Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mass of Christ: The Real Meaning of Christmas

Mass of Christ: The Real Meaning of Christmas

Do you really want to live Christmas to the maximum potential of your being? If you have responded in the positive the following is the most efficacious path: living out to the fullest degree possible the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
How interesting—the word Christmas is a compound word: Christ… Mass, that is to say “The Mass of Christ!” Therefore to live out to the fullest extent possible Christmas, we should strive with every fiber of our being to believe in the Mass, love the Mass, participate fully, consciously and actively in the Mass. If done, the Infant Baby Jesus will be born in the depths of our souls!
Another interesting word interpretation is that of Bethlehem.  The true interpretation of the word Bethlehem is “House of Bread”. Jesus who would later in His Public ministry call Himself the “Bread of Life” (Bread of life Discourse: Jn. 6: 22-71) was born in Bethlehem—the “House of Bread.” How appropriate and true the symbolism.
This being the case then how can we improve, upgrade, perfect our life related the Holy Mass, our union with Christ in Holy Communion, our Eucharistic devotion? That is the purpose of this essay!

Concrete Ways to Live out Mass and Christmas

  1.  THANKSGIVING.   The word “Eucharist” actually means thanksgiving. Let us constantly thank God for our faith and belief in His Real Presence in the most Holy Eucharist. Still more let us grow in our faith and try to bring those who have wandered from the fold back to their faith and love for the Eucharist.  “The harvest is rich but the laborers are few.” May you be transformed into a zealous laborer in the Lord’s vineyard.
  1. CLEAN THE STABLE.  There is an intimate connection and relationship between the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession. By receiving Confession properly we cleanse our souls and consequently we receive Jesus with greater purity of heart and the graces are more abundant.  Jesus reminds us in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8) If you like, the clearer and more transparent the window pane the more abundant will be the inpouring of the light of the sun. So Jesus who is the “Sun of God” in Holy Communion will break forth with greater abundance in a pure and transparent soul.
  1. DAILY MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. If possible according to your state of life and time schedule see if it is at all possible to come to Daily Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as possible. Could one of the petitions on the Our Father be challenging us to this practice: “Give us this day our daily bread…”  Could this daily bread be the Bread of the Eucharist in Holy Communion? I believe it does!
  1. EARLY BIRD!  Make it a habit to be an early bird rather than the night owl. Coming late distracts the priest, the others, and you yourself will be more distracted in Mass.  Athletes do not arrive late for the game; actors do not show up in the play at the time for intermission; even dead bodies in funerals show up early!  Should we not make it an effort to come early so as to prepare ourselves for the greatest event in the world: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!!!
  1. INTENTIONS.  In parishes the priest usually has an intention that was requested months before.  This does not exclude the fact that you can offer your own intentions. On the contrary, you can offer as many personal intentions as you want—a million if your heart so desires! Three suggestions for intentions: 1) for the souls in Purgatory, 2) For the conversion of sinners, 3) For your own personal conversion. Every Holy Communion is a new HEART TRANSPLANT; your receive the most Sacred Heart of Jesus with its absolute purity and holiness as well as all of the most sublime virtues that were always present in His Heart.
  1. AVOID DISTRACTIONS!  As the Dogmatic Constitution on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council strongly recommends (Sacrosanctum Concilium) we are called to participate in Holy Mass fullyactively, and consciously.  Indeed this is an enormous challenge because we live in a world full of distractions and even in the Mass there are present many distractions. Beg the assistance of your Guardian angel to come to your rescue.
  1.  LISTEN ATTENTIVELY.   The Mass can be divided into two essential parts: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. There are two tables to nourish our souls from: the Word of God and the Bread of Life. An attentive listening to the Word of God can dispose our minds and hearts to receive the Bread of Life more efficaciously. Therefore: ears, mind, and hearts open to receive the Word of God. May Our Lady be our example. St Luke presents Our Lady pondering the Word of God in her heart!
  1. RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION WITH THE HEART OF MARY. One of the most efficacious means to receive Jesus with the best of dispositions is to beg Our Lady to give us her Immaculate Heart so as to receive Jesus in Holy Communion with burning charity. Imagine Our Lady when she would have received Holy Communion from the hand of the Apostle Saint John the Evangelist. What an example for us!
  1. REVERENCE BEFORE THE SACRED AND REAL PRESENCE. Before receiving Holy Communion we should always make some act of reverence; this might be a genuflection or a bowing of the head. Remember who you are about to receive: the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Son of the living God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Master and Lord of the whole universe, the Savior and Redeemer. In the presence of a King or Queen our reverence would be absolute; in a parallel sense our reverence before the King of the Universe should be sublime and exalted!
  1. AMEN. When the Body of Christ is given to us we should pronounce audibly the word AMEN. This is an Aramaic word (the language of Jesus) which is an act of faith and means: I BELIEVE! Let us pray that our faith will grow like the tree planted by the running streams that brings forth fruit in abundance day and night. (Psalm 1)
  2. THANKSGIVING.  There is no other moment or time in our life in which we should express more abundant gratitude than after receiving Jesus into our hearts in Holy Eucharist. We should unite with the choirs of angels, the saints and especially the most pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary to pour forth in abundance our gratitude for such a sublime gift, the gift of gifts which is the most Holy Eucharist. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” God indeed loves a joyful and a grateful heart!
  1. IMITATE OUR LADY IN THE VISITATION. After Our Lady conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit by giving her consent in the Annunciation, she immediately went in haste to bring Jesus to others, her aged cousin Elizabeth who was with child. Our reception of Holy Communion should transform us into fiery apostles of the love of Jesus. Reception of the Body of Christ in Mass should motivate us and launch us into the midst of the world with the desire to bring the Person and love of Jesus to the whole world. Remember the last words of Jesus:“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”((Mt 28:19-20) The message could not be more clear but indeed it is  challenging! If we have received Jesus into our hearts we must be missionaries to the whole world and bring Jesus to all. May the Eucharist enlighten us and inflame us! Remember the last words of St. Ignatius to St. Francis Xavier when he sent him off to the Indies: “Go set all on fire!” May you be a fire-blazer of love for Jesus in the Eucharist!
  2. BRING OTHERS BACK TO MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. Statistics are not always exact; however close to 75% of Catholics no longer attend Holy Mass on Sundays. It is up to you and to me, as a result of our fervent Holy Communions to bring these lost and wandering sheep back to the fold. We are called to be sheep of the Good Shepherd; then we are called to be the shepherds to the many lost and wandering sheep.  Bring these lost, confused, abandoned sheep, in danger of being devoured by the prowling and ravenous wolves, back to the arms of the Good Shepherd who wants to feed them with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion.(Psalm 23/ Jn. 10—the Good Shepherd)
  3. FAN THE FLAME BEFORE IT FLICKES AND EXTINGUISHES! Pope Benedict in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Mass and Eucharist Sacramentum Caritatis (Feb. 22, 2007) strongly encourages us to recover the practice of frequent spiritual communions. These can be as many as you like. The purpose is to keep the flame of love for the Eucharistic Lord burning intensely and constantly in our hearts. This practice was strongly recommended by the great Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori. As a bonfire must be constantly fed by brush, sticks and wood, so the interior furnace of our souls must be constantly nourished by the Eucharist and spiritual communions. The Lord stands outside the door of your heart knocking, open up the door and invite Him in now and as often as possible. When you die He will welcome you through the gates of Heaven.(Rev. 3: 20)
  1. EUCHARISTIC REPARATION. Before Our Lady appeared to the three children in Fatima six times from May till October, 1917, the angel came to visit the children on three separate occasions. The angel basically taught the children to pray. The last of these apparitions, the angel appeared but above the angel, suspended in the air was the Blessed Sacrament, the consecrated Host and the Precious Blood of Jesus. Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco drank from the chalice and Lucia received the Host. The angel bowed and taught the children to both adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to offer prayers of reparation for the sins against the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, in conclusion let us turn to our Guardian Angel and to the Immaculate and sorrowful Hear of Mary and beg pardon for our lack of faith, reverence and love for the greatest of all gifts, the greatest Christmas GIFT, which is Jesus in Mass and Holy Communion. May our prayer be as such: “O come let us adore Him. O Sacrament most Holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.  http://fredbroom.blogspot.com/2015/12/real-meaning-of-christmasmass-of-christ.html

Monday, December 21, 2015

50 Things Barack Obama Has Done Wrong

50 Things Barack Obama Has Done Wrong

Why would anyone dislike Barack Obama? Could it be because of what he’s done in the White House? As you get a refresher on the national nightmare that has been Barack Obama’s presidency, keep in mind that the biggest difficulty in compiling it was limiting it to just 50 examples of corruption, dishonesty, and incompetence. 
1) Because of Obama’s policies since he became President, 11,472,000 Americans have left the work force.
2) “Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million.” — Mortimer Zuckerman
3) The number of Americans on welfare has hit record highs.
4) A record 20% of Americans were on food stamps in 2013. 
5) The almost 11 million Americans getting disability payments is now approaching the population of Cuba
6) Our nation lost its AAA credit rating because Obama is spending so much money. 
7) Not only was Cash for Clunkers a wasteful government program that cost $1.4 million for every job it created and did little to reduce carbon emissions,”destroying the “clunkers” helped dramatically jack up the cost of used cars for the rest of the country. 
8) After BP had a huge oil spill in the Gulf, Obama not only bungled the clean-up process, he slowed oil production from other companies that had done nothing wrong which led to higher oil prices. 
9) Obama has helped drive up the cost of gas by blocking the Keystone Pipeline. 
10) When he was running for office in 2008, Obama claimed that, “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” He lied. 
11) Through 2013, the Obama Administration had imposed new regulations on businesses that cost 46 billion dollars a year.
12) Taxpayers lost 25 billion dollars on Obama’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Chrysler isn’t even an American company any more. It’s now owned by an Italian company, Fiat. 
13) When he was running for office, Obama called Bush “unpatriotic” for adding so much to the debt and promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Yet, the national debt is up 7 trillion dollars since Obama became President. That’s more debt than all U.S. Presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton combined. 
14) Obama’s administration gave guns to Mexican cartels that were used to murder hundreds of Mexicans and border agent Brian Terry. The Obama Administration has refused to cooperate with the investigation or hold anyone accountable for that illegal behavior.
15) The NSA has spied on Americans under Obama.
16) Under Obama, the CIA spied on the Senate. 
17) Obama’s campaign contributors at Solyndra were handed 535 million dollars of taxpayer money that the Obama Administration knew they would never be able to pay back before they gave it to them.
18) The IRS targeted Obama’s political enemies including Christian groups, pro-Israel groups, and most prominently, Tea Party groups. The Obama Administration has refused to cooperate with the investigation or hold anyone accountable for the illegal behavior. 
19) Numerous donors to Mitt Romney were audited by the IRS after giving him large contributions.
20) When the EPA and IRS were asked to provide emails requested by Congress as part of an investigation into their illegal activities, they’ve claimed over and over again to have lost the information because of “hard drive crashes.” Given that it’s quite easy to back up a hard drive and that they’re required by law to retain that information, it seems likely that they’re habitually destroying evidence to hide their illegal activities. 
21) Veterans received poor health care and even died because of the incompetence and cover-ups of Obama’s VA. 
22) Even Barney Frank admits Barack Obama shamelessly lied to the American people to get Obamacare passed – and lie, he did. He promised that Americans could keep their insurance plans, that they could keep their doctors, and that Obamacare would save the average family $2500 per year. Not only were all of those lies, Obama knew they were lies when he made those promises.
23) Barack Obama has broken the law repeatedly by making at least 23 unilateral changes to Obamacare.
24) Obama has been illegally trying to force Christians to pay for abortifacients via Obamacare.
25) Obamacare has been a disaster that cost millions their insurance and sent health care costs spiraling into the stratosphere. 
26) Obama is taking 700 billion dollars out of Medicare to put into Obamacare. 
27) The website portion of Obamacare, healthcare.gov, was a non-functional disaster for months when it rolled out and Obama claimed he was completely unaware that there was anything wrong with it. 
28) Instead of calming people down, Obama helped to turn Americans against each other racially be inserting himself into the Trayvon Martin case. 
29) Obama created so much racial animosity by attacking the police when they had done nothing wrong in the Henry Louis Gates case that he had to have a ridiculous “beer summit” to try to undo the damage. 
30) The Department of Justice failed to pursue a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panthers because they were black and liberal. Former DOJ official J. Christian Adams quit over the case and “accused his former employer of instructing attorneys in the civil rights division to ignore cases that involve black defendants and white victims.”
31) George W. Bush quit playing golf in 2003 because he didn’t want the mother of some fallen soldier to see the Commander-in-Chief out playing golf. He also said he thought playing golf during a war sent the wrong signal to the American people. Through June of 2014, Obama was up to 177 rounds and is on pace to play twice as much in his second term as his first term.
32) Obama chose tax cheat Tim Geithner to be his Secretary of the Treasury and then has had the audacity to spend his whole presidency pushing for higher taxes. 
33) After promising to unite America when he was running for office in 2008, Obama has been the most hyper-partisan President in decades. 
34) Despite the fact that Barack Obama claimed to believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman when he was running for President in 2008, his Department of Justice asked states attorney general to refuse to defend their states’ bans on gay marriage in court. 
35) The Department of Justice has worked overtime to help increase voter fraud by fighting against voter ID. This is despite the fact that you need ID to buy alcohol, drive a car, fly on a plane or even to use Obamacare. 
36) He’s the reason why countless Americans have been groped, molested and harassed by the TSA, even though agents never caught a terrorist sticking their hand down anyone’s pants.
37) He’s responsible for the dumbing down of our education system with Common Core. 
38) We first landed on the moon in 1969, but because of Obama, we’re no longer even capable of going into space.
39) His servile bowing to other world leaders is embarrassing and un-American. 
40) Barack Obama engaged in an illegal war in Libya without the permission of Congress that helped turn that country into an unstable basket case run by radical Islamists. How bad is it? America, Libyans and the rest of the world were better off with Muammar Gaddafi in charge. That’s how bad it is. 
41) Radical Islamist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan “described himself as mujahedeen” and yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. The Obama Administration labeled that as "workplace violence" rather than admitting there was a terrorist attack on his watch.
42) He released 5 Taliban terrorists In exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
43) Americans died at Benghazi because Obama’s administration didn’t take their repeated requests for additional security seriously.
44) Russia annexed Crimea while Obama did nothing of consequence to discourage it from invading. That’s not a surprise for a President who is fond of throwing out “red lines” that don’t mean anything.
45) Obama’s premature pull-out in Iraq and foolish refusal to get a status of forces agreement in Iraq left the country vulnerable and led to the terrorists in ISIS taking over a large portion of that country.
46) Barack Obama unilaterally implemented the DREAM Act that Congress didn’t pass and illegally handed out work permits to illegal aliens. 
47) Obama is threatening to bypass Congress and simply “legalize” millions more of illegal immigrants even though it’s illegal and unconstitutional and it hurts the American people and will further encourage even more illegal aliens to surge across the border.
48) The fence on our southern border was supposed to be completed by 2009. The Obama Administration has made it clear that it doesn’t intend to finish it during his presidency.
49) Barack Obama is deliberately creating a crisis on the southern border by refusing to deport illegal aliens crossing into our country. 
50) For all practical purposes, Barack Obama has already unilaterally implemented amnesty in America because “at least 99.92% of illegal immigrants and visa overstays without known crimes on their records” aren’t being deported.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Obama, Muslim

Mike Gallagher, the 8th most recognized talk radio personality in the country, is heard by over 2.25 million listeners weekly. He compiled and wrote the following essay entitled, "Obama: It was You."
President Obama:
This is why you didn't go to France to show solidarity against the Muslim terrorists:
• It was you who spoke these words at an Islamic dinner: "I am one of you."
• It was you who on ABC News referenced "My Muslim faith ."
• It was you who gave $100 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to re-build foreign mosques.
• It was you who wrote that in the event of a conflict: "I will stand with the Muslims."
• It was you who assured the Egyptian Foreign Minister that: "I am a Muslim."
• It was you who bowed in submission before the Saudi King.
• It was you who sat for 20 years in a Liberation Theology Church condemning Christianity and professing Marxism.
• It was you who exempted Muslims from penalties under Obamacare that the rest of us have to pay.
• It was you who purposefully, and repeatedly, omitted "endowed by our Creator" from your recitation of The Declaration Of Independence.
• It was you who mocked the Bible and Jesus Christ's Sermon On The Mount while repeatedly referring to the 'HOLY' Qur'an.
• It was you who traveled the Islamic world denigrating the United States Of America.
• It was you who instantly threw the support of your administration behind the building of the Ground Zero Victory mosque overlooking the hallowed crater of the World Trade Center.
• It was you who refused to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, but hastened to host an Islamic prayer breakfast at the White House.
• It was you who ordered Georgetown University and Notre Dame to shroud all vestiges of Jesus Christ BEFORE you would agree to go there to speak, but in contrast, you have NEVER requested the mosques you have visited to adjust their decor.
• It was you who appointed anti-Christian fanatics to your Czar Corps.
• It was you who appointed rabid Islamists to Homeland Security.
• It was you who said that NASA's "foremost mission" was an outreach to Muslim communities.
• It was you who as an Illinois Senator was the ONLY individual who would speak in favor of infanticide.
• It was you who was the first President not to give a Christmas Greeting from the White House, and went so far as to hang photos of Chairman Mao on the White House Christmas tree.
• It was you who curtailed the military tribunals of all Islamic terrorists.
• It was you who refused to condemn the Ft. Hood killer as an Islamic terrorist.
• It is you who has refused to speak out concerning the horrific executions of women throughout the Muslim culture, but yet, have submitted Arizona to the UN for investigation of hypothetical human-rights abuses.
• It was you who when queried in India refused to acknowledge the true extent of radical global Jihadists, and instead profusely praised Islam in a country that is 82% Hindu and the victim of numerous Islamic terrorists assaults.
• It was you who funneled $900 Million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Hamas.
• It was you who ordered the US Postal Service to honor the MUSLIM holiday with a new commemorative stamp.
• It was you who directed our UK Embassy to conduct outreach to help "empower" the British Muslim community.
• It was you who funded mandatory Arabic language and culture studies in Grammar schools across our country.
• It is you who follows the Muslim custom of not wearing any form of jewelry during Ramadan.
• It is you who departs for Hawaii over the Christmas season so as to avoid past criticism for NOT participating in seasonal White House religious events.
• It was you who was uncharacteristically quick to join the chorus of the Muslim Brotherhood to depose Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, formerly America's strongest ally in North Africa, but remain muted in your non-response to the Brotherhood led slaughter of Egyptian Christians.
• It was you who appointed your chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett, an Iranian, who is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
• It was you who said this country is not a Christian nation.
If it walks like a duck.........
(Keep in mind that every influence that Obama has had in his life has been either Muslim or Marxist.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Endless Jihad: The Truth about Islam and Violence | Catholic Answers

Endless Jihad: The Truth about Islam and Violence | Catholic Answers
Endless Jihad: The Truth about Islam and Violence
It was once a word unfamiliar to American ears. But in recent years it has become all too familiar. The actions of Muslim militants and terrorists have seared the word into American consciousness.
Yet even with thousands of innocent civilians killed on American soil by Islamic terrorists, the full significance of the Muslim concept of jihad has not been g.asped by the American public.
In the days after September 11, 2001, American leaders rushed to portray Islam as a peaceful religion that had been "hijacked" by a fanatical band of terrorists. One hopes that these assurances were merely tactical—that nobody was meant to believe them and that they were meant to assure the Muslim world that the inevitable American reprisals were not directed at their religion as a whole. 
If the world Muslim community perceived America as attacking Islam in general then the duty of every Muslim to fight for his religion—the duty of jihad—would have been invoked on a broad scale. The war against terrorism, instead of simmering with occasional flare-ups, like the Cold War, would have boiled over into a global conflagration, with the Muslim countries of the world—1.2 billion strong—mobilizing against America and the West.
Muslim apologists also rushed forward to assure the public that Islam was a peaceful religion. They disingenuously declared that the word Islam means "peace." And they tried to portray the terrorists as a fringe group outside the mainstream of Islam.
These were lies.
The usual meaning of Islam in Arabic is not "peace" but "submission." And if the terrorists were so far outside the mainstream, why did Muslims all over the world burst into joyful, spontaneous celebrations when the hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Why are Islamic governments afraid to show "too much" public support for the war against terrorism? Further, why are all the governments that covertly support terrorism centered in the Muslim world?
The truth is that Islam is not a religion of peace. This is not to say that every Muslim is violent at heart. Many are not. Muslims have the same.aspirations for living peaceful lives that people have the world over. But they also have the same potential for violence as others, and Islam as a religion and an ideology seeks to exploit that potential. 
Though there are millions of Muslims who want peaceful relations with the West, millions who.aspire to live in free societies like America, there nevertheless remains a deep and powerful strain of violence within Islam, and it is important that Americans understand it.
They will have to face it in the future.
The Muslim Worldview

To understand the connection between Islam and violence, one must understand certain facets of the Muslim worldview. One of the most important is the fact that, according to the historic Muslim understanding, there is no separation between religion and government—what in Christianity would be called the separation of church and state. 
We are not speaking here of the secularist idea that the state should marginalize religion and discourage people from voting their consciences as Christians. We are talking about the idea that church and state are not the same thing and that they have different spheres of activity.
This idea of a separation between religion and government is not characteristic of most peoples in world history. It is a contribution to the world of ideas that was made by Christians—indeed, by Christ himself. In his book Islam and the West, historian Bernard Lewis explains:
"The notion that religion and political authority, church and state, are different and that they can or should be separated is, in a profound sense, Christian. Its origins may be traced to the teachings of Christ, notably in the famous passage in Matthew 22:21, in which Christ is quoted as saying: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ This notion was confirmed by the experience of the first Christians; its later development was shaped and in a sense even imposed by the subsequent history of Christendom. The persecutions endured by the early Church made it clear that a separation between the two was possible."
During much of Christian history church and state were united in that each Christian state had an official church, whether it was the Catholic Church or one of the Orthodox or Protestant churches. In many countries that is still the case. Nevertheless, the awareness remained that the two institutions were distinct and had different functions and different spheres of legitimate authority. They could in principle disagree and go their separate ways when necessary.
Most peoples in world history have not shared this understanding. In most societies, religion and government have been inseparably linked. This is true in Muslim society as well. Lewis explains:
"In pagan Rome, Caesar was God. Christians were taught to differentiate between what is due to Caesar and what is due to God. For Muslims of the classical age, God was Caesar, and the sovereign—caliph or sultan—was merely his viceregent on earth. This was more than a simple legal fiction. For Muslims the state was God’s state, the army God’s army, and, of course, the enemy was God’s enemy. Of more practical importance, the law was God’s law, and in principle there could be no other. The question of separating church and state did not arise, since there was no church, as an autonomous institution, to be separated. Church and state were one and the same."
This means that, in the historic Muslim understanding, Islamic society is or should be a theocracy—a society in which God himself is the monarch, reigning on earth through subordinates. 
In the earliest days of Islam, the subordinate was the prophet Mohammed, who founded Islam and conquered the Arabian Peninsula. Thereafter the subordinate was the caliphs and in the centuries after Mohammed’s death they expanded Muslim society by conquering peoples as far west as Spain and as far east as India. In the process, they absorbed half of Christian civilization. Eventually, the power of the caliphs waned, and new leaders—such as the Ottoman sultans—were the subordinates. Throughout it all, God himself was regarded as the ruler of Islamic civilization.
Islam as Ideology

That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of Muslims.
First, it means that Islam is not only a religion. It is also a political ideology. If the government of the Muslim community simply is God’s government, then no other governments can be legitimate. They are all at war with God. As a result, Muslims have typically divided the world into two spheres, known as the Dar al-Islam—the "house of Islam" or "house of submission" to God—and the Dar al-Harb, or "house of war"—those who are at war with God.
Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have a "manifest destiny." Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.
Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight. Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure—economic or military—that fall short of war. In history some groups have become Muslim in this way, either fearing Muslim conquest, desiring Muslim military aid against their own enemies, or.aspiring to good trade relations with the Muslim world. But many peoples would rather fight than switch. This has been particularly true of Christians, who have put up more resistance to the Muslim advance than have pagan and animistic tribes.
Because of the need to expand God’s dominion by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslims the duty to fight for God’s community. This duty is known as jihad (Arabic, "struggle, fight"). Although it is binding on all Muslims, it has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion. Only by continual jihad could the manifest destiny of Islam to bring the world into submission to God be fulfilled. 
As eminent French sociologist Jacques Ellul notes, "Jihad is a religious obligation. It forms part of the duties that the believer must fulfill; it is Islam’s normal path to expansion."
A fourth and final consequence of Islam’s view of itself as a theocracy is that in theory all Muslims should not only form one religious community but should be subject to one government as well—God’s government, a kind of Muslim superstate. Yet this has not happened. Muslims have been ruled by different governments since the early days of Islam.
Ideology Meets History

The fact that Muslims are not united under a single government is due to a variety of historical factors. As Muslim territory expanded the problems with the idea of uniting all Muslim peoples under a single government became all too obvious. Islam grew from a tribal base, and tribal societies are not known for stability. The factions and rivalries that are inherent in such societies manifested as Islam grew and made it difficult to keep Muslims under a single head. 
Another factor that kept a stable Muslim superstate from developing is the fact that—especially in a pre-technological world—local areas have to be governed locally. Large empires have had to cede large amounts of autonomy to local governments, and therein lay the seeds of their eventual dissolution. As local governments grew in power, they desired more and more autonomy, desiring eventually to throw off the yoke of their masters and to be truly independent. 
As a result, even in the classical period of Islam the Muslim community was divided politically, with rivalries between various parties—for example, between the Ottomans and the Persians, who maintained a tense and sometimes violent rivalry for centuries. The conflicts within the Muslim community helped slow its expansion and helped lead to stagnation and decay. 
A threat also was growing in the non-Muslim world. 
Europe for centuries had been terrified by the Muslim advance, with continual warfare on its borders to the west and to the east as Christians struggled at first to check the Muslim advance and later to reclaim their homelands. 
The fight was not easy for Europe and, for a long time, it did not go well. Lewis notes of medieval Christendom: "Split into squabbling, petty kingdoms, its churches divided by schism and heresy, with constant quarrels between the churches of Rome and the East, it was disputed between two emperors and for a while even two popes. After the loss of the Christian shores of the eastern and southern Mediterranean to the Muslim advance, Christendom seemed even more local, confided in effect to a small peninsula on the western edge of Asia which became—and was by this confinement defined as—Europe. For a time—indeed, for a very long time—it seemed that nothing could prevent the ultimate triumph of Islam and the extension of the Islamic faith and Muslim power to Europe."
As chronicler of Muslim expansion Paul Fregosi notes, "‘From the fury of the Mohammedan, spare us, O Lord’ was a prayer heard for centuries in all the churches of central and southern Europe. Fear of the jihad has not entirely vanished even now, particularly among peoples who have known Muslim domination." Muslims conducted raids to capture slaves as far west as England and Ireland. They attacked Iceland. And they plunged deep into Europe.
They captured Sicily and invaded the Italian mainland. "Naples, Genoa, Ravenna, Ostia, and even Rome itself were all for a time pillaged or occupied by the Saracens. Human beings became a cheap and abundant commodity. In Rome, in 846 . . . the Muslims even looted the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the pope had to buy off the invaders with the promised tribute of 25,000 silver coins a year. Pope Leo IV then ordered the construction of the Leonine Wall around the city to protect St. Peter’s from further assault." 
The threat continued for centuries, with Muslim forces laying siege in 1529 and 1683 to Vienna, the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the heart of Europe.
But as Islam stagnated, new doors opened to Europe, particularly through the discovery of the New World and the vast material resources it offered. As Europe grew economically, technologically, and militarily through its colonies and the rise of global trade, the balance of power shifted, and the Islamic world became vulnerable. 
Even before the discovery of the New World, Christians in both western and eastern Europe had begun to reclaim their conquered homelands from Muslim dominion, and the tremendous new resources that Europe had at its disposal as a result of the Age of Exploration only made things worse for Muslim.aspirations to world political supremacy. Their own governmental structures—particularly the Ottoman empire—began to lose power and disintegrate, with Europeans stepping in to take control as colonialization progressed. 
For three centuries the Muslim world lost ground, and by the first half of the twentieth century almost all of it had been reduced to being colonies or protectorates of European powers.
Lewis notes, "By 1920 it seemed that the triumph of Europe over Islam was total and final. The vast territories and countless millions of the Muslim peoples of Asia and Africa were firmly under the control of the European empires—some of them under a variety of native princes, most under direct colonial administration. Only a few remote mountain and desert areas, too poor and too difficult to be worth the trouble of acquiring, retained some measure of sovereign independence."
What was the Muslim reaction to this alarming sequence of developments?
Shock and Awe

In the seventeenth century it had begun to sink into Muslim consciousness that something was desperately wrong in the world. Though Muslim society had previously been more advanced economically and in some ways culturally than European society, it began to dawn on Muslim leaders that the barbarian infidels of Europe were catching up and in certain ways were ahead of Muslim society.
It is difficult for Westerners to realize just how crushing a realization this was, but it was devastating given Muslim self-perception. 
The triumphal advance of Islam seemed to confirm to Muslim minds that they were the chosen of God and that civilization itself was identical with Islam, with only ignorant barbarians and infidels outside its borders. 
In What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, Bernard Lewis notes that Christian Europe was seen "as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn and little even to be imported, except slaves and raw materials. For both the northern [European] and southern [African] barbarians, their best hope was to be incorporated into the empire of the caliphs, and thus attain the benefits of religion and civilization."
Shock and awe thus were the responses of Muslims as they saw their civilization collapsing and their former enemies—Christian Europeans—seizing control of their homelands. How could this happen? How could God’s people suffer such a reversal of fortune? How could their former might be so completely outclassed by the overwhelming economic and military might of Christendom, whose religion was their only serious rival for the role of a world faith?
Angry about the present and fearful of the future, Muslims began a process of introspection, explains Lewis.
"When things go wrong in a society, in a way and to a degree that can no longer be denied or concealed, there are various questions that one can ask. A common one, particularly in continental Europe yesterday and today in the Middle East, is: ‘Who did this to us?’ The answer to a question thus formulated is usually to place the blame on external or domestic scapegoats—foreigners abroad or minorities at home. The Ottomans, faced with the major crisis in their history, asked a different question: ‘What did we do wrong?’"
A debate followed, with various Muslims trying to analyze and propose remedies for the developing situation. "The basic fault, according to most of these memoranda, was falling away from the good old ways, Islamic and Ottoman; the basic remedy was a return to them. This diagnosis and prescription still command wide acceptance in the Middle East."
These twin explanations for the recent misfortune of Islam—that it was caused by a failure to observe Islam in its pure form and by the malicious meddling of foreigners (first Europeans and now Americans)—bode ill for tomorrow.
The Clash of Civilizations

European domination of the Muslim world was short-lived, ending in the 1960s with the close of the de-colonialization that followed World War II. Yet it had an enormous effect on the Muslim psyche. 
This effect was somewhat muffled by the Cold War and the tense balance of power between the Western and Soviet spheres. The new Muslim states—the borders of which had been largely and not always skillfully drawn by the withdrawing colonial powers—were too weak to be assertive and fell into the orbits of either of the United States or the Soviet Union. Nationalistic assertiveness was subsumed during the tense, global standoff.
But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, matters changed. At first, some hailed the event as "the end of history," but other, wiser observers pointed to new dangers in the world, including Islamic militancy. 
Samuel Huntington, director of Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, presciently warned that the end of the Cold War would lead to a period he referred to as "the clash of civilizations." A major flash point he envisioned in this conflict, unsurprisingly, was between Islam and the West. 
"After World War II, the West, in turn, began to retreat; the colonial empires disappeared; first Arab nationalism and then Islamic fundamentalism manifested themselves. . . . [The] centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam is unlikely to decline. It could become more virulent. The Gulf War left some Arabs feeling proud that Saddam Hussein had attacked Israel and stood up to the West. It also left many feeling humiliated and resentful of the West’s military presence in the Persian Gulf, the West’s overwhelming military dominance, and their apparent inability to shape their own destiny." 
Huntington noted a common consensus that an inevitable clash between Islam and the West, a clash initiated by the former, was soon to come: "On both sides the interaction between Islam and the West is seen as a clash of civilizations. The West’s ‘next confrontation,’ observes M. J. Akbar, an Indian Muslim author, ‘is definitely going to come from the Muslim world. It is in the sweep of the Islamic nations from the Maghreb to Pakistan that the struggle for a new world order will begin.’" 
That confrontation came with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the inauguration of the war against terrorism.
What did the terrorists hope for?
They hoped for a conflict with the West that would end the long, dark winter that Islam has experienced. They hoped that the fortunes of their religion and civilization would be reversed. They hoped for a war that would smash the might of the West and allow a wave Islamic revolutions to sweep away the worldly tyrants ruling Muslim nations. They hoped for a return to purer, stricter Islam, free of Western corruption and values. They hoped that the blessings of God would descend upon their civilization, allowing it to return to its rightful place at the head of nations, with a resurgence of Muslim nationalism that would give birth to the Islamic superstate that long had eluded them.
And they hoped for a new wave of expansion that would allow Islam to establish its destiny of bringing the entire world under Muslim control. In the famous al-Qaeda "dinner conversation" found on videotape in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden expressed the view that the war he initiated would lead to a wave of Muslim expansion not seen since the religion’s first century, when it consumed half of Christian civilization.
These dreams of a renewed, purified Islam, of the overthrow of existing Muslim governments, of a triumphant smashing of the West, and of expansion through a newjihad are far from confined to bin Laden and his terrorists. They are the dreams that inspire the seething rage of "the Arab street," which so often breaks forth into violent demonstrations at political events beyond its control.
Taming the Dragon?

Within the Muslim world, government officials have been trying to cling to power in the face of rising anger on their streets. Trying to buy time, they have funded radical Islamic schools, media establishments, and even the terrorists themselves, hoping to direct and diffuse ineffectual Muslim rage toward the West as a scapegoat. 
The West has responded with the war against terrorism, which Muslim governments would like to see succeed in ridding their society of its most radical elements, which seek their overthrow. Yet they hesitate to support the war too much lest they hasten their own demise through coup d’ etats.
Some in the West have suggested trying to cure the economic roots of the dissatisfaction and despair in Muslim society that contribute to radicalism and terrorism. The problem is not lack of wealth. Many Muslim countries are oil-rich and have had money in abundance for decades, yet the elites have refused to pursue policies leading to greater economic prosperity for their populaces. Instead, they have enriched themselves and shut their own people out of economic development.
Many in the West have proposed trying to spread freedom and democracy in the Muslim world, thinking that greater political involvement and opportunity would help dry up the roots of terrorism. 
While democracies generally have done better helping secure economic development for their populations, it is unclear how freedom and democracy could be brought to the Muslim world. It would mean effective regime change in the countries in question, and it is unlikely that many countries would change their own regimes voluntarily, though some might be pressured into making reforms in this direction. To introduce any form of truly representative government in many countries would require armed intervention, as it did in Afghanistan.
There is then the question of how democracy could be sustained in the Muslim world. Muslims have no historical experience of Western freedom and democracy. Middle Eastern society is still largely dominated by tribalism, which has a tendency to subvert the democratic process, with one tribe coming into power and then brutally suppressing its rivals. 
The only halfway democratic Muslim country is Turkey, which actually is a country where the military holds power but does not govern. It allows political parties to vie for and exercise governance within Turkey, but only on condition that they do not transgress limits set by the military.
If genuine democracy were achievable, what would the results be? Given the current state of the Arab street, the results would not be pretty. In his analysis, Samuel Huntington argued: 
"Many Arab countries, in addition to the oil exporters, are reaching levels of economic and social development where autocratic forms of government become inappropriate and efforts to introduce democracy become stronger. Some openings in Arab political systems have already occurred. The principal beneficiaries of these openings have been Islamist movements. In the Arab world, in short, Western democracy strengthens anti-Western political forces."
The introduction of freedom and democracy to the Muslim world is thus fraught with problems and, in any event, is not a solution to problems in the short term.
One thing that can be done in the short term—as illustrated by the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq—is the use of military force. Could this help? It certainly has dealt a tremendous blow to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, even though that organization is not yet out of business. 
Some have argued that the use of military force will inflame Muslim hatreds and produce a new crop of terrorists. Undoubtedly some Muslims will become terrorists on the pretext that the West has used force. But then some Muslims would become terrorists if the West didn’t use force. Indeed, to a significant degree the al-Qaeda terrorists of September 11 were the product of the view that the United States was a faltering, weak superpower that could be defeated just as the Soviet Union had been humiliated in Afghanistan. 
Muslims respect strength. They cheer whoever displays it. Regardless of how many times their towns change hands during an armed conflict, the populace will turn out to cheer their newest liberators, whether they are genuinely on a mission of liberation or not.
Due to its effectiveness in dealing at least temporarily with problems in the Muslim world, the use of military force in finding a long-term solution is likely to be essential. It certainly must be wielded with discretion and in keeping with the Church’s just war doctrine, but its use is likely unavoidable. It also is certainly not sufficient. Military force will have to be used in conjunction with other initiatives, including diplomatic and economic ones.
But is a solution achievable? 
Paradise and Power

Can the historic connection between Islam and violence be broken?
Some would argue that it can. After all, our own forebears in Christendom were more violent than we are. Europe was riven by conflict between petty kingdoms for centuries, but eventually a society developed from it that is stable and not at constant war with either itself or its neighbors. Perhaps Muslim society could be led or forced down the same path.
Perhaps. But the proposition is not quick, easy, or certain. 
The development of a stable Europe took centuries of bloody conflict that finally wore out the resolve of Europeans to keep killing each other and prompted them to try a different path. This was not achieved until, in the first half of the twentieth century, Europe underwent two massive convulsions of violence, the First and Second World Wars. Key to both of these was the intervention of the United States, which at the end of the Second World War pacified Europe and refused to let its states continue to pursue their bitter, historic rivalries in ways that could destabilize Europe and lead to another war.
Post-war Europe also was united by an outside threat: Soviet Communism, which dominated Eastern Europe. It was the continued presence of U.S. forces in Western Europe during the Cold War that helped protect it from Soviet invasion while new, more healthy political and economic ties were developing between its states as they sought to form a united front against the Soviet threat. 
The sequence of events that led to the current state of affairs in Europe is unique and may not be repeatable. Trying to force the Muslim world down the same path is an uncertain proposition, and, even if it could succeed, it might well require the same dramatic military interventions and conflicts as the pacification of Europe. It might require world wars and cold wars.
And then there is a factor that makes the pacification of Islam less likely than the pacification of Europe.
The Roots of Muslim Violence

It is simplistic to characterize any of the major religions as being strictly "of violence" or "of peace." As Solomon pointed out, "For everything there is a season; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time for war, and a time for peace" (Eccles. 3:1, 3, 8). That’s the way life works in a fallen world, and every religion capable of serving as the basis of a culture has recognized both the need for peace and the need for the use of force in certain circumstances. 
Sects that are totally pacifistic have to rely on the good graces of others who are willing to use force to protect them, while sects that are totally given over to violence do not survive long since they kill themselves off or are broken up by their neighbors as a matter of self-protection. For a religion to serve as the basis of a culture, it must seek to preserve peace but also be willing to use force. All major religions tend toward this mean.
Yet some religions are far more prone to violence than others. Among the major religions, Islam is by far the most violent. This may be seen by comparing it to the religions most closely related to it, Judaism and Christianity.
Though belief in the true God goes back to the dawn of mankind, Judaism in its traditional form was founded by Moses, who, if evaluated politically, could be considered a warlord, leading the tribes of Israel toward the Promised Land and the conquest that would follow. The Old Testament contains numerous commands to use violence to protect and promote the nation of Israel. This potential for violence is reigned in, though, by the fact that Judaism is a religion for just one ethnic group confined to one territory. 
Christianity, by contrast, is a universal religion, meant for all peoples in all countries. It has much greater breadth, and much lower intrinsic potential for violence. Its founder—Christ—was a martyr, who refused to fight to save his life. Though the New Testament acknowledges that the Old Testament revelation is from God, it does not contain new commands to use violence, as Christianity was not to be allied from its birth to a state in the way Judaism was. 
The fact that in Christianity church and state are distinct means that as a religion Christianity has less potential for violence since it is not called upon to use force in the way a state is. This, coupled with Jesus’ own example and his "love thy enemy" teachings (e.g., Matt. 5:44), gives Christianity less innate potential for violence.
In contrast, Islam’s founder was a warlord who rose from nowhere and who by his death was the undisputed master of Arabia Peninsula. The holy book he produced is filled with commands to use violence in the service of its religion and nation. This potential for violence is similar to that possessed by Judaism except it is immensely augmented by the fact that Islam views itself, like Christianity, as a universal religion meant for all peoples in all countries. It also makes no distinction between church and state and is thus a political as well as religious ideology. 
As a result, Islam has been willing to employ violence on a massive scale, as illustrated by the first century of its existence, when the Islamic Empire exploded outward and conquered much of the known world.
The attitude of Islam toward using violence against non-Muslims is clear. Regarding pagans, the Quran says, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful" (Surah 9:5). This amounts to giving pagans a convert-or-die choice.
Regarding violence against Jews and Christians, the Quran says, "Fight against those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe in neither God nor the last day, who do not forbid what God and his messenger have forbidden, and who do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued" (Surah 9:29). In other words, violence is to be used against Jews and Christians unless they are willing to pay a special tax and live in subjection to Muslims as second-class citizens. For them the choice is convert, die, or live in subjection.
The Quran also has stern words for Muslims who would be slow and reluctant to attack unbelievers: "Believers, why is it that when you are told: ‘March in the cause of God,’ you linger slothfully in the land? Are you content with this life in preference to the life to come? . . . If you do not go to war, he [God] will punish you sternly, and will replace you by other men" (Surah 9:38-39).
And, of course, there is the promise of reward in the afterlife for waging jihad in this one: "Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in God and his messenger, and fight for God’s cause with your wealth and with your persons. . . . He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; he will lodge you in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. This is the supreme triumph" (Surah 61:10-12).
It must be pointed out that there are people of peace and people of violence in all religions. There are violent Christians. There are peace-loving Muslims. Changing historical circumstances do much to bring out tendencies toward violence and peace among the followers of different religions. Yet, even when these qualifications are made, it is clear that Islam as a religion and an ideology has by far the greatest tendency to violence.
There are, indeed, many Muslims who desire peace, but, their views often do not count for much in Muslim society. Author Serge Trifkovic notes: "Some critics may object that this account of Islam in the modern world does not pay much attention to Islamic moderation, to the everyday wish of everyday Muslims for a quiet life. This is not because such moderates are rare, but because they are rarely important. Religions, like political ideologies, are pushed along by money, power, and tiny vocal minorities. Within Islam, the money and the power are all pushing the wrong way. So are the most active minorities. The urgent need is to recognize this. Our problem is not prejudice about Islam, but folly in the face of its violence and cruelty. And in any case, the willingness of moderates to be what are objectively bad Muslims, because they reject key teachings of historical Islam, may be laudable in human terms but does nothing to modify Islam as a doctrine." 
The prospect of modifying Islam’s doctrine regarding violence is problematic. Although some Muslims in history have tried to "spiritualize" the Quran’s declarations regarding violence, there is always a countervailing fundamentalist push to return to the sources of Islam and take them literally. 
Indeed, this reaction is what characterizes the Wahhabite movement that dominates Saudia Arabia and inspired Osama bin Laden’s ideology. Philosopher Roger Scruton notes that in the Wahhabite view, "whoever can read the Quran can judge for himself in matters of doctrine." 
This attitude, which is tantamount to an Islamic version of sola scriptura, is likely to prove as durable in Muslim circles as it has been in Protestant Fundamentalist circles. As long as that is the case, there will be fresh waves of Muslim "martyrs" willing to take the Quran’s statements on killing literally, apply them to today, and then hurl themselves into combat with whomever they perceive as "the Great Satan."

We have seen the roots of Islamic violence in the life and teachings of Mohammed. We have seen that world events have conspired to place Islam and Christianity in a conflict of civilizations that has stretched from the sixth to the twenty-first century.
What the future holds is unknown. What is known is that Islamic civilization has a strong tendency to violence that stretches back to the days of Mohammed and that has begun to flare up in resurgent terrorist and revolutionary movements. 
The conflict with militant Islam may last a long time—centuries, potentially—since even if curing Muslim society of its violent tendencies is possible, it would involve ripping out or otherwise neutralizing a tendency that has dominated Muslim culture since the days of its founder.
This is not an easy task, for Muslims willing to make the change would be portrayed as traitors to their religion, amid renewed calls to practice Islam in its original, pure, and more violent form in order to regain the favor of God. The signs of the times suggest that we are, indeed, in for a "clash of civilizations" that will be neither brief nor bloodless.
But what also is known is that God has a plan for history and that his grace can work miracles. It is yet possible that—through one means or another—God will bring about a more peaceful world in which militant Islam either is not a threat or nowhere near the threat that it is today.

If this is to happen, our cooperation with God’s grace will require prayer, courage, resourcefulness, and a realistic understanding of the threat we are facing. Until then there can be no illusions about Islam and its endless jihad.