Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Assumption of Mary


Addressing a jubilant crowd of more than 500,000 people packed into St. Peter's Square, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined in Munificentissimus Deus on Nov. 1, 1950, that the "Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." Although the solemn definition may have been at the midpoint of the 20th century, the belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother exemplifies the dynamism of revelation and the Church's ongoing understanding of it as guided by the Holy Spirit.
Granted, the word Assumption does not appear in Sacred Scripture. For this reason many fundamentalists who literally interpret the Bible would have a difficulty with this belief. Nevertheless, we must first pause and reflect on the role of our Blessed Mother in the mystery of salvation, for this provides the foundation for the belief in the Assumption.
We firmly believe that from the first moment of her conception Mary was free of all sin, including Original Sin, by a special favor of almighty God. The Archangel Gabriel recognized her as "full of grace," "blessed among women" and "one with the Lord." Mary had been chosen to be the Mother of our savior. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she conceived our Lord Jesus Christ, and through her, true God became also man, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."  During her lifetime, although the Gospel citations are limited, Mary always presented our Lord to others: to Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist, who leapt for joy in the womb at the presence of the Lord still in his own mother's womb; to the simple shepherds as well as the wise Magi; and to the people at Cana, when our Lord acquiesced to His mother's wish and performed the first miracle.
Moreover, Mary stood at the foot of the cross with her Son, supporting Him and sharing in His suffering through her love as only a mother could do. Finally, she was with the Apostles at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born. Therefore, each of us can step back and see Mary as the faithful servant of God who shared intimately in the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord.  For these reasons we believe that the promises our Lord has given to each of us of sharing eternal life, including a resurrection of the body, were fulfilled in Mary. Since Mary was free of Original Sin and its effects (one of which is corruption of the body at death), since she shared intimately in the life of the Lord and in His passion, death and resurrection, and since she was present at Pentecost, this model disciple appropriately shared in the bodily resurrection and glorification of the Lord at the end of her life. (Note that the solemn definition does not specify whether Mary physically died before being assumed or just was assumed; it simply states, "Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life...")
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, also quoting the Byzantine Liturgy, states, "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: 'In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition (falling asleep) you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death'" (No. 966).  The belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church. We must remember that the early Church was preoccupied with resolving questions about Christ, particularly His incarnation and the hypostatic union (His divine and human natures). However, in addressing these questions, the Church gradually defined the titles of Mary as Mother of God and as New Eve, and the belief of the Immaculate Conception, all of which form the basis for the Assumption.
In Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII cited various Church Fathers to trace the longstanding tradition of the belief of the Assumption--St. John Damascene, St. Andrew of Crete, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Tours, to name a few. Bishop Theoteknos of Livias (c. 550- 650) delivered one of the most comprehensive early sermons concerning the Assumption: "For Christ took His immaculate flesh from the immaculate flesh of Mary, and if He had prepared a place in heaven for the Apostles, how much more for His mother; if Enoch had been translated and Elijah had gone to heaven, how much more Mary, who like the moon in the midst of the stars shines forth and excels among the prophets and Apostles? For even though her God-bearing body tasted death, it did not undergo corruption, but was preserved incorrupt and undefiled and taken up into heaven with its pure and spotless soul."
St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: "St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven." In all, the Patristic Fathers defended the Assumption on two counts: Since Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin, she could not suffer bodily deterioration, the result of Original Sin, after her death. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification.
The Byzantine Emperor Mauritius (582-602) established the celebration of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 for the Eastern Church. (Some historians speculate that the celebration was already widespread before the Council of Ephesus in 431). By the end of the 6th century, the West likewise celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. While the Church first emphasized the death of Mary, gradual shifts in both title and content occurred so that by the end of the 8th century, the Gregorian Sacramentary had prayers for Assumption Day.  The Feast of the Assumption gives each of us great hope as we contemplate this one facet of the beautiful woman of faith, our Blessed Mother. Mary moves us by example and prayer to grow in God's grace, to be receptive to His will, to convert our lives through sacrifice and penance, and seek that everlasting union in the heavenly Kingdom.
In 1973, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their letter Behold Your Mother," stated, "Christ has risen from the dead, we need no further assurance of our faith. Mary assumed into heaven serves rather as a gracious reminder to the Church that our Lord wishes all whom the Father has given Him to be raised with Him. In Mary taken to glory, to union with Christ, the Church sees herself answering the invitation of the heavenly Bridegroom."

By Fr. Saunders who is pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish and president of Notre Dame Institute, both in Alexandria. (Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved.)

Mary Ever Virgin


Most Protestants claim that Mary bore children other than Jesus. To support their claim, these Protestants refer to the biblical passages which mention the "brethren of the Lord." As explained in the Catholic Answers tract Brethren of the Lord, neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of Scripture and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.1
An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many. According to the world-renowned patristic scholar, Johannes Quasten, "The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ" (Patrology, 1:120–1).
To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.
However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated "virgin of the Lord," to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).
According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term "brethren." The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as "brethren." The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.
Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of "the brethren of the Lord." And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants.

The Protoevangelium of James - "And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by [St. Anne], saying, ‘Anne! Anne! The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.’ And Anne said, ‘As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God, and it shall minister to him in the holy things all the days of its life.’ . . . And [from the time she was three] Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there" (Protoevangelium of James 4, 7 [A.D. 120]).
"And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of priests, saying, ‘Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord?’ And they said to the high priest, ‘You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in and pray concerning her, and whatever the Lord shall manifest to you, that also will we do.’ . . . [And] he prayed concerning her, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him saying, ‘Zechariah! Zechariah! Go out and assemble the widowers of the people and let them bring each his rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. . . . And Joseph [was chosen]. . . . And the priest said to Joseph, ‘You have been chosen by lot to take into your keeping the Virgin of the Lord.’ But Joseph refused, saying, ‘I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl’" (ibid, 8–9).
"And Annas the scribe came to him [Joseph] . . . and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest and said to him, ‘Joseph, whom you did vouch for, has committed a grievous crime.’ And the priest said, ‘How so?’ And he said, ‘He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord and has married her by stealth’" (ibid, 15).
"And the priest said, ‘Mary, why have you done this? And why have you brought your soul low and forgotten the Lord your God?’ . . . And she wept bitterly saying, ‘As the Lord my God lives, I am pure before him, and know not man’" (ibid.).


NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.  Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

I'm a Senior Citizen

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others. HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:
• The melody out of music
• The pride out of appearance
• The courtesy out of driving
• The romance out of love
• The commitment out of marriage
• The responsibility out of parenthood
• The togetherness out of the family
• The learning out of education
• The service out of patriotism
• The Golden Rule from rulers
• The nativity scene out of cities
• The civility out of behavior
• The refinement out of language
• The dedication out of employment
• The prudence out of spending
• The ambition out of achievement
• God out of government and school
       And we certainly are not the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!
      We do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts! Yes, I’m a senior citizen:
• I'm the life of the party..... even if it lasts until 8 p.m.
• I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer.
• I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.
• I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying.
• I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere.
• I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg.
• I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
      Yes, I'm a Senior Citizen and I think I am having the time of my life!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July

WASHINGTON — For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer. Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down. The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem.1 After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet. Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems. Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers. "We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because ... if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service," said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. "The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get 'page not found' and think the Internet is broken." On the night of the arrests, the agency brought in Paul Vixie, chairman and founder of Internet Systems Consortium, to install two Internet servers to take the place of the truckload of impounded rogue servers that infected computers were using. Federal officials planned to keep their servers online until March, giving everyone opportunity to clean their computers. But it wasn't enough time. A federal judge in New York extended the deadline until July. Now, said Grasso, "the full court press is on to get people to address this problem." And it's up to computer users to check their PCs. This is what happened: Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system. The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address -- such as www.ap.org_ into the numerical addresses that computers use. Victim computers were reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers. This allowed the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website. The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing. When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie's clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000. The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico. Vixie said most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers. FBI officials said they organized an unusual system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. And while this is the first time the FBI used it, it won't be the last. "This is the future of what we will be doing," said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI's Cyber Division. "Until there is a change in legal system, both inside and outside the United States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations." Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, "we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system" without creating a bigger mess than before. By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press 1 Related Links: Checking for DNS Changer on Windows XP: http://www.dcwg.org/detect/checking-for-dns-changer-on-windows-xp/ Checking Windows 7 for Infections http://www.dcwg.org/detect/checking-windows-7-for-infections/ Checking OSX (MAC) for Infections http://www.dcwg.org/detect/checking-osx-for-infections/

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reflections on the Franciscan Life Style

I am discovering that my imagination is being colored by dangerous and rapidly deteriorating passions; natural passions becoming unnatural. I have defiled my current earth and notion of heaven, so I really need a new heaven and a new earth. My faith needs to evolve from theory to a love-affair. This love for God and my fellow-man flows out of this love-affair. Politeness, good manners and never refusing to help the poor is the expression of this love-affair flowing out of me.
In order to recover my natural passions I place them in the light of supernatural pleasure. I focus on God’s supernatural light in order that it is more perfectly united to the natural. By imitating Christ, I see myself as servant and secondary figure, where humiliation is transformed into holiness and happiness. I learn to expect nothing, and start enjoying everything. As this joy increases, so does my faith: I see everything as coming from and passing through God’s love.
I am also compelled to forgo possessions lest I need weapons and laws to defend them, and so embrace this form of poverty. By embracing this poverty I build up the positive and creative monuments of peace. When evil attacks me with its forbidden good, I respond with love rather than lust. This new-found love invites everyone I meet to take a spiritual journey with me; swayed by my persuasion and disarmed by my generosity. The Holy Spirit graces my love in terms of sacrifice and crucifixion. He also draws me closer to the crucified Christ Who makes me more cheerful and humane as the manifestation of His supernatural power is released in me. I become a giver, centered in thanksgiving.
During this conversion God illustrates and illuminates all things. I stop fearing them as I wonder at them, and their significance. I behold the beginningless beginnings in which there is nothing else; and see everything as separate and sacred. This in turn allows me to become nomadic rather than stationary; to go anywhere among any kind of men, so long as there is nothing they can cling to. I remain obedient but not dependent. I am free as the wind in relation to the world around me. I embrace the emphatic attitude for action, and a spirit of swiftness as I step out into these uncharted seas of charity; treating everyone with unaffected gaiety and fellowship.
So I am:
• Turning my passions into the gestures of politeness and hospitality.
• Becoming a mystic, believing in mysticism and not in mystification.
• Refusing to be deceived by the illusion of mass-suggestion.
• Seeing the image of God multiplied but never monotonous.
• Revering my neighbor as valuable and taking him/her seriously.
• Bringing amnesty and reconciliation to the whole world.
• Satisfied with my debt and dependence on the crucified Christ.
• Infusing my thoughts with thanksgiving as I see everything as gift.
• Living in the home of the Trinity.

St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton (1923). The only change my reflections made is in the style of the book: I personalized them instead of leaving them in the second and third person plural (we, us, they and them).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Conversation In Heaven

SYLVIA: Hi. Wanda.
WANDA: Hi, Sylvia. How'd you die?
SYLVIA: I froze to death.
WANDA: How horrible!
SYLVIA: It wasn't so bad. After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm & sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death. What about you?
WANDA: I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early to catch him in the act. But instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV.
SYLVIA: So, what happened?
WANDA: I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running all over the house looking. I ran up into the attic and searched, and down into the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds. I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally
I became so exhausted that I just keeled over with a heart attack and died.
SYLVIA: Too bad you didn't look in the freezer ---we'd both still be alive.

How Is Norma?

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph 's Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?" The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?" The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302." The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."
After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow.." The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news." The operator replied, you’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?" The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me a thing."

Forrest Gump Goes To Heaven

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed, and the gatekeeper approaches. St. Peter said, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven.' Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope that the test isn’t too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.'
St. Peter continued, 'Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions.
First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?
Third: What is God's first name?'
Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, 'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.' Forrest replied, 'Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begins with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be today and tomorrow.’ The Saint's eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?' asked St. Peter. 'How many seconds in a year? Now that one is harder,' replied Forrest, 'but I thought and thought about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.' Astounded, St. Peter said, 'Twelve? Twelve? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?' Forrest replied, 'Shucks, there's got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd... ' 'Hold it,' interrupts St. Peter. 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind....but I will have to give you credit for that one, too.
Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'? 'Sure,' Forrest replied, 'it's Andy.' 'Andy?' exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. 'Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?' 'Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replied. 'I learnt it from the song, Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own.'
St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: 'Run, Forrest, run.' Lord, give me a sense of humor. Give me the ability to appreciate a clean joke, to get some humor out of life.

Choices - Heaven Or Hell

While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator (that may be redundant) was tragically hit by a car and died. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you." "No problem, just let me in," says the Senator. "Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity." "Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator. "I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy, who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven...” So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. "Well, then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity." The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell." So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell...
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground. The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders. "I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?" The Devil smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning.” Today, you voted."