me her son who was newly married and his wife were quite upset as his wife's mother was given a terrible cancer diagnosis. It was very sad, it didn't sound like she had long to live, but with excellent medical care and cancer treatment she has been doing OK. Her cancer is not in remission but its not getting worse and she's "holding her own."
This family of the bride is Jewish and I attended the couple's interfaith marriage ceremony and reception so naturally I felt very sorry for them.  The reality was and still is that soon after their marriage they had to deal with this difficult situation as the bride's mother became very sick.
I told them about holy, blessed oil that I had from a Greek Orthodox Church on Long Island, NY, from, The Cathedral of St.Paul Greek Orthodox Church on Cathedral Avenue in Hempstead. I offered to mail it to them and I suggested she place a drop of holy oil on her mother's forehead every night before she went to sleep and to say a prayer. I've recently made another trip to the Church to get more oil for them....the second trip I've made for them....Not a miracle but she is doing OK which is better than anyone expected as her prognosis was very grave.
I'm telling this story because whether or not the blessed oil is helping I"m not sure. I'd like to think so. Of course, she's had the best treatment available as well. Is it a combination of the two as well as all the prayers? Whatever it is, the daughter who places the holy oil on her mother's forehead each night is able to do something, to have some control, to say a prayer, to comfort her mother.
The history of the Church, the miraculous weeping icons in the Church and the blessed holy oil is very interesting. The holy oil is free, it comes in little containers and people are encouraged to give a donation to the Church when taking the oil. The Church itself with its magnificent mosaics is worth seeing just for the beautiful, religious mosaics in the Church. There are also many saints' relics in the Church.
The Rosary Society from my parish visits the Greek Church at least once a year and the parishioners there welcome us. It's always an inspiring trip.
If you know someone who is ill, you might consider getting some of the blessed oil. It helps on many levels.
NJA

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday 2017 and God's Mercy


This year was the second year in a row that I gave a presentation on St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy Feast in my Church. After the Chaplet was sung at the 3:00 hour I gave my presentation. The importance of the time and the day, is not lost on me. It's a powerful, prayerful time to be in Church and to be talking about St. Faustina, her message from Jesus and the sacred image.
It so happened that as a prayer leader for the children, in the morning at the Children's Liturgy, it was my turn to give a talk to the children.  I gave a talk to young children and I spent some time talking about St. Faustina. I also gave them a prayer card with the sacred divine mercy image and those powerful words, "Jesus, I trust in you."

Well the children understood because when I asked them when they might use that powerful prayer, "Jesus I trust in you" they had some great answers. One little girl said she would say those words when she was being punished! And a young boy said when he was playing baseball and he was angry because the other team was winning, he would say to himself, "Jesus I trust in you." So they got the message and I was happy about that.

At the presentation, in the afternoon, I spoke about being open and aware. Open to the messages that Jesus gave to St. Faustina which were so important. St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, "Be receptive to God's mercy to the King of Mercy make time to come to God for graces and mercy.....As Jesus said, "My heart overflows with great mercy for souls."
The Feast of Divine Mercy is a day full of graces. Trusting in Jesus is the essence of the message of mercy that Sr. Faustina received from Jesus. Jesus said, "I have opened my heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only and that is trust. The more a soul trusts the more it will receive" (Diary 1578).
So it's important to be open to God's grace and mercy, to trust in all circumstances and let God's love and mercy transform your life.
NJA

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Joy of Easter Sunday-Being in the Moment

Easter Sunday in  the Northeast was unusually warm and beautiful. A perfect Easter Sunday. The Easter Sunday Mass I attended was food and nourishment for my soul.  Afterwards as I served dinner for seventeen guests (with help from my cousins) we shared an Easter meal, but first we gave thanks and prayed.

What I particularly loved was that sitting in my backyard, small light pink flowers from a flowering tree were "snowing" on all of us....pure magic. Yes it was a "springtime snow" falling softly down on us from a huge flowering tree.

As my young cousins had an Easter egg hunt for which they were rewarded, I was reminded of all that I have to be grateful for. But most especially I am grateful for Jesus. What a blessing to understand the value of His suffering, death and resurrection. What a blessing to be aware of who Christ is for me, for the world. There are so many lost people who have no clue and don't understand how rich a relationship with Jesus is, how nurturing and comforting belief is.

I have been giving retreats this Spring. One of the first things I tell participants is they should congratulate themselves for being there. In that moment in time, when there are so many lost people, they have found and made time for God. They have their priorities straight. It's no small matter, to be on the right path, to have found, "The Way, the Truth and the Life."
NJA


Monday, April 10, 2017

Evil Showing Its "Ugly Face" in Different Ways in Different Parts of the World

The bombing of two Coptic Christian Churches in northern Egypt by suicide bombers on Palm Sunday which killed 44 innocent people during prayer is the "ugly face" of evil and extremism. The attacks took place in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria and wounded 126 people along with the dead, at the start of Holy Week, the holiest week in the Church year. This kind of blatant, "in our face" evil, evil actions and distorted and inhuman thinking must come to an end on this earth. Please Lord, save these poor and vulnerable people from such evil and horror. How can this evil continue?

That was this week. Last week we had to be alarmed and shocked by images of children and adults who suffered and were killed by a chemical attack in Syria. More horror. Pope Francis said, "We are horrified at the latest events in Syria." He condemned the attack with strong words.

President Trump decided to bomb a Syrian airfield with 59 missiles to send a clear message to the Syrian government that chemical weapons are illegal and using them against innocent civilians is an evil that cannot be tolerated. His decision was controversial but how can decent human beings ignore such horror and inhumanity?

We have to get through Good Friday to get to the joy of Easter Sunday but there are people whose lives have been destroyed through bombs, chemical attacks, drug addiction, hunger.....the list goes on.
Lord, send down your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Please Lord, hear my plea for peace, and all the prayers for peace!
Amen.
NJA

"May the Lord convert the hearts of those who sow fear, violence and terror." (Pope Francis after celebrating Mass, reacted to the news of the bombings in Egypt)


Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Zika Scourge-Mothers of Babies Born With Brain Damage from Zika Chose Life-The Church Should Help!

TI read a disturbing article a few weeks ago in the NY Times entitled, "For Brazil's Zika Families Lives of Struggle and Strength." It told the stories of the hardships and challenges poor families in Brazil face, in dealing with a baby born with microcephaly. Many of these women who gave birth to a baby with brain damage caused by the Zika virus, (from a mosquito bite) chose life for their unborn child, knowing they would most likely have to deal with a child with severe health problems, deformed heads and continuing medical problems. These women are very brave. They have a lot of difficulties and when I read the article I thought to myself, "The Church should help." There are nearly 2,500 babies in Brazil "born to infected mothers with brain damage so profound the consequences are only beginning to be understood......And doctors and researchers are just starting to grasp the medical consequences of Zika.  Besides the alarmingly small heads...many babies have a long list of varied symptoms, leading experts to rename their condition 'congenital Zika syndrome. They can have seizures, breathing problems, trouble swallowing, weakness and stiffness in muscles and joints preventing them from even lifting their heads, clubbed feet, vision and hearing problems and ferocious irritability." I feel overwhelming compassion for the babies and for their families. They need help. The government is trying to help as are charitable people throughout Brazil. I hope the Church in Brazil is helping. But the universal Church should find a way to help these women who have other issues to deal with, many are living in poverty, some are having marital problems due to the stress. Many feel overwhelmed from their situation.
I pray the Church finds a way to help, in whatever ways they can. These families should not be going through this alone. The mercy of God must be shown to them.
NJA

Friday, March 10, 2017

What Does the Holy Spirit Want Pope Francis To Do About The Question Of Married Priests?

I've often thought about the question of what God's will is regarding married priests in the Roman Catholic Church. I love the Church and so it's a question I've pondered for a long time. It bothers me that some Catholics don't have access to the Eucharist because of the lack of priests in poor, undeveloped countries. I've been active in the Church my whole adult life, in different roles and I've known some very religious married men of exemplary character and virtue who I thought would make excellent priests. Some of them have become deacons in the Church.
I've also worried about Latin and South America, and third world countries where there are a shortage of priests. I've thought that if missionary Catholic priests were married, their wives could help in the missions as is the case with Protestant ministers.
It's something that Pope Francis and the Cardinals and Bishops should pray over and discuss because we're living in difficult times. People need access to the sacraments so their faith can be strengthened and they can receive the graces of the sacraments. There are so many distractions, choices, gadgets as well as technology in the modern world, which can pull people away from the faith.  I believe a good holy priest, (whether they are married or not), can be a great blessing, wherever they minister and help unite people to Christ and Christian values.
It takes great courage for Pope Francis to bring up the question of married priests. I pray he is guided by the Holy Spirit and does the will of God. The Pope and the Church hierarchy needs the guidance of the Spirit as well as some common sense and pragmatism as well.
Come Holy Spirit Come! Veni Sanctus Spiritus!
NJA

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Some Signs of the Apocalypse Right in Southwest Florida and Elsewhere

I hope the residents and students of Ave Maria in Naples, Florida are praying because the signs are not good, at this time in the Naples area.  My friend called to tell me that there is a wildfire raging in Naples, not too close to Ave Maria but not that far away either. Above average temperatures, below average rainfall and windy weather created conditions conducive for a wildfire outbreak. It was started, the authorities believe, by some human activity (carelessness or something worse), and thousands of acres in Picayune Strand State Forest are burning and causing a massive smoke cloud, which is darkening the skies and closing parts of Alligator Alley.   No sun, only dark ominous clouds filled with smoke from the fire. She went to the beach for some relief from the smoke only to find a sign warning of red tide. Red tide is a problem in Southwest Florida, microscopic algae blooms turn the water of the Gulf of Mexico a reddish color, which can cause respiratory ailments and coughing in humans and fish die offs. It can be deadly to marine life.
It sounded to me like signs of the apocalypse. A wildfire burning in  eastern Collier County, Florida in the forest and red tide at the water's edge. The sun covered by smoke- filled clouds.
I told her to start praying because the fire was not under control as of this evening and though emergency workers are working night and day to put the fire out, so far it is not contained.
There are other wildfires raging in the Midwest, ranchers have died trying to save their cattle.
It's a very sad situation.
Not everyone believes that global warming is happening or that it will create problems in the here and now and the future. But it is and will. Temperatures are rising which increases the likelihood of wildfires and red tides and coastal flooding.
Pope Francis tried to warn us in his encyclical,  to protect the environment and take global warming seriously and to do our part and help make the situation better but some people do and others do not.
Lion of Judah pray for us!
NJA


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Staying Healthy Part of the Spiritual Journey

I recently went to a women's conference and one of the keynote speakers was a well respected cardiologist. The Conference was on women's health. The heart specialist was a much respected woman doctor. Interestingly, though not surprising a woman is much more likely to call 911 to report someone having symptoms of a heart attack, but only in 20-25% of cases will a woman call and report she is having heart attack symptoms. It's always best to get checked out, even if you are not sure.......
All of us want to eat more healthy but it's not easy ....there are so many choices, so much good food. But Lent is fast approaching so it's a good time, during Lent to be more disciplined and try to eat more nutritious foods and to give up those calorie-laden, sugar- filled treats (which I love).
I like superfoods. My new food discovery is acai. It is a super berry that I try to eat everyday. I buy it in frozen packets and then mix it with a banana and blueberries (blueberries are also a superfruit and they supposedly reduce wrinkles). I'm very spiritual and take my religious growth seriously but I do not like wrinkles!
Anyhow, as the doctor said, it's important to exercise everyday for good heart health, even walking is good for you and better than doing nothing. And it's important to watch cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels and weight.
I was listening intently to what the doctor was sharing, because I do care about my health and because I had recently seen a woman who I felt very sorry for, in a hair salon, getting her hair done. She had obviously had a severe stroke and was very debilitated from it. It shook me up. I prayed for her afterwards.
Caring for your body, exercising regularly, eating the right foods, it's all part of the journey.....along with spiritual nourishment.
NJA

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Don't Worry About A 'Trumpocalypse' Just Say Your Prayers and Trust in God

According to various news outlets it seems doomsday prepping which is defined as "the act of stockpiling food and other essentials in a reinforced, often under-ground shelter," is gaining popularity among the rich, especially those who are overly nervous and pessimistic about the future.  A Texas businessman, Gary Lynch apparently can't keep up with all the orders he's receiving for his bomb shelter that is made of solid stainless steel. It actually is a luxury "underground bunker" which contains all the necessary amenities to sustain one in case the end of the world happens.......or the world falls into chaos (God forbid!)
A fact I find amusing is that some of the customers tell Mr. Lynch that they are nervous about a "Trumpocalypse" or "Trumpnado," who knows if they are serious or not. I don't think President Trump wants the world to end or would do anything to hasten that, that would certainly ruin his business empire, which I'm sure he wants his adorable grandchildren to inherit.
I can't believe people would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars on something they most probably will never use. It certainly is consumerism and consumption gone amok.
It's so ridiculous, in my opinion, there are so many worthy, noble projects that the super rich could invest in, they could do so much good with money they are spending on a bunker that most probably will remain empty.
So what does the average person of faith do, faced with the fact they can't afford or don't want a luxury underground bunker, well I know what I do.
I pray for the future of the world, for our leaders, that they make common sense decisions, that they rely on expert advice and opinions and real data and lead with wisdom and knowledge. I pray that God will forgive our foolishness and lack of faith. I pray the next generation straightens out all this misunderstanding and chaos and rids the world of radical evil doers, who have caused so much turmoil, hate and pain, so that there can be a lasting, world peace, where good can flourish.
I pray God acts and helps the good people of the world destroy evil from the face of the earth. When I get to Heaven that's certainly the first thing I'm going to discuss with God, given the chance.....it will go something like this......."Let's get going, its time for evil to be destroyed, enough is enough!
NJA
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Eight Richest Men in the World Hold Most of the Wealth in the World

As reported by the Associated Press, and published widely, according to the anti-poverty organization Oxfam the growing gap between the super rich and most everyone else (most especially the poor) keeps widening. Amazingly, eight men in the world own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people. According to what I've read over the years some of those men, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Michael Bloomberg are extremely generous and give a lot of money to charity and have made provisions to continue to do so in the future....perhaps all of them do, I'm just aware of who I've mentioned.
But yet the executive director of Oxfam was quoted as saying, "It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2.00 a day....Inequality is trapping millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy."
Bill Gates, through his foundation, (both he and Melinda, his wife, have a hands-on approach to charitable giving), gives away millions to charity every year.  Yet according to Forbes magazine, he is worth a staggering $75 billion. Most people, including myself, cannot even imagine how much money that is or how much good it could do.
Oxfam has made a suggested list of how inequality can be somewhat reduced. One is for billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes and those taxes could then be used to finance public works and services and increase employment and opportunities for the poor.
There is so much that needs to be done. As Oxfam pointed out, people are losing faith in institutions, (even the Church is affected by this trend), across the board and "CEO credibility is at an all time low."
Maybe there will be some changes, perhaps billionaires will pay more taxes but ultimately it will be up to the super rich themselves to willingly give some of their wealth to worthy causes. We can pray that their eyes and hearts are opened and they give generously now and into the future.
NJA