Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions For April 2015

Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for April is: “That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God”.

His intention for evangelisation is: “That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church”.

You can find more information at: www.visnews.org
The news items contained in the Vatican Information Service may be used, in part or in their entirety, by quoting the source:
V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.
Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

Friday, March 13, 2015

This is NOT A Test

This year, I got fired from my job just before Ash Wednesday... found a new job.. got robbed at the new job.. and had some other issues. I am blessed. I am in the process of having my faith tempered by God.

Notice that I said “tempered”, and not “tested” (something I wrote about a few years ago here).

A teacher must test in order to discover what their students do or don’t know and believe. God doesn’t need to test us because He already knows what we know and believe.

Just as a blacksmith heats iron in a forge to shape it and make it stronger, God allows us to pass through a forge of trials in order to shape us and make our faith stronger. He tempers us.

So when you go through trials and difficulties, don’t despair and become fearful. Rejoice. Because God is working on you, to temper you and shape you into who He wants you to be.

Due to my unplanned job change, I am still struggling to get by. Your help and assistance will be greatly appreciated! Donate securely with PayPal. Thank you, and God bless you!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Scary Event It Is When One Gets Robbed

Steve Smith

I have held off for a few days writing about this incident that took place at work Friday night. Mostly because I needed to just get it a bit behind me first.

The store where I work at was robbed. More specifically, I was the lone clerk working at the store when it was robbed. The store is a convenience store that is part of a locally owned chain.

The day had been going pretty good, too. Business had been fairly brisk, which is typical for a Friday evening. I had commented to a lady, one of the last customers I served, how I was surprised that it was almost 8:00 P.M. She left, and I decided since it was quiet, that time would be a chance to have a quick smoke.

I had been outside for a couple of minutes, when I saw someone slowly approaching the store on foot. It was a young man as it turned out. He was wearing a jacket with a hood, and he was looking down at the ground as he approached.

When he got up to where I was standing by the door, he told me “get back inside”. It was then that he was in the light and I could see that his face was covered with a black mask. The mask had holes torn into it for his eyes.

He then reached under his shirt and pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and then told me to lock the door behind me and that he wanted everything in the register. He said, “do what I tell you to do and you won’t get hurt”.

So I went in, he followed, and I locked the door behind me. The thing is, the door there is a double door, and to be truly locked, you have to flip the top lever on the one door up, and then flip the bottom lever down. I didn’t flip the levers, just turned the bolt on the "main" door into the locked position. As I was going behind the counter, he flipped the “Open” sign around to “Closed”, and then came behind the counter.

He squatted in the floor behind the counter so he couldn't be seen from outside, and handed me a black plastic bag to put the money into. I was putting the money into the bag, when a customer who had pulled up to the gas pumps came to the store’s door. The customer attempted to open the door. Because I had not flipped the levers as I mentioned above, the doors both partially “opened”.

The customer gave me a confused look, because he knew we don’t close at 8 o’clock. I mouthed the words “help” and “robbery”, but the customer didn't understand, even though I was obviously stuffing money into a black plastic shopping bag.

The robber was just as unaware of the customer at the door, as the customer was of him. The robber said to me. “I know for a fact that you have the combination to the top safe and I want it opened”. I replied, "no, I don’t have the combination to it. Only a manager does, and I have no access".

The robber then stood up, and took the plastic bag with the money. He and the customer apparently noticed each other at the same time. The customer ran to his vehicle and the robber ran to the door, unlocked it, and fled on foot in the same direction from which he had come.

Fortunately, I never got hurt.

The funny thing was, I didn’t really get scared, nervous, or shook up until after he ran out the door. I got a pretty dog gone good case of the nerves then.

Why did I not get scared or nervous during the robbery? All that I can attribute it to is God. He had to have been the reason for my staying calm and cool during the robbery, because He knows I am certainly not known for having “nerves of steel”.

Nope. Not by a long shot.

I guess it was really like I told my brother after I had my heart attack almost 9 years ago. He had said, "Steve, I’ve really got to hand it to you. You have taken what happened with having a heart attack really well. I would have been torn all to pieces".

I told him that "we can either learn to accept what happens to us in life and move on, or we can let it control us and our lives. I chose to accept it as a part of life and move on. God is in control of everything and we just have to learn to trust that".

Being frail, weak humans though, it is sometimes hard not to have worries...or dread...or fear. I should know. I am human after all.

In the end, I am OK. Nothing was taken from me, and I was right back at work the next night, although not alone this time.

I also got inspiration from the whole thing. I now have a new reason to stop smoking!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Embarrassed Again

As many of you already know, I was fired from my previous job back in January, as I told you in a previous post here.

At the time, I did not want to go into the details of the reason I was given for being fired, so I will now. My former employer had told me, and the young lady that I worked with, that he was going to have to cut hours. She had found out a few weeks earlier that she and her husband were expecting their first child. She had to miss some work due to some related problems, and then she was laid off. Meanwhile, my hours were cut from 40 per week, to 26 per week. No one else had any hours cut.

Then, my former employer hired four new employees. One was full time, and the other 3 were part time. So in talking to another employee, I had complained about my hours being cut, while no one else was cut, and the fact that new employees were hired. I suppose that my having been with this company the longest did not count.

Any way, my employer was told that I had complained about my hours being cut and his hiring more people, so he said he was firing me because I had complained.

So, I finally found a new job 2 weeks ago. I started out at less pay per hour, but at least I am working and getting 40 hours per week.

The thing is, being unemployed for 3 weeks with no money coming in, combined with already being in a financial bind because of my reduced work hours, has really put me behind on my necessities, like the rent, power bill, and such.

It was also time to renew the license plate for my car, and have it inspected. I have not been able to have that done, because the check engine light was on, and they can not inspect a car until the reason for it being on is repaired. I had the repairs done by a mechanic friend, and I now owe him $270.00 for the parts alone.

I have been getting by on food by eating ramen noodles, beans and rice, and pasta. Sometimes I get tuna and maybe chicken when it’s on sale.

I owe a months rent, and a power bill (I have been using a portable kerosene heater to heat with to reduce the power bill), and still can’t get the car inspection and license renewal done because I only have $3.50 left in the bank. In other words, I am already in the red over $800.00 before I even get started.

So, once again, I am asking my blog readers and friends to please make a donation to me through PayPal. I hate to ask you to do this, but I have nowhere else to turn.

If you can’t make a donation, your prayers are surely needed and deeply appreciated!

Thank you for reading and following Faith of the Fathers blogs!

Your brother in Christ,

Steve Smith

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ash Wednesday (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

Why is this day thus named?

Because on this day the Church blesses ashes, and places them on the heads of her faithful children, saying: "Remember man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shaft return."

Why is this done?

St. Charles Borromeo gives us the following reasons for this practice: that the faithful may be moved to sincere humility of heart; that the heavenly blessing may descend upon them, by which they, being really penitent, will weep with their whole soul for their sins, remembering how earth was cursed because of sin, and that we have all to return to dust; that strength to do true penance may be given the body, and that our soul may be endowed with divine grace to persevere in penance.

With such thoughts let the ashes be put upon your head, while you ask in all humility and with a contrite heart, for God’s mercy and grace.

Is the practice of putting ashes upon our heads pleasing to God?

To read more, please click here.

The Pope offers Mass in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel for the Copts killed in Libya

Pope Francis (AP)

Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis offered this morning's Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae for the 21 Egyptian Copts murdered yesterday in Libya, whose funerals will be held today.

Let us offer this Mass for our 21 brother Copts, beheaded for the simple fact of being Christians. Let us pray for them, so that the Lord may welcome them as martyrs, for their families, and for my brother Tawadros, who suffers deeply”.

He went on to pronounce the antiphon from Psalm 31: “For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me”.

Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father telephoned the Patriarch, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to express his participation in the profound sorrow of the Orthodox Coptic Church for the recent barbaric massacre of Egyptian Copts at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. He assured him of his prayers and today, the day of the victims' funerals, joined spiritually in the prayers and the suffering of the Coptic Church, in the morning Eucharistic celebration.

You can find more information at: www.visnews.org
The news items contained in the Vatican Information Service may be used, in part or in their entirety, by quoting the source:
V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.
Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

Obama Claims Islamic State Murder of Christians Unrelated to Christianity | FrontPage Magazine

The following excerpts are from Frontoage Mag:

Obama’s condemnations of terror look a whole lot like alibis. Take his response to the brutal Islamic State beheadings of Coptic Christians in Libya, after his disastrous regime change war there.

The title of the ISIS video is “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross.”

The Islamic State Jihadists call Christians “Crusaders” and threaten to conquer Rome. They swear in the name of Allah. And they make assorted threats aimed at Christians.

Oh people, recently you’ve seen us on the hills of Al-Sham [Greater Syria] and on Dabeq’s Plain, chopping off the heads that had been carrying the cross delusion for a long time, filled with spite against Islam and Muslims, and today we… are sending another message: oh crusaders, safety for you will be only wishes.”

Especially when you’re fighting us all together, therefore we will fight you all together until the war lays down its burdens and Jesus peace be upon him will descend, breaking the cross, killing the swine,” the speaker continues.

(When Muslims say that they believe in Jesus, this is what they mean.)

That’s all rather straightforward. The White House press release, far less personal than Obama’s own claim that the Chapel Hill shootings over a parking dispute were Islamophobic, however issued a formal condemnation followed by the usual alibi.

The condemnation not only fails to mention Islamic terrorism, but makes no mention of the fact that Christians were murdered for being Christians.

ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity,” the White House press release says.

Read more by clicking below:
Obama Claims Islamic State Murder of Christians Unrelated to Christianity | FrontPage Magazine


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