See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Are Cyber-Catholics Going To Boycott Facebook Now?



Attention Catholic Facebook subscribers:

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"A campaign on Facebook has recruited tens of thousands of supporters to bombard the Vatican with condoms to protest against the Pope's controversial remarks about the spread of HIV." - Source

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Maybe another online petition should be organized for this issue? (After the ban Hillary from Guadalupe protest, that is.) Told you Facebook is evil.
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Photo: Former friends who boycott my blog.

Hillary asks, "Who painted this."



The Secretary of State made an unscheduled visit to Guadalupe.
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Catholic News Agency must have crashed covering this story, since I can't get in to read the coverage that everyone else seems to have picked up. As most Catholics probably know by now, on Thursday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented flowers to the Virgin of Guadalupe on behalf of the American people, while the Madonna's image had been lowered for her to view. After a few moments of silence she asked, "Who painted this?" The Rector of the Basilica replied, "God!" I hope he explained what that means, although some have speculated Madame Secretary must have known the story from a prior visit several years ago. The report stated Mrs. Clinton also lit a votive light while at the shrine.
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I'm very impressed by the story, and most impressed by the Secretary's gesture; presenting flowers to the Madonna, looking at her face to face, and then lighting a candle - all clear evidence of prayer. People of faith ought to recognize that - people without faith can think what they like. (And Catholics who criticize Mrs. Clinton for her question should not be so damn smug. We ought not to be so quick to congratulate ourselves that the world hates us for being followers of Christ, sometimes they just hate us because we can be rather sanctimonious and arrogant about our faith.)
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Mrs. Clinton spoke with the Madonna... Our Lady, the Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin knows how to change hearts, even if it takes some time.

Blame whitey.

Lula

I just read that Brazil’s President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva is blaming white people with blue eyes for the recession we are in. President Lula can blame whomever he wishes, but I have to ask, is he saying Portuguese people are not white? I always considered them to be white Europeans - I believe indigenous people and African slaves considered them as such when the Portugese once prospered from the slave trade, and exploited both the native people of the New World, as well as the African slaves.
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President Silva obviously believes his and other Hispanic governments would do a better job handling the world economy. Such vanity. The man ought to take a closer look at Brazil and the other countries in South America, where only the privileged few have the wealth, while their peasants live in squalor. South American society has changed little since the conquest - except now the politicos blame the Church, as they tend toward atheistic socialism, or profit from drug trafficking.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We should refrain from curious inquiry into the lives of others.



Christ:
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"...Be not curious nor give yourself up to useless cares. (1 Tim. 1: 4) What is this or that to you? Your business is to follow me. (John 21: 22)
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For what is it to you whether this man be such or such; or that man do or say this or the other. You are not to answer for others, but must give an account for yourself, why then do you meddle with them?
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All things are to be committed to Me; but as for you, keep yourself in good peace and let the busybody be as busy as he will.
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Do not be solicitous for the shadow of a great name; neither seek to be familiarly acquainted with many, nor to be particularly loved by men.
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For these things beget distractions and great darkness in the heart." Imitation, Bk III, 24; 1 - 2
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I painted all day and this evening I made the rounds of Catholic blogs and news sites. I'm so not interested in any of it right now.

Archbishop Burke.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oprah's World

Such are the fruits.

Yesterday evening I arrived home from adoration just before 5PM; the first thing I did was turn on the television to catch the news - I do things like that when I'm expecting some sort of disaster to happen any day.

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So anyway - I turn on TV and Oprah is still on, and of course they are talking about sex and homo-sex and stuff like that. I gathered it was a therapist who was speaking, and she said something like, "And the wonderful thing is, that students today no longer think of gender when falling in love, they think of falling in love with a person. That doesn't mean that some are not gay, but that isn't an issue either." Now that must be an example of highly evolved thought. The woman seemed to be applauding the progress that has been made regarding sexual openness when it comes to falling in love with a person, rather than someone of the opposite sex, or simply wanting to experience every aspect of human sexuality through experimentation, without the limitations imposed by gender, or outdated social taboo. (That is actually defined as lust.)

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Those programs to help LBGT students seem to be paying off already.
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Update: I just checked - the show was actually about women leaving men for other women and living without labels. Stupid women.
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Dr. Lisa Diamond, author of Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire, says women like Chris and Rebecca are far from unusual. "A lot of people think fluidity means choice. That's not true," Dr. Diamond says. "As we've heard here, a lot of these women never expected to feel what they felt. It was not a conscious decision. It was something they experienced happening to them." - Oprah

Medieval Ritual Murder and Antisemitism

St. William of Norwich (f.d. March 26)
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When the mutilated body of a 12 year old boy was found in a wood outside Norwich in mid-10th century England, it was alleged that the boy had been a victim of ritual murder by the perfidious Jews, as the Liturgy of Good Friday once referred to them. There was no real evidence to support the theory, except the outrage of peasants, which soon developed into a local cultus of veneration for the youthful martyr, as well as the persecution of local Jews. Historians have referred to the incident as being one of history's most heinous lies. Such ridiculous stories became popular and widespread throughout Europe, and endure to this day amongst a few very traditionalist Catholics and Eastern Europeans. Nazi propaganda sprang (in part) from such legends, evoking ancient fears amongst the sanctimonious, as well as ordinary under educated believers.
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Another child martyr is known as Little St. Hugh of Lincoln (1255). His mutilated body was found in a well, resulting in the torture and death of several Jews accused of crucifying the child during Passover.
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Moving south to Trent in northern Italy: It was there, in the year 1475 that the precociously pious infant Simon (f.d. 24 March), only two and half years old, was said to have been murdered by a Jewish physician and accomplices. It was told the child, left unattended outside his home, was kidnapped and tortured at midnight on Holy Thursday in mockery of Christ's passion. Testimony claimed, "The Hebrews killed the little boy Simon, in order to obey a rabbinical religious law; their motive being to serve a most wicked piety and devotion by obtaining Christian blood for the celebration of Passover." His body was later found in the river. (To my knowledge, there never was, nor is there any such rabbinical law demanding human sacrifice.)
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The cult of St Simon was suppressed in 1965.
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Perchance a Jewish man killed one of these saints. However, if it was true, the offender would have been acting contrary to Jewish Law and the Commandments, and he and his followers would have acted on their own. Their Jewishness would have been incidental. That children were killed, there is no doubt, but the real perpetrators likely were never brought to justice. Just so today, we hear of children that have been abducted, most always sexually molested, and very often killed - after mutilation and torture - only to be cast into a river, or buried in a wood. It is a horrible crime. Nevertheless, in our day it is popular to accuse Satanic cults, yet more commonly law enforcement identifies the perpetrators as homosexual or heterosexual pedophiles, and/or pathological serial killers. I'm quite sure that was most likely the case in medieval times as well.
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Are the kids saints and martyrs? The ancient cults were supported by miracles, so I expect they are. Common sense suggests their legend is probably grossly exaggerated if not inaccurate, and I would insist one simply may not claim that Jewish people as a group were responsible for such murders, much less claim such horrible crimes are part of Jewish religious cult. (Although, as stated, some traditionalists believe otherwise. Unfortunately irrational antisemitism lives on.)
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Art: St William, from a rood screen of the medieval church of St. James, now at St. Mary Magdalen's in Norwich.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daniel Hannan MEP: The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

The same can be said for Obama. BTW, his ratings dropped last night.

The Warning...


Mystics and seers from Blessed Anna Maria Taigi to the children of Garabandal have all said a warning will be given to the world in our times in order that people will repent and amend their lives, it will include a correction of consciences, convicting the world of its sin. Failing that, a great chastisement would follow.
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I'm not sure what all of that means precisely, and I no longer follow such prophecies very closely, although I ponder them from time to time. The predicted warning is supposed to be a supernatural event, yet it seems to me that we may be living through another sort of warning right now, since the Church, guided by the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him, "are (the) authentic teachers, that is teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice." (CCC 2034) This truth has become very evident when we consider the teaching and example of the Pope. As Cardinal head of the CDF, and now as Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father has consistently offered the Church and the world, with great charity, a clear correction of conscience through his presentation of authoritative Catholic teaching on faith and morals, as well as by speaking to, and pointing out the great errors of our age.
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It seems to me the fact that the Pope's teaching has met with such resistance and scorn throughout the Church and the world, is stunning evidence his teaching convicts the world of its sin, correcting consciences by the truth of the Gospel, marked by that sign of contradiction, the Cross, supernaturally illumined in the darkness that covers the earth.

Notre Dame Invites the President

All I can say is that this invitation by a Catholic university clearly demonstrates the ability of many Catholics to compartmentalize faith and morality, if they have any at all.

Feast of the Annunciation


Annunciation by Rossetti.
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Br. Stephen of Sub Tuum has a wonderful post on the Angelus.
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"At Spring Bank, as in most Cistercian houses, Lauds, Vespers and Compline end with a hymn to the Virgin. After Lauds, Sext, and Compline, we recite the Angelus silently as the bell tolls three sets of three peals. Originally a set of three Hail Marys, later three petitions were added recalling the Virgin’s answer to the angelic salutation at the Annunciation. Later a concluding versicle and collect were added." - Read more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Special

Prime time special tonight.

Something really big is going to happen...



Can't you just feel it?

Obama seeking expanded powers to seize firms...



Nice headline Poodle.
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The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.
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The government at present has the authority to seize only banks. - Source
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I'm no financial expert of course, but I don't like the sound of this. I also don't like the idea of the government regulating CEO's salaries, and I don't like the government encouraging mobs to stand outside the homes of the rich protesting, or threatening AIG employees with piano wire lynching. And 90% tax on bonuses seems to me to be an abuse of power.
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The Obama Administration is playing around with anarchy.
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Update: President Barack Obama says he hopes "it doesn't take too long" to convince Congress to approve new authority to oversee financial firms. (Source) Gee - I wonder why?

Theology of the Body isn't simple.



Sex can get messy.
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I'm sure most Catholics have heard of cases where a spiritual director took advantage of an unsuspecting soul and imposed his own interpretation of JPII's Theology of the Body during the course of a spiritual healing session in which sexual contact was appropriate, right? Wrong - I mean, that would be wrong in any case.
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I've heard a lot of crazy things said in the name of Theology of the Body, and a person really has to be careful sometimes. However, I can offer you a good rule to follow: If it doesn't feel pure - it isn't - especially if things get, er... ah... sticky. Failing my advice, New Oxford has a good article on the density of JPII's thought embodied within Theology of the Body, written by Fr. Thomas Becket Mullady, O.P. - It sure sounds to me as if Pope John Paul II never changed any of the rules about sex, no matter how many pick-up lines guys can adapt from his writings.
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The "theology of the body" is one of the principal legacies of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. The Pope systematically presented this extensive teaching in his weekly Wednesday audiences in St. Peter's Square from September 5, 1979, until February 9, 1983. Many well-meaning orthodox Catholics have attempted to explain this teaching and its theoretical or practical impact. They have been motivated by the same desire as the Pope: to defend the teaching of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in a new systematic way that takes account of Holy Scripture and sometimes uses a method of exposition derived from 20th-century phenomenology. Unfortunately, many of these attempts suffer from a lack of clarity, which has led some people to erroneously conclude that John Paul II's theology of the body is so revolutionary as to contradict Catholic sexual moral teaching. - Source

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Steve Kroft interview.



Calling a spade a spade.
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I watched Steve Kroft's interview with Obama last evening. The last time I checked, the only commentary I found on it were a few indignant responses to the fact Obama laughed as he discussed Wall Street and the economy. I understood that, and I certainly did not think he was taking the matter lightly. What surprised me is his reference to former Vice-President Cheney's criticism of the President's foreign policy, especially regarding the prisoners at Gitmo. The President seemed down right contemptuous of Cheney, along with his (the Bush Administration) policy and treatment of detainees throughout the “hidden global internment network”. In fact, I'm quite certain I've never seen the President like that before. Yet today, I couldn't find one online comment regarding what the President had to say, other than he laughed. Please remember, I do not get the newspapers. So call me Sarah Palin.
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Torture and the Bush Administration.
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Morning's Minion, writing for Vox Nova posted a provocative report concerning the Red Cross report on the use of torture on 'high value' detainees throughout the "hidden global internment network" most of whom ended up at Guantanamo. The report is disturbing and shameful:
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"It (the report) describes a rather lengthy list of torture techniques: suffocation by water; prolonged stress standing; beatings by use of a collar; beating and kicking; confinement in a box; prolonged nudity; sleep deprivation and use of loud music; exposure to cold temperature/cold water; prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles; threats; forced shaving; deprivation/restricted provision of solid food. In the various interviews, a constant was near constant nudity, usually in cells kept in frigid conditions. At the same time, they would be subjected to either constant light or constant darkness and unceasing loud music and noise. They were regularly slammed into the walls. They were left hanging from the ceiling in excruciatingly painful conditions. And subjected to waterboarding." - Read more here.
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As one commenter to the post remarked, "I didn’t understand MM to mean that Obama is good. I understood him to mean that Bush’s support for evil and Obama’s support for evil are cut from the same cloth." - Radical Catholic Mom

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Yep. Evil is evil, no getting around it. This country has been on the road to hell for a long time.
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Art: Fernando Botero, Prisoners at Abu Ghraib

Texting God


And the Saints.
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When I was in 5th grade, I began volunteering at the Little Sisters of the Poor. One day I noticed one of the sisters putting a slip of paper beneath the statue of St. Joseph in the pantry. I asked sister what she was doing and she answered, "We are low on bread, so I'm just reminding St. Joseph."
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I looked at her slightly puzzled and so she tried to explain, showing me all the other little notes that were there, and she said, "In addition to our vocal prayers, it is our custom to sometimes write our prayers of petition and thanksgiving, and place them near St. Joseph's statue. He is our special patron and he always answers us." In fact, just as I was leaving that afternoon, even though it was a Saturday, a local bread company delivered several trays of day old bread. Another sister told me such things happen all of the time. As an adult, I've had similar experiences.
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Yes, I adopted the practice, but only for really important, even desperate petitions. In fact, every monastery I've ever lived in has a little slip of paper with a prayer from me on it - so hidden, only a heavenly person could read it. Naturally, these slips of paper were not my only expression of prayer, they were simply the physical evidence of a spiritual work.
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Recently, while going through papers, books, and religious images I have in storage, I came across petitions dating back 10, 20, even 30 years. One constant petition was on each of them, written in my most minute printing. I smiled, and thanked God, who is rich in mercy, for having answered my prayer. It may take many years of persevering prayer, but God answers every one. Nothing is impossible for God.

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"For by grace you were saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them." - Ephesians 2: 4-10

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Today I pray that God will make me the man he created me to be.

Out of Africa



The Holy Father spoke to the entire world...

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"How much darkness, there is in so many parts of our world! Tragically, the clouds of evil have also overshadowed Africa, including this beloved nation of Angola. We think of the evil of war, the murderous fruits of tribalism and ethnic rivalry, the greed which corrupts men’s hearts, enslaves the poor, and robs future generations of the resources they need to create a more equitable and just society – a society truly and authentically African in its genius and values. And what of that insidious spirit of selfishness which closes individuals in upon themselves, breaks up families, and, by supplanting the great ideals of generosity and self-sacrifice, inevitably leads to hedonism, the escape into false utopias through drug use, sexual irresponsibility, the weakening of the marriage bond and the break-up of families, and the pressure to destroy innocent human life through abortion?" - Source

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. - Matthew 19: 11



The celibate's reward.
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I attended the noon Mass at the Cathedral today; opening the Bible I found in the pew, my eye fell upon this passage:
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For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast to my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off. - Isaiah 56: 4-5
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On virginity.
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"Virginity is in no sense a denial of the spousal meaning of the body, as though the body were evil, but is rather an affirmation of that spousal meaning in the way it will exist in Heaven. In terms of this earth, however, it must be looked upon as exceptional, a recommendation of Christ: "Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it" (Mt. 19:11-12). Consecrated virginity involves a renunciation of marriage, but not of the value of marriage nor of the spousal meaning of the body. "If someone chooses marriage, he must choose it exactly as it was instituted by the Creator 'from the beginning,'" Pope John Paul teaches. "If on the other hand someone decides to follow continence for the kingdom of heaven, he must seek in it the values proper to such a vocation." Again, this teaching reflects common Church doctrine: "Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity" (Catechism, #1620; quoting John Chrysostom, De virg., 10,1)." - Source
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Ask and you will receive.

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[The Cathedral of St. Paul has purchased Ignatius Press RSV Bibles, 4 to a pew, for parishioners and visitors to use while stopping in to pray. That is incredibly generous. The Cathedral took on new life at the installation of Fr. Johnson as Rector - he has brought a very vibrant spirituality to the parish.]

Abstinence


Smoking.
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A year and a half ago, I quit smoking, after many years of quitting and restarting the habit. At times I quit for 2 years, other times just for 2 months. Once I quit for 6 years - that was the longest period of time. I prayed, made novenas, gave it up for Lent, but I always went back. The problem was that I always craved a cigarette. I eventually gave in, simply accepting the fact I was addicted, while striving to accept myself. That worked for awhile, but the culture changed, and smoking became a shameful thing, and the pressure was mounting to stop. I suppose the rebel in me resisted the discriminatory propaganda, insisting it was part of my persona... This is who I am. Well not really - I couldn't allow a behavior to define me.
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Nevertheless, deep down I sensed it was a bad. Slowly I began recognizing how unnatural it was for men and women to stand outside office buildings in -20 degree weather and smoke, shivering, yet gratifying their cravings. Almost as much as my non-smoking friends, I too disliked the stench of an overflowing ash tray, the ochre tinge to everything in my house and my car, and the odor that followed me everywhere. I felt shame as drivers yelled at me and called me names as I tossed spent cigarettes out of my car window. I was discriminated against, even by the Government, which is attempting to tax cigarette smokers into poverty. Powerless, I kept smoking - and I kept praying.
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When I finally quit this time, I got very sick with a bad cold that turned into a severe bronchitis, so I wasn't able to smoke - I was sick for about 2 weeks. As I recovered, I figured since I had gone for longer than a week without smoking, I may as well stop entirely. However, the better I felt, the more I desired to smoke again. Gradually the craving went away, almost without notice; until about a month ago I'd say. Unlike cessation smoking episodes in the past, I suddenly realized that the craving was completely gone. I don't know how to explain it, but I just know it is gone. Now I can see a person smoking, or watch a film that glamorizes it, or feel really artsy and depressed, anything from the old bag of triggers, and I have no desire to smoke. It is gone. Only a heavy smoker would know how miraculous that is. (I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day.)
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Sometimes it takes many years of hard work and constant prayer, as well as many fallings and risings, to completely overcome a behavior, a vice, or a bad habit; but with the help of God's grace, anything is possible. And I assure you, it is sheer grace.