Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Saint April 12 : St. Zeno : Patron of #Fishermen , Newborn #Babies

St. Zeno
Feast: April 12

Feast Day:April 12
Born:300, Mauretania
Died:April 12, 371, Verona
Major Shrine:Basilica di San Zeno, Verona
Patron of:Fishermen, anglers, newborn babies, Verona
Entered in the Roman Martyrology on 12 April as a Bishop of Verona martyred under Gallienus. Probably, however, he was a confessor who governed the Church of Verona from 362-380. At Verona a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated to his honour, and some thirty churches and chapels bear his name. In the basilica his statue, bearing the episcopal insignia, is prominent in the choir; coins with his likeness and an inscription were in use. On 21 May and 6 Dec. the translation of his body and his consecration were formerly commemorated. In "De viris illust." Of St. Jerome and Gennadius, Zeno is not mentioned, but St. Ambrose (Ep. v) speaks of him as an episcopus sanctae memoriae, and St. Gregory (Dial., III, 19) relates a miracle wrought at the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mabillon ("Vetera analecta", Paris, 1675) published an anonymous poem, "De landibus Veronae", taken from the writing of Ratherius, Bishop of Verona (d. 974), found in the abbey at Lobbes in Belgium (P.L., XI, 154, 225), which gives a list of the bishops of Verona and makes Zeno eighth. In the Monastery di Classe at Ravenna was found an eighth-century chasuble (casula diptycha) with the names and pictures of thirty-five bishops of Verona on its front and back; among them was that of Zeno. This list was accepted by Gams in his "Series episcoporum" (Bigelmair, p. 27). Zeno had not been known as a writer before 1508, when two Dominicans, Albertus Castellanus and Jacobus de Leuco, edited at Venice 105 tractatus or sermons found in the episcopal library of Verona fifty years earlier. In 1739 the brothers Ballerini published "S. Zenonis episcopi Veronae sermones", with an elaborate prolegomena. From these it appears that Zeno was a native of Africa, eighth Bishop of Verona (362-80), an able speaker, and an untiring champion of Christianity against the heathens and of orthodoxy against the Arians. Much controversy arose as to the time at which St. Zeno lives, whether two bishops of Verona of this name were to be admitted or but one, and on the authorship of the sermons. Various opinions were held by Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Ughelli, Dupin, Tillemont, Fabricius, and others. Of the 105 sermons 12 have been rejected as belonging to other authors. Of the rest 16 are larger sermons, the others merely sketches or perhaps fragments. They contain valuable material on Catholic doctrine, practice, and liturgy; they treat of God, creation, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Scriptures, the Church, the sacraments, etc., and warn against the vices of the day.

Pope Francis " I will give you a task to do at home, a task...who don’t remember the date of your Baptism, Ask : “Do you know the date of Baptism?” FULL TEXT + Video Audience

The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
 The fifty days of the Easter liturgical season are propitious to reflect on the Christian life that, by its nature, is the life that comes from Christ Himself. In fact, we are Christians to the degree in which we let Jesus Christ live in us. From where should we begin then to revive this awareness if not from the beginning, from the Sacrament that lit the Christian life in us? This is Baptism. Christ’s Easter, with its charge of novelty, reaches us through Baptism to transform us into His image: the baptized are of Jesus Christ; He is the Lord of their existence. Baptism is the “basis of the whole Christian life” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC), 1213]. It’s the first of the Sacraments, in as much as it’s the door that enables Christ the Lord to dwell in our person and us to immerse ourselves in His Mystery.

The Greek verb “to baptize” means “to immerse” (Cf. CCC, 1214). The bath with water is a common rite to several beliefs, to express the passage from one condition to another, sign of purification for a new beginning. However, for us Christians it must not escape us that if it’s the body that is immersed in water, it’s the soul that is immersed in Christ to receive forgiveness of sin and shine with divine light (Cf. Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Dead, VIII, 3: CCL 2, 931; PL 2, 2806). In virtue of the Holy Spirit, Baptism immerses us in the Death and Resurrection of the Lord, drowning in the baptismal font the old man, dominated by sin, which separates from God and making the new man be born, recreated in Jesus. All Adam’s children are called to a new life. Baptism, that is, is a rebirth – certainly. However, I ask myself, somewhat doubtful, and I ask you: does each one of you remember the date of his Baptism? Some say yes — ok. However, it’s a somewhat weak yes, because perhaps many don’t remember it. However, if we celebrate the day of <our> birth, how can we not celebrate — at least remember — the day of <our> rebirth? I will give you a task to do at home, a task to do today at home.  Those of you who don’t remember the date of your Baptism, ask your mother, aunts, and uncles, nephews, ask them: “Do you know the date of <my> Baptism?” and don’t ever forget it. And that day thank the Lord, because it is, in fact, the day Jesus entered me; the Holy Spirit entered me. Have you understood well the task you have to do at home? We all should know the date of our Baptism. It’s another birthday: the birthday of the rebirth. Don’t forget to do this, please.
We recall the last words of the Risen one to the Apostles; they are a precise mandate: ”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Through the baptismal cleansing, one who believes in Christ is immersed in the very life of the Trinity.

In fact, the water of Baptism isn’t just any water, but the water upon which the Spirit is invoked that “gives life” (Creed). We think of what Jesus said to Nicodemus to explain to him the birth to divine life: “Unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6). Therefore, Baptism is also called “regeneration”: we believe that God has saved us “by His mercy, with a water that regenerates and renews in the Spirit: (Tt 3,5).
Baptism is, therefore, an effective sign of rebirth, to walk in newness of life. Saint Paul recalls this to the Christians of Rome: ”Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
By immersing us in Christ, Baptism renders us also members of His Body, which is the Church, and participants of His mission in the world (Cf. CCC 1213). We, the baptized, aren’t isolated: we are members of the Body of Christ. The vitality that flows from the baptismal font is illustrated by these words of Jesus: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (Cf. John 15:5). A same life, that of the Holy Spirit, flows from Christ to the baptized, uniting them in one Body (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13), christened by the holy anointing and fed at the Eucharistic table.
Baptism enables Christ to live in us and us to live united to Him, to collaborate in the Church, each one according to his condition, in the transformation of the world. Received only once, the baptismal cleansing illumines our whole life, guiding our steps to the Heavenly Jerusalem. There is a before and after Baptism. The Sacrament implies a journey of faith, which we call catechumenate, evident when it’s an adult that asks for Baptism. However, children also, since antiquity, are baptized in the faith of the parents (Cf. Rite of the Baptism of Children, Introduction, 2). And I would like to say something to you about this. Some think: but why baptize a child who doesn’t understand? Let’s wait until he grows up, that he understands, and that he himself asks for Baptism. However, this means not to have trust in the Holy Spirit, because when we baptize a child, the Holy Spirit enters that child, and the Holy Spirit makes that child grow, from a child, in Christian virtues that will then flower. This opportunity must always be given to everyone, to all children, to have within them the Holy Spirit who guides them during their life. Don’t forget to baptize the children! No one merits Baptism, which is always a free gift for all, adults and newborns. However, as happens with a seed full of life, this gift takes root and bears fruit in a terrain fed by faith. The baptismal promises that we renew every year in the Easter Vigil must be revived every day so that Baptism “Christifies”: we must not be afraid of this word; Baptism “Chritifies” one who has received Baptism and he is “Christified,” resembles Christ, is transformed into Christ and renders him truly another Christ.
[Original text: Italian]  [Blog SHARE of ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 A warm greeting goes to the Italian-speaking faithful.
I am happy to receive the Canossian Sisters, the Living Word Catholic Community; the pilgrims of the Diocese of Genoa with their Pastor, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco and the Parishes, especially that of Vico del Gargano and of Varapodio. I encourage all to be faithful to Christ so that you can make the joy of the Gospel shine.
I greet the group of the Biomedical University Campus of Rome, 25 years from the beginning of this significant Institution. I exhort all to live the event as an occasion for renewed impetus at the service of the sick, witnessing in it the joy and values of the faith.
I greet the student groups; the School for Migrants of Florence; the members of the ACLI Sports Union; the participants in the manifestation promoted by the Pro League and the delegation of the “Formula E” World Automobile Championship.
A particular thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds.
May the Paschal proclamation continue to inflame your heart so that each one of you can experience Christ in his journey and adhere to His teachings.
[Original text: Italian]  [Blog Entry SHARE of ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Quote to SHARE by Saint Mother Teresa "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. April 11, 2018 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 269

Reading 1ACTS 5:17-26

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
"Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life."
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
"We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report,
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
"The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people."
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Final Perseverance - Deep Insights into the Mystery of Death by Dr. Gary Knight

Final Perseverance

Gary D. Knight

As catechist for the RCIA (rite of Christian initiation for adults) ministry, I see resources and materials produced by various publishers, pedagogues and ‘magisterial’ groups. These can be helpful, to structure if not flesh-out the many sessions that a catechumen attends eagerly and assiduously from Advent to Easter.

The involved personal presence of catechists is important, rather than the dead letter of texts in any process of discernment on matters of faith and Christian practice. Personhood is key even to what we are teaching, and our human face stands for the whole community that will be welcoming the new adult member with open arms.

If we are faithful, experienced in facing questions and doubts about the Church and its teachings, a further key in our personal engagement is that we not forget what it feels like for a searcher to encounter and, with hopeful help, overcome stumbling blocks to a full-hearted life of faith. That human sympathy goes a very long way.

The saying “love covers many faults” declaims not only the mantle laid over one who shudders to think what shame may be due; it applies equally to the Church as a whole. Its many painful faults are ameliorated by love.

A principal one of these faults is the visible failing of Church members and even presbyters in response to a divine call.  It helps to frankly admit “the Church, though perfectly holy, is woefully imperfect”. This Augustinian anti-parallelism makes people to think and perhaps to savour the greater thing: vastly abounding grace.

I will venture: “the Church, if not divine, is in this world as close as can be with a divine foundation: the person of Jesus - Word and Lamb of God.” This is a deep truth available to be plumbed for the treasures it contains. The ‘mystical body’ of Christ, the vine, is what follows Him as its head and breathes in and out the grace-life of the Holy Spirit. This makes it the fullness of help to salvation.

Quiet in disorders
Besides scandals and pastoral faults, devilish injuries inflicted as much from within as from without, there are further obstacles to progress in faith that deserve attention, because they continue to be experienced and shared by most at some stage in life. The ‘problem of evil’ is clearly one, which we often try to sideline as mystery; but a there’s a related one let’s call the problem of entropy.

With training in physics I am more familiar with the word entropy as disorder or even ‘noise’ as in a source of experimental errors or cause of lost information. But it has been recognized as a valuable concept even in psychology, including the psychology of prayer - which has much more importance to catechetics than we credit.

Cardinal Sarah [The Power of Silence] is warmly pastoral in calling the faithful to interiority and the prayer of quiet. The goal is serenity or measured tranquility in contrast to the increasing din of invading messages; but the effort to assert calm in a storm is daunting. On water we might dare to tread tremulously with Peter, but losing sight of our help in the name of the Lord, trust blanches out.

A bracing elixir of trust is the sheer effort to try again, even with rehearsed exercises: like the prayer beneath images of the Divine Mercy as received by sister St. Faustina: “Jesus, I trust you.” The translated “Jesus, I trust in you” is a tad less personal, more transactional; but the Lord does not want us to stand off even at arm’s length: “I am closer to you than hands and feet.”

What does the Word of God say to us - if we’re beginning to harken - about developing quiet and interior life?  “Be still, and know that I am God.” In short, “go deeper yet”, because “in stillness and confidence lies your strength.”

A non-Christian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, coined ’psychological entropy’ to denote the occasion of anxiety driven by chaos or uncertainty. Feeling at sea in the welter of tumult, people fill their emptiness not with silence but with everything that drowns it out. The irony is to lose all buoyancy in quicksand by way of thrashing panic.

Entropy in this frantic sense has its parallel in the noise that warps messages or undermines gene transcription, mutating into cancer. Indeed that’s how disruptive turmoil can be. As Jesus put it: “as you cannot have two masters, see to it that you do not worry.” In other words, to fret with mental anxiety is to be unquiet and a slave of the wrong master. It means not being owner of one’s spirit; for then “how will you receive what is your own?”

Enduring vexations patiently (which means with ‘passion’ or dolour) relates to the topic of purgatory. The duress of interior purgation in turn ties closely to mortification. In life we are helped in feeling and enduring it, in the divine liturgy, but also in prayerfully suffering weighty injustices beyond our control. We can do that for the sake of making up for failings, as Job did in bearing the taunts of his own friends. It can be quite heroic, with some victory over self.

Separated brothers in faith have sometimes set aside the tradition (even observed by Jews) of prayer for souls departed; but we do agree to pray in that way for each other while alive, striving to make good on ‘works (or fruits) meet for repentance’. Without presuming to earn heaven by works, we observe James and Paul’s and Matthew’s advice to let faith bring forth the fruit - for it shows our hope, as well as humble contrition for injustices or omissions we may have committed.

As Catholics we do add a further gesture. Our prayers continue for souls who (we trust) meet with a merciful judgment and who by remnant justice God requires to be purified of all trace of attachment to actions by which hurts and wrongs were perpetrated. This we are moved to do even for the forgiven, in the pled blood of Christ. After all, we also believe that the confessed living are forgiven, and still we all need each other’s prayerful help.

The help we seek here and in the condition of purgation, is primarily the help of perseverance. Protestants are right to say that a blessed soul after death is destined to heaven whether they ‘persevere' or not. There is no question of persevering in the temporal sense, for the justified elect after death. We have no dispute on that reality.

Where we differ is to believe that our daily perseverance pertains not only to the lifelong battle against “he who is able to cast your soul into Hell”, but also to a sure hope for the dead. The sure hope for them, with prayer, is that having been saved and justified, all justice will have been made up on their account as they enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Justice, one of God’s perfect attributes (well, all His attributes are perfection itself), is important both scripturally (nothing defiled shall enter) and morally. There lies an answer to the scandal felt by seekers, when they are stunned to learn that perhaps even a Josef Stalin or Pol Pot could escape Hell in their last moments. The answer is, God’s perfect justice is by His mercy satisfied. The mercy after death is a sure path, not an empty instant.

We understand mercy not as a mere nullifying of justice. It includes (a) the payment of ransom for sin by Jesus himself (so that a soul no matter how amended may not be lost as “the world is already condemned”, but saved) (b) the power, by grace, for the soul to repent, to embrace the cross, and to do justice, and (c) to make up in our persons the sufferings for justice that the limited human strength of the divine redeemer could not endure. Finally, it includes participating in God’s means of purifying a soul that even itself would shrink from the shame of entering Heaven without the whitened robe.

These, and especially the latter point, extend to a willing endurance of anticipation, after death, to be dressed for heaven. Marriage is usually timed  to include much patient gown-fitting, and a whiter than snow signifies the behest of mercy and satisfaction of justice. As Jesus portrayed in the story of the heavenly banquet, he who would (if he could) enter without one can only be cast out.

When Paul says ‘whom Jesus calls He also justifies and saves’, he connotes no mechanistic cause-effect sequence; for not all who are called or respond “Lord, Lord” will enter. What’s being said is: upon a true response to the call, made sufficient by repentant perseverance in mercy, an elect soul will go through its justification. That’s code for purification, and (happily) it already begins in the days of our lives. Divine provision is made for it to continue after death, where all who undergo it are ‘the holy souls’. Few are so perfected at death as to go straight to heaven.

No lasting dwelling
So far apologetics, to disparate brothers and sisters who might agree that prayer for the dead can do no harm. The main thrust of our undertakings to offer the divine liturgy for them is to recognize that, whether in this life or the transition after death (guaranteed for the justified to end in Heaven), we have ‘not here a lasting dwelling’.
Those words are often said in a consolation of sorts to persons lamenting the unfairness of life and all the vexatious fortunes and outrages to be suffered. Slings and arrows are hard projectiles, and we are walking targets of the enemies of souls. Oppressed but not crushed; beaten down but not destroyed: we bear the sign of hope.

Much of what befalls us on the rocky road of life is an utter blindsiding. Not always an enemy or even our own perversity is the cause of a crossing and contradiction, or arrest and impediment of career and health. Just as often, these in themselves are cause of our travail and threatened perseverance in faith, hope, even love. Providence permits them, for the world is fallen.

The fall of man radically transformed the world and its underpinnings - not just morally and spiritually but even psychologically and biologically. How could life forces be unaffected, where the preternatural beatific life was lost? The effrontery of disobedience was extreme: we only have to realize that our first parents had clarity of mind, strength of will and proclivity to goodness that we can barely imagine. Wonderful saints like  mother Theresa would hardly lay claim to such a boon, so great is the scandal that venerable parents should turn from it.

The punishment, warned of by God as sheathed behind the lure of knowing evil, was simply just. The sentence reduced life to limitations in its ability to vitiate the effects of entropy. Generational continuance was mercifully allowed for an indefinite future, evidently for a gleaning. But even that is shadowed by the prospect that each soul will, if not saved, die the ‘second death’ of eternity.

There was after all, more disobedience than plucking a fruit, but savouring and sharing it. In Eden, entropy was as much received as warmth and light as it ever has been, and life was able to process it and be healed of all damages. But what died was moral innocence, sullying the limpid mind, sound will and undefiled appetite. The physical sign of the curse was then not mere mortality, but the chaotic vexations by which a soul could be tempted to curse life and its God. Childbirth would be in pain, desire unfulfilled, and the environment most harsh.

To curse God was indeed the goal of the one who sought to destroy Job with his troubles: not a destruction in flesh only (for Job died), but especially a destruction of his persevering love and trust in God. Really under attack in Job’s trials was not health and worldly status, but his perseverance. Even his wife lost that, saying “curse God and die”. Fortunately for her, God commissioned Job to pray for those exacerbating his overwrought patience.

In an RCIA course, at about the time we discuss the last things (death, judgment, Hell and Heaven; with Purgatory and Resurrection put in for full fleshing), the topic of perseverance becomes highly relevant. A useful question for the catechumen (sometimes asked by them) is “what above all is to be overcome” in this life? .. and of course the answer is despair. Its corollary is, “what above all is to be nurtured and kept” .. and the answer turns is perseverance in faith. It means perseverance to the end.

Perseverance to the end is a crowning gift. It fulfils the counsel of Jesus to “remain in me”. It satisfies prophetic wisdom to turn not aside from the right way, and be lost.  If “you remain in me and my words abide in you”, says the Lord, “whatever you ask will be done.” That first of all is a promise that “you will be saved” - since this is the first request of any soul wanting to abide in Christ. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all will be added unto you.

So the difficulty for most people, boils down to seeking or finding the kingdom of God in the midst of every possible contra-indication, in hardship and turmoil, perhaps prison and torture, family disownment and divorces. Job endured the loss of honour, acclaim, personal wellness and hygiene, friends and family - some of them lost by tragic death. Matthew (willingly) endured the loss of employment, and worse has happened to many not so consoled as to walk in Jesus’ visible presence. Life in this world is generally far from fair, despite its attractive moments of promise, and yet we are taught by the Lord to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

Although this prayer was taught before Jesus’ death, being the Lord of time he makes it apply in a fuller sense afterwards. “In Christ, Thy kingdom has come”, and so “may Thy will be done throughout the fallen world as it already is in the heavens.” Jesus rose up before the apostles, taken out of their longest vision into the sky. So accomplished is God’s celestial will - in heavens both physical and spiritual - that whatever will befall the earth is already in motion.  Our personal ‘endorsement’ of the will of God unfolding is a way of “remaining in Him.”

The persevering endorsement of God’s will is quite opposite to the temptation of resignation to fatalism. Que see sera is unfortunately a very common cop-out from the special call to be one with God’s will and providence. We fail to recognize that He, the only necessary Being, is so over and above all contingencies that He does not contradict His power by altering the threatened course of disasters.
He expects us to participate in His providence by actively praying for better outcomes, at least spiritually better ones, and rejoicing in a trust of largely hidden answers and fine interventions, which He is constantly making. There is no pressing need for Him to alter the details of the world’s evolution to the final cataclysm and apocalypse, because the outcome of a harvest of souls is already in His hand and known to Him. But however, He has shown a pressing interest in the picayune details of each person’s inner life and spiritual destiny.

Nineveh was spared a foreboding disaster due to start forty days after Jonas began his proclamation, already much delayed while he prevaricated - never particularly wanting to see Nineveh saved. It must have been a very obnoxious place. Scripture uses the parlance that “God changed His mind”, meaning: the condition He always held forth (in the event of repentance) was realized, selecting the other choice, looking for all the world like a change of mind. God who is unchanging doesn’t mind - and isn’t threatened by - making a very personal action that we would call a ‘change in mind’ - which means an alternate resolution. What it was, is a change of outcome that God already provided-for, by sending Jonas.

Jonas’ own temptation to fatalism even left him dismayed at the lifting of punishment, for we can be fairly sure that even with sackcloth and ashes, many of people’s faults remained. The mind can easily be afflicted with the rather superior sense, adopted whole-heartedly by the accuser of saints, that complete justice be done, or it is not done at all.  But the parable of the wheat and the thorns (tares) was given to remind us how God will work with the imperfect, to bring out what is perfected. As St. Paul puts it, gold is tried and perfected in fire - and it need not be the fire of sulphur and conflagration (though it sometimes is).

The people of Nazareth and Caphernaum Jesus warned to change their hardness of mind, because in the day of judgment some even from Sodom and Gomorrah could condemn them, because they repented even as they were facing the fiery outcome of acknowledged sins.  One thief on a cross beside Jesus condemned the other, equally guilty of robbery and probably murder, by virtue of his embrace of the dying Lord of Life.

The constant call of the cross is to change one’s mind, a mind of complaint or resentment, of despair and self-loathing, of cursing outrageous fortune and its God; and not to change once, but always to do so through life’s endless galling travesties.

“You have not here a lasting dwelling” bears repeating over and over, to dissolve attachments which inevitably enmesh the soul in the shackles of a heartless master. In some sense we are better off than in Eden, where a lack of the vicious may lull the soul into satisfaction with something less than Heaven (like knowledge of evil). To paraphrase St. Augustine, “For yourself You have created us O Lord, and restless we be until we rest in You”.

Untiring perseverance gains quietude for the unquiet soul, noisy distraction being its opposite. Persevering in prayer does seem furtive and even annoying when the busy mind balks at a regularity of ritual words. This inner battle is another manifestation of entropic spiritual disorder, where the order of Heaven (its first rule) can prevail to bring calm. Contrary as it feels to the words of our idle speech, the repeated words of simple prayer are pure sanity.

Idle words
In an episode of my own restless search for meaning, I happened upon the open bible of a colleague, left for the call of nature in a dorm during a conference. There, succinctly recorded, was “you will be accountable for every idle word.”  This arrested me: here I thought Jesus was supposed to be meek and mild.

Where is the mercy in holding people to trifling words? Doesn’t ‘idleness’ count to mitigate culpability? Who is really vested in words they spout idly? Banter, even if self-preening with cleverness or show, is harmless, surely? Not, as I read these piercing words in Matthew. Their candid directness convinced me (I never liked the word ‘convicted’) that they were quite meant by their Author.

“You had not yet set a guard on my mouth, posted a sentry before my lips that my heart might not turn towards evil, to cover sins with smooth names and take part with wrongdoers” [St. Augustine]. Suddenly for me a guard was being set, producing an unaccustomed visceral disinclination for euphemisms like ‘family planning'.

The injunctive power went further, leading me that very day to a conversion moment on the top of a mountain in Banff: one that changed me more than any Ninevite (if I was more lost than they). I cannot now overstate the attending that God visits on our words, which on the positive side means prayers heard. A cursing expletive (of which I am regretfully still prone) even directed at entropy, or pernicious slings and arrows, goes far amiss.

One day, wondering whether I’d ever get mastery of myself, I was stunned by a buddy at a ski club who suddenly piped up, with real feeling, “I truly despise you !” It was quite striking; but the speaker was not so close in friendship for me to give a second thought to “well #!$@ you .. so much do I care”. But with equal heat I blurted out “the feeling, my friend, isn’t mutual”. We both stood there in awkward silence: I surprised at my lack of vendetta, he at missing his mark. Then we both laughed.

An end to entropy
A favourite chuckle for me is the appearance in my email Inbox of a browser pop-up:  “Something’s not right”.  No kidding, when you mine some of the news coming at you today! Something really is not right with the world, and it is tempting to curse the darkness. Lighting a candle may seem like a futile hackneyed witticism - though to be fair, how many people take it to heart and look for matches? Devout people do sometimes light votives and pray.

Physical entropy - to speak of darkness - usually has to do with radiant energy, albeit more as degraded heat (the net background microwave radiation is absolutely massive). It can be so locally intense as to cascade out from a black hole at the gravitating centre of a galaxy (like ours), and there is plenty of brightness in that effluvience.

That of course has been going on for millions or billions of years, so it’s not as if one can suppose that entropy got out of hand when a mere couple sinned down here on middle earth. But what was lost, it is reasonable to speculate, was life’s ability to prevail over it in the long run. One thing that cruel, mindless ‘natural selection’ does get right (and not much else in my opinion) is how entropy grinds down on entelechy.

If order is the first rule of heaven, then beatitude is the end of entropy. Certainly being outside the physical limits of this world, there’s no question of physical entropy playing a troublesome role. But it also means the end of all laborious and checked efforts, vexatious angst, clamour or any other correlate of spiritual hazard. There’s no ‘hazard’ or  game of loss of any kind, in the end to travails that is the peace of Christ. And yes, in quiet we can taste a hint like saffron of that endless day.

RIP Cyril a Eulogy on the Death of #ProLife Hero Cyril Winter by William Baptiste, SFO

In Memoriam:  Cyril Winter,
Martyr for Freedom of Speech and Religion
By William Baptiste SFO, Founder and Director, Human Rights and Freedoms Forever!
Readers who do not live in Ontario, Canada should keep in mind that it seems to be the current “world leader” in the UNEDUCATED ‘Creeping Totalitarianism’ affecting ALL Western democracies, showing us where ALL the West is headed without our prayer and EDUCATED action in defense of religious freedom

In Brief: The corrupt authorities apparently had no regard for the law, even their own totalitarian law making Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy a crime, much less any regard for a 70-year old man with a heart condition, since law-abiding Cyril was careful to leave his usual Pro-Life signs at home and only displayed signs reading “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.  NO CENSORSHIP” and “GOD SAVE OUR CHARTER RIGHTS.” The Ottawa-based Attorney General made the new law specifically with ending Cyril’s Ottawa human-rights witness in mind, and they deliberately arrested Cyril ANYWAY, it seems in order to make an EXAMPLE of him, and to send an INTIMIDATING ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MESSAGE to the Pro-Life community in all of Ontario: “SHUT UP, and don’t even SHOW UP, because we are willing to arrest known Pro-Lifers just for being present,” and Cyril died from heart problems while waiting to be on trial for a crime he did not even commit.  This is why it is wholly appropriate to call Cyril Winter a Martyr for Freedom of Speech and Religion, as well as for Human Rights for All Humans, which Cyril had for years regularly and peacefully advocated for, against human-killing abortion, before a totalitarian-oriented government (with Cyril in mind) made HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY a CRIME anywhere within up to a 150m/~500ft radius of a human-killing abortion facility provincewide. 
This is my eulogy for Cyril Winter, an elderly man who died on Mar.9, 2018, a month after he was arrested and a week before he was initially scheduled to appear in court Mar.16; unjustly on trial for a crime he did not even commit, falsely arrested and charged under a totalitarian law that had no place in a free democracy even if he had broken it.  I met Cy and talked with him on a number of occasions before I had opportunity to speak at his funeral; from these impressions and from what others (including the media, citing a retired RCMP officer) have said and written about him, I can say: Cyril Winter lived and died not only for the Pro-Life cause that effectively says killing humans is wrong because Human Rights are for ALL humans, including pre-born humans (like each of us when we were their age); a cause which (unfortunately) not all share with him.  But Cyril Winter also lived and died for the cause of democratic Freedom of Speech for EVERYBODY.  Cyril Winter also lived and died for (in his own words on the sign he was first arrested and charged for under a totalitarian law passed by the extremely totalitarian-oriented Liberal government of Ontario, Canada) “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.  NO CENSORSHIP.”  Cyril was arrested a second time only two days later, one month before his Mar.9 death, on Feb.9, just for holding a sign reading “GOD SAVE OUR CHARTER RIGHTS.”  
The Ontario Attorney General behind the new totalitarian-oriented “no-free-speech-on-behalf-of-Human-Rights-Bubble-Zone" law is the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Ottawa Centre, the location of the Ottawa Morgentaler (human-killing abortion) Clinic which has repeatedly complained about the peaceful Pro-Life witness outside its doors, and Cyril Winter was the only one who regularly stood on the side of the street that has the door to the clinic, friendly but often carrying photographic proof of the crime against humanity behind the door, showing the corpses of human babies killed by abortion (and other signs like “Choose God’s Love: don’t kill your baby today”).  So it is apparent that the Attorney General (encouraged by Ottawa’s Mayor, who passed on to him the human-killing abortion clinic’s complaints largely about Cyril) designed the law specifically with stopping Cyril's witness for Human Rights in Ottawa in mind – and also stopping anyone like him all over the province from advocating for Human Rights in any fashion, anywhere remotely near where humans are being legally killed by abortion.
But once the totalitarian law was passed and in force, Cyril, as a good Christian and law-abiding citizen, did not take the bait, and found a way to still protest without breaking even this horrendously anti-democratic law which means they can arrest you for even just staring at a human-killing abortion clinic, which they take as a sign of the “disapproval” of abortion the law forbids within the “Bubble Zone.”  Despite the fact the wording and the stated interpretation of this totalitarian law are both so broad that known Pro-Lifers have to “walk on eggshells” in the large Bubble Zone for fear they can be arrested literally just for looking the wrong way, Cyril took great pains to make sure he would not break the new law if he went into the Bubble Zone, even talking with a policeman beforehand to make sure there would not be any problems with his new signs which did not mention abortion, and making sure his back was always to the clinic so he could not be misconstrued as “looking at it disapprovingly.”  But the evidence suggests that other authorities were so determined to make an example of Cyril, to intimidate Pro-Lifers into staying home, that when Cyril didn’t take the bait, the Prosecutor instructed the police to arrest and charge Cyril even though his signs upholding freedom of expression and religion in no way broke the new law against Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy (a law that only belongs in a totalitarian State in any case).
The corrupt authorities apparently had no regard for the law, even their own totalitarian law making Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy a crime, much less any regard for a 70-year old man with a heart condition, since law-abiding Cyril was careful to leave his usual Pro-Life signs at home and only displayed signs promoting freedom of speech; yet it seems they deliberately arrested Cyril falsely in order to MAKE AN EXAMPLE of him, and to send an INTIMIDATING ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MESSAGE to the Pro-Life community in all of Ontario: “SHUT UP, and don’t even SHOW UP, because we are willing to arrest known Pro-Lifers just for being present,” and Cyril died from heart problems while waiting to be on trial for a crime he did not even commit.  Even a 25-year-old in perfect health would have tremendous physical strain on his body from the stress of being falsely arrested with an impending unjust trial (even if he was looking forward to his chance to exonerate himself, as Cy was); as an old man with heart problems, it is not surprising that Cyril’s body failed and he died after authorities with no regard for either the law or for the elderly arrested and charged him, knowing he had not broken any law, apparently for the totalitarian purpose of intimidating the whole Pro-Life community provincewide from exercising NORMAL LEGITIMATE DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS, which is all Cyril was arrested for.
 Cyril was consistent in finding the edge of what he could still do as a good Christian, law-abiding citizen – even when the laws were turning evil - and consistent in standing up for the Truth and goodness of human life and human freedom as much as he could without breaking the law, no matter how twisted and totalitarian the law was.  Legal human-killing abortion itself literally follows the precedent of totalitarian, human-killing Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the first two nations to de-criminalize abortion (in 1920 and 1934, shortly before both committed genocides because where abortion is legal there is no legally recognized Inherent Human Right to Live, which is the foundation of all Human Rights and freedoms.  The Nazis were condemned at Nuremberg in 1948 for legal abortion as “a crime against humanity”).  But Cyril (born in 1948) went right to the edge of whatever rights he still had to protest this evil which follows totalitarian precedent; and when they made a new totalitarian law to take away his right to do even that, he still found the edge of what he could still do legally, and stood at the place they took his freedom away holding signs advocating now for FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.  Since it seems the totalitarian law was crafted by Ottawa-based politicians specifically with Cyril’s Ottawa witness in mind, and it seems they were determined to arrest him under this law even if he didn’t break it, and since he died an innocent man facing impending trial for it, it is wholly appropriate to call Cyril Winter a martyr for Freedom of Speech and Religion, as well as for Human Rights for All Humans, which Cyril had regularly peacefully advocated for, against human-killing abortion, before the totalitarian-oriented “Pro-Choice-to-Kill-Humans” government made such Human Rights advocacy a crime, apparently because they could not bear Cyril or anyone having the democratic right to peacefully express a democracy-grounding, human-life-affirming position opposed to their uneducated “Pro-Choice-to-Kill-Humans” position.
Cyril lived and died doing what all of us in the Ontario democracy should be doing in the face of Premier Wynne’s Liberal government making Ontario the “world leader” in the current worldwide trend of ‘Pro-Choice-to-Kill-Humans’ ‘Creeping Totalitarianism,’ first by taking away doctors’ freedom of conscience and free speech to object to killing humans by abortion and euthanasia, and now by restricting democratic freedoms of assembly, speech, expression and religion within the large Bubble Zone, all to make sure humans can be killed in Ontario without anyone complaining, JUST LIKE IN EVERY TOTALITARIAN STATE.  Cyril did what he could, as long as he could, to make sure our democracy lasts by incessantly protesting the killing of humans by abortion, which is so intrinsically anti-democratic that the only way corrupt authorities can prevent Pro-Lifers from speaking the truth of the EQUAL HUMAN PRECIOUSNESS democracy is built on, is to formally become totalitarian monsters passing totalitarian laws and enforcing them however they like, as they just did, to silence all Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy, at least within their expanding “Bubble Zones.”  They even arrested Cy without his even breaking their law, to make an example of him anyway, sending Pro-Lifers the message to just SHUT UP and STAY AWAY.
Well, they sent their message - and we got it.  And the message we should send back is: WE EDUCATED PRO-LIFE HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES, WHO ARE THE PREMIER DEFENDERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY WORLDWIDE (since as DEMOCRACY 101 shows, PRO-LIFE=PRO-DEMOCRACY) WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED (BY UNEDUCATED ‘TOTALITARIAN CREEPS’) INTO GIVING UP OUR PROPER DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS TO SPEAK AND EXPRESS THE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY WHICH INCLUDE THE EQUAL HUMAN PRECIOUSNESS OF EVERY HUMAN LIFE – IN OR OUT OF THE WOMB – WHICH DEMOCRACY IS HISTORICALLY AND LOGICALLY BUILT ON.  Because the government’s own totalitarian actions in support of human-killing abortion have just again proved the logical link that Pro-Life = Pro-Democracy, from now on, to embarrass them for their ignorance of Human Rights history and their overt totalitarianism, all freedom-lovers should keep going to the Bubble Zones around the province’s abortion clinics with signs or T-shirts bearing the SAME messages the totalitarian authorities arrested Cy Winters for: “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.  NO CENSORSHIP” and “GOD SAVE OUR CHARTER RIGHTS” - (quoting) Cyril Winter, Martyr for Freedom of Speech and Religion.  I suggest they do not enter the Bubble Zones (they now have reason to fear unjust arrest, like Cyril’s), but tell the people around “I’m here to protest the totalitarian Police State conditions the Wynne government has set up, wherein police can arrest peaceful Human Rights advocates and someone carrying this same sign was arrested just for advocating for free speech.”  We are a democracy, not a totalitarian State.  I wrote DEMOCRACY 101 so uneducated politicians (and the voters who vote for them) can learn the difference.  Cyril’s exercise of democratic freedom forced totalitarian-oriented politicians to show their true anti-democratic colours, and we should honour his courage and protect our democracy by spreading the message he was unjustly arrested for: “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.  NO CENSORSHIP.” “GOD SAVE OUR CHARTER RIGHTS.” And because PRO-LIFE=PRO-DEMOCRACY, like Cyril, we must never stop our Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy for legally recognized Human Rights for ALL Humans!  
Cyril’s Witness of Democratic Freedom to Boldly Stand Up for the Pro-Life FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY Forced the Officially Pro-Choice(-to-Kill-Humans) Government to Reveal Their True Totalitarian Colours.  The ONLY Way to Silence the Pro-Human-Right-to-Live, Pro-Life Voice in Any Democracy is to Turn that Democracy Into a Totalitarian Police State Where Citizens Can Be Arrested by Police (Like Cyril Was) Just For Holding Signs Upholding “Freedom of Expression and Religion” Even Though This Broke No Law; And Where Citizens Can Be Arrested Under Totalitarian Laws Like Ontario’s (Which Targeted Cyril) That Make PEACEFUL HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY Against Human-Killing Abortion a CRIME

Cyril’s Last Sign
Cyril’s last sign that he took into the Bubble Zone, after being arrested twice for signs upholding freedom of speech and religion, was “I LOVE JESUS/JESUS LOVES YOU.” They did not arrest him for this, which means they are not bringing back the lions for Christians right away. But how far behind can this be, when they have already passed a law meaning Christians and others can be arrested for speaking Christian values like killing humans is wrong because Human Rights are for all humans anywhere within blocks of where humans are being killed by abortion? The police, strictly enforcing current Ontario Law,                                                                                                                                                                                                 would most certainly have arrested Cyril Winter if he had brought back his old Pro-Life sign advising women to “CHOOSE GOD’S LOVE. DON'T KILL YOUR BABY TODAY.” And in any case the police DID in fact arrest and charge Cyril Feb.7 just as a known Pro-Lifer with a sign reading “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION.NO CENSORSHIP” and on Feb.9 with a sign reading “GOD SAVE OUR CHARTER RIGHTS.” The Canadian federal government now requires an “attestation” that you are Pro-abortion before you can get government funding for some programs. These anti-Pro-Life laws and policies (mirrored in other countries like France where Pro-Life websites are illegal) can only lead eventually to the explicit persecution of Christians IF Western citizens do not soon get EDUCATED in the necessary Christian, Pro-Life foundations of our whole free and democratic Western way of life, which are laid out so clearly in DEMOCRACY 101. There is no Democracy as we know it without Human Rights; and there are no Human Rights without Christianity. Most serious Pro-Lifers are Christians, simply because Christians introduced the idea that killing humans is wrong into Western Civilization. BEFORE Christianity, the GOVERNMENT was often the biggest THREAT to human life and freedom; but Christianity taught the West that human life was NOT cheap, to serve a greater State (as was the worldwide norm); but that every human life is PRECIOUS and that the State government is OBLIGATED to protect (and ultimately serve) precious human lives. Then Human Rights were first effectively recognized in law with the 318 AD criminalization of human-killing abortion and infanticide due to Christian influence, only 5 years after the West stopped violently persecuting Christians in 313 AD; this laid the logical FOUNDATION for all Western Human Rights and freedoms which developed since (in Western Christian Civilization). Known Christian Pro-Lifer Cyril Winter's unjust arrest (and death while awaiting unjust trial) just for holding signs upholding freedom of expression and religion (in protest of the government taking away his right to do peaceful Pro-Life Human Rights advocacy which can be done in any healthy democracy), among many other signs indicates a general Western regression to the human-killing Pro-Choice-abortion values AND TOTALITARIAN style of government which were BOTH NORMAL in the West before Christianity. This should be a clarion call to wake up both Christians and non-Christians to the fact that PRO-LIFE=PRO-DEMOCRACY, and that Christian or not, we need to at least restore RESPECT for the Christian, Pro-Life foundations of Western freedom if it is to last.  
Legal human-killing abortion itself literally follows the precedent of totalitarian, human-killing Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the first two nations to de-criminalize abortion (in 1920 and 1934), shortly before both committed genocides because where abortion is legal there is no legally recognized Inherent Human Right to Live, which is the foundation of all Human Rights and freedoms.
 (CNW Edited by WB from Previous Version April 12)
By: William Baptiste, Founder & Director; Author: DEMOCRACY 101: A Voter’s and Politician’s Manual for LASTING Democracy Martyr for Freedom of Speech and Religion