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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

 In today’s liturgy we read Paul in 1 Corinthians.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,  

and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  
All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,  and the rock was the Christ.  
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.  
 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.  
 
Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.  
These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 cor 10:1-6, 10-12

Paul draws the comparison between the disobediant Israelites under Moses to those present Christians in Corinth.  God sent the Israelites a savior from their bondage in Egypt (Moses) as He would send the “new Moses” Christ Jesus to lead mankind from its bondage in sin.  The Israelites passed through cloud (Spirit) and sea (water) just as we are now baptized.  God provided real and spiritual food and drink for their sustenance, just as Jesus now provides His real body and blood which we eat and drink for our spiritual wellness.  As the Israelites participated as a community, so do we. 

Yet, with all that God had done for the Israelites, most fell into grumbling, idol-worshipping, and disobedience and were “struck down in the desert.”  They did not complete the forty years wanderings to make it to the promised land.

Paul warns us that just like them, we may suffer (eternal) death, though we too have been chosen by God, saved through baptism of water and spirit, and have eaten and drunk from the communal cup.  At any time, we may fall back into idolatrous behavior, in other words, Sin! 

The doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved is a false assurance.  Though God fills our lives with blessings and provides the grace necessary to sustain and save us, at any time any of us might fall into temptation, a fall that may take us away from salvation, just as the Israelites – for whom God sent Moses, performed miraculous deeds and parted the sea – were eventually struck down in the desert.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) , we see that the owner of the fig tree is disgusted that so much time has passed, yet his tree has not born fruit.  Why should he not cut it down?  But the vine dresser offers to provide a year’s worth of extra nurturing.  One more chance for the fig tree to show its worth and do credit to the owner. 

God is patient with us as we find our way to Him…and back to Him.  But remember that despite His infinite patience, a time will come when we will be called to account and on that day, we will pass the test, or we will be cut down.  Some people might think this is unfair.  Why?  hasn’t God provided Jesus Christ for our salvation?  the words of life in the Gospels and in the other books of the Scripture?  the apostolic priesthood to be reconciled to Him and from which to receive the sacraments?  the holy Church to teach and guide us?  grace to sustain us?  the Holy Spirit to lead us?  Some say a loving God would not abandon us because of our sinful ways, because we are doomed to fall to temptation.  I say, our God loves us as any good father does, and therefore, expects us to do our best.

If today you observe yourself and you are doing the modern equivalent of dancing around a golden calf, then today is the day to repent.

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I read this article and all other articles like this and I must confess to you:   my response is that we should just let these people alone.  Am I experiencing “white guilt” over the conquering of the Americas, and the Church’s role in it?  I don’t know.  Perhaps.  But my gut feeling is that God will save these people without having heard the Gospel and that in trying to reach these very ancient and unprepared indigenous peoples, we irreparably harm them, Gospel or no.  I sometimes think that the call to evangelize our world should be limited to societies and tribes that are somewhat on par with our own, equals to equals.  History has shown repeatedly that forcing indigenous peoples into modernity has disastrous effects on the indigenous society:  disease, alcoholism, poverty, depression, loss of culture and heritage, and a general breakdown of society. 

As the catechism teaches, God will save those who live in ignorance of Him, through no fault of their own.  But..I dunno.  We are called to bring a light into the world. 

 This is a great conundrum to me, and a source of heartbreak.  Thoughts? 

Last member of 65,000-year-old tribe dies, taking one of world’s earliest languages to the grave

The last member of a 65,000-year-old tribe has died, taking one of the world’s earliest languages to the grave. Boa Sr, who died last week aged about 85, was the last native of the Andaman Islands who was fluent in Bo. 

 Named after the tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, which are thought to date back to the pre-Neolithic period when the earliest humans walked out of Africa. 

 Boa was the oldest member of the Great Andamanese, a group of tribes that are the the first descendants of early humans who migrated from Africa about 70,000 years ago and who arrived on the islands around 65,000. Other groups went on to colonise Indonesia and Australia. 

 She lived through the horrors and hardships of the 2004 Asian tsunami, the Japanese occupation and diseases brought by colonisers in the 19th century. 

 Boa described the moment the tsunami struck: ‘We were all there when the earthquake came. 

 ‘The eldest told us “the Earth would part, don’t run away or move”. The elders told us, that’s how we know.’ 

 Professor Anvita Abbi, a linguist who knew Boa, said the tribeswoman had been losing her sight in recent years and was unable to speak with anyone in her own language. 

 Boa had no children and her husband died several years ago. 

 ‘Since she was the only speaker of Bo, she was very lonely as she had no one to converse with,’ Professor Abbi told the Times. 

 ‘Boa Sr had a very good sense of humour, and her smile and full throated laughter were infectious.’ 

 Professor Abbi managed to speak with Boa using a local version of Hindi and Great Andamanese, which is a mixture of all ten tribal languages. 

‘We had an odd relationship, but also a very intense one,’ the professor said. 

 ‘I spent a long time with her in the jungle and shared many moments with her. She was very proud to be the last member of the Bo.’  

Boa was born in the jungle of the northern Andamans and grew up in traditional society, learning to gather wild potatoes and hunt for wild pigs, turtles and fish. 

 In 1970, the Indian Government moved the Great Andamanese tribes to the tiny Strait Island near Port Blair.  

 Boa lived in a concrete and tin hut provided by the government and survived on state food rations and a pension of about 500 rupees (£6.80) a month. 

‘She always said she wanted to go back to the place where she was born,’ Professor Abbi said.
 

Alcohol was a big problem. It was killing them one by one.’ 
The Bo are believed to have lived on the islands for as long as 65,000 years, making them one of the oldest surviving human cultures.  

The king of the Bo tribe died in 2005, leaving only a handful of elderly members who also died over the next five years.
   

The Great Andamanese once numbered more than 5,000 and were made up of 10 distinct groups each with their own language.   

But today, after more than 150 years of contact with colonisers and the diseases they brought with them, the Great Andamanese number just 52.   

The only indigenous tribe that is relatively intact is the Sentinelese, who ban any contact with outsiders.
   

They were famously photographed firing arrows at an Indian helicopter after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
   

Professor Abbi said that Boa often told her how she envied the fact that the Jarawa and the Sentinelese had managed to avoid contact with outsiders.
   

She recalled: ‘She used to say they were better off in the jungle.’   

Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, a group that campaigns for the rights of indigenous people, urged the Indian Government not to resettle any the Jawara or other indigenous tribes.   

‘With the death of Boa Sr and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory,’ he said.   

‘Boa’s loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman Islands

   

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1248754/Last-member-65-000-year-old-tribe-dies-taking-worlds-earliest-languages-grave.html#ixzz0egLeSK4l

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Wisdom from my blogging friend Ryan at Without Having Seen.  This is his comment in reply to Patrick Madrid‘s post on what to do with a Facebook friend who may or may not have been out of line in a discussion.  I think that Ryan has again charitably and faithfully stated catholic (universal) truths, and I’m reprinting it here to benefit my readers, too.

Thy Handmaid’s son said…The issue isn’t whether abortion is murder or not. That’s a given: yes.

The issue is whether, in the context of a discussion, this truth is the paramount one in the hierarchy of truths. The Code of Canon Law, which is an invaluable resource for instruction about the heart and mind of the Church, gives us an interesting clue on this point. The very last canon, which deals with the transfer of pastors, says this:

“In cases of transfer, the prescripts of can. 1747 are to be applied, canonical equity is to be observed, and the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law of the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes,” (CIC 1752).

The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church, and if I might add, its primary mission. In fact, I need not, because the Catechism says it better (CCC 849-51). Salvation, and thus missionary work, must be grounded in truth. The fundamental truth of all human affairs is that God’s great love for us wills to save all men, and we must order our presentation of subordinate truths in a manner that will make them most credible. Missionary work, our proactive, evangelical share in this saving plan, requires patience, the Catechism tells us (CCC 854). That is because people are all coming from different places and experiences and will respond to different individual true statements in different ways; this also largely depends upon the person by whom they hear the truth proclaimed.

When dealing with someone on an issue, particularly a thorny one, I ask myself a few questions, since the salvation of souls – and not the simple proclamation of truth – is the highest law of the Church. The questions include: “Will this person listen to me? I am a 32 year old man with such-and-such a personality, this sort of relationship to the person, and this sort of reasons and experience to fall back on. Will he listen to me? Can I express the truth clearly and charitably? Are my motivations pure – that is, about my love for this person – or are my motivations tainted by anger, spiritual ambition, or what have you? Is it a truth that I need to proclaim? Can the person wait to hear it, or must it be spoken now, with dire consequences otherwise? Am I well disposed to help the person cope with any emotional fallout that might arise, to really care about the PERSON and not just the argument?”

If it sounds like I am making a very complicated issue of a simple debate, that’s because it’s not about an issue, but about souls. The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church. For my part, I try to make the supreme law of my conduct to be faith, hope, and charity. These three alleviate the burden of having to win debates, do it myself, and cater to my own interior motivations. I am free – when tuned into these divinely given virtues – to say, “Hey, maybe I don’t win this today, but Jesus wins in the end, so I am free just to pray for the person and trust God, if that’s all I can do now.” BAM! Pressure gone.

It is no lie, if a post-abortive woman asks, “Am I a murderer?” to respond, “You are a beloved daughter of God, who wants you only to know his love, to repent of the sins of your past, and live new life with him – just like everybody else.” It is no lie, nor is it an evasion. It is defering one truth in favor of a much more important one.

December 28, 2009 11:55 PM

That is awesome, Ryan.  You gave me something to ponder, a better way of thinking of evangelization.  Ya just taught me a lesson!  thanks!  <3

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