Praying for discernment

"Well, you know, as I told you, I'm a very devout Catholic and all my life, I always just ask the Lord to give me the discernment to do what He wants me to do, and so every day, I pray for discernment, I get it in my prayer time. I see it in the events that unfold about me. That's where it's all up to God." (Even while in detention, she filed 7 bills, 6 of which became laws.) -Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

iPads and Modesty

A girl bought an iPad. When her father saw it, He asked her "What was the 1st thing you did when you bought it?

"I put an anti-scratch sticker on the screen and bought a cover for the iPad" she replied.

"Did someone force you to do so?"

- "No"

"Don't you think it's an insult to the manufacturer?"

- "No dad! In fact they even recommend using a cover for the iPad"

"Did you cover it because it was cheap & ugly?"

- "Actually, I covered it because I didn't want it to get damage and decrease in value."

"When you put the cover on, didn't it reduce the iPad's beauty?"

- "I think it looks better and it is worth it for the protection it gives my iPad."

The father looked lovingly at his daughter and said,

"Yet if I had asked you to cover your body which is much more precious than the iPad, would you have readily agreed???"


What a meal meant for Mother Teresa

"There was also the time Mother Teresa went to a bakery to beg for bread for the children in her orphanage. She held out a hand and asked for bread as a gift, but the baker scornfully spat on it. Instead of anger or leaving for another bakery, she responded to the man’s rudeness by saying: “I will keep it for me, but give me bread for my children.” It’s difficult to know what went through the baker’s mind in that moment, whether he had regrets about spitting at a woman or if his heart was pried open by Mother Teresa’s response to him, but we do know that after that day, the baker became the main donor of bread to the orphanage." For Mother Teresa, "Eating with another person means spending time with that person and sharing an experience together." -

The girl in the picture : Kim Phuc forgives

"If there was one photograph that captured the horrific nature of the Vietnam war, one photograph that tore at our collective conscience, it was the picture of a nine year old girl, running naked down a road, screaming in agony from the jellied gasoline coating her body and burning through skin and muscle down the bone. Her village in the Central Highlands of Vietnam was napalmed that day on June 8, 1972, and the little girl took a direct hit. It would take many years, and 17 operations to save her life."

Most of us live out our lives in relative obscurity. When we have hurt another, when we have failed, when we have grievously wounded it is kept in a small closed circle. But imagine if the thing you most regret were to be splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the world. Imagine if that one dread moment became the thing that defined you. John Plummer doesn’t need to imagine. It happened to him.

John Plummer is a Methodist pastor living in a quiet town in Virginia . He visits the elderly, prays for the sick and preaches every Sunday. But this is not what defines him. Or at least, what once did.

John Plummer is also the pilot that, during the Vietnam War, organized the Napalm raid on the village of Trang Bang in 1972. And what he did was forever immortalized by the award-winning photograph of one of its victims, a nine-year-old girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc.

John was haunted by the photo of the naked burning child, terrified and running, her arms stretched out, her flesh afire. He had done that to her. For twenty- four years he looked for her, trying everything he could just so that he could tell her that he had not meant this dreadful thing. It was more than wanting. It was a need that ate away at him until he lost his wife and his health and his hope.

His friends reached out to help him. They reminded him that he had tried to make sure that as many innocent people as possible had been removed from the area. He had done it for a greater good. None of these things meant anything. Her face condemned him. There was no peace for a man like him.

And then it happened. One of those amazing moments that non-believers speak of as coincidence and those who know the Father know as His merciful grace. It was Veterans Day, 1996. John, along with a group of fellow pilots, had traveled to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington , D.C. Officially they were there to honor those who had given their lives. But each man knew that every year they went hoping for a measure of freedom from the guilt that haunted them.

The crowd gathered at the memorial hushed as a small woman took the stage and spoke into the microphone and said "I am Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the girl made famous by a photograph after suffering a Napalm attack by American forces"

John froze. He could not take it in. For twenty- four years he had longed for her and she was now so near. Her voice continued “I am not bitter, even though the burns I suffered even to this day cause me pain. I long ago forgave the one who bombed our village"

John was beside himself, yelling, pushing his way through the crowd. Security surrounded him but he persisted. "I am the one!" he shouted "I am the man who did this to you!" She came down from the stage, the only one who could free him and he fell into her arms. For every time he sobbed out “I am so sorry" her voice rose to cover his. "It is OK. I have forgiven you".

Phan invited John to meet her at her hotel later that evening. Sitting side by side she once again assured him of her forgiveness. In her grace she had set him free. In one encounter she had ended twenty four years of anguish for a man who had longed for release.

JP2 officiates street cleaner's wedding

Vittoria Ianni, a Roman street cleaner’s daughter. Overhearing two nuns talk about the pope’s early years of poverty in Poland, she felt a sudden desire to have him perform her upcoming wedding. This is not something that popes generally do. But when John Paul visited the outdoor manger that the city street cleaners set up every Christmas, Vittoria stepped up and made her request. To everyone’s astonishment, the pope said yes.

She and Mario Maltese were married in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel in February 1979. Twenty-five years later, the couple returned, with their three grown children, for a private audience with Pope John Paul.

"I know you died for me, but I don't give a damn!"

It was the height of summer in Orleans, France, 1939.

School was out, and a small group of restless, rowdy boys ran through the streets, trying to find ways to entertain themselves as only boys know how: by getting themselves into trouble. Today's entertainment was a dare. A dare to go into the nearby Catholic Church and confess a fictitious list
of incredible sins to the parish priest in the confessional. At first, no one was brave enough to take on such a dare. Being Catholic, they feared to risk the wrath of the pastor. But then one of boys, a Jew by the name of Aaron Lustiger who didn't fear the Catholic priest, decided to take the dare. He marched into the gothic church, went straight to the dark confessional, and lambasted the priest with a list of sins that would make your hair stand on end. But the priest was no dummy. He caught on to what the boy was doing and assigned him a rather unusual penance for his made up sins. He told the boy to go back out into the empty church, walk up to the large crucifix hanging on the wall, and say to it three times, "Jesus, you died upon the cross for me, and I don't give a damn."

Now, being a Jew, Aaron had no problem with this penance and gladly took up the challenge. He walked up the imposing stone crucifix, looked upon the face of the dead man hanging there, and shouted, "Jesus, you died upon the cross for me, and I don't give a damn!" He laughed at how
easy it was to fulfill the dare and said again, a little softer, "Jesus, you died upon the cross for me, and I don't give a damn!" But as he spoke the words a third time, something happened. He said, "Jesus, you died upon the cross for me, and I--" He faltered. He fell to his knees and looked up at
the man who had died for him upon the cross. Really looked at him. And he saw the nails that pierced the dead man's hands and feet; the wound that bared his vulnerable side; the thorns that scarred his noble brow. He saw a brave man; a good man; an innocent man who bled innocent blood. He
saw God in that man. A loving God. A true God who would do anything--absolutely anything to bring his lost children home. And Aaron wept at the sight of such perfect, unadulterated love.

A year later, Aaron was baptized into the Catholic Church and took the name Jean-Marie Lustiger. As an adult, he entered the seminary and was eventually ordained a priest; and in 1983 after thirty years of faithfully serving God's people, he was made the Cardinal Archbishop of Notre Dame
Cathedral in Paris.


What does Pope Francis carry in his pocket?

"I am going to tell you something private. In my pocket I always carry two things: a rosary to pray something which seems odd, this is here is the history of God’s failure, it’s the way of the cross, a small way of the cross, as Jesus suffered and when they condemned him right up to where he was buried with these two things I do the best I can. And thanks to these two things, I never lose hope.”