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But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness,

godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

Monday, November 25, 2013

You Are Loved

I really hope this gets to you.  I had no idea how to reach you, so I put it here and prayed you would find it.

This is the most important thing I will ever tell you.  And it may be the only thing I ever get to tell you.

So, please stop what you are doing.  Please listen to what I am saying for 5 minutes.  I need you to really hear this...deep your innermost being.

You are loved.

You are loved by God.
God!  The creator of the sun, the moon, and the stars, loves you.

He loves you like you can't believe.  With a love unlike anything you have ever experienced.  A love that is given freely, whether you ask for it or not....whether you return it or not...whether you want it or not.  God loves you.

And He knows you.  God knows your thoughts.  He knows your dreams.  He knows everything about you.  And He thinks you are beautiful.  He finds you fascinating.  To Him, you are so important.

He takes great joy in you and is with you wherever you go.  He laughs with you.  He cries with you.  He feels your joy and He feels your pain.  He hates it when you get hurt and He wants more for He did something about it.

He came down to Earth.  To us.
God became man.  For us.

His name was Jesus.
And for thirty years He lived.
Eating, sleeping, working, and breathing like a normal person.

Then He started teaching because He wanted us to know the truth.
Then He started healing because He wanted us to know love.

And then, we killed Him.
We killed Him by nailing Him to a cross.

But He had a plan.
You see, He had experienced the hurt and the suffering in our lives.
He saw that our pain was caused by the bad things we did when we turned from God.
So he offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay for these sins.

He paid the price for every bad thing we would ever do.
He forgave while we were still sinning.
He did it because He loved us.
He freed us from slavery to sin.

And then, because he didn't want us to die, he rose from the dead.
He rose up and conquered death, so that when our bodies die our souls won't.
We can go to Heaven, and be with Him for all eternity.
Which is what He wants more than anything.

And to make sure you heard this, before He died He created a Church.
He gave the keys to heaven to Peter, the apostle.
He told Peter to spread the good news to all nations.
And for 2000 years, the Church has existed so you could hear the truth.

That truth is:
That God loves you, no matter what.
That He wants you to live forever with Him.
That He's already paid the price and set you free from sin, by dying for you.
That He is offering you the gift of eternal life and all you have to do is receive the gift.
That He is waiting to enter your life and all you have to do is welcome Him.
That even now, He is there.  Waiting lovingly.  To be loved back.

God loves you that much.

That's it.
That's what I needed to tell you.
I am alive today so I could tell you that.
I pray that you hear me.
Jesus I trust in you.

Keep Pursuing,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What is Just War Doctrine?

The Catholic Church is the first to testify to the evils and injustices that accompany all war.

However, the Church also recognizes that as long as the danger of war persists, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.

As such, the Church crystallized thousands of years of learning into the "Just War" Doctrine to inform the decisions and actions of nations around the world.

CCC 2309 states:
The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
  • The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain 
  • All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective 
  • There must be serious prospects of success 
  • The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. (The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.)
Almost every conflict in history fails to meet the conditions listed above. But the Catechism goes on to also discuss the limits for engaging once in a war:
The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties."
Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely. 
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide. 
"Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes. 
CCC 2312-2314

And here, any remaining wars that might have passed the criteria for entering into war, lose their status for a "just war" in how they were carried out.

To be clear, not a single war in history could be labeled as a "just war".

Keep Pursuing,

Additional Resources