RELIGION & MY LIFE SERIES_MOVIES

When I choose a movie I choose it for the purpose of getting something out of it. It may be affirmation, education, a challenge or light hearted humor. This movie was very affirming for me.( I went to see it at Village_ Sunshine)

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This morning I went to see this movie and I have to say it really hit the mark.            I enjoyed it at many levels.

First because it’s art imitating life, I know of a real nearby church in Maribyrnong, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, Australia that was burned by a disgruntled youth. There are also churches been burned or bombed in other parts of the world today.

I condemn this violence as it’s not helpful and it just causes more pain and it should never be a form of expression no matter what faith it may be.

Second, that we all have doubts and fear in life. We have all been victims of injustices at some time or another. But God is always there waiting to hear from each and everyone of us to answer our doubts and fears. The movie shows this beautifully through Pastor Dave.

Third, that forgiveness is the biggest healer of all. We should never doubt God’s acceptance of us,  His unconditional love and forgiveness.

Fourth, I know families struggling with children and their faith, like Pastor Dave and his lawyer brother. Teenagers doubting the existence of God. I believe that parents need to have real discussions with their children and together be part of a church that is going to deepen their faith.

Next, is the question of whether we have the right to practice our faith. Some say faith can be divisive and it can cause violence. No!!! Religion doesn’t cause violence but the hearts and choices of people does. We should not blame religion for the atrocities of others. We all have a right to practice our religion as stated in Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (see article 18 below) http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/                                        I  hate the argument that religion causes wars. These wars were all chosen by men not God. Let’s look at the now!

God is good all the time, it’s people that doubt, question and change. God never changes. Church is very relevant today, more than ever before because the world as it stands today, is in turmoil. I love when Pastor Dave was asked what is truth?  He answered that truth is a person -JESUS CHRIST -who is the true justice warrior.

Jesus’ teachings are very relevant today, they were given to us to help and protect us, not to harm us. Just look at the choices people are making today. Their choices are been driven by what the media is pushing, minority groups, what is fashionable, by stats or by desires, not by what is good, praiseworthy and pleasing to God.

We should all focus on the big picture and have a heaven perspective. This movie helps me focus of the Almighty, All powerful God and Jesus who is like God.

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Dear Lord Jesus,

Everyday helps us to be more like you and fight for what is right and just, according to the gospels you gave us. Give us the answers to all our doubts and fears and forgive all our digressions, through Your Holy Spirit, AMEN.

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RELIGION AND MY LIFE SERIES: RELATIVISM

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The oxford meaning of ‘Relativism’ is……The doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

So looking at this from a moral perspective, this would mean that there is no truth and that it changes as society’s views change…I believe this is ridden with problems.

According to Joseph Ratzinger Pope Benedict....”Relativism is the idea that there is no universal absolute truth but that truth differs from person to person and culture to culture. In other words, truth is relative to what each person or culture thinks. who warned  “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” Relativism is a poison. It attacks our most human capacity, the capacity to seek and know the truth, including the moral truth.  It’s the greatest problem of our time sais Joseph Ratzinger- Pope Benedict)

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For a family to grow and thrive, it must have a set of values and beliefs that ensure the smooth running of its household for the benefits of all its family members. To do this it must have a common understanding of what is right and what is wrong, what to do and what not to do under given circumstances.

But could this be true of any workplace, establishment, society or country etc.?       I would say YES!! Because without a system of beliefs, values and a common understanding, how would its employees, members, participants etc. come to the truth? How would they come to some consensus? How could any family , or institution function? How could they be fair and just?  Again, having a common set of beliefs would assist, enhance the teamwork, involvement, productivity etc. Companies, schools, establishments, workplaces  have vision and mission statements to differentiate them from the rest . I deem this to be necessary of society as well. I’m not sure how all would function without a common set of values and beliefs.  All would collapse, all would not be able to function and thrive.

So then what is the truth??????????????????????? Many today think that science is the only truth, that if it cannot be verified then it’s just an opinion or it’s subjective.

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One of the greatest manifestation of this is the question of what is evil/right/wrong/? Just take a look at this youtube video (below)

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Shouldn’t parents have the right to hold on to their child? Countries who have had euthanasia laws well established, have people going into hospitals wearing badges saying “Please don’t euthanize me.” People should have the right to choose according to their values and beliefs?  Where there is life there is hope. That hope was taken away from Alfie’s parents. Similar situations would come under abortion, euthanasia, marriage, gender issues and more.

This belief that truth evolves and that there are no absolutes would be difficult to live to, this would lead us to believe that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself but that there is only better than and worse than….Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstance and on the evil in view. Anything can be good or bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences and in the process it ceases to exist. ( Joseph Ratzinger 2008)

So how do we get around this?????? Jesus gives us the model to live by for all civilizations. Much of which his model is based on common core values of: love, hope and charity, respect, pro life and more, gospel truths that have been handed down from Jesus Christ using over 2000 years of intelligence.

No matter what faith one might have, these rules and themes as handed down by Jesus Christ, are universal. Who wouldn’t want to uphold love, hope and charity, respect or pro life issues? These can unite us and lead us to Jesus Christ who leads us to the absolute truth and to our Heavenly Father in Heaven. . Show me your evidence that negates this?

All churches, families, workplaces, or any establishment who serve people should adopt these values and not water them down because it is not fashionable.

Here are some problems. When relativists apply and start imposing their opinions unto others, problems surface, because where then is that common set of beliefs?  Which is right, your view or mine?As a relativist, why should anyone adopt or believe in someone who imposes their views? So why should anyone conform?????

So, how does all this relate to my life? Well, in my own family Jesus is the centre, he is our model to live by.  These values are the ones that I have tried to instill in my children.

As for the workplace, first I tried to find a place with the above values and when the workplace didn’t uphold them, I upheld them and tried to bring Jesus into the situation. I left the workplace when the common core values were not upheld or were not aligned with my faith. When it got tough, I prayed that Jesus would lead me to the next stage of my life and He always has in His timing not mine.

When sitting amongst friends and colleagues and the conversation because contentious, I politely bring facts and the truth to it. I try to evangelise as much as I can. I volunteer at my church and instruct students from  ages 8-11 years about my faith. The rest is up to them and whether they are open to the truth.

If people don’t believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and Their Spirit, then it becomes their responsibility to search for the truth. I’m still discovering and getting a better understanding of Jesus’s message because I’ve joined a bible group to help me grow in understanding. God is good because when He created us He programmed us for Him no matter what your beliefs are. God will bring opportunities to you via media, other people, a song, a report  etc.

At Election time, I research the parties’ candidates to see what their beliefs and world view is and then I vote for the candidae/party that best represent my views. I write letters to politicians and sign petitions.

Finally, I can live in the word but not be of the world and I try to have a heaven perspective.

PRAYER:

Dear Father in Heaven, make us strong and steadfast in avoiding temptation.      Lead us to the absolute truth and to reject new age philosophies that lead us to false beliefs which ignore the gospel truths of Your Son Jesus Christ. AMEN.

RELIGION AND MY LIFE SERIES:-FRIENDS

I am listening to gregorian chants as I write this, I find them really soothing and in line with my brain waves which makes it conducive to passive thinking.  As you read this you may like to do so as well ( click below)

We all need friends, but I have found that the older I get, the smaller my circle of friends is becoming.

Seven years ago, my husband and I went on a holiday to Europe with three other couples whom we had been friends with for decades and thought we knew well. Before we left for our holidays, we met on numerous occasions over coffee to discuss rules and boundaries so as not to tread on each other’s toes, as we were going to be in close proximity to one another for around six weeks.

What a challenge it was for us going away with them on this trip !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Very early in the trip, it became very clear to us that they were not going to follow the briefing we went through before we left. Our friends showed their true colours. We were happy to let things go and continue on our journey by just being polite and not responding with rebuttals. We calmly and reservedly kept going throughout the trip and tried to maintain a professional and cordial relationship.

The jealousy started coming out in words and action, the backstabbing went on and they avoided us as much as they could because in their eyes, we were not team players.  Our silence and us ignoring them didn’t suit them,  it gave them more ammunition to disgrace us.

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Throughout the six weeks the eyes were rolling, we had to endure smirking, gossip, whispers, secrets, and avoidance tactics. We prayed morning, noon and night throughout all this and God gave us the strength to keep going and not roll up into balls and retaliate or retreat indoors.  We went on excursions with the tour group and joined up with other couples or others would ask us to join in with them.

Truly I tell you, God was with us and kept us focused throughout the whole trip.  We finished the tour and returned home having a feeling and sense of fulfillment and achievement. My husband and I had a wonderful time and visited so many great places throughout Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, the power of prayer brought us real joy and comfort to our hearts everyday.

Upon our return, even though we felt joy from having completed the trip, the bullying didn’t stop, these so called friends poisoned our other friend’s hearts, those who couldn’t come. We were not about to start a tit for tat communication, we decided to allow God do His work.  We felt empty with feelings of loss , but we never gave up!!

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God did not desert us, He had a plan for us, He showed us to let it all go, to forgive and move on. As our faith in God was getting stronger, God was building us up and raising us to another level. God was pruning us to prepare us for bigger and better things.

Feeling quite battered, six months later my husband and I took some prayer healing courses. We got prayer healing for ourselves and by invitation, went on to serve and facilitate healing through prayer for others. Life is great now. I can’t imagine our lives any other way. God has transformed us. I don’t believe this would have followed, if it hadn’t been for that experience and loss.

Nothing phases us because we know that God is working through our lives moment by moment. We do our bit and God does the rest.

We have continued to pray and ask God to lead us. My husband and I have our own ministry, together we run a Men’s Spirituality Group at the local church, I teach children who want to come from local state schools about our faith and  help them receive the sacraments. I also have my own Spirituality blog. I am a carer for my 81 year old mother who lives at the family home by herself and I enjoy doing things for her and doing things together as well.

The children I teach before me, have a great thirst for God and Jesus Christ, they ask me lots of questions, they are attending church services more, they feel stronger in their relationships in mainstream schools and love coming to classes out of their own free will. They are praying more and then go home and tell their parents what they have learnt and then the parents tell me what they have learnt through their children. WOW!!! I SAY!!!!!!And all because we went on that trip seven years ago.

God was pruning us and what seemed a challenging experience to us then, God was planting seeds in us, turning things around so that we could grow and be His instruments. I have never felt happier, more content and fulfilled than I do now.  Everyday I get affirmations from God that I am on the right track. What seems enormous He makes easy. What seems impossible He makes possible. When I give money away, I have more money in my wallet. I don’t take any credit for this because God makes it all happen, we’re just His instruments.

Yesterday, our daughter returned from having attended the COACHELLA 2018 festival in Palm Springs. I can’t deny that we weren’t a little apprehensive. She came back overjoyed that everything went better than she had ever expected. She asked us if we prayed for her, because she felt a spiritual protection over her the whole time. Of course the answer was a resounding YES!!! (  We prayed before, during and after the festival). So make no mistake, God is at work every minute of our lives even though things may seem quiet and that nothing is happening, God is aligning things up and testing you to see how far you are prepared to go.

Our eldest daughter is getting married next year and what others have said about wedding preparations been hard,  I am enjoying immensely and like clockwork, everything is lining up as we want, with ease. NO WORRIES!!

We now have different friends, ones we have met at church. So I say to you, if your friends don’t appreciate or celebrate who you are, if they are the naysayers and blockers in your life, let them go,  forgive them and give them to God.            PRAISE THE LORD!

I’d love to hear about your friends, please write to me. 

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GOD BLESS YOU ALL, IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE PLEASE FOLLOW ME AND THEN  LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK.

RELIGION AND MY LIFE SERIES_PURGATORY

 HOW DOES RELIGION AFFECT MY LIFE?
SR. FAUSTINA                b. 1905- d. 1935
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This is the first of a series that I will put together to show people how my catholic faith affects my life.
Why does anybody do what they do? Because they are programmed for God, because without God we’ll forever have a restless heart.  Our spirit guides us into doing what we do.
I recently came into full understanding of what PURGATORY is all about.
I knew about it from a child, but really never stopped to think or research more on this topic until I was given an auditory tape that explained it fully.
Why should I believe in it at all one might ask? Well!!!! I don’t want to waste this life on a 50/50 % chance. I cannot come back and change my life but I can change my future. I can’t change my eternity. I believe that this life is so very short and when I think back I just realise how quickly this life is passing.
So then, PURGATORY IS a place of cleansing or purifying.
” The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: verbatim   All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030).
Let me break that down a little. The word purgatory is the label given to us using hundreds of years of intelligence. The word bible does not appear in the bible either.  However, the description of what is written down (see above) is just that-Purgatory. Not all christian bibles will have 2 Maccabees 12: 41-45  as it has been omitted. My protestant  friends tell me that salvation is automatic if you choose God, but I don’t think it’s that simple.
Did God not allow Jesus to be crucified for our sins? Does God forbid all
sin that may come to us or that we partake in? No, He doesn’t,  God allows evil in the world.
When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave the repentant thief because he repented out aloud to Jesus. He asked for forgiveness and Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise. He had already suffered a terrible death on the cross like Jesus and  that would have counted towards his atonement, but do we know for sure that the other thief went to heaven too? Who knows??????
Heaven is perfect. God is perfect. Jesus is perfect. If we have traces of sin we are rendered imperfect so when we die we cannot enter Heaven straight away. It doesn’t mean we are not saved, it means that we have to atone for what is left
Anything imperfect cannot enter heaven. It’s pretty straight forward.
Matthew 16:19 says……. ”and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

2 Maccabees 12:41-45 (RSVCE)

41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.[a]

GOD IS LOVE, JESUS IS THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB OF GOD WHO DIED, SO THAT WE CAN BE PURIFIED OF SIN IF WE REPENT AND FORGIVE.
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Jesus does not go to purgatory but Mary does. Mary the great intercessor of us  all. Mary who has been elevated to the Queen of Heaven, the mother of God’s Son and the Mother of us all, visits purgatory often as a reprieve to those waiting to enter heaven.
We as humans are not expected to know everything about God or His plans. We grow into the truth and sometimes the people of His choosing get messages from God from Jesus or Mary. Isn’t that how the prophets knew about Jesus and who He was? Isn’t that how that oral tradition was passed on and eventually written down? Isn’t that how John  wrote the book of Revelations?
Well, in this case Jesus chose to reveal the afterlife- hell, purgatory and heaven to Sr. Faustina, why her you might ask??????? God chooses those who will honour Him and bring glory to His name and Sr. Faustina (now a Roman Catholic saint) was just that person. -Her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul,  is a book she wrote  based on the contents of her diary from 1934 until her death, in 1938 in which she describes vividly her visions( click below for more info).
Why would Jesus reveal these to her? Because God wants us all with Him in heaven and He will stop at nothing to help us get there.
SR FAUSTINA’S VISION OF PURGATORY WRITTEN IN HER DIARY AS SHE SAW IT
(click below)
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So how has this changed my life??? Well,  I go to confession to repent of my sins. I don’t hold grudges, I quickly ask for forgiveness from those I have wronged.
I try to pass the message on to others. I have taught students at school about this and my own children at length, so there is no mistaking purgatory for what it is and that it is a real place.
 I ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO REGIFT ME, SO THAT I CAN BE BETTER AND BE THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF. I ASK GOD TO ALIGN MY WILL WITH HIS WILL.
Recently it was my father’s anniversary of his passing and not only do I pray for him but my family and I had a mass celebrated in his name. November is the month of “ALL SOULS, “again we have masses celebrating our beloved.
One cannot get out of purgatory by themselves, hence we need to live your lives for God now and hope for a better eternity for ourselves. We need prayers from the living.  Prayers are never wasted, if you pray and your beloved are already in heaven, God will use your prayers for someone else who need them.
The rosary(given to us by Mary) prayed by oneself or with others, helps souls get to heaven.
(see link for virtual rosary below)
PRAYER FOR THE DEAD
ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIS/HER (NAME OF PERSON PRAYING FOR) SOUL O LORD AND MAY PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM/HER.
MAY (HE/SHE) REST IN PEACE. AMEN