VATICAN CITY, 12 NOV 2008 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to St. Paul's eschatological teaching.
In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, said the Holy Father, "St. Paul speaks of the return of Jesus, an event known as the 'parusia' or advent". The saint describes this vividly "using symbolic images that nonetheless transmit a simple and profound message: 'In the end we will be with the Lord forever'. ... Our future is 'to be with the Lord'".
Benedict XVI pointed out how in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle "changes perspective and speaks of the negative events that will precede the end. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived, he says, as if the Day of the Lord were truly imminent by some chronological calculation. ... The continuation of the Pauline text makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will be preceded by apostasy and by the appearance of a person identified only as 'the lawless one', the 'one destined for destruction', whom tradition came to identify as the Antichrist".
The Pope examined the fundamental attitudes a Christian must adopt in the face of the ultimate realities of death and the end of the world: "The first attitude", he said, "must be the certainty that Jesus rose and that, with the Father, He remains with us forever. ... Secondly, the certainty that Christ is with me; and since the future world has already begun in Christ, this gives us the certainty of hope. The future is not an area of darkness in which no one can find his or her way. ... Without Christ, the future is dark even today. ... Christians know that the light of Christ is stronger and hence they experience a hope that is not vain, a hope that gives certainty and courage to face the future"….
There's an old saying that with God there is peace. With that in mind, I wonder why America has shut Him out? It is clear that God is not welcome amidst our "anything goes nation" anymore or, at best, many are clearly uncomfortable with His presence.
But a long, long time ago, God did have a place in our beloved nation.
Many secular humanists try to refute that America is a Christian Nation by contending that certain key Founders believed merely in a deistic God that didn't intervene in human affairs. In studying history, however, it is clear that there was a solid belief in a God who actively manages and intervenes in human affairs. As a matter of fact, thirty-four percent of the Founding Fathers quotes directly, or indirectly, came from the Bible. And, get this: most states required of their elected officials a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible before taking office.
Benjamin Franklin, considered one of the least religious Founders, stated the following during the constitutional convention:
"In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor... Have we now forgotten this powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs his affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, it is probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
[Note: as Franklin approached the end of his life he found convincing proof that God was actively involved in human interventions.]
Patrick Henry, famous for his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech, asserted a view in his time not much different from what those on the Religious Right claim to be historical:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of faiths have been afforded asylum, and freedom of worship here."
John Adams wrote this:
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Abraham Lincoln wrote these words about the Bible:
"In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong."
He (Lincoln) also spoke these words at the Gettysburg Address:
"...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
And then we have this:
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country."--Prayer ruled illegal 1966
"If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey the commandments. This is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause."-- Supreme Court 1980
"God has officially been removed from public education. Christian parents have acquiesced (given consent quietly without protest). The Founding Fathers knew what would result if the Christian faith faltered. In 1940, teachers listed the top problems in public schools as: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise and running in halls. In 1990, teachers listed the top problems as: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide and rape."
So, whats up? Is America a Christian Nation or what? At the risk of sounding like a politician, I will leave that to be answered by America.
In closing, the following scripture speaks to my heart:
14 "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."'you think this has nothing to do with our economy and the state of America? Wake up! It has everything to do with our economy. Like I said, America, we are in deep trouble!2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
2008 Judi Lynn Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Judi Lynn Lake has kept up with leading edge business trends throughout her varied and successful career. She had already had her "15 minutes of fame" over and over again before starting her family. Judi and her family now reside in South Carolina, but, having been born and raised on Long Island, NY, it is clearly evident that she will always be a "New Yorker." Today, she successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding and package design while she continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. For more information, visit judilake.com