Before the death of the legendary Muhammad Ali—a Muslim–I said a prayer for him–that God the Father might draw him to Jesus the Christ—and I said so on Social Media. I expected one of my few Muslim friends to take offense to this, but it is many professed Christians who seem have more of a problem with my prayer.
I wonder what Bible they’re reading—a rhetorical musing because I know that reading and comprehending are two separate concepts.
Now let’s get this straight; I have no idea whether God answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my prayer and I’m okay with not knowing. What gets me is how many Christians are saying that no deathbed conversions exist. I mean, how would anyone know one way or the other? And some are ridiculing the notion that we Christians should pray for the conversion of Ali’s Muslim family!
And then there’s that whole chronicle about the thief on the cross—the one who, through an act of faith, got a last minute get-out-of-Hell free card—a death “bed” conversion. When I mentioned it, someone actually told me that this was a one-time event—that it would never happen again!
Seriously, why believe in a god who can’t see what’s in your heart, who doesn’t know your heart infinitely better than you know it yourself, and who can’t have mercy on even the worst of us in seconds?
Whoever this limited deity is in whom some Christians say they believe, I don’t think he’s worth worshiping. As for Ali, he knows the truth now, and it’s likely that he’s full of regret. Not certain, but likely.
Don’t let that be your fate, Christians; the God I do know says that we will give an account for everything we say and do. I have enough stuff to account for and I’m sure that you do, too. Friendly advice: limit the list.
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi:You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
Star Wars 1977
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church entries 946-962 refer to the Communion of Saints.
To be brief the Communion of Saints consists of all believers living and dead, it is divided into three parts, The church Militant (those on earth) the Church Suffering (those in purgatory being purified prior to heaven) and the Church Triumphant (those in heaven)
Yet all three parts of the church while currently physically separated all share in the charisms of faith
951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church.482 Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”483
And this linkage is significant because it means members of the communion of saints are in a position to exchange spiritual goods
955 “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.”492
956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”493
Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.494 (St Dominic dying to his brothers)
I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.495 (St. Therese of Lisieux, the Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke
(Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.)
all for the purpose of bringing us closer to Christ, and the utilization of this link is not reserved for canonized saints: emphasis mine
958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.”498Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.
And THAT brings us to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
One of the things that defined Justice Scalia as a man was his Catholic faith. He was not just Catholic but VERY Catholic and was not shy about expressing it as in this excellent must read interview from NY Magazine from 2013 (the interviewers questions are in bold)
I don’t know how, by your lights, that’s going to be regarded in 50 years. I don’t know either. And, frankly, I don’t care. Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it. At least standing athwart it as a constitutional entitlement. But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.
You believe in heaven and hell? Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
No. Oh, my.
Does that mean I’m not going? [Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Wait, to heaven or hell? It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.
But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it? Of course not!
Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God. I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?
Can we talk about your drafting process— [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.
You do? Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
By definition, Justice Scalia’s, like all those who die, is at this current moment is in one of three places or states.
Among the Damned in hell suffering the eternal punishment for the willing rejection the mercy of God through unrepented sin.
Among those in heaven seeing God as he is, part of the Church Triumphant.
Now we have absolutely no idea as to the state of the Justice’s soul at time of his death nor the current state of his soul, but it occurs to me given the state of our country which is a cause of fear for many a fear that has been exacerbated by the good justice’s death, that there is a rather obvious plan of action for a faithful Catholic who wishes to allay that fear an do something to help out:
Why do we not ask for Justice Scalia’s prayerful intercession for our country?
It makes perfect sense.
Assuming the justice has not been dammed he is in a better and stronger position to be of aid to America now than at any point in his life. Furthermore if he is among the church suffering our prayers for his soul are a positive good we can do in repayment for all the good he has done for us and our country over the years.
And of course if he has already joined the Church triumphant in heaven his intercession on our behalf is just as effective as any canonized saint after all the only difference between a canonized saint and one that is not is our certain knowledge of the state of their soul.
In keeping with this idea starting today I’ve added to my daily prayer set an extra decade of the Rosary, the 4th sorrowful mystery Christ carrying the Cross, and will offer it daily for the souls in purgatory and asking the intercession of Justice Scalia and the souls in purgatory to help America bear its crosses.
I figure it’s an excellent prayer because if the Justice is in fact damned one is still enlisting the aid of the holy souls in purgatory while giving them succor (one of the spiritual works of mercy) and if not all the advantages I’ve already listed come into play.
Now of course if you prefer to offer a different prayer or devotion, say, for example, the divine mercy chaplet, that works too. It’s not what prayer you use in asking for the intercession but that you ARE praying and asking for intercession that makes the difference.
Picture the thought of millions of Christians asking for the intercession of St. Antonin of DC for our country on a daily basis. I think such a thing has the power to change the world.
On Tuesday, the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary WQPH radio held the first of a series of events put on by WQPH over the next several days detailed here at the old Madonna of the Holy Rosary
There was a living rosary, a birthday cake and Ice cream to celebrate our lady’s birth and the exposition of the blessed sacrament.
But I thought one of the best parts of the event was this 15 minute talk by Fr. Joe Dolan the pastor of St Bernards Parish at St. Camillus church about the Rosary and it’s evolution over time.
Give it a watch and learn something about this most Catholic of prayers
If you’re interested in the rest of the events they follow:
Saturday September 12th:
Feast of the Holy Name of Mary Madonna Holy Rosary Church, Fitchburg
10am – 3pm Day Retreat – Fr Leonard ($25 offering)
10am – 4pm
Festival in Church Hall
Catholic Book Fair
3 – 3:45pm Confession – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
4sandrpm Holy Mass – Fr Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Sunday September 13th:
9am HolyMass St Francis of Assisi Church, 441 Fellsway W. Medford
10:30am Breakfast Anthony’s, 105 Canal St, Malden
Susan Campbell Trainor (781) 391-7374 for tickets ($25 per person)
Special Guest: Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Monday September 14th:
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
St Bernards at St Camillus Church, Fitchburg
Noon Holy Mass with Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN
Luncheon to follow in lower church
Roland & Carol Vallee (978)343-4927 for tickets ($22 per person)
Tuesday September 15th:
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows For lost children
St Joseph Church, 114 High St., Medford
6pm Living Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and Divine Mercy Chaplet
Followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Leonard Mary MFVA of EWTN . Contact Sandi Arjune (781) 333-4800
For more information or to volunteer to help
9/8/15 Living Rosary: Joan Conroy (978) 343-9278
9/12/15 Day Retreat: Chris Toloczko (508) 856-9416
I have a series of prayers & scripture readings that I do daily that I do daily but I’ve added to that to include four speciality decades of the Rosary that I’m discussing this morning as a suggested daily prayers to start your day because the intentions I’m prayer for can be applied to almost everyone’s situation
The first is something I’ve discussed before. It’s the 2nd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary (The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth) and it’s offered for those on my Perpetual Twitter Novena. On twitter you might note that I rarely argue with those who attack the faith. The point of trying to win an argument was becoming more important than actually spreading the faith. That’s the sin of pride.
So instead I add those people to a twitter list and as soon as I have conscious thought while still in bead I offer that decade in my head for all those people on that list. Remember nobody is going to make a better argument for Christ then that person’s Guardian angel & the Holy Spirit, say that decade and Help them along.
My Second Prayer is the First Sorrowful Mystery (the agony in the garden) I offer this for those who do not go to confession. The one thing that the enemy dreads more than anything other is a soul that reconciles itself to God, that accepts the grace that God offers. It goes hand in hand with the first set of prayer but more importantly it is a reality needed to remind even devout Christians that we need to be aware of our sins and ask for forgiveness. (again the Sin of Pride)
The 3rd Prayer is the 2nd sorrowful Mystery (The Scourging at the Pillar) It offered in conjunction with all my suffering of the day and the flesh & blood of Christ shed during his scourging for the person to die that day who is most in danger of hell.
The fact of life is this, we all die, even those who Christ & the apostles raised eventually died again. God gives us till the moment of death to accept his outstretched hand. We need to do all we can for those whose time is about to end and if it means some suffering or pain during our day, so be it.
Finally I finish with the 3rd Glorious Mystery (The Coming of the Holy Spirit) I offer it for friends, my city and I also picked a pair of formerly Catholic Celebrities who I enjoy (for me it’s Tom Baker & Nick Frost) & ask the Holy Spirit to come into their hearts. There is nothing like celebrity to take someone away from God and the culture of celebrity encourages it. If you have a favorite actor and or actress consider offering such a prayer to start your day, if they have entertained you, made you laugh or smile, what better way can you repay them than giving them the boost that they need more than anything else.
That might seem like a lot, but praying in one’s head one finishes this sequence in under 10 minutes and that the ten minutes that you would spend in bed waking up anyways.
And if all of this is too much start with the first and see what happens. I suspect you will find that once you make prayer a habit you’ll find yourself doing more and wanting more. You’ll become the seed that yields 20 40 or 100 fold.
SHREVEPORT – Like all other schools across the state and across the nation, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School in Shreveport is gearing up for rigorous state testing this month. The new tests that students will now have to take are Common Core based and extremely tough and schools across the parish have been drilling, doing remediation, holding motivational pep rallies, and offering after school tutoring. One principal is even calling on prayer, a move which now has him in trouble with the ACLU.
Mr. Albert Hardison is the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School; he is a quiet, kind man who always has a smile and gentle nod of his head in greeting. He has been the principal at Walnut Hill for thirty-five years; his former students are now sending their own kids to Walnut Hill because they think so highly of him and his leadership.
Mr. Hardison attracted the attention of the ACLU when he sent home his March 2015 newsletter to parents advising them about upcoming testing schedules; the school newsletter always has a Principal’s Message to parents. I’m going to share his message to parents in its entirety here because I want you to have the context; he wrote:
Principal’s Message – ‘Truly We Are Blessed’
“Our school may be old of age, but it is cleaned, well-maintained, and free of debris and graffiti. Our faculty may not be monetarily rich, but they care, share, and give to our students a wealth of knowledge that will help them become our country’s doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, nurses, and yes, even presidents. Our students come from all economic levels, communities, races, and origins, but at our school they unite and become one indivisible student body under the Walnut Hill banner of excellence, fairness, and equality for all.
“The sun may not sine outside, but inside our laughter, smiles, encouragement, praise, and love for our children dazzle the day. Although cloudy days are sometimes evident, the light of optimism, the rays of hope and the joy of teaching and helping our students brighten these cloudy days.
“Our parents may not visit our school each day, but their support, compliments, quick response to our cry for help and love for their children and school is unwavering.
“Although all children may not blossom at the same time, our faculty continues to fertilize their minds, water their thoughts, nourish their spirit, pull back the blinds so that the light can stream in, and soon, they bud, grow, and prosper.
“On mornings when the sun is beaming or hidden, our student prayer group ‘Hornets for Hope’, pray and give thanks to the Son of God for carrying our school over the thorns of negativity and the thistles of discord and setting it gently on the petals of harmony and the lily of tranquility. Our ‘Hornets for Hope’ thank God for giving us a school that believes in God, family, and education.
“We thank God for helping us to realize that if we removed Christ, family, and teachers from the lives of our children there is no way that adding more police officers, legislating more laws, building more jails, requiring more testing, mandating more parental involvement, earning more money, or purchasing more things could ever replace the blessings of God, the love of our family, and the knowledge imparted by our teachers.
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what type of house we lived in, what color our skin was, how much money we had or what brand of clothes we wore, but what will matter is that we steadfastly walked in the ways of Christ, that we honored and loved our parents, family, and fellow man and that we lived by our school motto: ‘Work for the Best – Accept only the Best – Be the very, very Best.’
“And that in itself is truly a Blessing!
“Albert Hardison, Principal.”
Personally, I think it’s a lovely analogy and a beautiful message. The ACLU did not agree.
On March 30, 2015, the ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to the superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools informing him that Mr. Hardison “has engaged in a pattern of religious proselytization by sending messages to parents invoking prayer, and through a lengthy ‘Principal’s Message’ on the school’s website.” Further:
This letter is to inform you that these messages violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and comparable provisions of the Louisiana Constitution, and they must stop immediately.
They also found offense with this blurb found within the newsletter:
Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana has demanded that all religious references be removed from Walnut Hill’s website and from all other Caddo Parish schools. She also demands that all Caddo Parish staff be educated about “the Constitutional protections of students and staff from religious indoctrination; and Instruct the Principal of Walnut Hill that neither he nor his staff may include religious references of any kind in school communications.”
In response, Caddo Parish did indeed remove all offending references from the Walnut Hill website. Via The Shreveport Times:
The school district issued a statement Tuesday saying it would investigate the matter internally and make certain there isn’t a Constitutional violation.
“In this instance, questionable materials subsequently have been removed from district web pages while the investigation continues,” the statement said. “If there is a violation, we will make certain we act swiftly to ensure we do not have any further violations.”
The Walnut Hill community responded, too. Friday morning a prayer rally was held at Grawood Baptist Church and despite drizzling weather and cloudy skies, it was attended by hundreds of parents, students, former students, and other community members.
“I support Mr. Hardison 100%. All 3 of my kids go there & he is what a principal should be! He is an outstanding leader & role model for our young children! Walnut Hill is a great school & all that started with him, and the compassion that he has for our kids. He is a man that stands firm in his beliefs & we as Christians should stand firm in ours as well & support him!”
I don’t even practice any sort of religion and he has done nothing wrong. Ever since I was in 1st grade to 8th grade at that school Mr.Hardison was a huge inspiration to me. He kept me going and motivated me to do the best I could. I was going through times with severe bullying and people putting me down every day. He gave me the hope and strength to move on and set my goals for myself. Every morning I would go to his office and visit him and tell him about my day and how things were going. Every staff member at walnut hill is beyond amazing! They help out so much with the kids and care so much about them. If this adult’s child actually went to that school then they’d be satisfied with how much they help out. I’m more than 100% on his side!
There are streams of similar comments on the page.
Shreveport attorney Royal Alexander weighed in with an Op-Ed in The Shreveport Times, and went on to tie the local issue in with the current brouhaha in Indiana:
Here in Shreveport, Caddo Parish schools is investigating allegations that the principal of Walnut Hill Elementary supposedly violated the First Amendment by invoking God and Jesus and calling for prayer in school publications. However, Principal Albert Hardison has an excellent reputation and I applaud him for erring on the side of religious freedom. I strongly maintain that these types of issues are not nearly as clear as the ACLU has asserted.
The current state of the law regarding prayer in public schools is that, generally, a school official may not initiate and/or sponsor a prayer because, the argument goes, doing so tends to endorse one religion over another in violation of the Establishment Clause. However, a very important distinction has been drawn for student-initiated prayer practices such that public school facilities may be used as long as the use of the facility is truly neutral and equally available to religious and non-religious groups alike.
Another distinction has been drawn that makes allowable the study of the Bible in public schools as long as the study occurs in a purely academic manner. There are still other distinctions as well.
Parents at the school support Mr. Hardison; I am told that Mr. Hardison “is a godly man” that doesn’t force his religion on anybody. He puts God first in his own life, then family, and then education. If a child asks him to pray for them, he does it (and they do), but he doesn’t force it on anyone.
Parents are upset because whomever made the complaint doesn’t have a child in the school; they don’t want any ‘watchdog’ group or outside interference in a system that clearly works. Walnut Hill is a high-achieving school, earning a “B” letter-grade from the State Department of Education; the school has over 60% of its population on free/reduced lunch and draws from all demographics. Mr. Hardison is clearly doing something right at Walnut Hill.
For now, the Caddo Parish School Board is investigating the ACLU complaint. Mr. Hardison, by necessity, has issued no statement nor has he attended any of the prayer rallies or gatherings. But he certainly can feel the love and support flooding his way.
Isn’t there someone else the ACLU can go pick on rather than a good man trying to keep kids on the right track?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
Sunday past this tweet concerning abortion that was put out by a person called S Rhea:
Now this tweet is indicative of many pro-life tweets but it is missing something. While the child pays the highest temporal price from abortion the spiritual price for the actions are paid by all involved, the mother, those who encouraged or supported the decision to abort, the doctor & workers at the location of the abortion.
To be sure some of these people pay a temporal price but that price pales before the spiritual costs.
When we pray to end abortion it is not just a question of saving the innocent child, it is to save the guilty as well because their lives and souls are made just as much in the image of God. God loves them just as much as he does every person who marches against this horror and Christ died just as much for them as for each woman praying the rosary outside a “clinic”. To forget this is a case of willful ignorance just as pronounced as the pretence by those involved in abortion that an innocent human being is not being killed, that the childs live has no value, that an individual’s comfort and convenience trumps said life or that it’s not my problem if someone is doing this.
That trap of willful ignorance is one of two snares laid out for both sides of the abortion battle, the second is like it. Pride.
For those inside the clinic and for those outside the trap is the same, “I’m better than those evil/crazy people on the other side of that door.”
To those inside said trap is analogous to a person operating a radio jammer, it is meant to help drown out the realization of what they are doing. It’s keeping a person focused on a mosquito trying to sting them while at the same time they are bleeding out.
The trap outside is slightly different, analogous to something I discussed Sunday morning. If you are keeping score, if you are all about being seen for the sake of being seen, for showing that YOU are standing up, to show your spiritual superiority to those you are protesting against not only does it avail your soul nothing but it puts you no less in danger of mortal sin than the people inside.
And remember the Devil doesn’t care what mortal sin damns you as long as you’re damned:
“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters #12
This is not of course to even slightly suggest that one should not march, or pray or work hard to stop abortion. These are all worthy and important things, but it’s just a reminder that we are fighting an enemy that has designs on the people on both sides of that “clinic” door and it is incumbent on us to make sure we don’t forget it.
After all we can’t pull a drowning person out of the water if we fall out of the lifeboat.
Stacy McCain makes some excellent biblical points in this piece concerning a young lady who with some diabolic help has made some really bad choices
Can you imagine the insane hatred inside this woman, that she would take a Bible — a gift from her own grandmother! — and make it into such a heinously abusive celebration of degeneracy?
Do you think that people this crazy and hateful are not also in the grasp of a frightening evil? What kind of person do you think would act this way? Nine months later, the same person posted this:
Moreover he points to bad decisions having bad results:
So, five years ago, she began doing tarot card readings, and by November 2014 she’s so sick and crazy she’s soliciting donations to help her get diagnosed to be eligible for federal disability payments. Maybe you think this is all just a coincidence, that Robin’s mental illness and her sexual perversion are unrelated to her blasphemous hatred of God and her dabbling in the occult. Maybe I’m just an ignorant hillbilly Bible-thumper for suspecting that Robin’s misfortunes are not entirely coincidental.
At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
…I find it improbable that her physical illness is directly related to these particular bad decisions.
However even if we come to that conclusion concerning aliments physical and / or mental the 2nd half of both of the examples Christ gives are in play here: “I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.”
That being the case we are required to pray for Ms. Robin and not just for her conversion in the spirit of (I’m better than her) but for her physical and mental well being and happiness in the spirit of love for as Christ said
“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
When you come upon your enemy’s ox or ass going astray, see to it that it is returned to him. When you notice the ass of one who hates you lying prostrate under its burden, by no means desert him; help him, rather, to raise it up.
The example of how this young lady’s decisions neither lead to happiness nor peace is an important one, but not as vital as the reminder that she is as much a child of God made in his image as any other person and Christ loves her.
And to those who insist that prayer for her is not worth our time let me leave you with one final verse from Mark 10:27
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?”
(I’d like to preface this piece by stressing that the suggestions below apply only to dealing with those who use the hashtag #catholic to attack the catholic faith. There is nothing wrong with engaging people who respectfully engage in debates on theology without insult.)
On several occasions I’ve talked about how to counter and answer people who attack the Catholic Faith on Twitter.
While such counters might or might not be effective and even cathartic today it occurred to me that said answers, no matter how clever or amusing do not serve the purpose or desires of God who wishes the salvation of as many souls as possible.
What is the point of winning an argument and self-congratulation if it drive a soul farther away from God?
Isn’t it more in keeping with Christ’s message as promulgated by the Church to instead of debating those who use social media to attack Catholics in General and the church in particular to pray for them?
In keeping with this idea, I introduce to you the Perpetual Twitter Novena
The Goal, to make sure that those who attack the church are prayed for on a daily basis by as many faithful catholics as possible.
The procedure to pray the novena is very simple
#1 Pick your favorite devotion (Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Chaplet of St. Michael, Litany of the Saints etc etc etc) any devotion you wish to pray is completely acceptable.
#2 Pray that devotion offering it for all of the people on all of the Perpetual Twitter Novena lists.
#3 Do this for nine days
#4 After skipping a day start again
How do you add people to the Perpetual twitter novena? prayer list? That’s easy.
When you find a person posting anti catholic statements using the hashtag #catholic just do the following:
Click on the user and choose “Add or remove from lists”
If you have already created a “Perpetual twitter novena” list add said person to it.
If you have not already created a “Perpetual twitter novena” list Choose “Create a list” named Perpetual twitter novena” and add said user to it.
This will ensure that any person who offers their prayers for those on the Perpetual Twitter Novena lists will be praying for said person.
Prayer is the single most powerful weapon in the fight for souls and no soul is in more danger than one who attacks the church.
Remember the one thing that you can not get more of in life is time, thus there is no greater showing of love than to give some of that time to pray for others.
It won’t be easy, the temptation to engage or taunt will be great ( I plead guilty to it here) I would advise against it. Simply add them to the list and begin your prayers.
Remember persistence is the secret to prayer, let’s create a prayer chain that reaches around the entire world and let our prayers be a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.
Elwood P Dowd:Well, we talked like that for awhile and then I said to him, I said, “You have the advantage on me. You know my name and I don’t know yours.” And, and right back at me he said, “What name do you like?” Well, I didn’t even have to think twice about that. Harvey’s always been my favorite name. So I said to him, I said, “Harvey.” And, uh, this is the interesting thing about the whole thing: He said, “What a coincidence. My name happens to be Harvey.”
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In Time Magazines piece on the opening on the Extraordinary Synod of the Family they talk about Pope Francis’ request to the people
This spiritual undercurrent, although quiet, has been powerfully present in the Holy Father’s actions this weekend. On Saturday evening, before the synod officially began and as a pink sun set behind St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis called the people to gather in the piazza to pray for the upcoming two-weeks of Synod conversations.
This might seem a pro-forma action to most people who read Time but for the Pope and for Catholics it’s a serious statement.
One of the most dangerous human conceits is the substitution of our will for God’s will. It the basis for the argument by non-believers that man made God in his own image.
This is, of course the primary manifestation cation of the sin of pride and it is going to be the biggest single danger that the clerics assembled in Rome will face.
There are going to be discussions, some might be heated and each person participating will give their views based on what they have dealt with, seen or believe.
But in the end the goal is not to advance one position or another, it’s to hear the will of the Holy Spirit so that all those there get to the spot where the Church should be.
That is why prayer is so important it opens oneself to the message of the spirit in prayer one clears out the joy of your own voice and argument so expertly given which is exactly what the enemy is going to be shooting for to confound and divide.
If however the Synod tackles the questions it is dealing with in prayerful reflection it will be a great event for the Church and for mankind for centuries to come.
By now, everyone knows that a woman was beheaded in a Moore, Oklahoma workplace by a Muslim–one who was terminated from that same workplace for proselytizing there. It also appears that this Muslim–Alton Alexander Nolen aka Ja’Keem Yisrael–was a repeat felon. None of his felonies were nearly as violent as the act he committed against Colleen Hufford (murdered) and Traci Johnson (critically injured). (Ms. Johnson might have been beheaded also, were it not for Mark Vaughn, who ended this particular jihad by shooting Nolen three times. This is Oklahoma we’re talking about, after all)
It’s interesting to speculate as to the spiritual path on which Nolen traveled. He was a felon, but only a small-time one. Drug felonies, mostly, and the worst thing he did before the murder was to seriously injure an OK sate trooper while resisting arrest. That, in itself, is bad enough. But the beheading is a giant leap into criminality…or, rather, a giant descent.
Roger L. Simon asks whether our prisons have become jihad factories. It is a rhetorical question, to be sure. Muslims have been actively proselytizing and gaining prison converts for decades. I’m guessing that the most famous one was Malcolm X, who converted in the late 1950s. Nolen reportedly converted to Islam a few years back during one of his stays in prison.
The Apostle Paul said that each individual is always heading in a singular direction–either to Heaven or to Hell–and that every step that each of us takes is one step toward the final destination. I submit that Nolen took one huge step toward his when he converted to Islam–an ideology which exhorts its believers to, first, invite infidels to convert, then give them a choice between converting and being beheaded.
The murder is merely a beacon as to where Nolen’s final rest might be.
I say “might” because Nolen is still breathing. Some might say, unfortunately, but because he is still breathing, their is a chance that he can make a 180-degree spiritual turn. (Just to be clear, this is not a commentary on any earthly penalties which he will likely pay.)
Along this train of thought, I began to think about Christians who minister to prisoners. I don’t know whether Christian prison ministries have a higher or lower “success rate” than do their Islamic counterparts, but I don’t think it matters. What I do think matters: that we Christians pray for and support those who go into the earthly dens of iniquity and tell the captives of sin how to get free.
And we should also pray for the captives themselves; that they will hear and heed the voice of God the Father. And that they will do so before their Enemy–and ours–leads them to a fate worse than death.
Michael Corleone:What is the point of confessing if I do not repent? Cardinal Lamberto:I hear you are a practical man. What have you got to lose, eh?
Godfather 3 1990
As the Police, Black Panthers, National Guard, Governor, President, Activists, Black Leaders et/al have failed to bring peace and calm to Ferguson might I suggest we go in a different direction to end the violence, namely prayer and the intercession vocation of the relevant Saints:
For Police this prayer invoking St. Michael the Archangel their patron (via Catholic Supply):
Saint Michael, heaven’s glorious commissioner of police, who once so neatly and successfully cleared God’s premises of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional eyes on your earthly force.
Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for investigation and wise judgement.
Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores, strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations.
You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences with the devil that the police officer’s lot on earth is not always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration.
And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the throne of God as we have been to guard the city of all the people. Amen.
For African-American protesters these prayers invoking their patron St. Benedict the Moor via Sunday thoughts:
O God, by whose grace your servant Benedict the Moor, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
O God, who didst enrich St. Benedict, Thy confessor, with heavenly gifts, and didst permit him to be distinguished in the Church through miraculous signs and virtues, grant us, we beseech Thee, that through his merits and intercession we may receive Thy benefits. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Finally for the lawyers who are representing all sides as well as those who may prosecute and defend the case St. Thomas More: (Via about.com)
Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints:
Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients’ tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul.
Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God’s first. Amen.
While thanks to the sin of pride it is always the instinct of man to act without thought of God one of the best ways of handling any crisis is to invoke God before you undertake to tackle it either through direct prayer, or the intercession of Mary or a relevant patron saint.
I submit and suggest that a few days of these prayers will do a world of good to all concerned.
To those who scoff at such an idea let me ask the practical question: Given nothing else has brought peace, what have you got to lose?
The title of this post might confuse some non-Catholics (and perhaps some catholics as well. It is not widely known that the Catholic Church considers the prophets and patriarchs of the old testament Saints of the church.
This is actually a most logical conclusion. The definition a Saint is merely a person who has attained heaven. My mother for example may have attained sainthood but the church has no definite sign of this and until a formal cause is opened for her and miracles attributed to her the one Holy Catholic Church will not recognize St. Mary of Fitchburg as a canonized saint.
However this problem does not apply to Moses and the prophets. Therefore it is not odd that at my church St. Anthony of Padua will see stained glass windows of Abraham, David, Isaiah and this one depicting Moses:
and given Moses status as the deliver of Israel if you are a Christian who wants to pray for Israel, who better to invoke that the person who by following the instructions of God delivered his people from the yoke of slavery and brought them to the land that they are now defending?
I would suggest something like this:
St. Moses who through your obedience to the word of God delivered his people Israel to the land promised them and who with Elijah appeared with the Transfigured Christ before Peter James & John , we humbly ask your prayers for the progeny of those same people who you once led through the wilderness.
Through your powerful intercession may the Holy Spirit give their leaders the wisdom to steer them, as you did, safely through danger and withstand the wrath of those who daily seek their destruction. Be their shield not only in the promised land but in all nations where they are threatened so that as God promised their number shall be like the sands of the beach and the Lord our God shall be glorified through them.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord
I think this would be a fine prayer for any Christian to say daily.
During the 4th of July parade each year we see in the Fitchburg Parade a great symbol of what America is, three floats generally go by one after the other, one flying the Israeli flag and blowing the ram’s horn, followed by a Christian church with a cross and right behind them the local Mosque.
This morning after mass I saw another such symbol.
My own church is closed for the week as the carpets & cushions are being dried so I’ve been attending another for daily Mass.
This church St. Camillus at St. Bernards parish has a chapel of divine mercy where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration. After mass I went into the chapel for my daily prayers sitting in the front in a big recliner to the right of the Blessed Sacrament as I prayed.
Sitting diagonally to me was a spanish woman saying a rosary, after some time she came forward to kneel and pray before the Blessed Sacrament, as I sat directly to her right.
As she knelt in supplication a black woman wearing nurses scrubs entered the chapel and sat on the opposite side of the front row directly to the Spanish women’s left.
As I prayed my Rosary, I imagined the picture it would be. Three Americans, three different races, three different cultures, untied together in prayer and supplication to God, able to do so without fear thanks to the guarantees that the founding fathers established and generations fought for.
There is nothing more American than this. May we never forget nor fail to appreciate what has been done for us, may we also resist all efforts to take this legacy away.
Oh God, you who gave free will to your creation, bless those who use that precious gift to blog.
May we though this gift of freedom of expression enlighten, entertain and inform our readers, and we ask particular blessing for those who bring your word across the net, that they may faithfully execute your command to make disciples of all nations.
The Big Bang Theory The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation 2009
Kirk:Well what are the odds now?
Spock:Less than 7000-1 Captain. It’s remarkable we’ve gotten this far
Kirk:Less than 7000-1, well getting better, getting better!
Star Trek Errand of Mercy 1967
He was so excited that when a soldier near him took a wound in the throat, Sheridan simply shouted at the man: “You’re not hurt a bit! Pick up your gun, man, and move right on!” The soldier did so, took a few steps, and then fell over dead — a drastic but unarguable way of replying that Sheridan was mistaken.
Greg Goebel, I Would Rather Die A Thousand Deaths v1.1.3 / chapter 87 of 93 / 01 sep 11
First of all let me once again thank all of you for your kind words and prayers concerning my mother. It is most appreciated and is a favor that can’t be adequately measured.
Now a quick update, Three days after two doctors told us we should expect my mother to die within hours or perhaps days things seems to have changed dramatically.
A blood platelet count that was as low as 12000 and not stabilizing despite a bunch of platelets is now over 70,000 and holding, a woman who was rarely responsive has been cogent although weak and only occasionally able to say a word or two but clearly and distinctly reacting and answering questions. This morning I was resigned to the death of my mother this week baring a miracle. As I type this tonight I saw a woman who was in pain and in a struggle, but very clearly in it to win it.
Now my wife and two of my mother’s grandchildren are nurses and the opinions range from last bit of strength, to nothing will happen this week, to this gives her a chance. One of my nurse nephews cautioned against getting my hopes up but was willing to concede that her odds of survival have increased from 1,000,000 to one to 10,000 to one.
One must walk before one runs and one must stabilize before one has a chance to fight and heal, our family intends to give my mother every chance to do so. Her doctors are rather surprised she has made it this far. It remains to be seen if she is Kirk & Spock or the Union soldier at five forks getting up and moving forward before he falls.
All of this is possible with the prayers you have given, thanks much for keeping things going so keep the prayers coming.
I was at the Benedictine Abby in Harvard (Still River) Ma yesterday covering the Prayers for life event.
This event was the first day of three consisting of a series of talks and prayers for life and for our country.
The main event is Father Peter West who I first met while at CPAC. He talked about this event and Mary Ann Harold of WQPH Fitchburg Catholic Radio gave us a rundown of the events:
Before this interview I attended his speech.
He talked about the events of today as a spiritual battle and the historical significance of Prayer in major events.
“WE are in need of serious prayer with the same furor as the polish people prayed at our lady of Częstochowa.
He stated many don’t understand the full gravity of the current situation and the fate of our country will be hanging on events that will happen very soon.
He cited the following
• 40 yrs of abortion on demand
• Threat to constitutional liberties
• The threat to Marriage
• Catholic institutions forced out of the adoption business
• God pushed out of schools & the public square
• Christians persecuted worldwide while Militant Islam rises
“There is no problem no matter how difficult it is that can’t be resolved by praying the rosary”
When finished he took Questions:
On Civil Disobedience:
And direct vs indirect aid to evil
I actually was not aware of Our Mother of Kibeho
These apparitions in Rwanda from the eighties calling for prayer & fasting in anticipation of the War & Slaughter that would come to that land.
He took questions on the:Media Blackout
And the importance of Fasting along with Prayer:
I recorded the Rosary decade by decade. It is on Youtube now, and will be on the blog this Sunday.
Update: That should of course have said, “Prayers for life” The flyer is here
In Pakistan we are getting a close up look at what Radical Islam looks like:
A group of radical clerics in Pakistan wants the country’s Supreme Court to declare certain passages in the Bible blasphemous – because they depict as flawed certain biblical characters whom Muslims regard as Islamic prophets.
If the court fails to do so, they said, then lawyers will submit an application for the Bible to be formally banned in Pakistan.
Well after all this is Pakistan, ever since the British left it has been a largely Islamic country, we can’t expect them to be tolerant of Christianity or the symbols of Christian prayer like in say England
A Christian doctor in England has been threatened with an official warning from his professional body for discussing Jesus with a patient, The (London) Sunday Times reported
What do you think the GMC should do with this heretic doctor? Burn him?
Well that’s England and he is a doctor and they have national health care, you wouldn’t see anything like that in say Castroville, Texas
Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”
And the penalty if this Federal Judge is disobeyed?
Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”
Just for the record lets look at the language of the First Amendment again:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
The Loud talker is not pleased:
To me this whole situation is about someone making much ado about nothing, and enjoying the attention they are receiving because of it. This family moved from South Dakota to Texas and apparently packed their liberal intolerance with them. Liberals of this ilk are not tolerant, they only want what they want. They couldn’t care less about the majority, or about tradition, or about history. They care nothing about others, they care only about themselves.
If this ceremony was in Dearborn Mi rather than Texas I wonder if this case would have ever gone forward (actually I don’t wonder at all). Meanwhile to the students who are scheduled to speak; I am sorry you have been put in this situation but nevertheless I have a quote for you:
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.Matt 10:32-36
Dr. Scott in England has apparently remembered the passage:
Rather than accept the warning — a “slap on the wrist,” Scott called it, but one that would be on his record forever and “available to any future employer” — he decided to appeal, says the Telegraph, “even though he has been warned this could result in him being struck off,” i.e., having his medical license revoked. “What’s happened to me is an injustice and I want to stand up for Christians who have been getting hammered in the workplace,”
* “It is forbidden to give divine honour or worship to the angels and saints for this belongs to God alone.”
* “We should pay to the angels and saints an inferior honour or worship, for this is due to them as the servants and special friends of God.”
* “We should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures a relative honour, as they relate to Christ and his saints and are memorials of them.”
* “We do not pray to relics or images, for they can neither see nor hear nor help us.”
14. With the whole Church I acknowledge that Mary, being a mere creature fashioned by the hands of God is, compared to his infinite majesty, less than an atom, or rather is simply nothing, since he alone can say, “I am he who is”. Consequently, this great Lord, who is ever independent and self-sufficient, never had and does not now have any absolute need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will and the manifestation of his glory. To do all things he has only to will them.
15. However, I declare that, considering things as they are, because God has decided to begin and accomplish his greatest works through the Blessed Virgin ever since he created her, we can safely believe that he will not change his plan in the time to come, for he is God and therefore does not change in his thoughts or his way of acting.
16. God the Father gave his only Son to the world only through Mary. Whatever desires the patriarchs may have cherished, whatever entreaties the prophets and saints of the Old Law may have had for 4,000 years to obtain that treasure, it was Mary alone who merited it and found grace before God by the power of her prayers and the perfection of her virtues. “The world being unworthy,” said Saint Augustine, “to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her.”
The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary.
God the Holy Spirit formed Jesus Christ in Mary but only after having asked her consent through one of the chief ministers of his court.
That last part is significant. In the sermon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Fr. Bob noted that the Angel Gabriel referred to Mary as “full of grace” even before the actual incarnation. That is very important.
When we give devotion to saint we invariably ask the to pray for us. (just as a friend might ask you to pray for them). Consider the actual words of the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary Full of Grace the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women…
Direct Biblical quote, no problem there.
…and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
That would also go without saying for any Protestant. No problem there.
Holy Mary; Mother of God…
Again simple fact. Mary is Holy, no question about that, and she is the Mother of Christ who IS God so no question there either.
…Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amem
Pray for us sinners. That says it all. We ask through this prayer that the one who was full of grace even before the Holy Spirit came upon her, the single person closest to Christ to pray for us.
If that doesn’t make sense I’d like to know what does.
…the post and the photos of the place is here, but there is a story that I didn’t tell.
It’s not about the story in the news (I heard rumors of it but I there were just rumors and I was there to cover an election so I didn’t dig) but there was something more basic.
As I wrote I was given a tour of the church place:
I want to give the thanks are due for the tour that was arranged without notice. It is a big place and it took quite a bit of a very nice lady’s time in the afternoon to let us see it.
What I didn’t mention is I got there around lunch time, so I had to wait a bit before someone was available our tour (I was there with my pal Joey). So while Joey and I sat waiting I figured I’d continue to pray my daily rosary.
I’ve mentioned before that I like the rosary because you can pray 31 different intentions on a single rosary. For whatever reason at one point in my Rosary I drew a blank when trying to decide on an intention. So I figured hey I’m at a huge church the secretary is right there I’ll ask her if someone in particular needs prayer. So I went over and asked her and we had the following exchange:
Me: Excuse me a moment, I’d doing my rosary right now and was wondering if you knew of anyone that needs prayer?
Secretary: We all need prayers.
Me: Yes I know but is there anyone in particular that needs prayer?
Secretary: I can’t think of anyone sorry.
This church has over 10,000 people who attend services, a school for k-12. She takes calls all day from people and sees the visitors who come every day and she isn’t aware of a single person in the congregation who has need of prayers? Nobody at all?
What do you have a church for if not to pray for each other?
Let me tell you something if I’m a person attending this church I’d be a lot more worried about this than any sins of Eddie Long. Pastors come and pastors go, everybody sins, but if your church isn’t supporting each other in prayer then it’s not a temple of God.
Put it another way: At the gates when St. Peter asks “Did you pray for your neighbor?” I don’t think you want to answer: “No but my church has cool sculptures!”
I wouldn’t bring this up even now, but at New Birth the congregation right now is taking a hard look at their church and if this is where the congregation is when it comes to faith and prayer then this is a church is in a crisis bigger than they realize.
A month of fasting and reflective prayer for Muslims.
Reflective prayer is a good thing there is a lot that needs reflecting on in life. In the Catholic Church when you think of reflective prayer you think Monks. (At least I do). But reflective prayer should be an important part of the regular prayer life.
The examination of conscience (and yes I’m guilty of skipping it too) is a good example of reflective prayer There are a lot long versions out there. It can be daunting so start small. Take a single piece of it a day, and go with it.
The hardest thing about it of course is that when we are aware of our sins. It is so much easier to not consider our sins. If we do and are aware of them, we are obliged to do something about it. It’s something I struggle with but the struggle is certainly a step up from ignoring it but a big step below from actually doing it.
This is also where praying for each other makes a difference by supporting each other in our prayer life we give a hand to the person below us and accept a hand from the person above so we can all get to the same goal.
When we participate in reflective prayer, as a Catholic, Protestant, Jew or Muslim we ask God to take us closer to the person we ought to be.
Let us pray that our Islamic brothers take advantage of this month of prayer, fasting and reflection to become the people that God wants them to be. Don’t discount the power of prayer and fasting (Matt 17;21).
And yes I am very much aware of the truth of this post at Moonbattery and elsewhere. (Memeorandum thread here.) None of it changes the Christian obligation to pray for our Islamic brothers and, nor the transformative power of prayer on the soul.
A North Carolina pastor was relieved of his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state house of representatives after he closed a prayer by invoking the name of Jesus.
“I got fired,” said Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He had been invited to lead prayer for an entire week but his tenure was cut short when he refused to remove the name Jesus from his invocation.
He should have made it easy on himself by changing the reference to “the Savior Whose Enemies Prefer He Not Be Named.” Or if he wanted to get invited back by the bureaudemons, he could have substituted a certain bloodthirsty 6th century Arabian warlord for Jesus.
He’s probably right, but I’ll give the last word to Christ via Luke 9:26
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Lose a job, save your soul, I’d say that’s a good trade.
Every now and again I’ve mentioned a cause that is worthy of prayer and asked for you to join in.
As you might have noticed I did a little post on the Rosary and the 30 prayer intentions that you can offer during it. It occurs to me that a few readers out there might have issues that they want some prayers said for.
So I’m putting out an open call: If anyone has a prayer intention, personal or otherwise that they would like me to incorporate into my daily Rosary just leave the intentions in comments below. If it is an intention that you don’t want made public the click here and e-mail me and I’ll pray on it privately.
I also invite any readers who see an intention in comments that they believe worthy to join in, every little bit helps.
People often laugh at the idea of prayer imagine a grown adult asking an invisible power to adjust something for them. Prayer is also attacked as an assault on free will. For example the reporter who attacked pro-life people for praying that president Obama have a change of heart.
I have a theory on prayer, this is not to my knowledge based in specific theology, so someone who knows the church better than me can tell me if I’m committing heresy but consider the following:
How many things in life are actually certain? Very few. Spock’s example of letting go of a hammer and not having to see it to know has fallen not withstanding everything is subject to a certain amount of probability.
The medical field is a great example, you are always dealing with a level of probability on recovery from operations, risks from behaviors and so on. An excellent example is that we all know people who have avoided cancer and non smokers who have gotten it. This is a function of probability. Haven’t we all had close calls of one type or another? Or bad luck that has come hitting that one stone that was loose to trip and break a leg etc?
In my opinion this is where prayer comes in, I believe prayer can alter the probabilities on situation and actions. Since the actions are indeterminate (we don’t know for sure how they will go) it seems simply a function of luck. I believe that the power of prayer is basically channeling the intrinsic link between God and man and the community of saints to nudge probability. The stronger the link of the individual to God or the number of people involved prayer the better the chance of the odds moving.
That doesn’t effect the idea that God is a part of it, for example because a wind comes to help a becalmed ship and the wind is a natural phenomena that doesn’t mean that God allowed it to come.
This is in contarast to direct action by God that would be classified as a miracle. In that case you can have either objectively impossible action (Joshua and the sun) or an action so improbable that it seems to be no odds take place. (Curing of the blind man). Those are solid miracles.
Anyways that’s my theory. What do you think?
Update: Corrected awful spelling and grammar in post as it was rushed due to the party today.