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Oy vez, Je-rem-meee Corrrrrr-bin. The Labour Party’s leader’s been hit with those allegations of anti-Semitism again and challenged over his commitment to deal with bigots in his party’s ranks. It turns out that parroting the line about his life-long fight for anti-racism and how much he loathes racism and how Jew hatred is wrong (who knew?) isn’t convincing everyone. Andrew Neil posed a few questions on the matter in a Q&A that gave Jews hope that their lot is not being ignored, boosted the Tories and assured Prince Andrew that he is not the worst person in interviews.
As Nick Cohen says of Corbyn’s unwillingness to apologise to Jews: “The best is to admit its guilt and reform. Labour cannot because Labour’s leader and his supporters are so contaminated by racial prejudice they lack the moral capacity to change, or even admit to themselves the need to change.”
The papers lead with the horror show:
Only the Daily Star and Mirror don’t lead with Corbyn. The Star looks at two big Lottery winners. The Mirror goes for a story on the NHS, those Lottery winners, a recycling “disgrace”, and a chance to win a “giant Olaf toy”, as seen in the films Frozen and Frozen 2. No room for those pesky Jews:
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is one of the many upset by Labour’s inability to grasp the situation. His open letter is here in full:
There was no process in Labour to deal with anti-semitism before Corbyn was made leader, says Corbyn… Well, you know, needs must. Brendan O’Neill asks who sees Neil’s interview, looks at Corbyn’s record on Jews – that mural, the wreath, those ‘friends’, the lesson in ‘English irony’, the Jewish MP hounded out of the party – and still votes for him?
Why do so many decent people want to serve under him as an MP? Vote in Labour moderates to save the Party, say the likes of Tony Blair, a man who claims to be appalled by the racism rife in the party he once led. Egregious balderdash. Vote Labour and you get Corbyn, a man who heads a group lacking in the moral capacity to admit grievous error and move on.
Too often accusations of racism in his Labour are recast as ‘smears’, part of a conspiracy to do him and his down, say the fans. Who runs this conspiracy? Well, who runs all the conspiracies that lead to all your problems. You know who, that’s who. Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink.
But fear not, Jews, because Corbyn knows racism exists in other places and will make sure the synagogues, shops and streets where Jews meet are well defended. But if they breach the Jewish school’s gates, these enemies possessed by a hate Corbyn can neither fathom nor identity, Jews can flee to Israel perhaps – the country Corbyn targets as the epitome of all that’s wrong with the world.
First they protect us for our own good. Then they block our escape route. Not again. Never again.
A vote for Corbyn’s Labour is a vote for racism. Please don’t do it.
After every right-wing act of violence we hear once more that it was a “lone wolf” attack. Esther Dischereit argues that this is an implausible cover-up of attitudes sympathetic to Nazism.
On October 9, 2019, an assassin in Halle, Germany, shot two people and killed them, and he also shot several others, wounding them. He wanted to kill those who had come together in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish Holy Day, and he put an incendiary device in the Jewish cemetery nearby. He didn’t succeed. When he realized he had failed to kill Jews, he killed Kevin S., who was in a snack bar for döner, a Turkish fast food. For the perpetrator, Kevin S. was, as it were, someone who associated with Turks, migrants, presumably also Muslims. He was shot for and instead of someone else. Jana L., a non-Jewish resident of Halle whom the perpetrator shot when he meant to kill the people inside the synagogue, also certainly died instead of Jewish people.
Katrina Turner, a representative of the African-American community in Charlottesville, broke out in tears when in 2017—after the Ku Klux Klan invaded her city—she recounted her memories of Heather Heyer, a counterdemonstrator who was killed, and of the many more were injured. Turner repeated this sentence twice: “. . . that a white woman died for us.” As the Ku Klux Klan supporters marched into town, they chanted this slogan: “The Jew will not replace us.” In this context, the figure of the “Jew” signifies that white domination of the world is under threat. In this sense, being Jewish is elevated to being simply “the other” and becomes a shorthand for all efforts and aspirations that could disturb the image of a healthy, pure “Aryan” people.
In such milieus the “Jew” also represents left-wing political positions and queer, feminist, and diverse worldviews, including ways of being human that supposedly bring decay, including taking in refugees and wanting to live as peaceful neighbors to Muslims. Each of these concepts is well known. Historically, this has not stopped these people from seeing Jews as a “red danger” while at the same time denouncing them as “capitalist bloodsuckers.”
“Happy about Every Synagogue”
The attack in Halle is different from what happened in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and France not because of the ideological fanaticism, not because of the cold-bloodedness, but because the attack took place in a country where the “Final Solution” happened under Nazi rule. The image of people trapped in a synagogue is superimposed upon the image of people driven into a synagogue. The exits were blocked, and German Einsatzkommandos set the synagogue on fire. After millions of Jewish people had been killed or driven out, every political establishment after 1945 at first had to tolerate the few who remained and later on court them from time to time. After the October attack, Germany’s federal chancellor, Angela Merkel, declared that “we are happy about every synagogue, every Jewish community, and all Jewish life in our country.”
Up to now the Islamic community, with its roughly 4.5 million members in Germany, has not experienced such a public validation. Such attentiveness to mosques that have been set on fire or headscarves that have been spat on is still waiting to appear on the political stage. A few days ago at the event celebrating the ten-year existence of the only existing Jewish scholarship, the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Scholarship Fund (ELES), it was Hakan Tosuner, director of Avicenna, the Islamic Scholarship Foundation established five years ago, who said: “Precisely in light of yesterday’s tragic incident, Jewish-Muslim solidarity is more important than ever. . . . Whether synagogues or mosques are attacked, we must be united in solidarity.”
Perhaps it is inappropriate to express these thoughts publicly at this time. But it remains a fact that this threat has not just become evident now for the first time and that other citizens are also affected. The Roma and the Sinti peoples are continually exposed to an endless stream of threats that has made it necessary for this minority, too, to erect a special protective wall at the entrance to their center in Baden-Württemberg. Four days after Halle, Daniel Strauß, chairman of their association, received this threat of an attack on his cell phone: “After Halle, your cultural center is up next.” In Germany, Austria, and the Balkans, this minority was also a victim of Nazi racial fanaticism.
“Try to speak: I am glad you exist, that you exist here, among us.” It may strike one that perhaps this sentence sounds untruthful. It hardly seems right, and I must confess that I personally don’t demand such a statement. Absolutely no one has to be happy or not happy that I exist. I am here, all the same, whether someone else is happy about that or not. Is it the responsibility of government representatives to welcome me as a ward? Is this attitude legitimate simply because someone is a member of the majority?
“A Foreign Race”
It is basically a question of reversing an attitude of being unhappy about someone and wanting to send her or him “back home.” Donald Trump exemplifies this when he denies that the Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are “real Americans.” The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) politician Alexander Gauland recommended that the former German minister for integration Aydan Özoğuz should be “disposed of like waste material.” With reference to the same person, a party member said that she should care about “over there, where she belonged.” The opponent is said to be base, branded as “another race,” stigmatized as “the other” and foreign.
This use of the language by the legal political arm of the right-wing terrorist milieu continues in the struggle over public space, the struggle for the political opinion of others. Antifascist projects and initiatives on the left, booksellers, and others are overrun with incendiary devices and death threats. But it was only in June 2019 after the Christian Democratic Union district president of the city of Kassel, Walter Lübke, was murdered by the neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst that an outcry broke out in the political establishment.
Lübke fulfilled his obligation to take care of people who entered the country seeking protection as they fled dictatorship and civil war. He clearly injured the feelings of the right-wing extremists when he said that whoever did not agree with such values was at liberty to leave Germany. This murder followed a series of murders by the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Preceding this one, nine people, all of them migrants, were killed as well as a female German police officer, and a bomb attack injured more than twenty people in Cologne. The existence of the NSU was discovered in 2011. In the trial in Munich, which ended in 2018, Beate Zschäpe was sentenced to life in prison. In the eyes of those who were family members of the victims, the sentence exonerated the other accomplices who were accused. It was evident that the court had wanted to limit the group of culprits to a core of three and to the most immediate environment. Additional investigations were not done (e.g., in connection with a list of the right-wing extremists’ targets that was discovered). Two hundred and thirty-three goals referring to Jewish life were identified on this list. A greater number of targets referred to migrant communities, and others specified politicians and parties.
Ideological Incendiary Devices
Crimes motivated by anti-Semitism have taken place since 1980, with the murder of the rabbi and publisher Shlomo Lewin and his partner, Frida Poeschke, since the arson attack on the synagogue in Erfurt, those injured in Düsseldorf-Wehrhahn and in other places: 1980, 1992, 2000, 2003. . . . Nevertheless, after every right-wing terrorist act of violence we hear, repeated like a mantra, that this was an attack by a single individual. At first the danger from these networks assembled by neo-Nazis ready to do violence was perceived little by little. In August, the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation counted those who posed a threat to public safety at forty-one, although the number of right-wing extremists ready to engage in violence has been identified as over twelve thousand. Their sympathizers are said to be as many as twice that. More than five hundred arrest warrants for neo-Nazis have not been served. Where were they sought?
After every right-wing terrorist act of violence we hear, repeated like a mantra, that this was an attack by a single individual.
It is about time that independent commissions investigate the security forces that not only refrain from proceeding against right-wing extremism but may themselves be involved. Many incidents involving police in Hesse, Thuringia, and in the army suggest this possibility.
The criminals of the National Socialist regime were largely left unpunished. This culture of immunity from punishment has continued and spread with regard to right-wing extremism in our democratic system. This is the real problem. The antifascist initiatives and archives have an extensive amount of research material at their disposal. It is thanks to them that not everything can be swept under the rug.
This culture of immunity from punishment has continued and spread with regard to right-wing extremism in our democratic system.
As the political arm of the culprits, the AfD denies that it had anything to do with these crimes. But they are the ones who for a long time have been planting ideological fire accelerants. Remarks against Jews are heard again and again from members of the FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria); denial that an ideological system is at work here follows close on the heels of such statements. These are implausible cover-ups of an attitude sympathetic to Nazism.
Initiatives like “Indivisible” or “We are the many” make clear that they oppose the ethnically tinged “You are the stranger” with a “we.” In August of this year thirty-five thousand people demonstrated in Dresden in favor of this stance; thousands are once more in the streets. Citizens can demand that the right-wing extremists who commit arson, their spiritual mentors, and networks be investigated. Flirtation with such a body of thought is not only tasteless but, given the brutality of the milieu, it is the beginning of the end.
Translation from the German
PARSHAS TOLDOS 5780
“THE FIRE WITHIN”
An Israeli journalist once asked a ba’al teshuva who he felt was greater, the little Yerushalmi children in Me’ah Shearim who have never had exposure to contemporary society, or he, who had reformed his entire life? The journalist assumed that the ba’al teshuva would reply that he is greater because he had left behind surroundings and familiarity of his youth in order to adopt a Torah lifestyle. However, the ba’al teshuva replied that in his opinion the Yerushalmi children are greater: “I experienced the trappings and pleasures of the outside world, and I am starkly aware that it’s ultimately empty and meaningless. To me, it’s clear that Torah provides true meaning and a life of direction and purpose. But those Yerushalmi children have no way of knowing that. To them the allure of the outside world still seems exciting and tempting. The fact that they maintain their beliefs anyway requires faith and dedication that are beyond me.”
The prophet Yeshaya conveyed to the nation that G-d was displeased with their Service to Him: “G-d said: Since this people has drawn close, with its mouth and with its lips it has honored Me, yet it has distanced its heart from me; their fear of me is כמצות אנשים מלומדה - like rote of human commands.”
One of the greatest challenges we face is to maintain a level of excitement and passion when doing mitzvos and serving Hashem, particularly regarding those mitzvos we perform on a daily basis. When a young man dons his tefillin for the first time shortly prior to his bar mitzvah, he is extremely excited and proud. But with time that excitement wanes and becomes a matter of rote, especially during those mornings when he is tired.
When Yitzchak and Rivka davened for a child the Torah states, “And Hashem heeded hiscries, and his wife Rivka conceived.” Rashi explains that Hashem listened to the prayers of Yitzchak more than to the prayers of Rivka, because the prayers of a righteous person who is the child of a wicked person, cannot compare to the prayers of a righteous person who is the child of a righteous person.
The words of Rashi are surprising. One would think that one born and raised among heretics who pulled himself up by the bootstraps to become a devout believer is greater than one born into a reputable upstanding home. In addition, the gemarastates, “In the place where one who has repented stands, the most perfectly righteous cannot stand.” If so, why was Rivka’s prayers not as poignant, if not more poignant, than those of Yitzchak?
Rabbi Sholom Schwadron zt’l related that one day a man was standing next to the marketplace minding his own business watching people busily shopping. Suddenly, he felt two hard jabs at his chest. As he looked up angrily to see who had punched him, he realized that he was in the middle of saying Shemone Esrei and had just recited the beracha, Selach Lanu.
Rabbi Simcha Wasserman zt’l explained that a person who decides to revolutionize his life by adopting a Torah lifestyle that was completely unfamiliar to him, reaches spiritual levels that even surpasses the most righteous individuals, who did not have to undergo such struggle to achieve that connection. Still, one who repents generally does so because he felt internal strife and emptiness. He was searching and yearning for meaning and knew that something had to change in his life. It was that journey and self-discovery that led him to a path of Torah and mitzvah observance.
One born into a home of Torah values however, never knew of anything different. For that person, it is a greater challenge to appreciate the privilege he was been born into, as a Torah observant Jew. One who has been davening three times a day, repeating the same words all his life, inevitably has a more difficult time finding meaning in his prayers. That is why the sincere prayers of one born into a home of righteousness, are greater than the prayers of one raised in a home that does not practice Torah values. One who developed an appreciation for prayer looks forward to the thrice daily opportunity for connection, and therefore it is not as great of a challenge for him to daven. One who was trained in it from youth, can maintain his callow understanding of prayer throughout his life, and never develop that appreciation for the greatness and opportunity of prayer. For him to do so, requires overcoming habit and rote, which is always a formidable challenge.
In the daily Shema we recite: “And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart.”The Medrash comments that each day a person should feel as if that day G-d commanded him to perform the mitzvos.
Shema is the mantra of every Jew. The custom is to recite Shema in the presence of an infant boy the night before his b’ris milah. Just before a person leaves this world, if he has the ability, he recites Shema. Twice a day, every day, morning and evening, a Jew recites Shema, and then repeats it again just before he retires for the night.
It is therefore particularly in the Shema recitation that we are commanded to maintain a sense of freshness and excitement for Avodas Hashem. We should never take for granted the message of Shema. Just as the world does not run on automatic pilot, but is renewed by G-d each day, so must our Service to Him be performed with renewed vigor and excitement each day.
In days of old, a watchman was stationed at all railroad crossings. He would sit at the top of a tower next to the crossing. If he would see a horse and buggy traveling toward the crossing as a train was speeding down the track, he would wave a flaming torch in all directions to warn the conductor.
One cloudy day, the watchman saw an oncoming train rapidly approaching the crossing just as a horse and wagon slowly made its way across the tracks. The watchman grabbed his wooden stick, raced to the top of the tower, and began waving it in all directions. But no matter how vigorously he waved the stick the train would not slow down. Moments later, the train crashed into the horse and buggy causing significant devastation and loss of life.
The watchman was forced to stand trial in court with serious allegations leveled against him, which included involuntary manslaughter. When the charges were announced the watchman was indignant. “I did my job. I waved that torch as hard as I could. It was the conductor who should be charged for not adhering to the warning!” The prosecution sharply replied, “It doesn’t matter how much you waved the stick. You neglected to fulfill your primary duty, which is to light the stick before you start waving it. If there is no fire atop the stick, the conductor won’t see it, so how can he understand its message?!”
Prayer is incredibly powerful, and its words are incredibly poignant. But words recited without emotion cannot compare with those recited passionately. The concentration and fervor we have while praying is the fire that propels those words to far greater heights.
The Sages explain that “G-d desires heart”. It’s not merely about what we do, but also how we do it. That is true all of our actions, especially prayer.
The prophet Yechezkel informed the nation: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”Our task is to seek that sense of freshness and excitement in the mundane and not allow what we do to become a matter of rote.
The sad truth of life is that we often don’t appreciate our greatest gifts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of reflection, we can elevate every day and savor the blessings we are granted.
“Hashem heeded his cries”
“These matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart.”
Rabbi Dani Staum LMSW
Rebbe, Heichal HaTorah, Teaneck, NJ
Principal, Ohr Naftali, New Windsor NY
 Yeshaya 29:13
 The righteous Rivka was the daughter of the wicked Besuel
 The righteous Yitzchok was the son of the righteous Avrohom
 The custom is that we strike our chests twice when reciting that beracha. Rabbi Schwadron was humorously depicting how we often pray as if on autopilot, allowing our mouths to recite the familiar words out of habit, while our minds are completely elsewhere.
It is truly inspiring to watch the manner in which ba’alei teshuva daven with intense concentration.
 Devorim 6:6
 Sifrei, Devorim 31
Rabbi Aharon Lopianski notes that it is not always as important to understand the meaning of every single word as it to understand the general gist of what one is saying. When one has a general understanding of the words it is far easier to relate to them and to maintain concentration.
 זוהר, רעיא מהימנא ג', כי תצא רפא, סנהדרין קו:
|Cache||Politicians cannot claim to fight anti-Semitism while tolerating other examples of Jew hatred.|
|Cache||Dshan heißt Seele
28 November, 2019 - 18:40
Andrej Platonow gehört zu den lange Verleugneten der russisch-sowjetischen Literatur. Der 1899 geborene Elektrotechniker und Meliorator veröffentlicht 1927 seine ersten Bücher, die gleich einem Paukenschlag daherkommende Kurzgeschichtensammlung „Die Epiphaner Schleusen“ und die satirische Erzählung „Die Stadt Gradow“, mit der er die sowjetische Bürokratie attackiert. Die hatte ihn gerade erst aus dem Berufsleben herausgekantet. Platonow versuchte in den Jahren zuvor erfolgreich zusammen mit den betroffenen Bauern, die Ursachen der Dürrekatastrophen im Schwarzerdegebiet um Woronesh zu bekämpfen. Er erlag der Illusion, dies, legitimiert durch eine demokratische Wahl, auf einem Spitzenposten der sowjetischen Gewerkschaften unionsweit weiterführen zu können. Der Traum dauert nur 14 Tage lang. Dann wird er gefeuert. Ihm bleibt nichts anderes übrig, als sein Glück – und die Existenzsicherung seiner Familie – als freier Schriftsteller zu versuchen.
Andrej Platonow: Dshan oder Die erste sozialistische Tragödie. Prosa – Essays – Briefe. Herausgegeben und übersetzt von Michael Leetz, Quintus, Berlin 2019, 376 Seiten, 25,00 Euro.
Q. Dear Umbra,
I have a well paid job. Should I donate my income post-living expenses to organizations working to fight climate change instead of saving?
— Rolling-In-Cash Humanitarian
A. Dear RICH,
It’s a rare treat, when you write a climate advice column, to get to explore a dilemma between two good options. What a lucky place you’re in, and what an admirable inclination! I love when the holidays provoke feelings of goodwill and generosity, as opposed to bitterness and seasonal depression. It’s such a nice change of pace!
While I love the idea of hurling a massive stack of hundos, Hustlers-style, at the abstract existential threat we all know and hate, that fantasy starts to collapse once you start poking at it. To answer your question, we have to answer two additional questions: What counts as “organizations working to fight climate change,” and how do you figure out how much money you should be donating to them? In other words: how many hundos are in that stack, and what exactly are you throwing them at?
There is zero question that a transition to a carbon-neutral or -negative society doesn’t happen without, in technical terms, a fuckton of cash. Estimates range from a modest $300 billion to $44 trillion. Political will to address climate change is really, really important, but frankly, so is money. A criticism regularly levied against climate-forward billionaires running for president, for example, is that they could do a lot more good spending their money directly on climate initiatives than spending it on a likely ill-fated presidential campaign.
I’ve argued before that almost any job, in the right hands, can be a job that fights climate change. A similar, if not identical, argument can be applied to donations — we need all kinds of initiatives beyond installing solar panels in developing countries (although we need that, too!) Organizations that develop green, affordable housing? Yes! Groups that strengthen abortion access in climate-vulnerable areas? Bingo! Refugee resettlement agencies? Hell yeah! Good old-fashioned poverty alleviation projects? Yes ma’am!!!
And like I said, political will is really important. So donating money for the climate could mean throwing some much-needed financial resources at pro-climate candidates, particularly in swing districts.
So how do you pick a place to put your money? If you ask a proponent of effective altruism, you should treat charity as you would an investment — you want the biggest return per dollar, in terms of generating well-being of some sort. The Centre for Effective Altruism actually designs donation portfolios, mutual-fund style, to promote this type of giving.
I think that’s a very sensible choice for those who have a limited amount to give and want to get the most charitable bang for their buck. But ultimately, I think you need to follow your heart. If you’re trying to sustain giving away a really substantial proportion of your income, which is what it sounds like, you probably want to feel some sort of personal connection to what you’re giving it away to.
This brings us to the “how many hundos” portion of our program, which I’ve been quite looking forward to. Should you give away, truly, everything you can?
I’m Jewish, so I’m going to start with what I know, which is the law of tzedakah. It’s a fundamental Jewish principle that essentially translates to “charity,” but that doesn’t quite capture the obligation implied; it’s more about a duty to facilitate a more just world. It’s a God-given requirement to give away at least 10 percent of your income to support those in need, and to generally use whatever wealth you have to support the dignity and wellbeing of others.
Because the foundation of Judaism is to analyze and argue over the precise meaning of its various rules, there’s a spectrum of rabbinical opinions on just how burdensome tzedakah is supposed to be. There’s a Talmudic dictum floating around somewhere that a Jew should actually donate no more than 20 percent of her income to charitable causes, because that would be too burdensome on her life.
The debate over how much to give is also very much alive in the field of applied ethics. An idea similar to tzedakah appears in philosopher Peter Singer’s Principle of Sacrifice: “If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it.”
Toby Ord, an Australian philosopher at the University of Oxford who studies morality and poverty, uses Singer’s Principle of Sacrifice to argue that anyone with some extra money has a moral imperative to help the poor. “In ages to come, when global poverty is no more, people will look back at our time and be dumbfounded by the moral paralysis of those who had the resources to help,” he writes. “For a moral theory to demand that we make large sacrifices in righting these wrongs is not too demanding, but just demanding enough.”
In 2009, Ord founded the organization Giving What We Can, which encourages people to make a habit of donating 10 percent of their incomes. I wrote to Julia Wise, the current president of Giving What We Can, which has since become a program of the Centre for Effective Altruism, to ask her opinion on your question.
“Your ability to do good is often best served by maintaining your own ability to contribute over the long term, rather than burning out quickly,” Wise responded in an email. “I do think people should consider their moral values in their budget, and that donating to effective charities can be a great way to live your values in the course of your daily life. But I think taken to an extreme (not having savings, not spending time with friends or family because that costs money), it can be counterproductive.”
You may hear “10 percent” and think, wow, that’s not very much! You’d be surprised. In the United States — which actually has a pretty thriving charitable culture relative to other rich countries, thanks to the influence of the church and other religious organizations — only about 53 percent of households donate to charity at all, and those that do give about $2,500 a year on average. That’s about 4 percent of the median American household income. Ten percent might be an impossible, life-hindering burden for a lot of families due to factors like the rising costs of housing and healthcare relative to wages. It might have no impact at all on the daily life of someone like Jeff Bezos.
Of course, we’re not just talking about daily life. You, RICH, are also talking about saving for the future. I’ll admit something a bit dark that has been plaguing my own personal budgeting process lately: Every time I contribute to my 401K, which is an embarrassingly recent practice, it’s hard to ignore a small internal voice that demands: “What is this FOR?” I have no freaking clue what the world will look like in 40 or 50 years, when I’m supposed to withdraw this money. I have no idea if money will even be useful at all! It could be a Waterworld barter economy situation!
But I think giving up on a future that I can look forward to, that I want to have some money for, dampens the will to fight for it. It might be a very simplistic way to look at saving, but I think that saving for the future and making even very abstract plans for it is an expression of optimism. It’s an action that says, “I think that the future will be OK, and I’m going to be around to enjoy it.”
And so is putting your money toward facilitating that future for everyone, in the form of whatever regular, consistent charitable giving or political donation you choose. So here’s my suggestion: Start at 10 percent of your income. Why not! Nice round number, and you were probably thinking of giving more anyway. See how that goes. See if you can live a little more simply, but not ascetically, and still put a little money away for yourself or your hypothetical children for the future. If you feel like you can give more, give more.
But as soon as you start to feel resentment toward your chosen causes, I think that that’s a sign that the amount you’re giving away is no longer sustainable. (Larissa MacFarquhar has a whole book about this, Strangers Drowning, that I recommend.) You want to balance your sense of duty with a sense of optimism for the world’s future. Without that, what is it all even for?
Computer science research addresses problems that affect all of our lives, from producing better flood forecasts to live captions and more. To ensure that CS research explores the issues that affect all communities, the researchers themselves need to be representative of those communities But in 2018, less than 25 percent of computer science PhD degrees in the United States were awarded to researchers from groups historically underrepresented in technology.
As part of our efforts to broaden participation in CS research careers and make them more accessible to everyone, we accepted 37 outstanding undergraduates to Google’s CS Research Mentorship Program (CSRMP) this fall. The program encourages students to pursue graduate and doctorate-level CS studies by matching them with Google mentors. As the students work toward their goals, they attend a CS research conference and travel to Mountain View as guests for the PhD Fellowship Summit.
We caught up with Sam Steinberg, a junior in Information Science at Cornell University, to learn about her journey to the program and what she wants to accomplish with CS research.
What led you to CS?
At six years old, I walked into my room and threw the family laptop onto the ceramic floor. I wanted to see its insides, and there they were: circuits, capacitors, resistors and motors scattered like cookie crumbs across the ground. While my parents were certainly upset about the mess I made (sorry mom and dad!), I was in awe, and that’s how my love affair with technology began.
What were some defining moments in your CS journey?
In high school, I was the only girl in my CS classes. After a Girls Who Code summer program, I started a club at my school. I found that so much of learning difficulty doesn’t have to do with the content, but the environment in which you absorb material. In the Girls Who Code club, I felt undaunted to ask questions, work alongside my peers, and help teach other girls.
One of the most humbling moments was being named the inaugural winner of The Society of Women Engineers SWENext Award. As a young Latina aspiring to work in tech, it was eye-opening to learn about the discrepancies in retention for minorities in STEM. SWE has helped further instill my passion for advocating about the importance of gender and ethinic diversity in STEM fields.
Why are you interested in CS research?
I'm a 5 foot 2 Puerto Rican Jew with a lisp, and the career aspirations of Shuri, the female engineer from Black Panther. Like any Marvel hero, I want to change the world, but not by shooting laser beams to defeat the bad guys. I’ve always been fascinated with how technology can be used as a tool to help others, especially how those with cognitive and learning disabilities can maintain focus and relaxation in school and daily life.
What do you hope to accomplish during the CS Research Mentorship Program?
My latest project is called illuMATE, a bracelet designed for children with autism and other developmental disabilities that monitors heart rate via an Arduino pulse sensor. When it detects a spike in heart rate, it sends a series of customizable vibrations down the child’s wrist to help them relax. Touch-pressure and vibration technology has been clinically proven to help those with autism de-stress. My goal with CSRMP is to work with my mentor Rachel to further develop my project and framework with supporting research, and learn more about how product management works at Google.
We are humbled to support such exceptional students as they pursue CS research careers. Look for these 37 names in future headlines as they confront our greatest challenges (and solve them).
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I been posting my practice visualizations on my blog (learning django was a lot of fun!), hence the reckless analysis reference at the bottom of the image. And if you lost the case it wasn a divorce but it just legalized/legitimized adultery for your wife. So you were legally sentenced to be a Cuck I guess.The one case they used as an example, the guy performed but at the end the court determined he didn have a substantial enough "emission" and lost the case.Talk about getting straight fucked by the law.TophShit 16 points submitted 1 day agoThat sounds kinda fair.
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There isn't any such substance that can "clean" sperm out of the vagina after the fact. If you're asking about douching, not only is that not such a great thing for vaginal health, it doesn't have the capacity to act as birth control after the fact. As a guy, what you can bring to the table as birth control is a condom..
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Wayfair is not new to controversy. The affordable furniture retailer was in hot water earlier this year for profiting off of border detention facilities that separate families and keep immigrants in inhumane conditions — and now they’re getting dragged online for not having “a single Jew on the design staff” after a confusing Hanukkah-themed shower […]
The post Jewish Customers Call For Wayfair To Pull Inaccurate Hanukkah Merchandise appeared first on Mommyish.
|Cache||Every year in the fall, a group of temples in the Westchester area come together to make a temple basketball league, often called “Jewball.” The league begins in 5th grade and goes up to senior year of high school. The association organizes one or two games a week, with a game on Sunday and occasional...|
Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin: Germany's Largest Entertainment Theatre Honours Its Jewish Roots On 100th AnniversaryCache
The eventful stage history of todayís Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin began one hundred years ago. On 29 November 1919, the Jewish theatre visionary Max Reinhardt opened the Groi??es Schauspielhaus - the predecessor to the Palast.
Renamed the Theater des Volkes (Theatre of the People) during the Third Reich, the theatre was controlled directly by Joseph Goebbelsí Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Operations resumed at the theatre located in the Soviet sector of Berlin after the war as early as summer 1945 and it was accorded its present-day name of the Friedrichstadt-Palast in 1947. Up until 1990, the Palast was the largest entertainment theatre in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) - and today also in reunified Germany. In light of the resurgence of anti-Semitism and as a sign of solidarity for Jewish life in Germany, the Palast is proudly acknowledging its Jewish heritage during the celebrations with a flag bearing the Star of David.
Since the start of the 2019/20 anniversary season, the Palast has been reviewing the theatreís eventful history with a variety of activities. The most visited theatre in the German capital has now hoisted a flag outside its main entrance bearing a Star of David and the inscription 'Jewish roots since 1919' in German and English.
'Our founders of 1919 later suffered under the Nazis. Max Reinhardt as a Jew, Erik Charell as a Jew and homosexual, and Hans Poelzig as an expressionist architect. While Reinhardt and Charell went into exile, Poelzig was banned from pursuing his profession,' tells Dr. Berndt Schmidt, General Director of the Palast. 'It's part of our theatre's DNA and an obligation for the present. Especially in the wake of the attack on the synagogue in Halle and the assaults on rabbis and members of the Jewish community all across Germany.'
Given its eventful history, the Palast today consciously stands for freedom, diversity and democracy.
Since 2014, the theatre has no longer invited the ambassadors of countries whose laws oppress homosexuals to its premieres. In 2017, Schmidt moreover publicly distanced himself from the racist and nationalist world views of the Alternative f¸r Germany (AfD), a political party with far-right extremist elements that is also represented in the German Bundestag. A dispute erupted in the media and among theatremakers as to whether a state-owned theatre is allowed to make such public statements. Dr. Berndt Schmidtís perspective: 'When we see freedom and artistic freedom in jeopardy, German theatres are not only allowed to ñ they even must. What else should the lessons from German history be?' At the height of the controversy on 7 October 2017, the entire theatre with almost 2,000 guests had to be evacuated for a short time due to an anonymous bomb threat.
|Cache||And don't even have the gall to sugarcoat Israel and promote their inventions when they murder Palestinians at will and make life a living hell for the ones they don't. Start having some accountability for once and stop living in your jew fantasy world, OKAAAAY??|
|Cache||You're getting a good education in truth, even though you call it hate, you keep coming back for more, so here it is. SOMETHING ELSE WE KNOW, is that your jew controlled media has been LYING to us all our lives about most everything, ESPECIALLY our history in particular regarding the World Wars and an important and virtually hidden part, the JEWISH financed and led Bolshevik Revolution that took over Russia starting in 1917 with the savage murder of the Tsar and his family, and establishment of the Red Terror which genocided upward of 60 million white Christian Russians in the most horrible evil ways. That's HATE you misguided weasel, you need to repent of your LYING WAYS!! Your G-d you keep referring to is Satan, and even he isn't going to save you in the end.|
Jew-hatred is certainly in my DNA Joe.
The history of the persecution and slaughter of Jews had been going on for thousands of years long before the Holocaust - precisely because of the virulent hatred you have amply demonstrated towards every Jew in your despicable comments.
You are not a hoax Joe - but a real living example of someone totally consumed by an irrational hatred of every Jew on this planet.
I wonder why Ric and Doc remain silent. Could it be that even they don't agree with your claim that the gas chambers never existed and no Jews were murdered in them?|
|Cache||We also know your 6 million number is a kabbalistic religious talisman, the magic number of jews that need to be sacrificed in a burnt offering (holocaust) before your saviour will come, and had been pleaded many times in your jew controlled media going back to the late 1800's, so with Hitler, you found the opportunity to apply it. The gas chamber hoax was one of the, if not the biggest frauds in history, the flimsy wooden doors, a chimney which was added after the war by Stalin, the lack of chemical evidence of poison gas on the chamber walls, are some of the many facts that blow the official story to smithereens. It's time to lose the lies David, but I know you can't, it's in your DNA. As Jesus said, your Father is the Father of lies.|
By Rebekah Simon-Peter
The topic of gender and Christianity has been in the news the last couple of weeks. Specifically the role of women in church leadership. After telling wildly popular evangelical Bible teacher Beth Moore to “go home,” influential fundamentalist preacher John MacArthur clarified his thoughts on women in church leadership. He warned that “empowering women makes weak men” and “weak men make everybody vulnerable to danger.”
Wait a second. Studies around the world show that empowering women is the key to developing economies, family well-being, better nutrition and equal rights. So how could this move be anti-male, anti-social or anti-Christian?
When you take the long view of religious development, I believe MacArthur has it exactly backward. Rather than derail Christianity, the full participation of women in all aspects of Creation is the fulfillment of the Christian impulse. A look at Judaism reveals why.
Judaism is built on the power of distinctions. The creation stories exemplify the distinctions between the first six days and the other days of the week; between the sun, moon and stars; between plants and animals; and between humans and God. The evening prayer in Judaism plays on those themes by glorifying the distinctions between night and day, and between sleep and activity. Havdalah, the blessing that ends the Sabbath, lauds the differences between holy and secular, and between Sabbath and the rest of the days of the week. Ancient Jewish prayers even prompt men to pray with thanksgiving that they were not made a woman, a gentile or a slave. Distinctions matter in Judaism.
Christianity goes in a decidedly different direction. Rather than playing on distinctions and dualities, Paul has a vision of integration. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Indeed, women play a major role in the Gospels.
This theme of unity and integration is further celebrated in the New Testament. Consider the story of Pentecost. When the Spirit comes, all hear a unifying message in their own language. This unity is celebrated as people share in a common life, a common purse and a common purpose. Finally, we see in Revelation 7:9-10 that all tribes, peoples and languages have a common trajectory — unity within the oneness of God.
So what’s with the stink about gender distinctions? Truth be told, MacArthur isn’t the only one who forgets the integrative impulse in Christianity. Mainline Christian churches have their own version of his call for strong women leaders to “go home.” Women are called the “B word” and sent packing in more ways than one.
I wonder if the focus on gender isn’t indicative of deeper problems in the church. Like decline in worship, influence and imagination. Todd Anderson, a District Superintendent in the West Ohio Conference of the UMC, recently told me, “The church is only in decline where the status quo is enforced.” He should know. Every District Superintendent is painfully aware of how the status quo stifles new life. That’s why Todd is working across state lines, district lines, and conference lines to create new, experimental ministries. And they’re bearing fruit.
Decline is not a Christian value. The status quo is not a Christian value. Women preaching, turning things upside down, is. That’s what lets new life in.
Interestingly even Judaism itself has moved toward integration. While distinctions still matter, female clergy are beginning to be ordained in the orthodox world. Even transgender clergy are being welcomed.
Bottom line: If empowered women are threatening some men, perhaps those men need to deepen their own sense of self, rather than seek to bring women down a peg.
Learn more about Rebekah's work at rebekahsimonpeter.com.
|Cache||Paris in den 1960er Jahren: Der Kalte Krieg befindet sich auf seinem Höhepunkt und die Sowjetunion schickt ihre beste Tanzkompanie in den Westen, um ihre künstlerische Stärke zu demonstrieren. Das Leningrader Kirow-Ballett begeistert die Pariser Zuschauer|
|Cache||This guy has White House press credentials. |
|Cache||Just curious. Do 'True Christians' believe in a super-secret Jewish cabal out to rule the world - along with all those queers in the Democrap Party? Or is Rick Wiles just another random nutter who happens to have White House press credentials?
Jew Coup: Impeachment Effort...|
|Cache||You know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Klein? Played with manicured indifference by Alain Delon, Klein is a dispassionate art dealer profiting from the desperation of Jews fleeing occupied France in the early forties. When he learns that the Nazi authorities suspect him of being a Jew, he seeks out the identity of a shadowy double, another Mr. Klein, living somewhere in Paris. Peril seems to mount as Klein pursues his alter ego through a metropolis infested with ominous coincidence. Under the guise of a chilling political thriller, Joseph Losey’s first French production moves forward with great moral intent. The mystery of Klein’s identity, whether he be Jew or Christian, is of little consequence beside the weightier question of his apathy in the face of war’s horrors. Complacency was not a trait Losey could bear. As the victims of the regime accumulate in Mr. Klein, we, the viewers, must assess our own role as citizens kept in the dark.|
Comment on ‘They (Israel) Killed My Parents On My Birthday’: Daughter Of Assassinated Palestinian Leader by BitinDawgCache
|My american tax dollars at work, in the hands and the coffers of Jew Israel, killing. destroying and spreading hatred. My country is only a contemptible vassal state of the state of the Jews. I hang my head in shame.|
The entire Bible story is set against the backdrop of conflict. Conflict between good and evil. Conflict between man and God. Conflict between husband and wife. Conflict between brothers. Conflict between sisters. Conflict between parents and children. Conflict between Satan and God. Conflict between Satan and man. Conflict within nations. Conflict among nations. Conflict between flesh and spirit. Conflict between Jew and Gentile. Conflict between the church and the world. Conflict among God’s people. Conflict, for followers of God, is impossible to escape. In fact, conflict in this world is impossible to escape.
“This isn’t news. It’s a direct attack on our communities. And it’s a complete lie,” Jewish social-justice group Bend the Arc wrote @TwitterSafety.
Millionen von Kindern hat die Geschichte von „Peter und dem Wolf“ auf der ganzen Welt schon begeistert. Wenn die Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha-Eisenach am 7. Dezember 2019 um 15 Uhr im Kulturhaus Gotha zum Familienkonzert einlädt, steht mit dem musikalischen Märchen von Sergej Prokofjew ein wahrer Klassiker auf dem Programm.
PRINCE HANDLEY PODCAST
REVELATION WITH DIRECTION
PRINCE HANDLEY PORTAL
NOTE: Just because you hear music … does NOT mean the podcast ended.
Do you want to WIN the conflicts that arise and DEFEAT the oppositions that face you from time to time? Ulitmate and permanent victory can be yours IF you follow the precepts in this teaching and DO them. God's Son―the Mashiach of Israel―paid too great a price for YOUR victory … than for you to waste it by living a defeated―less than victorious―non-powerful life. The power of the enemy will be broken in your life TODAY as you let Messiah take His authority through you.
When Jesus comes on the scene the tempter's power is broken! I remember one time I was preaching on the streets in a large metropolitan city―where I could reach thousands in a few hours with my loudspeaker―and a demonized man came up to me. Literallly he wanted to rip me apart. He was full of the devil. He had no shirt. Usually in a metropolitan area a man has at least has a tee shirt on. This fellow was giantly huge and I'll tell you, I didn't know what to do. However, instantly the Lord Jesus Christ dropped two verses into my heart. The first verse was where Jesus said, “Behold, I give you power over all the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you.” The second verse was where Jesus said, “I beheld Satan fall as lightning.”
I spoke these two verses to the demons inside the man. When I said to the man, Jesus said, “I give you power over all the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you,” I didn't notice any difference. But when I spoke the second verse and said, Jesus said, “I beheld Satan fall as lightning,” the bare-chested demonized man fell to the ground in this busy metropolitan shopping district and started doing pushups on the sidewalk. Well, that drew a large crowd … and he started doing more and more pushups—and he didn't do just a few pushups―He did many. I thought he was going to burst his biceps. I thought to myself, “I don't know what I'm going to do if he gets up, but I know one thing: I have two verses that I will speak to him.”
Wouldn't you know … he got up again and I said, “Jesus said, 'I give you power over all the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you.'” “Jesus said, 'I beheld Satan fall as lightning.'” And when I said that … Boom! He hit the ground again and started doing more pushups! He did many―LOTS of pushups―and I couldn't tell you how long that happened until an even greater crowd had gathered. Finally some men came along in blue uniforms (known as policemen) and escorted that man away. It doesn't matter how God works in your life, just so He works! Take your authority―use your God-given authority―in Messiah Jesus.
My friend, here is a SECRET >>> Sometimes God uses the enemy so that Messiah Jesus can be glorified in the hearts and lives of people. My friend, Messiah Jesus is the Lord ... Messiah Jesus is the Victor. Messiah Jesus is the Master. He is God! If you will let Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) take his authority through you today, it will change your whole life. Possibly, your situation may be a little different than the one I've just described. There MAY seem to be NO reason for you to exercise your authority at this particular moment; but the important thing is to be prepared so that at any given moment you can loose Messiah's power into your situation.
Messiah Yeshua has already defeated the devil by His shed blood on the cross-stake. You can utilize your authority by knowing your birthright and declaring Messiah's shed blood over you (and over that situation that concerns you) in the Name of Jesus. The Bible says, “They overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony ...” (Revelation 12:10) Let Messiah's power be loosed through you today. Speak the words of truth. As the Holy Angel of God contended with the devil over the body of Moses, he said, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan.”
Because of Messiah Jesus―the stronger man―you can go in and tear up the strong man's house. The Bible says you cannot tear up a man's house unless you first bind him. When the religious leaders questioned Yeshua about his authority to cast out demons (they accused him of being demon-possesed himself), He answered:
Yeshua (Jesus) / Brit Chadashah: Mark 3:23-27
So when you learn to use the Name of Messiah Jesus to bind Satan―through faith―you can go in and tear up his house. The Bible says in First Corinthians Chapter 11 that “the head of every man is Messiah.” Whether men realize it or not, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is their head, their God-appointed (and anointed) Leader. Only by repentance and faith in Him can people receive His Lordship―and therefore His authority―and be blessed.
Someday every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God, the Father. Every militant's knee, every political leader's knee, every school board chairman's knee, every preacher's and rabbi's knee, every child's knee, and every parent's knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. And that's why we might as well do it before it's too late!
Messiah is the head of every man. When we recognize His headship … when we recognize that Messiah came to cover, to protect, to empower us, and to use us as his hands―His instruments―extended in the earth, then we can loose his power to deliver others. If you come under the headship of Messiah Jesus today, God will do MIRACLES through you.
The head of every man is Messiah. The Bible teaches that in the home there is a rule of order: it's a spiritual relationship. And by the way, when God has a power rule―that is when he has a chain of authority―it's always anointed and oiled in love.
LEARN FROM THIS: Would a person select you to run a big company―and give you authority to do the same―IF you could not run your own family? This is WHY the Scriptures exhort us that a Rabbi or Pastor should be a person who can rule his own house.
Satan's plan in the home is to destroy it. Satan's plan is to have the wife tear the husband down when he's gone … and to have the husband tear the wife down in front of the kids when she's gone. But the house that Jesus builds edifies and blesses one another. The wife is teaching the children, “You've got that greatest father in the world.” Those kids know that their father is the head of the home; and that Christ is his head. And then one day when the father is home, he says to his children, “You have got the greatest mother in the world.” And they say, “I know that daddy's over mother in the Lord. And mother says he's the greatest. And he is telling us that she is super. If she's that great … that makes dad even greater.” You can't do anything but profit by blessing, by building up each other!
IDENTIFY YOUR BATTLE: The war between God and Satan is similar to World War II when I was a young boy. For sometime after World War II, some elements still remained fighting (ever after the surrender by Germany and Japan). At the cross-stake of Messiah Yeshua, Satan was defeated. But small battles may crop up until our Leader, Yeshua, returns to gather up the rebellious spirits and people and cast them into an Eternal Fire pit. These attacks and opposition in our lives are not the big War—it has already been won by our Lord. Our conflicts are won by using FAITH and the AUTHORITY of Messiah Yeshua, who already WON the War.
NOTICE: You cannot fight by your own natural power if you want to win your “spiritual” battle. Demons―evil spirits―have supernatural strength. But remember … Holy Angels who are sent to “minister for them who are heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14) have MORE and BETTER supernatural strength. The only way that you can win your war against demonic power is by the supernatural power of God's Holy Spirit: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10). At times, you may want to also enlist the help of the Holy Angels, but realizing that you must use the Name of Jesus (or Yeshua) in FAITH with AUTHORITY.
“And has raised us up together,
I want to ask you a question. If Messiah is over all the first things―and over Satan and dominions and the lordships of the spirit world―then are you not over them? And you are part of His Body, the feet of which are over these things. That's why He tells you in Ephesians Chapter Two that you have been raised together to sit in heavenly places in Messiah. You may not feel like you're there, but you are … and you don't have to understand why when the devil questions you. Start attacking your problems from above: where Messiah sits at the right hand of God, the Father. All you have to do is RECEIVE and USE His authority in faith: the authority Messiah has already granted you and purchased by His shed blood. You CAN … and MUST take your God-given authority: the authority of Messiah Yeshua, God's Son!
DON'T WEAR YOURSELF DOWN: The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) is God's Agent on Planet Earth to supply the resurrection POWER of Messiah and help us defeat the “hangers-on” (the demonic powers, including Satan) that still do NOT believe (or admit) they have already been defeated by our Leader―the greatest Jew alive today―on the cross-stake AND in Heaven!
One time a man tried to strike me from behind, cursed me violently, and the Spirit of God said to me, “Let me handle this situation.” He was in his late thirties and he died within two days of a brain hemorrhage.
Another time a woman came into my house without me knowing (when I was gone) and gave a false prophecy about me to the wife. Within two days, her whole house was destroyed to the ground―without one stick protruding from the dirt. Take your authority in Messiah today, but do it in love.
Lead your family. Lead those over whom God has entrusted you as mentor … and let Messiah take His authority through you today!
Baruch haba b'Shem Adonai.
Podcast time: 16 minutes, 42 seconds.
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|Cache||Without the word Jew next to his name, would anyone know that it was a Jew, Jonas Salk, who defeated the worldwide horror of Polio? Kazimierz is the old Jewish quarter of Krakow, Poland. Jews have been living in Poland for 1,000 years by the...|
|Cache||At the Q&A session of the Agudah convention The roshei yeshiva were asked about the Torah approach to rising antisemitism in America. Rav Brudny said that we need to realize we are in Galus and be thankful to our host country. He than lamented those politicians that are the faces of the impeachment proceedings targeting the president from when he was elected. What they are doing is causing hate and antisemitism against Yidden in America. He alluded to the video clip far-right Christian talk show who has posted a viciously antisemitic rant about the current presidential impeachment battle in the US Congress. Pastor Rick Wiles called a “Jew coup” Addressing the impeachment proceedings currently underway against Trump, on his talk show last Monday.|
God works in ways that baffle the minds of "modern" men who are so impressed with "progress" and "change" and "innovation" and "novelty." He chooses the lowly and those who count for nothing to show forth His bountiful mercy to His ungrateful creatures, providing them with sacramental helps and, at times, admonitions to them to reform their lives. He reaches out to us time and time again to call us back to Him through His true Church, beckoning us to trust Him more, to make better and more fervent use of the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, to be more devoted to Him by offering up our prayers and sacrifices and daily efforts to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
"Modern" men, steeped in rationalism, seek to disparage the fact that God has indeed spoken to genuine mystics and chosen souls by means of private revelations and apparitions. This is why the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger in the year 2000 disparaged the reality of the apparitions of Our Lady, the very Mother of God herself, to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, France, in 1858 and to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos in the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, fifty-nine years later, that is, in 1917:
Before undertaking an interpretation of the message of Fatima, we must still attempt briefly to offer some clarification of their anthropological (psychological) character. In this field, theological anthropology distinguishes three forms of perception or “vision”: vision with the senses, and hence exterior bodily perception, interior perception, and spiritual vision (visio sensibilis - imaginativa - intellectualis). It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses: the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as is the case for example with a tree or a house. This is perfectly obvious, for instance, as regards the vision of hell (described in the first part of the Fatima “secret”) or even the vision described in the third part of the “secret”. But the same can be very easily shown with regard to other visions, especially since not everybody present saw them, but only the “visionaries”. It is also clear that it is not a matter of a “vision” in the mind, without images, as occurs at the higher levels of mysticism. Therefore we are dealing with the middle category, interior perception. For the visionary, this perception certainly has the force of a presence, equivalent for that person to an external manifestation to the senses.
Interior vision does not mean fantasy, which would be no more than an expression of the subjective imagination. The person is led beyond pure exteriority and is touched by deeper dimensions of reality, which become visible to him. Perhaps this explains why children tend to be the ones to receive these apparitions: their souls are as yet little disturbed, their interior powers of perception are still not impaired. “On the lips of children and of babes you have found praise”, replies Jesus with a phrase of Psalm 8 (v. 3) to the criticism of the High Priests and elders, who had judged the children's cries of “hosanna” inappropriate (cf. Mt 21:16).
“Interior vision” is not fantasy but, as we have said, a true and valid means of verification. But it also has its limitations. Even in exterior vision the subjective element is always present. We do not see the pure object, but it comes to us through the filter of our senses, which carry out a work of translation. This is still more evident in the case of interior vision, especially when it involves realities which in themselves transcend our horizon. The subject, the visionary, is still more powerfully involved. He sees insofar as he is able, in the modes of representation and consciousness available to him. In the case of interior vision, the process of translation is even more extensive than in exterior vision, for the subject shares in an essential way in the formation of the image of what appears. He can arrive at the image only within the bounds of his capacities and possibilities. Such visions therefore are never simple “photographs” of the other world, but are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject. (Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message.)
As I noted in May of 2010 as the then conciliar "pontiff," Ratzinger/Benedict visited Fatima, Portugal:
In other words, just as Modernists contend that Faith itself is a matter of interior consciousness that comes from within so do they believe that seers such as Saint Bernadette Soubirous and Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos have had real but necessarily "subjective" experiences that have no actual visible, spatial reality with the eyes of the body.
It is important to examine the connection between the Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message of ten years ago and the "homily" given on theEsplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima yesterday [May 14, 2010].
First, Ratzinger/Benedict made the point yesterday that the three shepherd children of Fatima were able to "see" Our Lady because they had "these innocent and profound mystical confidences," meaning that the children had to have pure, innocent souls to see interiorly what they thought they had seen with their eyes. This corresponds exactly to what he wrote ten years ago, that "this explains why children tend to be the ones to receive these apparitions: their souls are as yet little disturbed, their interior powers of perception are still not impaired."
My friends, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not believe that Our Lady physically appeared before the physical eyes of Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia. He has dismissed the Fatima apparitions as an "interior vision" that are designed to move us closer to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and have nothing at all to do with apostasy in the ranks of those who believe themselves to be Catholics or, Heaven forfend, the consecration of Russia to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart by a true pope with all of the world's bishops.
Ratzinger/Benedict does not believe triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that he referred to gratuitously yesterday has nothing at all to do with the consecration of Russia or the conversion of souls to the true Faith, Catholicism. Why did Ratzinger/Benedict make reference to that triumph, therefore? Because it makes life easier for those in the Motu communities and for Bishop Fellay of the Society of Saint Pius X as they bask in the false reassurance that their false "pontiff" is a partisan of the Fatima Message. One cannot believe in a request of a message that conflicts with good relations with those in Russia, whether it be the Communists of yore (and the present day, of course) or the Orthodox at the present time.
If what happened at Fatima was but a mere "interior vision," then why did each of the children, when being examined by ecclesiastical authorities, give identical testimony as to what they saw with the physical eyes of their bodies? Each had the identical vision? Logic has never been Ratzinger/Benedict's long suit as his rejection of Thomism (both Thomistic Philosophy and Thomistic Theology) has opened up to grow from young adulthood into an old man who has lived in a world of contradiction, paradox and ambiguity which makes it almost impossible for to him to see the fallacies in what he presents as "explanations" of the Faith and the events associated with It.
Second, Ratzinger/Benedict said yesterday [May 14, 2010] that God "has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses." This corresponds with his statement of fourteen years ago:
It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses: the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as is the case for example with a tree or a house. This is perfectly obvious, for instance, as regards the vision of hell (described in the first part of the Fatima “secret”) or even the vision described in the third part of the “secret”. . . .
It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses. It is rendered capable of seeing that which is beyond the senses, that which cannot be seen—seeing by means of the “interior senses”. It involves true “objects”, which touch the soul, even if these “objects” do not belong to our habitual sensory world. This is why there is a need for an interior vigilance of the heart, which is usually precluded by the intense pressure of external reality and of the images and thoughts which fill the soul. (Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message.)
Why is it "perfectly obvious" that the images and forms seen, to cite the false "pope's own example, by the fourteen year-old Bernadette Soubirous and Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia "are not located spatially"?
Our Lady did not actually part the earth and show Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia a vision of Hell that they saw with their own eyes? This was merely an "interior" vision vision of theirs that did not really happen in time and space?
The the buds on holm oak tree over which Our Lady hovered as she physically appeared to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia did not change their appearance as seen by eyewitnesses who came to watch them? They were all suffering from mass delusion when they saw the following things? (On Full Display: The Modernist Mind.)
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not believe in the actual, physical reality of apparitions. When was the last time you heard him make reference to the miraculous conversion of the Catholic-hating Jew named Alphonse Ratisbonne Our Lady appeared to him as in the same image as she appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure of the Daughters of Charity in the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris, France, on November 27, 1830, one hundred eighty years ago. That image, of course, is the one that Our Lady instructed Saint Catherine to have the Miraculous Medal patterned after, demonstrating that he is indeed conceived without stain all of sin and is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
Our Lady sought to convert a Jewish man by actually appearing to him. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI makes no reference to this as he would tell us that Alphonse Ratisbonne merely had an "interior vision" that was unique to the "interior" process of conversion that was taking place within him without his knowing that it was happening. There is only one slight problem with such a Modernist explanation: it is contrary to the truth.
Perhaps Father Ratisbonne himself can explain the truth to us, aided by an introduction provided by the great foe of all forms of naturalism as he sought to build up the City of Mary Immaculate and was thus a fervent client of the Miraculous Medal a sign of total Marian consecration, Father Maximilian Kolbe, M. I., about his conversion:
Once again it happened on a train, on April 6, 1924. To tell the truth, that is a place where one can easily meet persons with the most varied ideas. On the train I was relating the story of Ratisbonne's conversion, when a gentleman--one of those who are always ready to pronounce without proofs--observed ironically, "It's so nice to hear you tell all this, Father!" I replied that I could show him documentary proofs of the story, because just some days before I had received from Rome a collection of these, printed in 1892.
Therefore I wish to publish some extracts from these documents. To begin with, I shall give you same passages of a letter written by Ratisbonne himself to a parish priest, the Director of an Archconfraternity founded to pray for the conversion of sinners.
(After describing his family background, his wealth, his engagement and the trip he made to the Orient before the marriage--during which he stopped in Rome, despite the aversion he felt for Catholic Rome--Ratisbonne described the efforts of Baron de Bussieres, a zealous Catholic convert from Protestantism, to bring him into the Church. This nettled Ratisbonne. here is how he relates the visit he paid to Baron de Bussieres.)
"On entering M. de Bussieres' house I met with a first disappointment, because the maid, instead of simply taking my visiting card, immediately brought me into the parlor. As far as I could, I tried to dissimulate my ennui behind a feigned smile, and I sat down next to Baroness de Bussieres, near whom her two little daughters were playing. The conversation began with the usual insignificant topics, but soon I was displaying the passionate dislike with which I described the impressions I had received in Rome. In a condescending sort of way I considered Baron de Bussieres a devout person. Consequently, because this was a favorable opportunity for me, I did not refrain from some rather cutting remarks about the situation of the Jews in Rome, which relieved my feelings somewhat. However, it was these complaints of mine that brought the conversation around to religion. He spoke to me of the greatness of Catholicism. But I answered sarcastically with objections that I myself had read or that I had heard from others. However, I restrained my impious assertions somewhat, so as not to shock the faith of the little girls playing near us. Finally M. de Bussieres said to me: 'Well, inasmuch as you condemn all prejudices and profess such liberal principles, and because yours is such an enlightened and advanced mind, would you be brave enough to submit yourself to a harmless experiment?'
"'To carry about with you an object that I will give you. Here, take this image of the most Blessed Virgin. That sounds ridiculous to you, doesn't it? However, I consider it very effective.'
"I must admit that I had never expected such a proposition. At first I felt like bursting out laughing and shrugging my shoulders. But then I thought, 'What a splendid story this scene will make in the account of my trip!' So I accepted the medal which was placed around my neck. When I rested on my breast I laughed aloud and said, 'Well, well! Now I am a Catholic! . . . Apostolic . . . and Roman!'
"M. de Bussieres was genially triumphant over the victory he had won, but wanting to exploit it to the full, he said, '"Now, to complete the test, you must recite, morning and evening, the Memorare, a very short, but very efficacious prayer to the most Blessed Virgin, composed by St. Bernard.'
"But what on earth is this Memorare?" I exclaimed. Let's have done with all this mummery!
"At that moment I felt a great surge of vexation. The name of St. Bernard made me remember my brother, who had written the life of this saint. I had never been willing to take the book in my hands. But his souvenir awakened my rage against proselytism, against the Jesuits and against those whom I called hypocrites and apostates.
"So I begged M. de Bussieres to let it go at that, and making a joke of the affair, I told him I was sorry that I could not offer him even a single Hebrew prayer in return and that consequently I would have to remain in his debt. The fact was that I did not know any prayers at all. However, my adversary insisted that if I refused to say this short prayer, the whole test would fail, and thus I would prove that I was only an obstinate unbeliever. Since I attached no importance whatever to the matter I finally promised to recite the prayer. He went to get a copy of it right way and asked me to write it out. I agreed, but on the condition that he would give me the original and keep my handwritten copy. What I wanted to do in fact was to add to my notebook the new 'pledge of justice.'
So we finally came to an agreement. At the end we parted, and I spent the rest of the evening at the theater, forgetting all about the medal and the prayer. When I returned to my lodgings, however, I found a visiting card from M. de Bussieres, who had come to return my visit. He invited me to stop at his house again before leaving Rome. since I had to give the prayer back to him, after packing my valises in view of my departure the next day, I sat down and copied the prayer. It ran: 'Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known hat anyone who fled to thy patronage, sought thy aid, or implored thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother; to thee I come, before I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O mother of the Incarnate Word, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.'
"I wrote out the words of St. Bernard without paying any attention to them. It was late; I was tired and was about to fall asleep standing up.
"Next day, January 16th, I got everything ready for my departure. But as I went about I found myself constantly repeating the words of that prayer. My God, how had they taken such possession of my imagination?
(Ratisbonne goes on to relate how M. de Bussieres persuaded him to delay leaving so as to have a chance to see the Pope, Gregory XVI. In the meantime he brought his guest to visit some of the Christian antiquities, which gave him a chance ot discuss religious topics.)
"Everything our eyes beheld--monuments, paintings, the local customs--became topics of conversation. All this led on to various religious questions. M. de Bussieres brought them up so simply and spoke of them so enthusiastically that sometimes in the depths of my heart I thought 'If anything can turn a man aside from religion, it is certainly the persistence some people show in trying to convert him!' My natural irreverence led me to make fun even of most serious things. To my barbed remarks I added an infernal fire of blasphemies, which I no longer have the courage even to think of today. In spite of all this, however, M. de Bussieres, while expressing his disappointment, remained indulgent and calm. Once he even went so far as to say, 'In spite of your irritation, I am sure that sooner or later you will become a Catholic, because deep in your nature there resides a naturally straightforward judgment, and this tells me that you will let God enlighten you, even if he has to send an angel from heaven to do it.'
"All right," I replied jokingly, "but let it be when I am in a good mood; otherwise, the thing might off badly.
"As our carriage was passing near the Scala Santa, M. de Bussieres stood up and doffed his hat, exclaimed, 'Hail, O sacred stairway! Here is a sinner who will mount you on his knees some day!'
"I cannot express what I felt at the idea of paying homage to a stairway! I laughed heartily, as at something entirely unreasonable. Later, as we were passing by the lovely villas and gardens that lined the sides of Nero's aqueduct, I too raised my voice, and using the same words as he, I exclaimed, 'Hail, ye truly divine marvels! Before you one should bow his head and not before a staircase of whatever kind!'
(Ratisbonne continues with the story of his meeting with some Protestant friends on January 20th, in a cafe where they were reading the papers.)
"As I left the cafe, I meet M. de Bussieres' carriage, and he invited me for a ride. As it was a beautiful day, I willingly accepted. When we got to the church of Saint' Andrea delle Fratte, M. de Bussieres excused himself for a moment, because he had an errand to run. He asked me to wait for him in the vehicle; but instead I preferred to get down and visit the church. Within they were preparing a catafalque for a funeral, so I asked the Baron, 'Whose funeral is it?'
"'The Count de Laferronays',' he replied, 'a good friend of mine who died suddenly. That is why you may have found me rather glum these last couple of days.'
"I did not know the count; had never seen him in fact. So the news did not make any special impression on me, beyond that produced by the information about a sudden death. M. de Bussieres left because he had to see about preparing the place where the family of the deceased would sit. 'Excuse me me for a few minutes,' he said, as he went into the monastery. 'I shall be back shortly.'
(On February 18th and 19th, in the deposition he made during the investigative process set up to make clear the circumstances of his conversion. Ratisbonne stated the following among other things.)
"When I traversed the church, I arrived at the spot where they were getting ready for the funeral. Suddenly I felt interiorly disturbed, and saw in front of me something like a veil. It seemed to me that the entire church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as thought all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over towards this chapel whence so much light shone and above the altar I saw a living figure standing, tall, majestic, beautiful and full of mercy. It was the most Holy Virgin Mary, resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood; several times I attempted to lift my eyes towards the Most Blessed Virgin, but respect and the blinding light forced me to lower my gaze; this, however, did not prevent me from seeing the luminosity of the apparition. I fixed my glance on her hands, and in them I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the most Blessed Virgin, even though she did not speak a word to me, I understood the frightful situation I was in, the heinousness of sin, the beauty of the Catholic religion . . . in a word, I understood everything.
"When he returned, M. de Bussieres found me kneeling, my head resting on the railing of the chapel where the most Blessed Virgin had appeared, and bathed in tears. I do not understand how I managed to get to the railing, because I had fallen to my knees on the other side of the nave, and the catafalque stood between me and the chapel. I must add that the feeling that accompanied my weeping was one of gratitude towards the Blessed Virgin and of pity for my family, buried in the darkness of Judaism, for heretics and for sinners. M. de Bussieres raised me up and, still weeping, I told him, 'Oh, that person must have prayed very much for me,' thinking of the deceased Count de Laferronays. [Father Kolbe note: "M. de Bussieres had in fact recommended Ratisbonne to the prayers of M. de Laferronays."]
"He asked me several questions, but I could not answer, so deeply was I moved. So he took me by the hand, led me out of the church to the carriage and helped me to get in. Then he asked me where I wanted to go.
"Take me wherever you like," I said, "after what I have seen, I will do anything you want."
"'But what did you see?' he asked me.
"I cannot tell you; but please bring me to a confessor, and I will tell him everything on my knees."
"He brought me to the church of the Gesu, to a Jesuit, Father Villefort, to whom in the presence of M. de Bussieres, I related all that had happened to me."
(In his letter he continues.)
"All I can say of myself comes down to this: that in an instant a veil fell from my eyes; or rather not a single veil, but many of the veils which surrounded me were dissipated one after the other, like snow, mud and ice under the burning rays of the sun. I felt as though I were emerging from a tomb, from a dark grave; that I was beginning to be a living being, enjoying a real life. And yet I wept. I could see into the depths of my frightful misery, from which infinite mercy had liberated me. My whole being shivered at the sight of my transgressions; I was shaken, overcome by amazement and gratitude. I thought of my brother with indescribable joy; and to my tears of love there were joined tears of compassion. How many persons in this world, alas, are going down unknowingly into the abyss, their eyes shut by pride and indifference!They are being swallowed up alive by those horrifying shadows; and among them are my family, my fiancee, my poor sisters. What a bitter thought! My mind turned to you, whom I love so much; for you I offered my first prayers. Will you some day raise your eyes towards the Savior of the world, whose blood washed away original sin? How monstrous is the stain of that sin, because of which man no longer bears the resemblance to God!
"They asked me now I had come to know these truths, since they all knew that I had never so much as opened a book dealing with religion, head not even read a single page of the Bible, while the dogma of original sin, entirely forgotten or denied by modern Jews, had never occupied my mind for a single instant. I am no sure that I had even heard its name. So how had I come to know these truths? I cannot tell' all I know is that when I entered the church, I was ignorant of all this, whereas when I left I could see it all with blinding clarity. I cannot explain this change except by comparing myself to a man who suddenly awakens from deep sleep or to someone born blind who suddenly acquires sight. He sees, even though he cannot describe his sensations or pinpoint what enlightens him and makes it possible for him to admire the things around him. If we cannot adequately explain natural light, how can we describe a light the substance of which is truth itself? I think I am expressing myself correctly when I say that I did not have any verbal knowledge, but had come to possess the meaning and spirit of the dogmas, to feel rather than see these things, to experience them with the help of the inexpressible power which was at work within me.
"The love of God had taken the place of all other loves, to such an extent that I loved even my fiancee, but in a different way. I loved her like someone whom God held in his hands, like a precious gift which inspires an even greater love for the giver."
(As they wanted to delay his Baptism, Ratisbonne pleaded.)
"What? The Jews who heard the preaching of the apostles were baptized at once; and you wish to delay Baptism for me who have heard the Queen of the apostles?"
"My emotion, my ardent desires and my prayers finally induced these good men to fix a date for my Baptism. I awaited the appointed day with impatience, because I realized how displeasing I was in the eyes of God.
(Finally the 31st of January came. He described his Baptism.)
"Immediately after Baptism I felt myself filled with sentiments of veneration and filial love for the Holy Father; I considered myself fortunate when I was told that I would be granted an audience with the Pontiff, accompanied by the General of the Jesuits. In spite of all this I was quite nervous, because I had never frequented the important people of this world; although these important people seemed to me too insignificant when compared to true grandeur. I must confess that I included among these great ones of the world the one who on this earth holds God's highest power, i.e., the pope, the successor of Jesus Christ himself, whose indestructible chair he occupies.
"Never will I forget my trepidation and the beatings of my heart when I entered the vatican and traversed the spacious courtyards and majestic halls leading to the sacred premises where the pope resides. When I beheld him, though, my nervousness suddenly gave way to amazement. He was so simple, humble and paternal. This was no monarch, but a father who with unrestrained love treated me like a cherished son.
"O good God! Will it be thus when I appear before you to give you an account of the graces I hare received? Awe fills me at the mere thought of God's greatness, and I tremble before his justice; but at the sight of his mercy my confidence revives, and with confidence so will my love and unbounded gratitude.
"Yes, gratitude will from now on be my law and my life . I cannot express it in words; so I shall strive to do so in deeds. The letters received from my family give me full liberty; I wish to consecrate this liberty to God, and I offer it to him from this very moment, along with my whole life, to serve the Church and my brothers under the protection of the most Blessed Virgin Mary." (Father Anselm W. Romb, OFM Conv., Commentator and Editor, The Writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.: The Kolbe Reader, pp. 22-31.)
Just an "interior vision"? No, not at all.
The apparition of Our Lady to the future Father Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne was no "interior vision." Our Lady herself appeared to the Catholic-hating Jewish man to convert him to the true Faith just as she had appeared to a chosen soul, Saint Catherine Laboure, to show forth her love for us sinful men for whom her Divine Son shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood to redeem and to teach us that all graces that were won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross are sent by her Divine Son through her hands as the Mediatrix of All Graces. And just as the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne seemed very unlikely in human terms, so was it the case that the sisters of the Daughters of Charity were shocked to learn over forty years after Our Lady had appeared to one of them that it was, of all people, Sister Catherine Laboure who was the chosen soul. God does indeed work in ways that battle not only the minds of "modern" men but of those who are consecrated in His holy service.
Saint Catherine Laboure's mother died when she was nine years old. She told Our Lady, after picking up and kissing a statue of her "Now you will be mother." Little did Catherine Laboure know just how much that meant to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was to draw this chosen soul closer and closer to her throughout the course of her lifetime at the dawning of the Age of Mary during the year, 1830, when a second French revolution overthrew the hereditary king of the House of Bourbon, King Charles X, in favor of the "citizen-king," Louis-Philippe, of the House of Orleans, who was overthrown during the French Revolution of 1848. Saint Catherine Laboure was chosen to be the very instrument by which that young Catholic-hating Jew would have access to the Miraculous Medal and then recognize Our Lady's image when she appeared to him in the Church of San Andrea delle Fratte on January 20, 1842.
Saint Catherine Laboure was given the penance of a confessor, Father Jean-Marie Aladel, who did not at first believe that his penitent was a chosen soul who had been given to see visions of the heart of the founder of her order, Saint Vincent de Paul, or of Christ the King, no less that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's apparition to her as King of men and their nations had a public as well as personal dimension to it as it portended the fall and abdication of King Charles X and the end of France's hereditary monarchy that had been restored following the final defeat and exile of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. France, the elder daughter of Holy Mother Church, had become a land of instability. But it was in France nevertheless that Our Lord, Christ the King, sought to make His merciful designs known to "modern" men by means of Our Lady's apparitions in France to Saint Catherine Laboure talked and to Melanie Calvert and Maximim Giraud at LaSalette in 1846 and to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and to the seers at Pontmain on January 17, 1871.
Sister Catherine Laboure had an inking that she would see Our Lady on the night of July 18, 1830:
Catherine's heart was bursting with the certainty that grew and swelled within it, the certainty that something was about to happen, something of great moment. Lying wide awake and staring up at the pale whiteness of the bed curtains, she clutched in her hand her piece of that precious surplice [of Saint Vincent de Paul]. She talked to Saint Vincent a long time in her prayers, telling him again of her soul's dearest wish--to see with her own eyes the Blessed Virgin. It was a startling wish, a startling prayer, on the lips of this hard-headed, practical peasant girl, but it can no longer surprise us, who have seen her intense love of the Mother of God take root and burgeon and fructify; nor could it surprise her, who had witnessed the intimate wonders of Heaven, had seen the Lord Himself.
Suddenly, as if struck with an inspiration, she tore the tiny clothing two and swallowed half of it. It was a simple act of devotion, growing out of a simple faith. Sophisticated rationalists might sniff at it as ludicrous superstition, but those whose believing mothers have signed their brows with the sacred wedding ring and given them holy water to drink will understand.
A serene peace came over Catherine. In her mind was a single, confident thought: Tonight I shall see her. Tonight I shall see the Blessed Virgin. She closed her eyes and slept.
She had been sleeping some two hours when a sudden light flickered in the dormitory. The light came from a candle carried by a little child of four or five, a child of extraordinary beauty and so surrounded with radiance that the whiteness of his little gown was dazzling. He approached the bed where Catherine lay. He called her softly:
She did not stir. He called again, insistently:
She moved a little, his voice had entered her dreams, and sleep was slipping away. Then:
"Sister Laboure!" once more, and Catherine awoke, her eyes big and staring. She turned her head in the direction of the sound. It seemed to come from the door. Through the haze of her bad curtains she saw the brightness. She sat up quickly and drew the curtains. The child said:
"Come to the chapel. The Blessed Virgin awaits you."
Catherine was not frightened. The child had come to take her to Our Lady; it was the moment she had longed for and prayed for, the great part of her life. Only one thought leaping into her mind made her hesitate: "We shall be discovered!"
"Do not be uneasy," the radiant vision answered. "It is half past eleven; everyone is asleep. Come, I am waiting for you."
Catherine jumped out of bed and threw on her clothes. Now, the clothes of a novice Sister of Charity are a complicated bit of costume, and that Catherine could manage them in this highly excitable moment, tying every last ribbon, pinning every last pin, proves as nothing else that she was neither excited, nor upset, nor in ecstasy. She might be going to a rendezvous with Heaven, but the feet that took her there were firmly planted on the earth.
The child led the way to the door and they passed into the hallway. She was amazed to find the hall lights burning.
Down the narrow stairs they went, for the chapel was on the first floor. Catherine's wonder mounted: everywhere the lamps were lit, and yet they met no one. Once or twice, in her eagerness, she hurried ahead of her little guide, then fell back in humble confusion.
Now they were at the chapel, Catherine gasped in astonishment when the heavy door, which must be locked, swung wide open at the child's mere touch. The chapel was ablaze with light! The chandeliers, the candles on the altar, all burned brightly. Why, she thought, it is like a Midnight Mass!
The child moved on into the sanctuary. Obediently, Catherine followed. He stopped by the chair that the Director used when he gave conferences to the Sisters. Instinctively, Catherine knelt.
Nothing happened. The Virgin was not there. The child stood calmly waiting, as if for a cure, as if he were part of a play. The minutes were long and the stillness grew loud with noises: the scurry of a mouse, the cracking of a pew, the distant clatter of a carriage. Catherine shifted on her knees. Anxiously she glanced over her shoulder toward the gallery. The night Sisters, up with the sick, might be passing. But there was no one. Suddenly the child spoke:
"Here is the Blessed Virgin."
In the same instant Catherine heard a sound like the rustling of a silk dress, and, looking toward the direction of the sound, saw a lady descending the altar steps. The lady seated herself in the Director's chair. As she sat there, she reminded Catherine of St. Anne in the picture over the sacristy door. Catherine's eyes flew to the painting and back to the lady. But no, she was not like St. Anne. A doubt clouded the novice's mind. Was this really the Mother of God? The child reassured her:
"This is the Blessed Virgin."
Even this did not allay all her doubts. Was the whole thing a dream, a fancy, of the night? She blushed. The lady was looking at her, waiting. The child spoke again, startling her, for now his voice was a man's voice, deep and commanding and stern. She held back no more, but threw herself at Our Lady's knee and rested her hands in Our Lady's lap. Then she lifted her head and looked up, up into her Mother's eyes. Many years later she was to write with ecstatic remembrance of this moment that it was the sweetest of her life.
"My child," said Our Lady, "the good God wishes to charge you with a mission."
But that could wait. This moment was Catherine's; and Mary went on to tell her of God's plans for her, to warn her of the trails that would come upon her, and to show her how she should bear them.
The good God wished to charge her with a mission. She would meet with many difficulties in carrying it out, but she would overcome the difficulties by thinking upon the glory of God as her reason for doing what He wanted. Most comforting of all, she would know with unerring certainty the Will of God; she would be spiritually secure, for she would recognize at all times what God wanted of her.
"You will be tormented," Our Lady continued, "until you have told him who is charged with directing you. You will be contradicted, but do not fear, you will have grace. Tell with confidence all that passes within you; tell it with simplicity. Have confidence. Do not be afraid."
"You will see certain things: give an account of what you see and hear. You will be inspired in your prayers: give an account of what I tell you and of what you will understand in your prayers."
"The times are very evil. Sorrows will come upon France; the throne will be overturned. The whole world will be upset by miseries of every kind." As she delivered herself of this ominous prophecy, pain crossed the Virgin's face. There was a remedy however:
"Come to the foot of the altar." she indicated the spot. "There graces will be shed upon all, great and little, who ask for them. Graces will be especially shed upon those who ask for them."
"Then the Mother of god turned her attention to the Vincentian Fathers and the Sisters of Charity. "My child, I particularly love to shed graces upon your Community; I love it very much," she said. "It pains me that there are great abuses in regularity, that the rules are not observed, that there is much relaxation in the two Communities. Tell that to him who has charge of you, even though h
|Cache||MIAMI BEACH (VINnews) — For perhaps the first time ever, an Orthodox Jew will sit on the Miami commission.
Steven Meiner, along with David Richardson, joined|
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