I love this story so much, just got to share!
“As a tall, lanky redhead born and raised in Colorado, 34 year-old Brother David Johnson definitely sticks out in Syria, the Middle Eastern country where he serves with the St. James the Persian Carmelite Monastery in Qara.
He originally came as a student to study the language, but decided to stay after he fell in love with the country and felt God’s call to the religious life there.
That love for language and for God would one day save Brother Johnson’s life. At a recent prayer breakfast in Denver, Brother Johnson recalled the story of Easter Monday, three years ago. He was up in the monastery tower, and, in typical, friendly Colorado fashion, waved hello to some Syrian military men he saw in the hills in the distance.
Immediately the army became suspicious and turned their convoy toward the monastery. When they arrived, they demanded to know who waved at them, and kidnapped Brother Johnson when they found out he was American, thinking him a spy.
“They said what is he doing here, he’s probably just playing like he’s a monk,” Brother Johnson told CNA.
His brothers immediately started praying.
“My community, instead of panicking, they immediately went to the church, began the liturgy, began praying, began Mass,” he said, “and I was in God’s hands, I felt no fear.”
Strangely at peace, joyful even, Brother Johnson began to sing songs of Jesus’ resurrection to his captors in their native language. At first they were taken aback, but then Brother Johnson realized their hearts were softening.
“They said ‘I’ve never heard that before, why don’t you sing that again,’” Brother Johnson recalled one of the soldiers saying. “So I sang again, ‘Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.’”
The soldiers started laughing and clapping along, and decided they would take him back to the monastery unharmed. But first, they had to show their friends the singing American brother.
“They opened the doors (to their camp) and had me sing these songs of the resurrection to a crowd of soldiers, and they all were clapping! I thought I was dreaming! I thought I had entered into an alternate reality!” Brother Johnson said.
While Brother Johnson is sure that his ability to speak in the soldier’s native language helped in his immediate release, he said he is convinced that the prayers of his Brothers and the name of Jesus in the songs he sang is what saved his life that day. That’s why his advice to all who are concerned about the Islamic terrorists in the Middle East is to pray.
“Pray, pray, pray,” he said, “And put all your trust in His wisdom.”
To listen to Brother Johnson’s story, and to hear what it’s like to be a Christian in the Middle East today, watch the video below:
Originally posted on CNS top stories:
A man paddles his boat on the Pomeroon River in Guyana. (CNS/Bob Roller)
By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) –- Appealing to the entire world, Pope Francis urged everyone to read his upcoming encyclical on the care of creation and to better protect a damaged earth.
“This common ‘home’ is being ruined and that harms everyone, especially the poorest,” he said June 17, the day before the Vatican was releasing his encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”
He said he was launching an appeal for people to recognize their “responsibility, based on the task that God gave human beings in creation: ‘to cultivate and care for’ the ‘garden’ in which he settled us.”
“I invite everyone to receive this document with an open heart,” he said at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis said the encyclical…
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Here is the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (recited on Fridays)
Originally posted on Truth to Ponder:
Do you see how necessary it is to know Jesus and lovingly observe his life? I have often gone to look for a definition or a biography of Jesus in Scripture. And I have found it written by the Holy Spirit: “He went about doing good” . Every single day of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, from his birth until his death, can be summed up like that: he filled them all doing good. And in another place Scripture says, “He has done all things well” , he finished everything well, he did nothing that wasn’t…
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“The Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families, and they do so first of all with the light of the Word of God.”
May 20, 2015
This is so important in family life … the education of our youngest in our family … our children. If the foundations of family life are rock solid based on traditional family values, then our children will face the world as good, strong, healthy citizens of society.
“Today, dear Brothers and Sisters, I wish to welcome you because I have seen so many families among you. Good morning to all the families! We continue to reflect on the family. Today we pause to reflect on an essential characteristic of the family, namely, its natural vocation to educate the children so that they grow in responsibility for themselves and for others. What we heard from the Apostle Paul at the beginning is so beautiful: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:20-21). This is a wise rule: the child is educated to listen to his parents and to obey his parents who must not command in a bad way, lest they discourage the children. The children, in fact, must grow without being discouraged, step by step. If you parents say to the children: “Let’s go up that flight of steps” and you take them by the hand and step by step you make them go up, things will go well. But if you say: ”Go up! – ‘But I can’t” – “Go!” this is called exasperating the children, asking the children to do what they are not capable of doing. Therefore, the relation between parents and children must be one of wisdom, of very great balance. Children, obey your parents, this pleases God. And you, parents, do not exasperate your children, asking them to do things they cannot do. And this must be done so that the children grow in responsibility for themselves and for others.
2015-05-19 Vatican Radio
Pope Francis said on Tuesday (May 19th) many people like the Rohingya of Myanmar or the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq have been forced to say farewell to their homes and the lives of all of us are marked by farewells of varying importance. He said each of us should reflect on our own final farewell from this life and what it means for Christians to entrust themselves to God. The Pope’s words came during his morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence.