Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, 1932-2015


Leonard Nimoy as the quintessential Mr. Spock.

Brethren, Peace be with You - "Peace, and Long Life."

I want to mark the passing of Mr. Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, writer, and even singer, best known as the Vulcan Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series and movies.

There's little I can say about Mr. Nimoy's illustrious artistic career, except to say that he inspired me in so many ways and even traits that I'm even conscious about that I can only be grateful for his gifts and a life well-lived.

Nimoy as Prophet Samuel
Mr. Nimoy played many characters throughout his career. One of the lesser known is the Prophet Samuel in the made-for-tv Bible movie David. It was a much apropos role for the versatile Jewish actor and one that moved me deeply.

In the third Star Trek movie with the original crew, The Search for Spock, we discovered that the recently-deceased Mr. Spock had been resurrected by the "Genesis Wave." As a Christian, and in common with many Jews, I expect one day in which we will also be raised up again to life, thanks to a very special "Genesis Wave." I am confident I'll be seeing Mr. Nimoy again on that morning.

Leonard Nimoy, boldly gone to where everyone else living will be going to, eventually. He was 83 years old.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

No witch doctor, shaman, or "spiritual adviser" will ever save your marriage




Brethren, Peace be with you.

Often, losers that have nothing else to do spam my comm box for the blog post titled Hedge Prayer for Return of a Wayward Spouse, seeking to advertise magical solutions through silly testimonials for some sort of "guru, witch doctor, shaman" or otherwise "spiritual adviser" who supposedly can bring back a estranged loved one to a broken soul.

These lame attempts at spamming are worrying because of the utter falsity underlying their claim and the losers' silly hope that I would clear such false advertisement on my comm box. I only have two read half of their first sentence to detect their spam and reject their comment with a few clicks.

Brethren, guard your souls. If you go for help to these charlatans you will be destroying your marriages and risking grave spiritual harm, for you will be inviting demons to "fix" a holy union they're bent upon destroying in the first place.

Three people hold the key to a successful marriage: Jesus, and the two spouses. Only these three together can fix a marriage. It only takes one spouse to reject Jesus for a marriage to succumb.

Therefore, pray for the protections of your marriage, for the constant conversion of the spouses and for the mutual and ever-present commitment to each other.

Only prayer to God the Father, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, can bring a spouse back. But if he or she doesn't return - for God will not force His will over the freedom of the deserting spouse - then pray for the deserter's salvation, for his or her spiritual destiny is at stake.
- If you find yourself in this situation, please continue praying the Hedge Prayer for Return of a Wayward Spouse. Due to the constant spamming attempts, I closed the comment thread. Please, accept my apologies and thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Coptic Church Recognizes 21 Men Murdered by #ISIS as Holy Neo-Martyrs


Icon of the 21 Coptic Holy New Martyrs Written by Tony Rezk
(Click on it to enlarge it)

Brothers and Sisters: May the Peace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with all of you.

This, according to Vatican Radio:
The Coptic Orthodox Church has announced that the murder of the 21 Egyptian Christians killed by the so-called Islamic State in Libya will be commemorated in its Church calendar.

Pope Tawadros II announced that the names of the martyrs will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxarium, the Oriental Church’s equivalent to the Roman Martyrology. This procedure is also equivalent to canonization in the Latin Church. 
According to terrasanta.net, the martyrdom of the 21 Christians will be commemorated on the 8th Amshir of the Coptic calendar, or February 15th of the Gregorian calendar. 
The commemoration falls on the feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. 
Militants of the Islamic State released a gruesome video entitled “A Message Signed in Blood to the Nation of the Cross” in which they released a warning saying they were “south of Rome.” They then proceeded to behead the Christian men, some of whom were seen mouthing the words “Lord Jesus Christ” moments before their death. 
While the killings have stirred fears of the Islamic State’s close proximity to Europe, they have also strengthened many in their faith. 
In an interview with Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC on Wednesday, Beshir Kamel, brother of two of the Coptic martyrs, even thanked the Islamic State for including their declaration of faith in the videos before killing them. 
“ISIS gave us more than we asked when they didn’t edit out the part where they declared their faith and called upon Jesus Christ. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith,” he said. 
Beshir said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy and Samuel, saying that their martyrdom was “a badge of honor to Christianity.” 
Kamel’s interview with SAT 7-ARABIC went viral, receiving over 100,000 views within hours of its posting online. When asked what his reaction would be if he saw an Islamic State militant, Kamel recalled his mother’s response. 
"My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven,” Beshir said. 
Commentary. This is how Christian Martyrs die: in complete imitation of our Master who could've refused the Cross and even come down from it had He willed it. I join my Coptic brethren in celebrating this new crop of saints, demanding justice before the throne of the Lamb (Revelation 6:9-11):
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabi.tants of the earth and avenge our blood?”11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.
The only thing we can be sure off is that more martyrs will be coming and not only in Africa or the Middle East, nor only at the hands of Islamofascist terrorists, but elsewhere and at the hands of people who see themselves as enlightened and "scientific." They will mock us, attempt to control us, jail us and in the end, kill us so that their consciences aren't bothered again by our witnessing.

These brothers, mostly ignored by the chattering classes of the West, recapitulate in themselves the martyrs who came before and who will come afterwards in this new era of global persecution. They have passed the test. They stand before the Throne of God and of the Lamb. They were found worthy.
Axios, axios, axios!
The blood of these martyrs is the seed of the Church!
Holy Martyrs of Libya, pray for us!
Find out more about the Coptic Orthodox Church here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Vivificat now in Flipboard e-zine format!

Brethren: Peace be with you.

In my unending quest to share news, opinions, reflections, and prayers from my personal Catholic perspective with the world, I hereby present to you a new outlet for this blog via the Flipboard magazine publication system. You may enjoy this blog online here or  better still, download the Flipboard app for your iPad or Android device from iTunes or the Android Store and then subscribe to The Spirit Gives Life!, the name I gave Vivificat's magazine version.

You may also share articles from the blog from the e-zine and, even better, leave your comments and discuss the contents with other users within the magazine. How cool is that!

Once again, I thank you for choosing to read Vivificat in any of its forms and for considering me your companion as we pilgrimage through this life in our way to Eternity.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

For the #MSM it is "religion" in general that is "bad" but not #Islam

News Analysis

Brethren, Peace be with you.

Have you noticed some headlines? It seems that "religion" is having a tough time lately.

This article on CNN last week caught my eye: Religion's week from hell, by CNN's Religion Editor, Daniel Burke. He substantiates his core statement by listing all the events during the week illustrating his argument. The problem is that all his examples were gruesome butcheries perpetrated by Islamic terrorism.

I didn't say anything back then, thinking - naively, it now seems- that the silly narrative would stop there. Then, New York Time's Scott Shane started his otherwise balanced piece, titled Faulted for Avoiding ‘Islamic’ Labels to Describe Terrorism, White House Cites a Strategic Logic by saying "President Obama chooses his words with particular care when he addresses the volatile connections between religion and terrorism." Mr. Shane's is not alone in singling out religion on the pages of the New York Times. Mona El-Naggar also wrote in her piece, From a Private School in Cairo to ISIS Killing Fields in Syria (With Video), "The West is struggling to confront the rise of Islamic extremism and the brutality committed in the name of religion."

This is not a coincidence. This is the consequence of an editorial drive in CNN and the NYT to put all religions at the same level with Islamic terrorism and treat Islamic terrorism as a mere subset of the more "general" phenomenon of "religious violence" which, I'm sure, it's of great concern to everyone nowadays. My guess is that they do this in order to preserve a modicum of objectivity when they have to report about religious violence elsewhere. The unspoken consequence of this approach is making us "religious types" look like ticking time-bombs waiting to explode once conditions are ripe for, you see, every "religion" is inherently dangerous and every religious person a potential terrorist waiting to be born.

All this despite the fact that the murderer of three young, promising Muslims in North Carolina last week was not a religious terrorist, but was a declared atheist who took his cues from Richard Dawkins. The latter one hurried to disavow the killings but by then the damage was done. (Hopefully this will motivate Dr. Dawkins to understand the reach and the impact of his own anti-religious rhetoric, but don't count on it. You can't teach old dogs new tricks).

Could we expect the media to report accurately about atheistic violence against people of faith? Don't hold your breath because, to this crowd, atheists are sweet and peace-loving unless they act as religious nuts, covering their actions with the "religious violence" trope.

What's next? Expect the MSM to label pro-Life and pro-Marriage activism as "religious violence", terrorism, and intimidation, fueling the perception of people of faith as nuts and fanatics deserving decreased constitutional and civil freedoms in order to protect the rights of others. When will this happen? Expect it when the next idiot kills an abortion doctor or an avowed "Christian" kills a Muslim.

What's the fix? Have the media and +Barack Obama call a spade a spade: we're talking about Islamic extremism, terrorism, and violence, not "generic" religious excesses. Calling the phenomenon by its proper name will force thoughtful Muslim to reexamine the foundations of their faith and disavow once and for all what the Koran teaches clearly: that war, terrorism, slavery, and domination are accepted tools to "convert" others to Islam or to limit the growth of other so-called "religions of the book" by subjugation, oppression, and dhimmitude. This realization, and only this realization, will spur the growth among the Islamic community worldwide of a respect to the conscience and the human rights to the freedom of conscience of their other fellow travelers on this planet Earth.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday, A.D. 2015




Grant, O Lord,
that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On the Threshold of Lent

Brethren: Peace be with you.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent for Catholics of the Latin Rite - that's most of us.

I'm lining up my Lenten readings and they include biblical Hebrew study, Bible study, and reading Cardinal Jean Danielou's Angels and Their Mission and Romano Guardiani's Meditations on the Christ. I'm studying my biblical Hebrew using Practico's and VanPelt's Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar. As a background on the language I'm also reading Joel Hoffman's In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language. No, the intriguing squiggles have not yielded their mysteries yet, but I'm getting there...(I still need to get the workbook).

That's what I intend to read and do during the Lent. What about you? How will you be observing Lent? Leave me a comment in my comm box!