Divine Invasion

large_ben-hur_blu-ray_6x “There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over.” – St. Augustine

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published on November 12, 1880, and considered “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century”. It was brought to the movie screen in 1929, most notably in 1959, and again in the, soon to be released, 2016 modern remake. I recommend the 1959 version. It is most known for its history making filming of the great chariot race, and was released at a time when the subject of such films were revered by the public and not reviled.

The story centers around two brothers; Judah Ben-Hur and his adopted brother, Messala. Judah was born to a prominent family, whose father was a successful merchant. Messala, orphaned and of Roman birth, was adopted by Judah’s father. The two grew to be fast friends and brothers and were always at each other’s side. As time passed and each grew into manhood; Judah took his place as the head of the family business and a prominent leader of the Jewish community. Messala went off to Rome and quickly moved up the ranks in the Roman Empire.

After many years of separation Messala returns as a tribune under the rule in the region of Pontus Pilate. His happy reunion with his brother and boyhood friend and family is short- lived. The tension between Roman rule and the Jewish community under that rule would unavoidably taint their relationship. The innocence of youth had been jaded by the realities of a world wrought with tyranny and oppression under that Roman rule.

During a parade for the new governor of Judea, Valerius Gratus, loose tiles fall from the roof of Judah’s house. Gratus is thrown from his spooked horse and nearly killed. Although Messala knows this was an accident, he condemns Judah to the galleys and imprisons Judah’s mother and sister, Miriam and Tirzah. By punishing a known friend and prominent citizen, he hopes to intimidate the Jewish populace. Judah swears to take revenge.

After three years as a galley slave, Judah is assigned to the flagship of the Roman Consul Quintus Arrius who has been charged with destroying a fleet of Macedonean Pirates. Arrius admires Judah’s determination and self-discipline and offers to train him as a gladiator or charioteer. Judah declines the offer, declaring that God will aid him in his quest for vengeance. When the Roman fleet encounters the Macedonians, Arrius orders all the rowers except Judah to be chained to their oars. Arrius’ galley is rammed and sunk, but Judah unchains the other rowers, and rescues Arrius. In despair, Arrius wrongly believes the battle ended in defeat and attempts to atone in the Roman way by “falling on his sword”, but Judah stops him. They are rescued, and Arrius is credited with the Roman fleet’s victory. Arrius successfully petitions Emperor Tiberius to free Judah, and adopts him as his son. Another year passes. Wealthy again, Judah learns Roman ways and becomes a champion charioteer, but still longs for his family and homeland.

Judah returns to Judea. Along the way, he meets Balthasar and an Arab, Sheik Ildrerim. The sheik has heard of Judah’s prowess as a charioteer, and asks him to drive his quadriga in a race before the new Judean governor Pontius Pilate. Judah declines, even after he learns that Messala will also compete. Judah meets with Messala, as the son of Quintus. Messala is shocked to see Judah standing before him. Judah demands the release of his mother and sister before leaving. When found in the depths of the prison, both were infected with leprosy and banished to a leper colony. The women beg Esther – who was in love with Judah before his arrest – to conceal their condition from Judah so that he may remember them as they were before, so she tells him that they died. It is then that he changes his mind and decides to seek vengeance on Messala by competing against him in the chariot race.Wikipedia

By these events the love that these brothers once shared in youth now has been transformed to a deep seeded hatred. The irreparable conflict was in place; Judah’s unwavering faith in God and responsibility to his people, and Messala’s immovable commitment to Rome. From this point on the twists and turns that life often will take, once, again, has brought the two together. However the reunion brings both tragedy and triumph in the chariot race. In the arena, where there are no rules, scores can be settled without retribution. Judah, here, would not leave vengeance to God. During the chariot race, Messala drives a Greek chariot with blades on the hubs to tear apart competing vehicles; he attempts to destroy Judah’s chariot but destroys his own instead. Messala is fatally injured, while Judah wins the race. Before dying, Messala tells Judah that “the race is not over” and that he can find his family “in the Valley of the Lepers, if you can recognize them.”

The story then does not end in the arena. Judah, having just won a great victory feels only loss. His friend that he loved died leaving both with resentment in their hearts. And now, Judah’s search for his mother and sister, once thought dead, has not come to a joyful end. There will not be rejoicing in their finding, because, although alive, leprosy, brought about by Roman injustice, has ravaged them.

Jesus’ role in this story seems limited to the viewer, yet His presence and role in the history of man will turn out to be life-changing for Judah, his loved ones, and for all tortured souls awaiting God’s promise of salvation.

Although the subtitle of the book is “A Story Of The Christ,” Jesus appears in but three scenes. Yet each is critical to the complete unfolding of the story and the direction of the lives of Judah and Messala.

The first appearance of Jesus:                                                                                        When Judah is being transferred to the galleys from prison, many of those among him sharing the same fate die from thirst and heat of the torturous travel along the way. At a small village called Nazareth, the roman guards stop to rest, water themselves, animals and lastly their prisoners before moving on. Judah, however, is denied his share. A man from the village breaks from his carpentry work, and upon seeing the neglected Judah, brings him water. The roman guard, with whip in hand, confronts the carpenter, commanding that he not be given water. When the guard locks eyes with the carpenter he stops in his tracks and diverts his eyes as though he was looking into the sun. The stern countenance of his face turned to meekness as he shied away. His own commands were turned in on himself. The carpenter was Christ. And all who possess hardened, dark and cruel hearts cannot look upon the face of the Light of the World without revulsion. Judah, drinks his full, is comforted and rejuvenated by the kindness received from Christ. As he moves on to his fate he continues to look back at the good stranger whose charity has restored his hope.

The second appearance of Jesus:                                                                                        In this scene, Ester, encourages Judah to come with her to hear the man called Jesus speak. He refuses because the bitterness that he still holds in his heart is a barrier to accepting any overtures of peace. Ester attends what is now known as the sermon on the mount, and is so moved that she tells Judah that what she heard; “truly were words from God.”

The third appearance of Jesus:                                                                                       Judah in bringing his mother and sister to Christ to hopefully find peace, instead, finds Christ carrying His cross on His way to crucifixion. Judah follows along with the crowd and when seeing Christ fall, out of compassion, brings Him water. When Christ looks up at Judah, Judah then realizes this is the man who brought life saving water to Him while on his way to the Roman galleys. The face of the kind man who once looked upon Judah’s pain and suffering with mercy, is now looked upon by Judah and administered to in like-kind. Judah when pushed aside by the Roman execution detail follows Jesus to the cross and witnesses the crucifixion. He is astonished to hear Christ speak these words as His life is near its end: “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” And at that moment the hatred, that he has harbored in his heart for so long toward Rome for corrupting Messala and poisoning their relationship, left him. He would tell His family that he felt Christ’s words take the sword from his hand. And unbeknownst to Judah, the leprosy leaves his mother and sister as Christ commends His Spirit into the Hands of God.

Christ enters hearts in a variety of ways. But, the most dire circumstances requires the extreme; the likes of a St. Paul on the road to Damascus. For Judah the love that he no longer believed he would ever know again came flooding into his heart when the forgiveness granted to all mankind from the cross washed upon him. The mercy measured out from the cross, not measured to Christ Himself, forced out the hate that Judah harbored in his heart for so long. The mercy and love that follows all forgiveness had Divinely Invaded Judah Ben-Hur. The man who descended from that hill on Calvary that afternoon was not the same man who ascended it earlier. For that is the effect of Christ’s presence;  He turned the world  upside down, to turn it right-side up; and accomplishes the same by turning our hearts inside out.



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With Hat In Hand

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8

The expression, Hat in hand, is used to indicate an attitude of humility. The only way one can approach Christ is through humility. That is why He was born in a cave. His birthplace compelled the shepherds and the wise men, the ignorant and the learned, to stoop – bend at waist and knee – before entering the cave; thereby coming before the new-born king in the position of the humbled.

My dad passed away in January of 1969. His last Christmas was spent in the hospital battling lung cancer. In choosing a gift for him I sought to get him something special. Not a gift for someone who was facing an end, but rather someone with an eye on a new beginning. My intent was that after he won his battle over cancer this unique gift would be a symbol of a fresh start on a bright new future. That special gift was a fashionable hat. One fit for wall street, not main street. Yet main street was where a common man like my dad was most comfortable. When he opened the gift in the hospital he expressed his enthusiasm as much as the pain from cancer would allow. But, the discomfort he felt could not keep the smile from his face that encouraged and buoyed my spirits and hope. Yet as so often was the case back then, cancer would have its way and take my father from us soon after the New Year. His new hat was placed beside him when he was laid to rest.

When one approaches the age that impels thoughts of mortality, one wonders what lies beyond the veil of this life. Some think nothing. But, the reasonable man at least has doubt. Men of faith know that no explanation is necessary, and for those who lack faith no explanation is sufficient – St. Thomas Aquinas. With that being said, I know my father had faith. He was not a regular church goer, but exhibited an understanding between right and wrong. And acted accordingly. He maintained a reverential relationship with God. A relationship that must have tightened significantly when I was stricken with polio at age four. When we lose loved ones we may wonder what they experienced when accountability comes due. What follows is an imaginative face-to-face between my dad – as I knew him to be – and Jesus, at dad’s final judgment.

Dad stands before Jesus with his head down and new hat in hand; a natural stance when the imperfect is before the perfect. The final evaluation that will determine his eternal life now begins.

Jesus: “What do you have there Anthony?”                                                                              Dad, without looking up: “It is a hat that my son gave to me as a Christmas gift.”                                                                                                                                                 Jesus: “It is a handsome hat at that.” “Is it a style of hat that you often wore?”           Dad: “No Lord. As a matter of fact I seldom wore hats. So it was a surprise to me that he gave it to me.”                                                                                                                              Jesus: “Your son gave you that hat because you are special to him. That hat represents his love. Your son loved you for the sacrifices in life that you made on his behalf.  It is in that sacrifice that I see myself in you. That love born of sacrifice has won you my mercy.”                                                                                                                                                            Jesus continues: “I see upon you the blemishes of sins that have not yet been amended while on earth.  Justice must be satisfied, Anthony, before my mercy can be given. With that understood, I must now send you away for a while to a place to have those blemishes removed so that you will then be worthy to be in My Father’s presence. The prayers of your son and of others who love you will accelerate that purification process. So, go now and be cleansed until I call you home.”                         

As dad turns from Jesus to go and fulfill His command, Jesus asks a favor of him.

Dad stops and turns to address Jesus’ request; “Anything Lord. What will you have me do?”                                                                                                                                                      Jesus: “When I call you home, I want you to wear your hat.”                                                   Dad: “My hat, Lord?”                                                                                                                     Jesus: “Yes Anthony, wear your hat. For as my crown of thorns, through an act of sacrificial love, became My Crown Of Glory, so will your hat likewise be transformed.”                                                                                                                                     Dad, with a smile and a depth of gratitude that no mortal could fathom, replied: “As you wish, Lord.”

My dad, as we all, lived in a world that can make or break a soul. We will all have our moment before Christ at the threshold of Heaven. Admittance is granted, delayed or denied. Elated are those whose hearts are in line with the heart of God. How closely we have followed God’s will over our own in the course of our lives will determine the measure of Christ’s mercy. A heart, although in the state of grace, may still have the stains of past sins left not amended. The prayers and good works of loved one’s yet to be called to their own judgment can hasten entrance to heaven for those souls who Christ has determined deserving.

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Of Fools and Insanity

I open with the following quote from G.K. Chesterton because it is pertinent to the topic of discussion that follows; “Take away the supernatural and what remains is the unnatural.”

Literary writers have proven themselves to be prophetic. Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon,” and George Orwell’s “1984,” have seen reality made from fiction with the successful landing of a man on the moon and modern day’s technology establishing an intrusive Big Government in place of Big Brother.

In one of H.G. Wells’ dystopian novels, a man is rescued at sea and brought to an island where he encounters a mad scientist who has spent 17 years creating “animals fused with human genes.” “The Island of Dr. Moreau” ends tragically with death abounding.

Recently the Government has proposed to put human cells in animal embryos. The National Institutes of Health has announced its support for expanded research into the development of chimeras, experimental genetic combinations of human beings and animals that, some experts say, may yield immense benefits in medical treatment and scientific knowledge.

The stated aim now is to fund research putting human cells into very early animal embryos, even nonhuman primates in some cases. This, NIH says, would allow new disease modeling, drug testing, and eventually the growth in animals of human organs that could be used for transplantation. The problematic aspect is that when added so early in development, the human cells could end up, well, anywhere in the developing animal. In the worst case, the human cells could end up in gonadal tissue and form human gametes (eggs or sperm) within the animal’s body. – So say David Prentice Ph.D and Chuck Donovan, from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Just because a man possesses the capability to do a thing does not mean that he must do it. In the Garden of Eden the Tree of Knowledge had low hanging fruit. We have found that simply because the fruit was so accessible, did not make picking it the wisest action. As G.K. Chesterton says: “Just because we are given a right to do a thing, does not mean we are right in doing it.”

Should permission be given to  the NIH to proceed in this experimentation we may very well find that it leads to a most horrendous end. For the road to hell we know is paved with good intentions. Irenaeus wrote in “Against Heresies”; “Thinking against nature, you will become foolish. And of you persist you will fall into insanity.”

So we are then left to ponder the following; Are our leaders simply foolish or hopelessly insane?

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The Irresistible Influence

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  – John 2:1-11

When the late effects of Post Polio Syndrome forced me into an early retirement, my mom did not ask nor implore but simply stated: “With the successes in life that you have experienced, in spite of the challenges of polio,  you should write a book.” No other word was said by her or me. Her expectation was as that of Mary’s. That their wishes would be fulfilled. As Jesus responded with an act of affirmation, so did I. He restored to the wedding feast the choicest wine, thereby beginning His mission as the Incarnate. And I went about writing my autobiography, “The Little Red Chair.” For which loving son can refuse his mother?

An invisible truth and a deep love between mother and son influences the son and brings forth from him a free act. – Sheen


There is a humorous aspect in both stories. In the miracle of the wedding at Cana a grin comes to one’s face in that Mary did not wait for Jesus’ OK. She simply said: “Do whatever He tells you;” and then she continues in the wedding celebration. My mom, somewhat, did the same. When my retirement was inevitable she lay down the gauntlet to me to write the book that would prove to be most cathartic. Then she went about preparing dinner.

Mary knew Jesus as any mother knows her son. With the exception that she knew before conception where His destiny would lead.  Mary is the new Eve. Jesus is the new Adam. As Adam’s yes to Eve led to the disobedience that sealed heaven’s gates, so, too, did Jesus’ yes to Mary set him on the road to Calvary, where his obedience to God’s will would lift him upon the cross that was the key to unlocking the gates of heaven once again. One selfish act that separated us from God through sin, would be reconciled by the ultimate selfless sacrifice that would render sin impotent.

A woman’s influence over a man is significant. Be that woman a lover, wife or mother. In Homer’s Iliad, Paris yields to Helen’s beauty. Hers’ is known as the face that launched a thousand ships, initiating a war between Sparta and Athens. Monica, the mother of Augustine, sacrificed in prayer which, with time and patience, would free her son  from sin’s enslaving grip. Through his mother’s efforts he would convert and become a defender of the Catholic Church, named one of Mother Church’s most honored doctors, and be canonized a saint.
A women’s influence, as we have here seen, is apparent. It can either invite men to vice or virtue.
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Love and Hate

A Dallas police sergeant wears a mourning band on his badge during a prayer vigil in a park following the multiple police shooting in Dallas. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A Dallas police sergeant wears a mourning band on his badge during a prayer vigil in a park following the multiple police shooting in Dallas. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Hate is the harvest of a selfish heart. The anger that precedes hate arises out of frustration when men and women place their complete trust in fallible individuals who fail them in their leadership. When a pot of water is about to boil over one reduces the heat rather than increases it. When the unfathomable happens common sense insists that cooler heads prevail. Knee-jerk emotional reaction before the facts are known can only place one on a road that leads to no good end.  No one truly knows what is in the heart of our leaders or any individual. Whether their goal is to serve self or to serve others. But a tree is known by its fruit. If the goal is to serve self then the goal will not foster fruitful love, but barren hate. A Native American sage once said: “In every person’s heart there are two dogs fighting. One good and one evil. The one that is fed the most wins.”

“What’s wrong with the world is the devil. What’s right with the world is God.” – G.K. Chesterton

No one of us comes into this world to die. We come into it to live. Nor is one destined to murder or to be murdered. The former does so by choice, the latter has it chosen for him. The only One who came into this world to die was Christ. Death to any of us is an accident of life. For Christ death was an intent. His sacrifice purchased for us forgiveness, the remedy to sin, and re-opened the gates to Paradise for those who aspire to the perfection of truth through following His way that leads to life everlasting. Those who accept this infallible reality and hold fast to it will not be susceptible to hate.

The tragic events in Dallas Texas that took the lives of five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others was an act of hatred born of selfishness. Such an act as this is evil for it takes life when not in direct defense of life. The only just war is one fought in defense; whether between nations or individuals. When the shots rang out at the end of a peaceful protest rally, as inherent instinct would dictate, people ran away from the threat knowing full well that evil was in their midst and that what follows evil is death; be it of body, soul or both. The officers, by professional instinct and strength of character, put themselves between the threat and vulnerable people that they have sworn to protect until those people were a safe distance away. Then these police officers rushed toward the threat. Not to embrace evil, but rather to stop it. Always in such calls to duty their lives are on the line. And in this instance evil staked a claim; but, as always, fails to win in the end.

So long as there is hatred in any heart there will be occasion for tragic events. There will be the ongoing conflict between perpetrator and victim; evil and good. And in between the two are the police.

Final Inspection

The Policeman stood and faced his God, Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining as brightly as his brass.

“Step forward now, officer. How shall I deal with You?
Have you always turned the other cheek? To my Church have you been true?”

The officer squared his shoulders and said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Cause those of us who carry badges can’t always be a saint.

But I never took a penny that wasn’t mine to keep,
Though I worked a lot of overtime when the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me, I wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place among the people here.
They never wanted me around except to calm their fear.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, it needn’t be so grand.
I’ve never expected or had too much. But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”

There was silence all around the throne where the saints had often trod.
As the officer waited quietly for the answer of his God.

“Step forward now, Officer, you’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s Streets. You’ve done your time in Hell.”

-Peter Hornbach

“In the end it comes down to good and evil, light and darkness. We have to choose a side.” – G.K. Chesterton

No matter how difficult, even under the gravest of circumstances, one must restrict anger to keep at bay the fraudulent consequences of hate. For only through the certainty of truth can justice be acquired, mercy be granted, and the open wound of division be healed.  


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Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?

justice-is-blind-statueIn the Broadway musical “1776,” through a song from the score titled, “Is Anybody There?”, a frustrated General George Washington sends a letter to the Continental Congress apprising its members of the condition of the army under his command. The letter describes the woeful circumstances; soldiers, mostly the age of boys, have little by way of food, weapons, munitions and low morale. The low morale is not solely due to the conditions depicted but specifically regarding their purpose. What are they fighting for? Washington urges Congress to get about a commitment to unity and a declaration of war against England before it is too late. One can get behind a creed but not an idea. Without a creed one’s identity is lacking. Washington always opens his battlefield correspondences to a divided and uncertain congress with, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

The 2012 Benghazi attack took place on the evening of September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. Several hours later, a second assault targeted a different compound about one mile away, killing CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. Ten others were also injured in the attacks. During the days leading up to and including the thirteen hour siege requests for military support was denied. If not for the CIA contractors, who disobeyed the order to stand down, the loss of life would have been even worse. These brave selfless men were former military warriors who lived by the code of “NO One Left Behind.” They were not going to stand by and not go to the aid of those remaining in the American diplomatic compound. I’m certain that during those terrifying thirteen hours until rescued by Libyan government forces along with a group of Americans the question arose often: “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

In the complete text of the Declaration of Independence where the case is made against King George III of England, the following accusation is found:”…deaf to the voice of justice…” When FBI director James Comey presented his case against Hillary Clinton, the facts seemed clear for a recommendation for prosecution. Yet in the end he walked away from it. And justice again fell on deaf ears. His accurate scathing rebuke of her gross negligence was meant to appease those who would be dissatisfied by his decision, yet, more likely, it was meant to ease a troubled conscience persuaded by political pressure.
We the tax payers who do the heavy lifting in this country by the sweat of our brow, giving it its life blood, have been short-changed again. The double standard of justice that now exists can be delivered a crippling blow. People of good conscience can impose their own indictment come November through the power of the vote. So, again, in the light of these recent events the question must now be asked of ourselves, as citizens of these United States of America; “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

Those who are ignorant of the truth can be forgiven, but not those who know the truth and choose to ignore it.


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Our Two Freedoms

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – The Declaration of Independence

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

The Declaration of Independence provides man freedom on earth from tyranny.

The Bible provides man freedom on earth from sin.

The Declaration of Independence provides a temporary freedom.

The Bible provides eternal freedom.

The freedom of the Bible is the foundational tenet of the Declaration of Independence. It is so stated in the document, “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” I believe that the Founding Fathers understood that if this document drafted had not adhered to a divine absolute truth, separate from man’s fallibility, then the test of opposition that surely lay before this new nation would not be overcome. And that the experiment of democracy would very likely fail at its birth.

Indifference is the greatest threat to freedom…

When we are indifferent to those oppositions to our freedom. When we look the other way when challenged, assuming that our freedom is intact; that is when freedom is on its way to being lost. When a faction of Peoples ask for tolerance yet offers none in return, then freedom is in jeopardy. For tyranny is born of tolerance; in this circumstance freedom is lost.

Indifference toward prudence opens one to loss of personal freedom. One who drinks his first beer gives no thought to the possibility that a door to alcohol dependence may have been opened. One whose curiosity draws him to view pornography may find that an unintended habit may ensue, resulting in an unrealistic and skewed view of others. No longer seeing that every person deserves to be valued, one soon sees himself as valueless. The fantasy then becomes the dark reality. Misused freedom leads to enslavement.

A nation that sought, fought and paid the price for freedom in blood will lose it and dishonor the memory of those who sacrificed by not guarding it against indifference.

Individuals have relinquished their freedom from sin, purchased by the act of Deicide, through a lack of respect for evil’s power by not prudently utilizing their God-given common sense to avoid the surrender to that power.

Freedom once acquired is not guaranteed. It necessitates a constant prudent vigilance; energized by an imagining of what would be the fate of our lives or souls should we let down our guard.

The choice before God in creating the world lay between creating a purely mechanical universe, peopled by automatons, or creating a spiritual universe in which there would be a choice of good and evil. Praise and blame can only be bestowed on those who are masters of their own will. It is only because you have the possibility of saying no, that there is so much charm in your character when you say “yes.” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen



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