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When God's Love Hurts

Cassandra Poppe writes:

Crosses. Suffering. The human race has been plagued with hardship ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve desired more than the goodness God had already given them. And from that point on, most viewed suffering as a punishment from God – until that first Good Friday when Our Lord transformed punishment into a blessing. It seems natural for us to try to alleviate hardships when they come. A painkiller, a massage, an adjustment to the thermostat. How many little things do we do each day, each hour, to tweak the comfort level around ourselves? As these first 2 paragraphs were written, I have already adjusted my posture, scratched an itch and taken a sip of my drink. All actions taken almost without thinking and all done to increase my comfort.
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Valentine Campaigns

Sherry has some Valentine's Day thoughts for the presidential contenders:

Hillary Clinton: Bring me the hearts of everyone who did not vote for me. Bernie Sanders: Free Hearts for Everyone! Marco Rubio: Everyone loves the tin man. Right?
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NASA Bans Jesus

Todd Starnes reports:

The name of Jesus is not welcome in the Johnson Space Center newsletter, according to a complaint filed on behalf of a group of Christians who work for NASA. The JSC Praise & Worship Club was directed by NASA attorneys to refrain from using the name ‘Jesus’ in club announcements that appeared in a Space Center newsletter.
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Photographer Captures Smiling Newborn Babies

Just cute. Adorable even.

These gorgeous photos are by Sandi Ford, who specialises in capturing newborns smiling. "I have learned to recognise the little signs that a baby is about to let out a smile and I sit there ready with the camera to catch it!" she says. "I once read that there are two types of people in this world – those that see a newborn smile as wind, and those that don't. I see it as a rare treat that I am lucky enough to capture."
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As Heard in a 4th Grade Classroom

These are fun.

These were submitted to me by a fourth grade teacher friend of mine. Don’t worry. There’s more where these came from. So proud of having hung our school American flag, one of my students points it out to me: Girl: Look at the American flag! I hung it… Doesn’t it look good? Me: Wow!! You did a beautiful job. Looks great! Girl: Thanks… I know. I do good things, and I look good doing ’em.
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11 Catholic Converts Share Their Stories

Great piece.

Why would an atheist, abortion worker or drug addict decide to become Catholic? Stories of those who have converted to Catholicism inspire us and renew our own passion for the faith. The men and women whose stories we feature today come from diverse backgrounds. Whether a criminal, an atheist, or an ardent anti-Catholic, each has a testimony of the path they left behind when God revealed to them the truths of the Catholic faith. The stories that we share today are all of people who have chosen to live out their commitment to their new found faith with passion through the power of the Holy Spirit. All of them are now authors, speakers, and leaders who encourage others to grow in faith and devotion. We hope that you will enjoy listening to these powerful examples of God’s love and saving power. Remember, no one is so far from God that he or she cannot find their way back to Him.
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Fasting, Giving, Praying: 21+ Ideas for What Kids & Teens Can Do for Lent

Peanut Butter and Grace:

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are at the heart of the forty days of Lent. Here are some strategies for helping your kids get involved in these traditional penitential practices. Most of these ideas are appropriate for kids ages six and up. (The best way to introduce younger kids to Lenten practices is for them to see adults and older kids in the family practicing them; use their natural curiosity and desire to be “grown up” as a springboard for talking about what you’re doing, and why.)
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Big Families Don't Know They're Big

Great piece.

Big families are like big dogs. We don’t have a clue we’re big. It’s perfectly normal in our world to cook for a crowd every day. We whip our big vans in and out of parking lots like they are sports cars. We don’t bat an eye at the line of shoes by the back door or the pile of coats weighing down the coatrack. And it doesn’t even faze us that we take up an entire pew (or more) at church. In fact, we don’t think we have a lot of kids because we always know someone with more kids than we have. Besides, for most of us, the children came to us one or two at a time, and we simply adjusted to the addition as they’ve shown up. We didn’t suddenly have 5 or 8 or 14 children drop in our laps one day. They sort of trickled in…right under our noses.
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I Thought Casual Sex Would be Empowering

But it was the opposite. Verily Mag reports:

­­­When I was 17, a friend and I promised to lose our virginity within the year. We saw sex glamorized on TV and in music and heard popular peers talking about it as an amazing experience. The idea of the 21st century woman making her own sexual narrative sounded enticing. I wanted to be in control. The real clincher seems so cliche in retrospect: the women who had no-strings-attached sex enjoyed enviable celebrity among men. My friend and I didn’t want to be left out. I approached my sexual initiation with confidence. I believed Sex in the City’s premise that uninhibited sexual expression was healthy and integral to female happiness—that women who avoided sexual opportunities somehow lacked the courage. A coward, I was not. And so I lost my virginity to a stranger.
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The March for Life 2016 Changed Everything

New Wave Feminists reports:

On January 22, 2016, for the first time in the history of the March for Life, a chanting blockade of counter-protesters from pro-abortion group Stop Patriarchy met the first wave of pro-life marchers, and those marchers were holding signs reading: “I AM A PROLIFE FEMINIST.” However it happened, whether it was fate or luck, the very first people the Stop Patriarchy counter-protesters saw were not old men, not blue-haired ladies with Bibles, not priests or nuns, not frat boys or politicians or church leaders. They were young women, carrying signs declaring themselves feminists. It was a moment I will never forget as long as I live.
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See What Happened When a Man Who Appeared Homeless Walked Into a Chick-fil-A

Nice story.

A Tennessee father is crediting Chick-fil-A with helping teach his daughter “life lessons” in his viral Facebook post about a store manager’s kindness toward a man in need. “I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today,” wrote Joey Mustain in a post that has been shared over 43,000 times as of Jan. 26.
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9 Reasons the Weasleys are (Probably) a Catholic Family

Love this.

I first read the Harry Potter series before converting to Catholicism and the Weasleys were my favorite family in the books (obviously). Imagine my delight when I discovered that they’re a big Catholic family! Well….OK, the books don’t come right out and say they’re Catholic but I think there’s some solid reasons to assume they are.
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Recipe for a Perfect Love Story

Beautiful.

Until recently, Tim Harris, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the only restaurant owner in the country with Down syndrome. But what drives a restaurateur who has lived for his business to close up shop? A girl he loves more than anything. Steve Hartman reports.
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Unprecedented Violence Against Christians In 2015

The most ignored horror:

The Christian Post reported that over 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015, finds Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors. 2015 surpasses 2014 the worst year for Christian persecution than any other time in modern history.
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A Father’s Brave Refusal to Give Up Son with Down Syndrome

Bravery.

Samuel Forrest faced an unimaginable choice last year after his wife threatened—it’s me or our son. Their newborn son, Leo, born January 21, 2015 in Yerevan Armenia, was unexpectedly diagnosed with Down Syndrome. His wife, Ruzan, was understandably scared, and unfamiliar with the condition. Under the pressure, she gave her husband the ultimatum.
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She Crawled

This is from a few years ago but it is devastatingly beautiful.

I didn’t know her. But, I knew her story. Her name was Lori. She was the friend of my friend, Sallie. Last year, Sallie shared Lori’s story with some of us from church. She was asking that we pray for her situation. She was battling inflammatory breast cancer, and she had been told that she would not live much longer. She had a husband and two small children under the age of seven.
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This Year, We Need to Be Wronged

Sherry Antonetti writes:

If we mean what we say in the Our Father, we should be searching out opportunities to forgive and asking for forgiveness
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Topless Abortion Feminist Converts to Pro-Life

Presumably puts a shirt on too.

Brazilian feminist Sara Winter used to work to legalize abortion. She was one of the founders of a radical group that carries out offensive topless protests at churches. Now, she says people should learn from religious women who put their faith into action – and reject the powerful forces promoting abortion in her country. What changed her mind? The birth of her child. “I understand I made a huge mistake, and I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. The way to achieve public policy changes for women has nothing to do with mocking people’s religions,” she said in a Dec. 15 Facebook post.
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Notre Dame Prof. Calls Permissive Gun Laws a 'Manifestation of Racism’

Campus Reform:

A professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame published an op-ed in The New York Times linking lenient gun laws in America to racism. Prof. Gary Gutting argued “permissive gun laws are a manifestation of racism” and invoked “hatred of racism” as a motivation for the gun control movement. According to Gutting, high exposure to guns in largely poor black neighborhoods along with low restrictions on gun ownership permeates a culture of racism.
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You Are Immoral if You Eat Fish

Wesley Smith reports:

Animal rights, properly understood, is an ideology that insists the capacity to feel pain is the basis for possessing rights. Hence, several years ago, PETA claimed that eating meat is an evil equivalent to Auschwitz. Now, with some studies showing that fish may feel pain, we are told over at the Huffington Post to stop eating fish. The writer is Marc Bekoff, a professor (of course) of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. From "Science Shows Fish Feel Pain, So Let's Get Over It and Do Something to Help These Sentient Beings":
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