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geese in snow storm

The geese and the snow storm

There was once a man who did not believe in either the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it, and was skeptical even about God. He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her religious observances.

“It’s all nonsense -- why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It’s such a ridiculous story,” he said.

One snowy day, she and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window... And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear.

He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, “How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety.”

At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words reverberated in his mind: If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them. Then, at last, he understood God’s heart towards mankind... and he fell on his knees in the snow.

the dream of great trees for website

Dreams of Three Great Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”  Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”  Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”  

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When  he came to the first tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter” … and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.  

At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.  

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one”, and he cut it down.”  

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.  The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.  

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.  

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.  

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.  

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

electric train christmas morning

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Though money didn’t flow as freely as the rain that winter, my parents worked with joyful anticipation to give my brother and me a Christmas present we would never forget. They scrimped for months and then spent more than they could probably afford for a Marx electric train.

Then the day before Christmas, a cousin stationed at a nearby military base pulled into the driveway. Opening the trunk of his car he lifted out a large heavy box. My brother and I could hardly wait to see what it was. On Christmas morning we opened it first. Eagerly we unwrapped an expensive new electric train set. Wow! You had to pull us down off the ceiling. A Lionel train, too! Then we opened the presents from our parents–another electric train. Ho hum. And not nearly as extravagant as the one from our cousin. Guess whose we played with most?

Mom and Dad were hurt. The outlay for an unmarried Air Force lieutenant was nothing compared to the sacrifice my parents had made. But all we saw was the glamour of an expensive train. We counted our parents’ gift as merely a nice accessory...

Our heavenly Father spends many a disappointing Christmas. Amidst the glittering ornaments and flashing Christmas lights, the hurry and hustle of shopping and wrapping and family get-togethers, parties and presents, trees and turkeys–who really cares about His gift? What gets more attention from us: our Father’s gift of life in Jesus Christ or the quickly-wrapped department store gifts from our cousins?

Thank You, Father, for Jesus. Thank You for the abundant life that we, His disciples, can enjoy now. Thank You for sending us a most expensive gift–Your own life. Thank You!

christmas advent wreath for website

Celebrating with the Advent Wreath

One way to prepare for Christ’s coming into our lives is to make an Advent wreath for your daily household worship.  This traditional circular wreath reminds us that God, like the circle, has no beginning and no end.  Evergreens on the wreath symbolize our everlasting relationship with God, the source of continuous new life.

The wreath has four candles, three purple or violet and one rose.  On the First Sunday and Week of Advent, we light the first candle and then an additional candle on each Sunday until Christmas.  Purple is a royal color, reflecting the kingship of Christ and also repentance.  The rose candle, lighted on the Third Sunday of Advent, represents joy.  Thus, the colors of the candles illustrate the themes of advent: kingship, repentance and joy.  The candles also remind us that the incarnation has transformed the darkness of hatred and evil into the light of joy and love.

Let your Advent wreath become the center around which your household gathers together each night during this joyous, but sometimes frenzied, season of celebration.  And as you celebrate with the Advent wreath, include your favorite Advent hymns and songs, scripture readings and prayers focusing on Christ’s threefold Advent - past, present and future.

coffee cup

What do you want, the cup or the coffee?

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.  Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, …When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. It is, but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other’s cups. Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.” So, don’t let the cups drive you… enjoy the coffee instead.

visit parents

Find time to visit your parents/children

An elderly man in Mumbai calls his son in New York and says, ‘I hate to ruin your day son, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 35 years of marriage… and that much misery is enough!’

‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

‘We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the old man says.

‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!’

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

‘Like heck they’re getting divorced,’ she shouts, ‘I’ll take care of this.’

She calls Mumbai immediately, and screams at the old man, ‘You are not getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR??’ and she hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Okay’, he says, ‘It’s all set. They’re both coming for our anniversary and paying their own airfare!!’

MORAL:

No man / woman is busy in this world all 365 days. The sky is not going to fall down if you take few days LEAVE to make your parents or friends happy.

Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother.”

This is the first commandment with a promise,

“that it may go well with you and that you may live a long life.”

A widowed mother leaves her house and goes to fetch water, leaving her only child asleep. On her return, she found a large crowd around her burning house. On the inside, her son is about to die in the fire. Throwing her bowl of water on the floor, and crying, she wants to get into the burning house to look for her son. Everyone keeps saying, “You’re going to die too, fire is very great.” Escaping from their hands, she enters the fire and wrapped her son in a blanket. The child, tight against her breast, is not touched by the fire. Mummy comes out severely burnt and is only narrowly saved; thanks to the care of the hospital, but she lives with scars and unrecognizable.

Many years passed. The child, under the guidance of his mother, completed his studies and was appointed minister. He organized a party at his villa on his appointment, and invited all the dignitaries of the city and his friends. While they were in full party, noises were heard at the door of the entrance to the villa. The son was forced to go and resolve the situation. He found that the security officers were preventing his mother from joining the party. He had not invited her but she also wanted to join the party.

Faced with this situation in front of his guests, he said tenderly to his mother: “Please, Mom, I would be ashamed to have you appear before my friends. We can discuss later. “And in secret, he ordered the security services to throw out his mother because of her scars.

What inspires you in this story?

This woman represents Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for you and me. Today, what place do you give Him in your life? It is He who has received the scars because of you and me.

puppies 61345

 PUPPIES FOR SALE

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and sure enough, a little boy appeared by the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” He asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30-$50.”

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “May I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled, out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind.

Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”

The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so good myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit:

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn:

for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek:

for they inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness:

for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful:

for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart:

for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:

for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

eagle fights the snake for website

The Eagle does not fight the snake on the ground.  It picks it up into the sky and changes the battle ground, and then it releases the snake into the sky.  The snake has no stamina, no power and no balance in the air.  It is useless, weak and vulnerable unlike on the ground where it is powerful, wise and deadly.  Take your fight into the spiritual realm by praying and when you are in the spiritual realm God takes over your battles.

Don’t fight the enemy in his comfort zone, change the battle grounds like the Eagle and let God take charge through your earnest prayer.  You’ll be asssured of clean victory.

Pray without ceasing.

How Old Is Your Church?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534, because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated you religion in New Your in 1628.

If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th Century.

If you are Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your Church in London in 1774.

If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, NY, in 1829.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations know as “Church of the Nazarene”, “Pentecostal Gospel”, “Holiness Church”, “Pilgrim Holiness Church”, or “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past one hundred years.

If you are Roman Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.

“O God, I humbly beseech thee to teach me thy true religion, that leads to everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord.  Amen.”

You are what you do, not what you’ll say you do.

The best advice I ever heard:

Pay attention to what people do and forget everything they say.

You talk a good game, but I am watching how you play.

Actions always prove why words mean nothing.

Silence is better than empty words.

The Truth doesn’t cost anything but a lie can could cost you everything.

I don’t believe what you say, I believe what you do.

Don’t worry about what people say behind your back. They are the people

busy finding faults in your life instead of fixing their own.

Fake Friends: Once they stop talking to you they start talking about you.

Don’t fall in love with someone who says the right things.

Fall in love with someone who does the right things.

Sometimes you don’t need to hear their excuses because

their actions have already spoke the truth.

There is no better test of a man’s integrity than his behaviour when he is wrong.

Make sure that your actions and behaviour live up to and reflect the words

and ideas, promises and commitments that come out of your mouth.

Don’t talk just act, don’t say just show, don’t promise just prove.

A person’s actions will tell you everything you need to know.

Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be.

I don’t trust words, I trust actions.

People say a lot so I watch what they do.

The world is changed by your example and not your opinion.

Loyalty is hard to find, trust is easy to lose and actions always speak louder than words.

Standing on the sidelines and criticizing is easy. Get in the game if you are man enough.

Society has gotten to the point that everyone has a right but nobody has a responsibility.

Well done is better than well said.

People reveal themselves through their actions.

Great people talk about ideas and pursue them, Average people talk about things,

Small people talk about other people.

Your words mean nothing when your actions are the opposite.

To believe in something and not live it is dishonest.  Mahatma Ghandi.

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I, the LORD, explore the mind and test the heart, Giving to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds. Jeremiah 17:10

If you love Me, keep My commandments.  John 14:15

Brother and Sister

Giving When It Counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.  The doctor explained the situations to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.”  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek.  Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor, he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Giving when it counts is what matters.  Extending a helping hand to a person in need truly matters.

 

As Abraham Lincoln reminded Stephen Douglas in a debate about slavery: “we never have the right to do wrong.

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Diocese of Baton RougeDiocese of Baton Rouge

We, at St. Helena Catholic Church, are concerned with educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit. 

In particular those who draw near to the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church. 

We strive to achieve this by utilizing the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.