Fate vs. Free Will

Posted by Michael Dennin on May 5, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Free Will of Adam and Eve
Image: The story of the Eden Garden. The temptation of Adam & Eve by the devil. Pedestal of the statue of Madonna with Child, western portal (of the Virgin), of Notre-Dame de Paris, France.

One of the central debates in human history is the question of fate versus free will. For example, most ancient Greek mythology sends the clear message: you have no ultimate choice, fate always wins out. Recall poor Oedipus who tries his best to avoid prophesy that says he will kill his father and marry his mother on to have it all come true.

In contrast, Jewish tradition assumes ultimate choice by humans, especially in their relationship to God. God may cajole, and even occasionally punish, but ultimately, we are free to decide our fate.

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Topics: free will

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla: 'One of Us'

Posted by Daniel Imwalle on May 3, 2016 7:00:00 AM

giannamolla_CNS.jpg

A hardworking, intelligent, and culturally savvy young woman made a monumental choice in April 1962. It was a choice made out of love, specifically, the tender love of a mother.

The woman: Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, of Italy. Her choice: to save her unborn child’s life, even if it risked losing her own. As one of the two patrons of this September’s [2015] World Meeting of Families—the other being St. John Paul II, who canonized her—St. Gianna is a saint not only for expectant mothers, but also for anyone who sees the inherent dignity of life.

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Topics: Saints, motherhood

Follower of Saint Francis: Sister Maureen Colleary, FSP

Posted by Daniel Imwalle on May 2, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Field of Renewal

Image: John Mark Arnold. 

Why Catholic? No, really—Why Catholic? That’s the name of a popular parish program offered by RENEW International, a Catholic ministry organization that has worked under the Archdiocese of Newark since 1976.

RENEW now promotes spiritual renewal programs in over 160 dioceses across the United States, as well as internationally.

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Topics: saint francis

Jesus' Challenge: Embrace Poverty

Posted by Heather King on May 1, 2016 12:03:06 AM

handswithcoin_istock.jpgIn 1987, I got sober. In 1990, with the law degree I’d earned while drinking, I landed a job as an attorney and started making money for the first time I my life. In 1994, I quit that job in order to embark on the precarious vocation of a writer. In 1996, I converted to Catholicism and joined the Church.

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Topics: poverty, Jesus

Mother Teresa: A Model of Faith

Posted by Christopher Heffron on Apr 28, 2016 9:52:38 PM

Mother Teresa in Oslo, Norway
This Dec. 12, 1979, photo shows Mother Teresa in Oslo, Norway, after receiving the Nobel Peace Price. (CNS/EPA)

When it was announced that Blessed Mother Teresa would be made a saint, it is not unfair to say that such a declaration was, in a word, anticlimactic. Her fans didn’t require the formal announcement: In the hearts of millions, she was already a saint.

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Topics: mother teresa

Pope Francis on the Importance of Family

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 28, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Pope Francis greets newly married

Pope Francis greets newly married couples during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 30, 2015.(CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Whether you are young or old, married or single, engaged, widowed, or divorced, may Pope Francis’ words strengthen you, refresh you, and illuminate the pages of your own life story. Here are some suggestions he offers to do just that. All words below are from the pope.

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Topics: Pope Francis, family

Year of Mercy: Nourishing Body and Spirit

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 27, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Year of Mercy:Drought in ZimbabweA Zimbabwean man walks through his drought-affected corn field outside Harare Jan. 20. (CNS photo/Philimon Bulawayo, Reuters)
With poverty on the rise and a drought compounding Zimbabwe's problems, people are struggling to make ends meet, and the poor are becoming poorer, church workers said.

In Zimbabwe's hospitals and other health facilities, "patients need to pay for everything: painkillers, drips, injections and scans," said Getrude Chimange, coordinator of the justice and peace commission in Mutare Diocese.

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Topics: Year of Mercy

In Search of Saint Christopher

Posted by Christopher Heffron on Apr 25, 2016 10:16:38 PM

Saint Christopher by Hieronymus Bosch

Saint Christopher by Hieronymus Bosch. Oil on panel; circa 1496-1505.

Do these saints' names—Salvatore of Horta, Nicholas of Flüe, Conrad of Parzham—ring a bell? They may not strike a chord, yet these three venerable and holy people, unfamiliar to most Catholics, have a home in the Roman calendar.

But there is one popular and well-loved saint who was ousted from that lineup over 40 years ago. His image can be found inside of cars, on the walls of churches and around the necks of safety-seeking travelers. 

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Topics: Saints

Psalm 25: Directions from God

Posted by Christopher Heffron on Apr 25, 2016 7:00:00 AM

waitingatairport_MattWiebe.jpg

Image: Matthew Wiebe.

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
2 my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
3 No one is disgraced who waits for you,
but only those who are treacherous without cause.

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Topics: Psalms, God

Don't Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

Posted by Maureen Pratt on Apr 23, 2016 7:00:00 AM

How to Keep Going
Image: Abigail Keenan.

We live in a chaotic world, with many different crises occurring almost simultaneously. We all need a little (or a lot) of inspiration and practical tips to help us destress and increase our physical, emotional and spiritual resilience.

In my conversations with family and friends, I kept hearing about how stressed people were about some of the troubling events in their lives and in the world at large. From the drought in Southern California to racial and social tensions exploding into violence, from difficult, very personal financial and health challenges to the struggles of loved ones and coworkers, it seemed as if daily burdens were becoming harder and harder to bear, even with the most fervent faith!

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Topics: don't panic

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