Science and Faith: the conflict myth

Interview of the Day (courtesy of Socrates in the City)
Eric Metaxas talks with physicist Ard Louis

Asking good questions, appreciating the beauty of frozen waterfalls, and knowing what we don’t know

  • what is the value of human life?
  • what is the source of the laws of nature?
  • what mystery of life stops atheists in their tracks?
  • does science point us to God?
  • in looking at the world, do you start with the assumption that there is no God or that there is a God, and how that changes the course of discovery?
  • how should we live?
  •  what is a “theistic evolutionist”?
  • when I am in the laboratory, what am I doing as a Christian?
  • what is the scientific answer [to the great mysteries of life]? > we don’t know

 

Praise of Divine Majesty

Psalm of the Day: 145
Make known the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom

Praise. Of David.

I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you;
I will praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.
Each generation praises your deeds to the next
and proclaims your mighty works.

They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory,
tell of your wonderful deeds.
They speak of the power of your awesome acts
and recount your great deeds.
They celebrate your abounding goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy.
The LORD is good to all,
compassionate toward all your works.

All your works give you thanks, LORD
and your faithful bless you.
They speak of the glory of your reign
and tell of your mighty works,

They make known to the sons of men your mighty acts,
the majestic glory of your rule.
Your reign is a reign for all ages,
your dominion for all generations.
The LORD is trustworthy in all his words,
and loving in all his works.
The LORD supports all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you;
you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The LORD is just in all his ways,
merciful in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he destroys.

My mouth will speak the praises of the LORD;
all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

Every day Jesus

As I was cleaning up my living quarters, I paused a moment (or fifteen) to browse through an open notebook that had been sitting around for a while — to see what I might find, to see if there was anything relevant for today, for now, or something I could recycle.

I found and am recycling the following list:

  • Seek God in every “now.”
  • Bear a cross without grumbling.
  • Praise someone, support a food bank, donate clothing.
  • Broaden your circle.
  • Live simply and humbly.
  • Do something kind for a “least” one.
  • Ask God for something today, something deep.
  • Give someone another chance.
  • Beg God for courage to face fear.
  • Forgive someone who wronged you; Jesus shows you how.
  • Where are you on the ladder of love? Is it time to move up another rung?
  • What is God calling you to do?
  • Confess your collaboration in national sins.
  • Walk humbly with God.
  • Give someone a break today through a small act of kindness.
  • Thank God for the waters that nourish your faith: Eucharist, scripture, prayer, service, friends, nature, pets. Revel in one of them today. (Note: They forgot to mention the sacrament of reconciliation, so I’m adding it. If you have burdens you need lifted, give Jesus your sins. He can handle them!)
  • Be patient with all that is messy in life.
  • Overlook something today out of love and mercy.
  • Use fewer words. Shine the spotlight on another.
  • Change your plans when love intrudes.
  • Share your truth and love with another.
  • Who in your neighborhood, workplace, parish, or family are you missing out on?
  • Apologize to God or someone. Mend bridges.
  • Pass on your faith today; live joyfully.
  • Touch is a holy thing. Live your life more seamlessly.
  • Ask God for a genuine respect for Every One.
  • Ask Jesus to give you clearer sight.
  • Share readily; love alone endures.
  • Do something today that makes you happier, healthier, holier.
  • Use your hands to love someone.
  • Become more selfless.
  • Live your convictions, no matter what.
  • Overcome prejudice.
  • Pray the name of Jesus throughout the day.
  • Don’t throw any stones today (hateful words, gossip, hurtful criticism).
  • Gaze upon a crucifix today.
  • Jesus invites us to greater freedom. Accept his invitation. Love.
  • Practice good communication skills, really listen.
  • Cooperate with God’s grace today through some word or deed.
  • Work for a more just world — the kind Jesus lived and died for.
  • Perform a loving deed. Be extravagant!
  • “I love you and am so proud of you!”
  • Thank God for your loyal friends.
  • Allow knowledge of self — your capacity for evil — to keep you close to Jesus.
  • Love can get messy. Put on a spiritual or real apron, and serve someone today.
  • Jesus died for love of you and me. Embrace this way of loving, knowing it often involves a cross.
  • Celebrate!

The list sounded so Pope Francis, so Year of Mercy. Usually I note my source, but in this case I had not. Time to google. These nuggets came from a 2014 Catholic Update newsletter published for Lent and were accompanied by scripture references for meditation (which I did not write down).

Still relevant.

May God’s glory dwell in our land

Psalm of the Day: 85
Prayer for the People’s Salvation

For the leader. A psalm of the Korahites.

You once favored, LORD, your land,
restored the captives of Jacob.
You forgave the guilt of your people,
pardoned all their sins.

Selah

You withdrew all your wrath,
turned back from your burning anger.

Restore us, God of our salvation;
let go of your displeasure with us.
Will you be angry with us forever,
prolong your anger for all generations?
Certainly you will again restore our life,
that your people may rejoice in you.
Show us, LORD, your mercy;
grant us your salvation.

I will listen for what God, the LORD, has to say;
surely he will speak of peace
To his people and to his faithful.
May they not turn to foolishness!
Near indeed is his salvation for those who fear him;
glory will dwell in our land.
Love and truth will meet;
justice and peace will kiss.
Truth will spring from the earth;
justice will look down from heaven.
Yes, the LORD will grant his bounty;
our land will yield its produce.
Justice will march before him,
and make a way for his footsteps.

Novena for Our Nation

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us!

 

“I found broken people”

Video of the Day
What We Don’t Know About Europe’s Muslim Kids and Why We Should Care
Deeyah Khan TEDx Exeter talk (May 2016)

Ms Khan concludes by saying that we need, together, to build a society that includes and supports rather than rejects our kids. Reminds me much of a man who said “Let the children come to me.”

Quote of the Day

If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth. — African proverb

Questions of the Day

“Can you acknowledge that your rage is fueled by pain?”

“Can we find a way to reject hatred?”

The children, and Deeyah Khan, too, are hungry for Christ. Muslims living between two cultures are falling into a gap. Many are being drawn toward secularism to resolve the reality of jihad (and I don’t refer to the spiritual struggle here). Will we feed them and bring them Jesus Christ?

Honest Conversation

Fire of love, engulf us

Scripture of the Day: Luke 12:49–53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Division and the Prince of Peace

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us his heart is in anguish.

The omniscient, omnipotent God who made himself fully man in all things but sin, and living in time-space, the heart of the Alpha and the Omega burns with love. This fire of love manifests as anguish until his mission complete. But once Jesus endures this baptism, the anguish will subside.

  • What is Jesus’ mission? To pay the debts we cannot pay and reconcile the one lost sheep (which represents all of humanity) with God the Father.
  • What is Jesus’ baptism? Death by crucifixion. (Here, Jesus does not refer to his baptism by John in the Jordan River.)
  • What is the anguish? Truly incomprehensible to us. For certain it is not limited to the physical and emotional suffering he knows he must endure as man; it includes the spiritual weight caused by the gulf of separation sin creates between God and his beloved children and a heart that longs for reunion and for man to be restored to the love and freedom for which he was made.
  • What is the fire? John the Baptist says that he baptizes with water, but one is coming after him who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).

LOVE yearns to reconcile each one of us with the Father and to set us ablaze with the fire of God’s love.

When we begin to respond to God’s outpouring of love, however, division will result. Many people don’t acknowledge their need for reconciliation and healing and won’t understand what his happening in our lives. They deny God; they reject God; they refuse his ways.

Those who come to know and live Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, Savior, Redeemer, and King will require new wine skins. The old must pass way. Jesus must increase, and we must decrease. The division that results remains among men until the end of time, when all things will be reconciled. (Leave the wheat to grow with the weeds, and when the harvesters come, they will separate the two.)

We should not let this division be a source of fear or anxiety. Rather, we should focus on the fire that Jesus wants to blaze in us. God says I’d rather you be hot or cold; the lukewarm he will spit out (God’s message to the church in Laodicea, Revelation 3).

Why does this fire that Jesus desires not burn? The fire does not burn because this movement of love is continually rejected — not just by nonbelievers, but also by us, by those who claim to be Jesus’ friends!

Our conversion is not a one-time profession that Jesus is Lord. Faith is expressed through our behavior. The battle is in the world, because it is also within each man for the duration of earthly life. When we strive to follow the first commandment and put God first our life, when we commit to his ways and not our own, and strive daily to die to self, we are guaranteed a struggle. The world, the devil, and the flesh are all opposed to the Spirit of God.

Some family members may rejoice with the angels that a lost sheep has been found; others will not only not understand, they may make fun of you or outright reject you. Consider for a moment the disruption (family, community, work) in the lives of

  • a first century Jew who embraces Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah (in the early days of Christianity, if a Jew accepted Jesus as the Son of God, his family would hold a funeral for him; they treated him like he was dead);
  • a modern day Muslim who encounters the Good News and discovers that Jesus is Lord, that though God is master, man is not a slave but rather a beloved child of God (In Muslim countries today, if you convert from Islam to Christianity, they kill you as an apostate; I suspect they don’t bother with a funeral);
  • a new age seeker who trades shifting sands and temporary spiritual “experiences” for the solid rock of Christ; or
  • a cafeteria Catholic drifting about in the secular culture who returns to the sacraments and discovers Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the fullness of life.

People (seemingly) have much to lose when they turn to Christ. Secular culture (in Americas or Europe) will mock you for sure, and hope to do much more than that. Those who have found the pearl of great price know what there is to gain and sell all to have it. Amid the chaos and division of conversion, Jesus is ready to fill you with his peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, because it conquers earthly circumstances.

Draw near to the Lord, and he will draw near to you. When you hear Christ knocking, open the door, welcome him, and he will come and dine with you, and he will bring his Father and the Holy Spirit. With God’s help, we will navigate the division in our families and communities and share in Jesus’ mission of reconciliation to bring about a much greater peace.

Jesus set our hearts ablaze!

Return and live!

Scriptures of the Day

Today the Prophet Ezekiel tells us that we are not bound by our past. The Lord waits for us to turn to him, to come to him as little children, so He may give us the fullness of life.

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 18:1–10; 13b; 30–32

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb
that you recite in the land of Israel:

“Fathers have eaten green grapes,
thus their children’s teeth are on edge”?

As I live, says the Lord GOD:
I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you
who will repeat this proverb in Israel.
For all lives are mine;
the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine;
only the one who sins shall die.

If a man is virtuous—if he does what is right and just,
if he does not eat on the mountains,
nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel;
if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife,
nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period;
if he oppresses no one,
gives back the pledge received for a debt,
commits no robbery;
if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked;
if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury;
if he holds off from evildoing,
judges fairly between a man and his opponent;
if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances,
that man is virtuous—he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.

But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer,
or lends at interest and exacts usury–
this son certainly shall not live.
Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die;
his death shall be his own fault.

Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel,
each one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD.
Turn and be converted from all your crimes,
that they may be no cause of guilt for you.
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,
says the Lord GOD. Return and live!

What grieves Abba, our Eternal Father, even more than our transgressions — our falls, falling short of the measure of love — is the fear we experience after our fall, fear that prevents us from turning back to the one who can heal and restore us. Children, come! Turn to your Elder Brother, Jesus, who is ready to reconcile you with your Father.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 19:13–15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

 

I have a say, I have a vote

And I will speak for unborn children, whose voices Planned Parenthood silences.

With Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards speaking at the Democratic National Convention last month, the Democratic Party has made clear that the pro-life voice is not welcome at the table. This time last year, Hillary Clinton likened us to domestic terrorists (CNN report or The Federalist or LifeSite News).

All of which makes the following videos from 2012 more relevant than ever.

Videos of the Day / Men Have a Say

Father John Hollowell Has a Say

Men have a say. And when men speak up and stand up fight for and protect women and children, women listen. On the other hand, women who degrade and want to eradicate men from the conversation are divisive, and simply wrong. Keep up with Father John Hollowell at On This Rock.

Cecile Richards Does Not Speak for Me

Before a baby dies, a heart must die. Before a heart dies, it must close. A heart that is unable to make a total gift of self is not open to life and the fruit of sexual expression, and so the mind attached to that heart seeks a solution, for how to not make a total gift of self, and the answer is birth control. Birth control and abortion are intricately linked and simply different parts of the journey in the culture of death.

Quotes of the Day / Join the Culture of Life

22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

31.     We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin.  We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching.  No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life.  …

32.     The Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times.  The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well.   Laws that permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust, and we should work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and change them.  Because they are unjust they cannot bind citizens in conscience, be supported, acquiesced in, or recognized as valid.  Our nation cannot countenance the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights.

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (USCCB)

Your Life Matters

Your voice matters. Your vote matters.

 

Forgiveness: our direct route to heaven

Forgiven Debts We Cannot Pay
Pope Francis’ Meditation on the Pardon of Assisi

Forgiveness — pardon — is surely our direct route to that place in heaven. How hard it is to pardon! How much effort it takes for us to forgive others! Let us think about this.

Here at the Porziuncola everything speaks to us of pardon! What a great gift the Lord has given us in teaching us to forgive – or at least to try to forgive – and in this way to touch the Father’s mercy! We have heard the parable in which Jesus teaches us to forgive (cf. Mt 18:21-35).

Why should we forgive someone who has offended us?

Because we were forgiven first, and of infinitely more. There is no one here who has not been forgiven. Let each of us reflect on this… Let us reflect in silence on the wrong we have done and how the Lord has forgiven us.

The parable tells us exactly this: just as God has forgiven us, so we too should forgive those who do us harm. This is the caress of forgiveness. A forgiving heart caresses. It is far removed from the attitude of: “You’ll pay for this!” Forgiveness is something other.

So it is with the prayer that Jesus taught us, the Our Father, in which we say: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). The debts are our sins in the sight of God, and our debtors are those whom we, for our part, must forgive.

Pope Francis’ meditation at Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, Porziuncola – Assisi, August 4, 2016

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. — Jesus, Matthew 5:7

News and Info

Father, I have sinned against…”

Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. — Jesus, John 20:22–23

So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little. — Jesus, Luke 7:47

Wrap us in your divine mercy, O God

Prayer for Peace and Protection From Violence and Terrorism

O almighty and merciful God, Lord of the universe and of history. All that You have created is good and your compassion for the mistakes of mankind knows no limits.

We come to You today to ask You to keep in peace the world and its people, to keep far away from it the devastating wave of terrorism, to restore friendship and instill in the hearts of your creatures the gift of trust and of readiness to forgive.

O Giver of life, we pray to You also for all those who have died as victims of brutal terrorist attacks. Grant them their eternal reward. May they intercede for the world that is torn apart by conflicts and disagreements.

O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to You for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence: children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with Your strength and, at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.

Holy Spirit Consoler, visit the families of the victims of terrorism, families that suffer through no fault of their own. Wrap them in the mantle of Your divine mercy. Make them find again in You and in themselves the strength and courage to continue to be brothers and sisters for others, above all for immigrants, giving witness to Your love by their lives.

Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognize the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for the life and for the dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty.

O God, Eternal Father, in Your mercy hear our prayer which we raise up to You amidst the deafening noise and desperation of the world. We turn to You with great hope, full of trust in Your infinite Mercy. Made strong by the examples of the blessed martyrs of Perú, Zbigniew and Michael, who have rendered courageous testimony to the Gospel, to the point of offering their blood, we entrust ourselves to the intercession of Your Most Holy Mother. We ask for the gift of peace and of the elimination from our midst of the sore of terrorism.

Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

— Pope Francis’ prayer during visit to the Basilica of Saint Francis, Krakow, July 30, 2016 (Vatican)