Monday, September 3, 2007

Steve & Janet Ray Pilgrimage – Day Three

by Steve Ray on September 3, 2007

To see the whole pilgrimage with all the videos click here 
Visit > The Pilgrimages > Virtual Pilgrimages > September 2007 Holy Land & Egypt Pilgrimage

Day three began with breakfast at Pilgerhaus. We boarded the bus and headed a few minutes along the shore to Tabgha — which is short for longer Greek word meaning "Seven Springs." That is why the fish gravitate toward the northwest corner of the sea because of the warm water in the winter months. Tabgha is where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. There are ancient evidences of Jewish Christians gathering here as early as 34 AD. The mosaic of the loaves and fish is from the 4-6th century.

Then we drove up the large hill (or small mountain, as you prefer) for Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount looking out over the Sea. Fr. Bernie Fraser celebrated a wonderful Mass and again gave a very appropriate and insightful homily. It was here on the mountainside that Jesus showed himself to be the "New Moses" as he climbed the mountain sat and taught the people the New Law. Pilgrims always love this place because of its serenity as we walk through the beautiful gardens.

Our bus then took the 1 hour drive to the furthest tip of northern Israel. As we drove the last few miles we were driving along the Lebanese border to Banias. No one was worried or scared in the least as everything here is quiet, peaceful and friendly. You will hear this from the pilgrims' own mouths. Banias was called Caesarea Philippi in the time of Christ. You can read about Jesus journey and words here in Matthew 16. It is where Peter received his name when Jesus said, "You are Peter (Rock) and on this rock I will build my church." The site is stunning and no one left unmoved. I gave my 20 minute version of my talk "Peter, the Rock, the Keys & the Chair" which is also available in a longer version on my audio CD. Everyone was very touched at this site and happy to be Catholic.

Next we drove through the Golan Heights along the border with Syria. Everyone got out of the bus and looked out toward Damascus which was only about one hour to the NE. We ate falafels and Druze Bread at a local Druze restaurant–way out of the way, a real authentic place. Everyone loved the unique food made of flat bread, yogurt, olive oil, and Zatar.

Next was Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned water into wine. All the married couples held hands and renewed their wedding vows. You will see part of this moving ceremony on the video. Always a time of tears and joy.

After an hour to shower and rest up, we crammed the bus with all 55 of us and we went north to dinner at Aberge Shulamit. It is Janet and my favorite restaurant in Israel.

Everyone is having a great time. The food is wonderful, deep friendships are being formed, and the Lord Jesus is making himself wonderfully known in the LAND, in the LITURGY, and in our LIVES. Tomorrow we will spend more time around the Sea, take a boat ride on Galilee, eat St. Peter's Fish, celebrate Mass at Capernaum in Peter's house (where Jesus lived and did most of his miracles). Finally we will head south and go up to Jerusalem and end the day at Ein Kerem and the Church of the Visitation. Pray for us and we will pray for you.


Can Gays Go Straight?

by Steve Ray on September 3, 2007

Former gay leader goes straight and leaves helm of magazine he founded

Washington DC, Jul 6, 2007 / 11:03 am ( A young and prominent gay rights activist has abandoned his homosexual lifestyle and written about it in a column this week for World Net Daily.“In my experience, ‘coming out’ from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life,” writes Michael Glatze.GayManStraight.jpg

In his column, Glatze tells of the success he had as the founder of Young Gay America and editor of YGA Magazine. He received the National Role Model Award from Equality Forum, produced the first major documentary film to tackle gay teen suicide, and made several media appearances — including being featured in a cover story of Time magazine.

He was also invited as a panelist at the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Business in 2005. It was after this event, however, that he began to have serious doubts about what he was doing with his life and his influence. “Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God,” he writes. “I'd developed a growing relationship with God … Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption.”

He said it became clear to him that “homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within.” At this point, Glatze was 30, and had been living with a homosexual identity for 16 years.He came to realize that homosexuality is pornographic; “[it] destroys impressionable [young] minds and confuses their developing sexuality.”“Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak,” he writes.  He explained that he noticed his attraction to men a year after his father died.  “At an early age, I was already confused about who I was and how I felt about others,” he writes. “My confusion about ‘desire’ and the fact that I noticed I was ‘attracted’ to guys made me put myself into the ‘gay’ category at age 14.” He came out as gay at age 20, a year after his mother died.

Glatze is frank in saying that homosexuality is “lust and pornography wrapped into one.” He recounts how he has had to learn to deal with lust and to grow in love for himself. He said his homosexuality ended “once I ‘cut myself off’ from outside influences and intensely focused on inner truth – when I discovered the depths of my God-given self at age 30.”He reflects on his relationship with God through this period of growth and change: “God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.” Galtze says he believes “all people, intrinsically, know the truth.

I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much. It reminds them of their conscience, which we all possess.”“Sexual truth can be found, provided we're all willing and driven to accept that our culture sanctions behaviors that harm life,” he states.