Arroyo Speaks

#94, Pope Stephen III

Pope Stephen III

Pope from August 7, 768 – February 1, 772
Lived: 720 – February 1, 772

Give me the scoop on Stephen III.
Stephen was born in Sicily, the son of a man named Olivus. Stephen first served as a Benedictine monk in the abbey of St. Chrysogonus (sound familiar? His name is in the Roman Canon), then was ordained a priest and sent to work in the Lateran Palace under Zachary, Pope No. 91. Following St. Paul I’s death, Stephen III was finally elected after a yearlong sede vacante, being consecrated on August 7, 768. During his time as pope, Stephen suffered as a result of a lack of unity among the Franks, and thus had little protection from the Lombards when they invaded Rome in 771, killing two men who helped get Stephen elected. Stephen III died on February 1, 772.

What was he known for?
With not one, but TWO antipopes opposing Stephen III prior to election, his accession to the papacy had more drama than a high school hallway. Before Paul I’s death, Constantine, a layman and a Roman noble, wanted to be made a priest and placed on the throne as the next pope. He coerced a bishop to ordain and consecrate him, then even “reigned” for a few months. Soon a rival group said, “Nice try,” and instead promoted a priest named Philip. This latter antipope was described as nothing more than a Lombard tool. Christopher, the head of Rome’s clergy, said, “tool indeed” and rallied the majority of Rome’s lay and clergy population to depose Philip and elect a third man, Stephen, to become Paul I’s real successor and rightful pope.

Fun fact: After the hullabaloo between Constantine, Philip, and Stephen, not to mention all of the ensuing bickering and violence between the trio’s supporters, a council at the Lateran Palace in 769 decided, from then on, that only clergy should elect a pope.

What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 771, Carloman, the son of Pepin and brother of Charlemagne, died of a severe nosebleed, leaving his brother to be sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom.

SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope Stephen (III) IV – http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14289a.htm
Pope Stephen III – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Stephen_III https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/770s

Interacting with Atheists: 5 Foundational Principals

Interacting with atheists can be draining. Not every conversation will go well, especially when you start out. But if you follow these five principles, you can drastically improve your mindset and your conversations.

Here’s the first principle: pray every day. Develop a daily prayer routine. Decide on a specific segment of time as your personal prayer baseline. It could be ten or fifteen minutes. Currently, I aim for twenty minutes, but I don’t always hit my mark. But I want to grow in my prayer life. Some spiritual masters recommend thirty minutes per day with the goal of building up to a holy hour every day. 

This principle drives us to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. This will allow you to discern more effectively what a person needs to hear in conversation. Also, it will prevent you from getting burned out or discouraged when dialogue goes bad. You don’t need me to tell you that conversations about religion often get heated. Daily prayer will help us to keep our cool during such encounters.

As a baptized Christian, you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Conversing with God every day deepens this reality, allowing the Holy Spirit work through you. Daily prayer will help you know what to say and how to say it. So that’s the first tip: pray every day.

Here’s the second principle: whenever possible, start by asking questions rather than making statements. Asking questions places you in the driver’s seat of the conversation. You can steer it where you want it to go. You can make sure it stays on topic.

Questions provide an avenue to learn what the other person actually thinks, providing you with valuable information for deciding how to help your conversation partner.

Greg Koukl points to three helpful questions that can be asked in almost any context:

• “What do you mean by that?”
• “How did you come to that conclusion?”
• “Have you ever considered . . . ?”

Questions are powerful. And they’re fun! When you dialogue with an atheist, it’s much less stressful to ask questions than to try to give a detailed argument from memory.  Also, once you see the power of asking questions, you can start to develop your own questions to use in apologetic/evangelistic contexts.
 
The God of the Bible is a bloodthirsty dictator.”
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
“Religion is the cause of war, suffering, and intolerance.”
“Do you believe in Santa Claus, too?”
(Etc.)
Here’s the third principle: Don’t let people get away with vague, wishy-washy criticisms. Sometimes people make vague objections they think are enough to win the day. Consider the following:

• “You know the problem of evil, right? That’s why I don’t believe in God.”
• “You Catholics have that abuse scandal. Who would want to join a corrupt Church like that?”

Too often, we immediately launch into a defense. Before the skeptic elicits a response from us, we must require that he make his criticism clearer, provide more detail, and, whenever possible, give us the fullness of the argument he has in mind.

Consider the first example above. I’d respond, “Tell me more. What do you have in mind concerning the problem of evil? Can you spell it out for me?” These questions encourage the person to clarify, and they also allow you to assess how much homework he has done. Moreover, you don’t start floundering around with fancy arguments before understanding what he’s saying.

Here’s the fourth principle: apologetics is most helpful to those who are already open to the truths of faith. An angry, hostile atheist can swiftly resist philosophical argumentation. Even the most powerful arguments may fly right past him as he pulls out his list of grievances against religion.

This principle encourages realistic expectations. The most hardened, angry skeptics need our prayers. Perhaps they’ve been abused by a priest in the past, or dealt with some other terrible circumstance in life. The Holy Spirit can work on the heart and soften them for future conversations.

On the other hand, those with a sincere desire to understand can be led closer to Christ with answers from the Christian intellectual tradition. But if that’s true, should we not even bother with apologetics when talking to those who are closed to faith? Not so fast. Apologetics in that circumstance can bolster the faith of the believer making the arguments, or of other believers listening to the conversation. I find this to be exactly right.

Here’s the fifth principle: don’t neglect the soft skills of evangelism. By “soft skills” I mean the ways of conducting ourselves outside of apologetic encounters. How should we interact with others? I submit that two keys are kindness and treasure recognition. Kindness consists of showing genuine respect for others and developing an interest in understanding their point of view. As Catholic Christians, we must keep in mind the divinely revealed truth that everyone we encounter is a treasure of intrinsic value whom God commands us to love.

So don’t be a jerk. Give more compliments. Be openly Catholic by saying grace before meals, keeping prayers or pictures of saints on your desk, and include Mass in your discussion of the weekends and holidays. These soft skills do not require an advanced apologetic, and they can go a long way toward building trust and plausibility in religion.

Not all evangelism requires explicit gospel-preaching. Simply by going about your normal dealings, extending kindness to others, and being openly Catholic, you show Catholicism to be a live, reasonable option.
 
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Borinquen Preciosa

Yo se lo que son los encantos
De mi borinquen hermosa
Por eso la quiero yo tanto
Por siempre la llamare preciosa

Yo se de sus hembras trigueñas
Se del olor de sus rosas
Por eso a mi tierra riqueña
Por siempre la llamare preciosa

Isla del caribe
Isla del caribe
Borinquen

Preciosa te llaman las olas
Del mar que te baña
Preciosa por ser un encanto
Por ser un edén

Y tienes la noble hidalguía
De la madre escaña
Y el fiero cantio del indio bravío
Lo tienes también

Preciosa te llaman los bardos
Que cantan tu historia
No importa el tirano te trate
Con negra maldad

Preciosa seras sin bandera
Sin lauros, ni gloria
Preciosa, preciosa
Te llaman los hijos de la libertad

Preciosa te llaman los bardos
Que cantan tu historia
No importa el tirano te trate
Con negra maldad

Preciosa seras sin bandera
Sin lauros, ni gloria
Oh te llaman los hijos de la libertad

Preciosa te llevo dentro
Muy dentro di mi corazón
Y mientras mas pasa el tiempo
En ti se vuelca mi amor

Porque ahora es que comprendo
Porque ahora es que comprendo
Que aunque pase lo que pase
Yo seré puertoriqueño
Yo seré puertoriqueño
Por donde quiera que ande, oh
Por que lo llevo en la sangre
Por herencia de mis padres
Y con orgullo repito
Yo te quiero Puerto Rico
Yo te quiero Puerto Rico

Y por eso es que me nace hoy
Dedicarle este canto
A ese noble jibarito Raphael
Y a mi isla del encanto
Yo te quiero Puerto Rico
Yo te quiero Puerto Rico
#BorinquenPreciosa

Aquí nuestra sorpresa! Escucha nuestra "Preciosa" como un regalo hermoso donde se une la clase artistica Puertorriqueña de diferentes medios para decirte que pronto nos volveremos a ver, que no desmayes, somos fuertes y nuestro amor nos une. Gracias Gricel Mamerypor este junte tan espectacular que con nuestra “Preciosa” nos abraza.#BorinquenPreciosa

Posted by Jailene Cintron on Monday, May 4, 2020

I know what the charms are
Of my beautiful borinquen
That is why I love her so much
Forever I will call her precious

I know of her brunette females
I know the smell of her roses
That is why I will call my rich land
Forever I will call her precious

Caribbean island
Caribbean
Borinquen

Precious the waves call you
From the sea that bathes you
Precious for being a charm
For being an Eden

And you have the noble nobility
Of the mother bench
And the fierce cantio of the brave Indian
You also have it

Precious the bards
who sing your story
Do not mind the tyrant treat you
with black wickedness

Precious you will be without a flag
Without laurels, or glory
Precious, precious
The children of freedom call you

Precious they call you the bards
Who sing your story
No matter the tyrant treat you
With black evil

Precious you will be without flag
Without laurels, nor glory
Oh they call you the children of freedom

Precious I carry you
deep inside my heart
And the more time passes
In you my love turns because

Now it is that I comp I laugh
Because now I understand that
Even if whatever happens
I will be Puerto Rican
I will be Puerto Rican
Wherever I go, oh
Because I carry it in my blood
By inheritance from my parents
And with pride I repeat
I love you Puerto Rico
I love you Puerto Rico

And that is why I was born today
Dedicate this song
To that noble jibarito Raphael
And to my island of enchantment
I love you Puerto Rico
I love you Puerto Rico

Food For Thought

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: ‘Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together. So th e doctor said: ‘Ok and what do you want me to do?’ She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: ‘I think I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’ She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.

The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!

‘I agree’, the doctor replied. ‘But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.’ The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!

“Love says I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion says I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself..

Shirley Anne McGrew

On December 11th, 2007, Christina Ward Brown, Taft J Beio, Patrick Brown, Matthew Arroyo and I were at St. John Medical Center in the middle of the worst ice storm we could have imagined. There was virtually no power in Tulsa or any of the suburbs and I had driven from Ft. Worth to be there, at mother’s side, as she took her last breaths.

12 years ago today, as Tulsa and surrounding areas were black without power, my sister and I sat at our mother’s bedside as her breathing became more labored and slowed breath by breath until there were no breaths left to take. In one small city block, St. John had power from generators while the rest of Tulsa was dark. “Dark” doesn’t even describe it! It was BLACK!

Born Shirley Anne McGrew on Feb. 2nd, 1938, she died Shirley Anne Beio on Dec. 11th, 2007.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Rest in peace, Shirley Anne McGrew Beio.

Today is #Giving Tuesday

Dear Brother Knight,

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving! Let’s join together and make a difference.

Stand with us as we raise funds for the Knights of Columbus Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative. Hundreds of thousands have already been helped. 100% of your donation will continue to bless those affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic, by providing food and assistance. And every dollar raised will be matched up to $250,000!!

Think of those who are struggling and need our help so desperately.

Spread the word on social media that you donated. Your generosity may encourage someone else to donate too!

Giving isn’t quarantined … please make your gift today! 

Fraternally,

Ronald F. Schwarz
Supreme Treasurer

P.S. Please know that if you are not in a situation to give, we understand. I hope you and your families are healthy and safe.

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