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Do you love me? | Father Gregerson

What does it mean to love someone? It is hard to capture in English what Christ is asking Peter in the Gospel today. Greek, the language in which St. John composed his Gospel, has many words for love, two of which John employs here – “agape” and “philia.”

“Philia” is a love of deep friendship, the kind held by two brothers in arms who have just emerged victorious after a harrowing battle. It means loyalty, self-sacrifice, and a sharing of emotions. It is far beyond the misuse of the word “love” so commonly found in our culture – “I love pizza” or “I love dancing.” But it still isn’t “agape.”

“Agape” is the deepest form of love, a totally selfless love that is a complete gift of yourself to the other – a love that always puts others first. It is a love that only God can live to its perfection.When Christ asks Peter if he loves Him, he is asking if Peter has “agape” love.

Peter responds, “Lord, you know that I love you with philia love” – brotherly, comrade love. Christ repeats the question and Peter repeats his response. Then the third time, John tells us that Peter is distressed when Christ repeats his question.

After Peter twice responding that he has philia love for Christ when the Lord asks if he has agape love, Christ asks him, “Do you love me with philia love?” Peter is startled and distressed because the question has changed.

He is distressed by Christ seemingly stooping down to his level, accepting the limitations of his feeble love and making it clear that He loves Peter despite his weakness, despite his inability to love in the way that God loves.

Christ meets Peter at his level, but notice what happens next. He immediately calls him to something greater – precisely to agape love. He foretells how Peter will glorify God with his death – his hands stretched out on a cross like his Master, only upside-down, upon his insistence that he was not worthy to do in the same way as Christ.

He will imitate the self-giving love of the Savior, loving with the agape love that he was afraid to profess there at the lakeshore.The Peter we see just several weeks later in the book of Acts is not the same hesitant Peter we see in the Gospel of John.

This Peter is bold, telling the Jewish leaders, “We must obey God rather than men” when they are ordered not to teach in the Lord’s name. (Notice, by the way, that Acts refers to “Peter and the Apostles.”

The primacy of Peter, continued by his successors, the Bishops of Rome, is an Apostolic and Biblical doctrine, contrary to what you might be told elsewhere. Peter too is the one singled out by Jesus to tend His sheep. Peter is not merely the first among equals.)

He even “[rejoiced] that [he] had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” of Christ.Holy Mother Church holds out this example of Peter’s transformation on this third Sunday of Easter because She wants us to know that Christ’s Resurrection, which we continue to celebrate throughout the Easter season, is meant to work a similar transformation in us.

How many of us, after all, are ready to tell society that we must obey God rather than men? How many of us rejoice to suffer dishonor for the sake of Christ’s holy name?So how, then, can we be transformed like Peter? What will make us the bold witnesses to Christ’s Resurrection that the Lord desires us to be? Where is our charcoal fire around which Christ will stoop down to take our imperfect love of him, and transform it, redeeming those times when we, like Peter, have denied him?

Firstly, we must recognize our own weakness like Peter did. Do we not so often pretend through pride to be better disciples of Christ than we really are? Do we not tell ourselves that we are pretty much good people, that we don’t kill people or steal or do anything that would earn you a spot on the FBI’s most wanted list, so we are pretty much guaranteed to go to heaven?

Do we not thus presume upon God’s mercy rather than humbling repenting as Peter did of the many ways in which we too deny Christ? How many of us turn away, at least in our minds, when Holy Mother Church and Her ministers challenge us with hard truths that are difficult for us to accept?

Secondly, in order to be transformed, we must worship God. The Book of Revelation presents us with a vision of many others who have been transformed as well: the countless number that surrounds the throne of God and cries out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.”

In order to be transformed into bold witnesses like Peter, and in order to experience the heavenly reward of those who have been faithful to the end, we must fall down and worship God rather than ourselves. In order truly to worship God rather than ourselves, we need to worship in a way that focuses on Him rather than us. This means that the most fundamental question about worship is not: “How do I want to worship God?” or “What makes me … feel … like I’ve really worshiped him?” “Or what makes

Continue Reading Here: Do you love me? | Father Gregerson

Lawsuit Claims Julian Assange Confirmed DNC Emails Received From Seth Rich – Not a Russian Hack… | The Last Refuge

A rather stunning report from Gateway Pundit outlines information contained within a lawsuit filing.  The lawsuit, filed by Businessman Ed Butowsky, alleges Wikileaks founder Julian Assange confirmed to Fox News analyst Ellen Ratner that the DNC leaked emails were received from Seth Rich and his brother Aaron.The details contained within the lawsuit filing (fullpdf) are stunning.If this information is true and accurate, the DOJ claim of a Russian hack –based on assertions by DNC contractor, Crowdstrike– would be entirely false.  Additionally the DC murder of Seth Rich would hold a far more alarming motive.

Continue Reading Here: Lawsuit Claims Julian Assange Confirmed DNC Emails Received From Seth Rich – Not a Russian Hack… | The Last Refuge

How To Spot A Fascist Dictator (might makes right)

Breakdown the Social Fabric of a Country with violence & chaos in the streets. Works like a charm.

Since the terms fascist and fascism have been used a lot lately it seemed like a good time to delve into the topic. I will do that by pointing out traits common to these people/regimes. I will rely more on political figures of the past as proof-not that we couldn’t look at some current figures we know are fascist dictators; but for the entry here i am looking to historical figures.
The question is how do you spot the rise of a fascist dictator before we have a full blown fascist regime running the country? Let’s take a look at those common traits.This will tell us a lot.
1. Confiscate the guns. The first thing a fascist dictator has to do is get the firearms away from its citizens. It makes sense. You plan to oppress these people you don’t want them to be able to defend themselves against the oppression or eventually challenge the regime itself. You get the citizens to give them up either voluntarily or involuntarily. It’s why the founders gave us the 2nd amendment to the Constitution;just in case. Did they give citizens the right to bear arms so they could hunt and provide food for the family? Sure they did. Did they give the citizens the right to keep and bear arms as self defense against other citizens that might pose a danger.Sure,that also. However,the MAIN intent of the 2nd amendment-since the other 2 were understood– is spelled out in the right itself.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I can’t believe people argue about ‘the meaning.’
It couldn’t be more obvious. Suffice it to say dictators disarm the public. They have to.
2. Sometimes this one comes first or coincides with disarmament. They stomp on religious freedom,particularly a Christian-Judeo foundation.
Why? In short, you can’t have God compete with the state,that is, THEIR god.

Hitler’s Brown Shirts

The Book Hitler’s Religion by Richard Weikart

includes a brief overview of Nazi Germany’s persecution of the Christian churches; from Weikart’s book, it is clear that the Catholic Church was targeted more than the Lutherans. Upon coming to power in Germany, the Nazis liquidated the Catholic Center Party (although Weikart does not mention this, it is worth noting that Georg Ratzinger, the uncle of the future Pope Benedict XVI, was a Center Party parliamentary deputy) and disbanded Catholic youth organizations, newspapers, and civic organizations. Weikart briefly mentions the internment of thousands of priests at the Dachau concentration camp, although one wishes he would do so in greater detail. The story of the imprisonment of more than 2,000 priests from across Europe in the oldest Nazi concentration camp needs to be better known, as it is a graphic representation of Hitler’s disdain for Christianity.

Source:https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/10/26/was-hitler-a-christian-an-atheist-or-neither/
There are plenty of  books that document Hitler’s disdain for the Christian religion; it’s just not quite as well known or as obvious as his hatred for the Jews.
Communism clearly attacked religion.It was an atheist regime from the get that had no interest in protecting religious freedom.Marx didn’t call religion the opiate of the people because he thought Christianity was a great idea.
The 1936 CONSTITUTION OF THE USSR CHAPTER X has a whole list of citizens rights.
They are:
right to work
right to rest and leisure
right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work
right to education

Women in the U.S.S.R. are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres

Equality of rights of citizens of the U.S.S.R., irrespective of their nationality or race
Now when it comes to the question of religious freedom it doesn’t state this as a right. It’s worded carefully as follows:
In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience(meaning,not religion), the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church. [Separation of church and state]. Then it reads,
Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.

You can see how that would work. You’re allowed to worship-which doesn’t include the public practice of religion- but any anti religious group would have the the right to oppose you.They effectively wiped out freedom of religion and never mention it as a freedom guaranteed by law;only the civil rights are.Neither freedom of religion or conscience are considered a protected civil right.
The civil rights are:
In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:

freedom of speech;
freedom of the press;
freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
Freedom of street processions and demonstrations.
https://www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/const/36cons04.html
In our Constitution it’s noted that our rights are given to us by the Creator and therefore they are inalienable. Under the Soviet(Communist)Constitution their rights are ONLY civil rights given to them by law(the state)and their purpose is to strengthen the socialist system.We can understand the difference.

Another sign that can identify a fascist regime is the use of intimidation, including  violence, against opposition by whatever type of group the regime chooses to use. It’s typically been a civilian group.It can be a civilian group trained to be paramilitary and in some instances a group they use IS the military.

One example & the most well known would be Hitler’s Brown Shirts.

Brown Shirts (Sturmabteilung (SA) were a wing of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and later spawned the SS. They got their name from the brown shirts Hitler gave them to identify themselves as his henchmen.

From 1921 to 1933 the SA disrupted the meetings of Adolf Hitler’s political opponents as well as defended the halls where Hitler was making a speech in public. According to the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, the SA was made up of “ruffians” and “bullies”. However, it played a very important role in the first years of theNazi Party.
In 1931, the leadership of the SA passed to Captain Ernst Rőhm.Hitler ordered Rőhm to take “possession of the streets” as the streets held “the key to the power of the state”.
The SA men protected party meetings, marched in Nazi rallies, and physically assaulted political opponents. Temporarily in disarray after the failure of Hitler’s Munich Putsch in 1923, the SA was reorganized in 1925 and soon resumed its violent ways, intimidating voters in national and local elections…  headed by Ernst Röhm, who harboured radical anticapitalist notions and dreamed of building the SA into Germany’s main military force. Under Röhm SA membership, swelled from the ranks of the Great Depression’s unemployed, grew to 400,000 by 1932 and to perhaps 2,000,000—20 times the size of the regular army—by the time that Hitler came to power in 1933.

Lenin’s Bolshevik’s

began to secure power by a twofold policy, born out of improvisation and gut feeling: concentrate the high reaches of government in the hands of a small dictatorship, and use terror to crush the opposition, while giving the low levels of government entirely over to the new worker’s soviets, soldier’s committees and peasant councils, allowing human hate and prejudice to lead these new bodies into smashing the old structures. Peasants destroyed the gentry, soldiers destroyed the officers, workers destroyed the capitalists. The Red Terror of the next few years, desired by Lenin and guided by the Bolsheviks, was born out of this mass outpouring of hate and proved popular. The Bolsheviks would then go about taking control of the lower levels.

Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/the-russian-revolution-of-1917-p2-1221810
It’s obvious that these groups use tactics outside the law to intimidate and shut down opponents. In most cases the supportive  group ends up being nothing more than useful idiots for the top echelon, who consolidate their own power in the end.

Pol Pot &The Notorious Khmer Rouge

They have all used violence and chaos as a means to an end. One of  the most violent of all  these groups was the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia.

Throughout the 1960s, the Khmer Rouge operated as the armed wing of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the name the party used for Cambodia. Operating primarily in remote jungle and mountain areas in the northeast of the country, near its border with Vietnam, which at the time was embroiled in its own civil war, the Khmer Rouge did not have popular support across Cambodia, particularly in the cities, including the capital Phnom Penh.

However, after a 1970 military coup led to the ouster of Cambodia’s ruling monarch, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge decided to join forces with the deposed leader and form a political coalition. As the monarch had been popular among city-dwelling Cambodians, the Khmer Rouge began to glean more and more support.

For the next five years, a civil war between the right-leaning military, which had led the coup, and those supporting the alliance of Prince Norodom and the Khmer Rouge raged in Cambodia. Eventually, the Khmer Rouge side seized the advantage in the conflict, after gaining control of increasing amounts of territory in the Cambodian countryside.

In 1975, Khmer Rouge fighters invaded Phnom Penh and took over the city. With the capital in its grasp, the Khmer Rouge had won the civil war and, thus, ruled the country.

They installed their leader Pol Pot and exiled Prince Norodom(again a ‘useful idiot’  helping them solidify their own power).

Once installed as the country’s leader by the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot and the forces loyal to him quickly set about remaking Cambodia, which they had renamed Kampuchea, in the model of these rural tribes, with the hopes of creating a communist-style, agricultural utopia.

Declaring 1975 “Year Zero” in the country, Pol Pot isolated Kampuchea from the global community. He resettled hundreds of thousands of the country’s city-dwellers in rural farming communes and abolished the country’s currency. He also outlawed the ownership of private property and the practice of religion in the new nation.

Pol Pot’s regime also executed thousands of people it had deemed as enemies of the state…an estimated 1.7 to 2.2 million Cambodians died during Pol Pot’s time in charge of the country.

The Father of Italian Fascism,Il Duce (The Leader)

Italian fascism was founded in Milan on March 23, 1919, by Benito Mussolini, a former revolutionary socialist leader. His followers, mostly war veterans, were organized along paramilitary lines(almost always the case) and wore black shirts as uniforms(the precursor for Hitler’s brown shirts).

Mussolini was both a politician and a journalist. He was well aware of the use of propaganda. Most fascist groups are well aware of its use.

Source: https://www.ineedchops.com/School/GOV/GOVUnit109Sem1/Benito_Mussolini.htm

“All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”
Benito Mussolini
What they all have in common is the goal of absolute power and that means no opposition. They all believe that the state will provide a utopian civilization; there is no use for religion in such a civilization. They will side with groups that don’t share their ideology(even oppose it) as long as that group helps them achieve power-the alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hitler is the perfect example.They had 2 enemies in common;Christians and Jews.
Let’s sum up how we can spot a fascist dictator:
1. they try to disarm the citizens & generally succeed. Sometimes they can even convince the citizens to voluntarily disarm.
2. they frown on freedom of religion,will outlaw its practice and  in the end try to destroy Christianity/Judaism(their ultimate goal). They want nothing to compete with the state.
3.they see the state AS god.
4. propaganda is a useful tool as is intimidation and violence.They justify all 3 because they consider the end result  justified.For the same reason they justify circumventing the law-if it gets them where they want to go they will  bend or even break the law.
5. The goal is absolute power. They will try to convince enough people it’s necessary and for their own benefit.The higher echelons benefit .The  civilian groups are nothing more than useful idiots.
* most fascist groups tend to be civilian and act as a paramilitary wing of a political party and/or leader.Hitler’s plan to ‘rule the streets’ is a common tactic-albeit in different forms- among all these fascist groups.

 

The Bolsheviks In Russia and the Brown Shirts in Germany

Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime by Richard Pipes & Hitler’s Religion by Richard Weikart from Amazon Books.