Disregarding God – Secular Humanism Series

The Consequences of Conscious Decision

Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time

18 “You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:18 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE) 

Convenient Absentmindedness

We have become unmindful of the one who bore us, the one who gave us life, and forgot where we have come from. A strong statement right? But is anyone in this secular world hearing this message? This question I think is a deeper question which is even more impactful. Free will, my brothers, and sisters is a two-edged sword that leads to two completely different versions of humanity.  On one hand, we could be in compliance with God at every turn, worship Him and praise Him every day of our lives and be given everlasting life for doing so. Practicing our faith in Him with fidelity and joyful obedience! But that world of worship is not what we are living today. Instead, we are living in a secular world filled with sin at every turn, where we are tempted by Satan within every thought we think, and our hearts have been soiled because of our own corrupt decisions and absolute compliance to sin itself. So I ask again, is anyone listening?

On a global scale, we see the needless deaths of children in the United States, according to a January 2018 Health Affairs report, “The United States has the worst child mortality rate among a group of 20 wealthy democracies…” Furthermore, the report states, “And despite an overall improvement in the child mortality rate in the U.S. and those 19 other countries, the U.S. has persistently outpaced those nations in that grim metric for decades.” Reported by Dan Mangan – CNBC Health and Science.

Reported by BBC on August 13, 2018, in Yemen, “Local authorities say, 51 people including 40 children were killed in the air strike on a bus traveling in Dahyan, in Saada province, last Thursday. Most of the children were aged between 10 and 13.” This airstrike came from the Saudi-led Coalition rebel-held north. There are pictures online where the friends of these victims literally are digging the physical graves for those who had died.

Also reported by BBC this past April 2018, “At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say. Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.”

More Than 300 ‘Predator Priests’ In Pennsylvania Accused Of Abuse | Video Link – NBC Nightly News

Once again in the United States, a probe led by Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania found, “There were hundreds of “predator priests” sexually abusing more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania for decades — all while being shielded by Roman Catholic Church leaders, according to a scathing grand jury report released Tuesday. The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal,” the report states, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all.”  Reported by Tamar Lapin of the New York Post, (August 14, 2018)

Effects of Secular Humanism

21 “They made me jealous with what is no god, provoked me with their idols. So I will make them jealous with what is no people, provoke them with a foolish nation.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:21 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE) 

It would be easy to say that the devil made this all happen, but the truth of it is what is reported on the nightly news is more damning and more human. In a secular age, God is replaced by our own desires, humanity is guilty of making a morally horrifying collective conscious decision to replace God with the ego-driven “Self”! Driven by the need to function as an individual satisfying our own “Self-interest”. The definition of secular humanism plan and simple, “Secular Humanism is an attempt to function as a civilized society with the exclusion of God and His moral principles.” found online at AllAboutPhilosophy.org

Again, it would be to easy to blame the founders of the Secular Movement because each person has free will, the ability to make up one’s own mind and beliefs and thus to face one’s own consequences for those actions. With that said, to abandon God is a “Self – damning” conscious decision. In that sense when we hear the snake oil salesman say, “What if I told you that you could be completely in control of your own life without being shackled by any religion, law, realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience?” I ask you my brothers, and sisters, doesn’t that sound like a modern version of what Lucifer said to Eve in the garden of Eden?1′Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.”’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ ~ Genesis 3:1-5 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Is anyone listening, seeing, hearing, or feeling the world is not right? I presume this was much like how the world was during Noah’s age before the flood! In both instances, God punished mankind for lapsing into ungodliness. In each case in history where a group of people has forgotten God things don’t pan out well for those humans! Remember this if nothing else – we are all guilty of forgetting God and yet God has never forgotten about us! Jesus from day one has been calling out to each one of us saying, “Come and follow me.” The real question is… will you?

Let Us Pray

Prayer by: Kimberly J. Edwards – Catholic Online

May I Remember

God,
I find myself heartbroken by
the hatred I see all around me. 
So I ask that I may never forget :

That behind every brown, yellow, red, black or white face, there is a family like mine, and souls trying to live in a world that often tells them they are less than or unworthy, aliens that are not wanted. May I never lose sight of the soul behind each face, the souls of Your children.

That behind every homeless person there is a story that may be so familiar to me as to be uncomfortable. May I never be comfortable until there are no more homeless faces seeking a kind word, or an opportunity, or just a smile and a little love.

That I never forget the truth of Your gospel, that storing up riches here, withholding from others out of some misguided sense of superiority or right to judge, that treating any one of Your children as unworthy to come to Your table is not the Christian love You came to teach us.

That I count as treasures the friends who stand beside me, encouraging, loving, supporting and accepting me, through word and deed. Sometimes just being available, sometimes through prayer, sometimes through the sacrifice of their own. Let me never take them for granted, and always see them as the blessing You meant them to be, and do my very best to love them as well as they have loved me.

That when I see actions or hear words that mean harm to the ‘other’, to never stand still or be quiet in the face of injustice, cruelty, racism, to call out behavior that seeks to harm my neighbor. To always see in each face the potential of a child of God no matter how I might disagree with their manner or actions. To protect those who are being shunned, criticized, or even threatened because they are considered different.

That I appreciate the love and devotion shown to me by my pets. The unconditional adoration that radiates from the soul of our animal friends is surely sent from heaven, through souls that speak a different language, one of complete acceptance. It is no small thing for an animal to love a person. May I always remember those gone on to You to await our reunion.

That I see and cherish each small blessing, from a spontaneous hug given by a grandchild, to a moment of clarity when I realize that my grown children love and understand me despite my obvious imperfections, a gesture or look from a husband who shows devotion and commitment each day, an unexpected phone call or card from someone reminding me that I matter, to the sunset, birdsong, moonlight, joyous bark or laugh that sweeten my life.

That I never find myself so blinded by my illness or difficulties that I forget those around me, and around the world, who hurt, hunger, shiver, grieve and strive for rights denied them by oppression and greed.

That I take every opportunity to let the wonders of Your creation heal and uplift me. Knowing that something as simple as sunshine on my face, sand, and waves under my feet, regal treetop canopies, a bird in flight or the beauty of horses galloping across a field can be proof of Your love for Your world.

That I always, always remember that color, creed, faith or none, accent, sex, age, language, dress, orientation, hairstyle, home, or financial status has not one thing to do with the worth of anyone to You and to follow your example.

That above all the chaos and upset in this world, You gave us the greatest Gift the world has ever known. You loved us then, and love us now, that much. May we all continue to grow and journey toward the greatest we can be for You, and because of You.

That I do all I can to give my children an grandchildren an example of the power and light of Your love in my life. That I always do my very best to be a light for Your world, to honor and respect each individual I meet, no matter our differences. That I grow into the person You wish me to be. 

Amen.

In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?

If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com with your request. Remember you’re never alone.

Amen, Alleluia!

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us.Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Roots of Jesse – Guest Edition

An Older Symbol of Advent

What is the Jesse Tree? ~ by Winter

December 23, 2017 – Third Saturday of Advent

11 “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” ~ Isaiah 11:1 (NRSVACE)

Jesse was the father of King David. The ornaments of the Jesse tree represent the prophecies, God’s people, and events that led up to the birth of Jesus.

When I was a child every December my dad would put up the Christmas Tree and we would decorate with very cute ornaments, I didn’t think much about the ornaments at the time. There were pretty little harps, an apple, ark, dove etc. As I grew older and attended bible class I made the connection that the ornaments we decorated our Christmas Tree with symbolized the stories and characters of the Old Testament. During the Advent season, we are called to wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. Like in everything in life we need to prepare. You might question yourself, ‘How can I prepare for this momentous event?’ or maybe, ‘What do I do first in order that I will be prepared adequately?’ As a child, my dad taught me our faith, what we needed to do to be prepared. In fact, from an early age, I remember thinking deeply about the events of the bible and how the Bible tells us the stories of preparation that the people of God underwent while waiting for His miracles to be fullfilled.

Other memories I have during Advent was going to church every Sunday and listening to the priest remind the whole community to pray, repent, forgive so we can receive Jesus Christ; receive His precious gifts of hope, peace, joy, and of love. As practicing  Catholics and followers of Christ we are called to share those gifts with the rest of the world, so that way our world of jealousy and gossip can come to an end. God made a promise to Abraham’s family that He would bless his family and would always protect them. We follow God because He is the only one that will give us what we need when we feel alone, sad, depressed, hurt, or upset. God comforts us and He protects us just as He did Abraham’s many descendants. Advent is a time to really think about these things; to take the lessons of the Old Testament and apply them to our lives today. Each time I do this I can see how much in common we are with the characters found in the bible.

As a teacher myself I am always humbled and reminded how much my kids at school are like I was when I was their age, they ask the same questions such as, “but it is hard to follow Jesus’s steps” I always remind them that, “Yes, no one said it was easy and for Jesus himself it was not easy. But what we need to do is to be in constant prayer so we can always choose God.” After saying this another student said, “Advent is about change.” Smiling I encouraged that thought with,  “Yes, during Advent we are called to change and renew our hearts just like God’s people from the Old Testament.”

When we decide to choose God we receive many blessings from Him. That is why the Jesse Tree is another important symbol for the Advent Season; so the kids can understand that each ornament is much more than just decoration, instead, it is the family tree of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Powerful Teaching Tool: You might want to go over your own chronological family tree with your kids at home. Using this model they will begin to relate it to the family of Jesus.

Jesse Tree symbols and passages in the Old Testament were designed to show how the coming of Jesus had been predicted hundreds of years before his birth fulfilling them within the New Testament. When decorating your tree beginning on the first day of Advent place the first ornament. Each day after that in order until Christmas Eve until each ornament is on the tree. Below are the symbols traditionally used to put on the Jesse Tree;

  1. Adam and Eve – Ornament: Tree with Fruit or Apple
  2. Noah – Ornament: Rainbow or Ark
  3. Abraham – Ornament: Field of Stars
  4. Isaac – Ornament: Ram
  5. Jacob – Ornament: Ladder
  6. Joseph – Ornament: Coat of Many Colors
  7. Moses – Ornament: Burning Bush
  8. The Israelites – Ornament: Lamb
  9. Moses and Aaron – Ornament: Tablets of the Torah
  10. Joshua – Ornament: Ram’s Horn Trumpet
  11. Samuel – Ornament: Crown
  12. David – Ornament: Shepherd’s Crook or Harp
  13. Hezekiah – Ornament: An Empty Tent
  14. Isaiah – Ornament: Fire Tongs with Hot Coal
  15. Jeremiah – Ornament: Tears
  16. Habakkuk – Ornament: Stone Watchtower
  17. Nehemiah – Ornament: City Wall
  18. John the Baptist – Ornament: Scallop Shell
  19. Mary – Ornament: White Lily
  20. Elizabeth – Ornament: Mother and Child
  21. Zechariah – Ornament: Pencil and Tablet
  22. Joseph – Ornament: Carpenter’s Square or Hammer
  23. Jesus – Ornament: Manager
  24. Christ – Ornament: Chi-Rho

Christmas Traditions of the Jesse Tree  Click Here

The Jesse Tree – Loyola Press  Click Here

Amen, Alleluia!

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Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017