‘Forgiving’ Category Archives

3
Sep

NOT ALL RELIGIONS ARE EQUAL: but how to fight false religion without descending to a similar mentality?

by Arnold Jago in Faith, Forgiving, Modern Church, Suffering, Truth

What it feels like to be a Christian in the Middle East:

“Dear all,
We continue to share our daily struggle with you, hoping that our cry will reach the world. We are like the blind man of Jericho (Mark 10: 46-52), who had nothing to express himself, but his voice, asking Jesus for mercy. Although some people ignored his voice, others listened, and helped him. We count on people, who will listen!

We entered the third week of displacement. Things are moving very slowly in terms of providing shelter, food, and necessities for the people. There are still people living in the streets. There are still no organized camps outside of schools that are used as refugee centres. An unfinished, three story building has also been used as a refugee centre. For privacy reasons, families have made rooms using UNHCR plastic sheets in these unfinished buildings. These places look like stables. We all wonder, is there any end in sight? We appreciate all efforts that have been made to provide aid to the displaced people. However, please note, that providing food and shelter is not the only essential thing we need. Our case is much bigger. We are speaking about two minorities (Christian and Yezedians), who lost their land, their homes, their belongings, their jobs, their money, some have been separated from their families and loved ones, and all are persecuted because of their religion.

Our church leaders are doing their best to solve the issue. They have been meeting with political leaders, with the President of Iraq and Kurdistan, but initiatives and actions of these political leaders are really slow and modest. Actually, all political meetings have led to nothing. Until now, there has been no decision made about the current situation of the displaced minorities. For this reason, trust in the political leaders has diminished, if it exists, at all. People cannot tolerate it anymore. It is too heavy a burden. Yesterday, a young man expressed that he would rather die than live, without dignity. People feel that their dignity has been stripped from them. We are being persecuted because of our religion. None of us ever thought we would live in refugee camps because of that . . . .

. . . the struggle is not only in the camps, with the displaced people. What has happened in our Christian towns that have been evacuated is even worse. The IS forced out of their homes those who did not leave their towns up to the night of August 6th. Yesterday, seventy-two people were driven out of Karakosh. However, not all of them arrived; those who arrived last night were in miserable condition. They had to cross Al-Khazi River (a tributary to the Great Zab) on foot because the bridge had been destroyed. There are still quite few on the side of the riverbank. We do not know when they will make it to Erbil. It depends on the situation and negotiations between the Peshmerga and the IS. There are some people who went to fetch the elderly and the unable to walk. One of our sisters went to bring her parents, and told her story. Another woman, said that she was separated from her husband and children, and she knows nothing about them; they are probably among the others who are on the other bank, or they might be among the hostages taken by the IS. Also, a three-year old daughter was taken from her mother’s lap, and she also knows nothing about her. We do not know why the IS are sending people out of Karakosh, but we have been hearing from those who just arrived, that IS are bringing barrels into Karakosh and the contents are unknown . . . there is no way to negotiate with the IS.
As for our community, we know that our convent in Tel Kaif is being used as an IS headquarters. Also, we know that they had entered our convent in Karakosh. Those that recently arrived have stated that all the holy pictures, icons, and statutes are being destroyed. Crosses have been taken from the top of churches and they have been replaced with the IS flags.

In Baqofa, one of our sisters heard the situation was calm, so she went back with few people, to get her medicine. She found the convent had been searched; everything was open and strewn across the rooms. The minute they entered the convent, three bombs hit the town. They left immediately.

Apart from what is happening to the Christians, yesterday, Friday the 22nd, a Shi’ite suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Sunni mosque of Abou Mussab in village under Iraqi government control in Diyala province leaving 68 dead. It is heartbreaking to hear about people get killed while praying. In terms of the media, this massacre overshadowed what is happening to the Christians in Nineveh Plain. We are afraid that our struggle will become only our own affair, and it will not have impact on the world anymore.

At last, we have to say that people are losing their patience. They miss everything in their hometowns: churches, church bells, streets, and neighbourhood. It is heartbreaking for them to hear that their homes have been robbed. Although they love their towns, most people are now thinking of leaving the country so they can live in dignity and have a future for their children. It is heard to have hope in Iraq, or to trust the leadership of the country.

Please, keep us in your prayers.
Sister Maria Hanna OP
Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena-Iraq

P.S. Please share the letter with other people. Let the world hear the cry of the poor and the innocent.

(24 August 2014)

 

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16
Nov

CONFESSION, PRIESTS AND THE POLICE: consider the basics.

by Arnold Jago in crime, Faith, Forgiving, Modern Church, Politics

The good news is that God has created us for a purpose.
His purpose being that we might know, love and serve him here on earth, living by his grace — and come to see and enjoy him forever in heaven.
The bad news is that we habitually refuse his grace, fail to serve him, and do not, therefore, merit to live with him in heaven.
The best news is that we can be forgiven through the merits of Christ and restored to a share in God’s life . . . .
* * *
That involves confession of one’s sins to a priest, who can then grant forgiveness and absolution in God’s name.
Jesus Christ gave his Apostles — his first priests — the power to forgive:
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Saint John’s gospel, chapter 20)
The sacrament of Penance (confession) is God’s great gift.
It is on the proper performance of this sacrament, more than any other duty, that our eternal welfare depends.
The Church’s enemies are campaigning to force priests to report to the police certain sins that they hear confessed.
That is neither right nor sensible. It must not happen.

10
Jun

GOD’S MERCY: in theory and in practice

by Arnold Jago in Faith, Forgiving, God, Modern Church, Truth

Third Sunday after Pentecost.
Today’s Catholic Mass readings are about God’s mercy.
From St Luke’s gospel:
The publicans and sinners were coming to listen to Jesus.
The Pharisees and Scribes murmured saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them!”
Jesus said, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine and go after the one that was lost?
“And, on finding it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing and coming home, call together his friends saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the sheep that was lost.’
“I tell you that in the same way there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who does penance, more than over ninety-nine needing no penance . . . .”
* * *
We all need to repent and give up our sins. But some don’t want to admit it.
God is ready to forgive, but are we ready to ask forgiveness?
The way back to God is to present yourself to the priest at Confession and receive absolution as Our Lord prescribed.
Then return to daily life strengthened by his grace
* to live a sin-free life (no gossiping, no grumbling, no grandstanding, no lustful thoughts/acts etc.)
* and to show others the kind of mercy that God has shown us.

18
Jan

AUSTRALIA DAY: important, but may need new emphasis.

by Arnold Jago in Australia, Forgiving, History, Justice, Lifestyle, Multiculturalism

A national survey has found that Australians consider Australia Day the most significant day in the calendar. (AAP, 12 January 2012)

More than Anzac Day.

More than Christmas Day.

It is certainly being boosted by the political and media would-be opinion-controllers.

Municipal Councils are all hosting community breakfasts, sporting events etc., trying to beat up some interest.

Our Australian Aborigines are given at least a token mention in the publicity.

* * *

Australia Day commemorates the fact that on January 26, 1788, the “First Fleet” of European colonisers landed at Sydney Cove.

From that day on it became progressively more difficult for Aborigines to maintain their culture and way of life.

Since the 150th anniversary of the First Fleet’s landing in 1938, some at least of the Aboriginal community, have taken to referring to January 26 as “Invasion Day and “a day of mourning and protest”.

It’s an unresolved problem.

The Christian gospel could be the factor that truly “reconciles” invaders and the invaded groups inhabiting Australia.

Generosity and fairness shown by the whites — and forgiveness and good living by the blacks – those are all it would take.

Grandstanding and slogan-quoting will not be enough.

20
Jun

NEW BOOK: Collected letters written by Saint Mary MacKillop re her excommunication.

by Arnold Jago in Australia, Forgiving, History, Media, Modern Church, Saints

The Josephite Sisters, the Catholic Order founded by Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop (Saint Mary of the Cross), have published a fourth collection of their founder’s letters — those written around the time of her “excommunication”.

The book, entitled, “Mary MacKillop and a Nest of Crosses”, was launched on June 17 at the Mary MacKillop Centre, Kensington, South Australia.

The launching received a couple of mentions in Catholic publications.

The rest of the media took no notice whatever.

Do they consider Saint Mary MacKillop to be of no interest whatever to the average Australian?

* * *

One letter MMK wrote to her mother after the excommunication drama was over, reveals what a forgiving, God-centred person Saint Mary Mac was:

“The poor Bishop is indeed sorry for all now. I was sent for on Friday but only got halfway to where the bishop was when a good priest met me and in the Bishop’s name removed the sentence from me . . . . Thanks be to God, the poor Bishop had true priests near at a time when he much needed them. Up to that time others were near. We will not speak of them – but it would be a charity to pray for at least some amongst them . . . .

God wisely permitted it for a hidden and mysterious end. I hope that our common sorrows have done us all good . . . .

My path, my dearest Mamma, will yet be that of the Cross. I seek nothing else . . . .

I can’t tell you much more about the new book. I have sent my money, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

It can be ordered online from St Paul’s Bookshop, at http://www.stpauls.com.au/

Letters of Saint MMK reveal her forgiving heart. Great example to us all.

16
Jun

HEALTH MINISTER ROXON AND TOBACCO MONEY: Political inconsistency exposed. Should we condemn her?

by Arnold Jago in Australia, Ethics, Forgiving, Health, Politics

Australian Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, is responsible for arguing the Labor Government’s anti-smoking policies.

Labor has, since 2004, had a policy of refusing donations from the tobacco industry.

And, more recently, has plans to force all cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging carrying king size health warnings and no recognisable fancy logo-type brand identification.

Embarrassing, then, when it has now been proved that, in 2005, Roxon wrote to Philip Morris executives inviting them to a fund-raising dinner and thanking them in anticipation for their “continuing support”.

The Opposition has seized on this, calling her “an absolute hypocrite” — and saying she has lost all credibility etc.

* * *

Roxon says she is sorry it happened, but plans to fight on with the current anti-smoking legislation anyway.

Is she sorry about the invitation having been sent out?

Or is she just sorry she got caught?

Ultimately such a question is between her and God, who judges us all.

The rest of us all had better not try it — as we are all guilty of hypocrisy from time to time.

* * *

Yes, sending the offending letter was wrong.

We must make that judgement about her action.

God does not require our help, however, in judging anybody as a person.

Judging in that kind of way is something we must never, never do.

To do so would be a sin worse than sending out a credibility-damaging letter.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is part of Christian charity.

Jesus himself said, “Judge not, that you be not judged; for with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged. The measure you give will be the measure you get.”

And he taught us to pray, saying, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Saint Matthew’s gospel)

NICOLA ROXON. Like a lot of us, not perfect.