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Showing posts from December, 2014

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God-New Years Day

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For Catholics, today is a Feast Day and holy day of obligation to honor Mary the Mother of God:  who is the first example of courage.  Today is also the 8th day of Christmas in The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Legend has it the song was a lesson for Catholic persecuted in protestant England.  The eight Maids a milking are a sign for the eight beatitudes.  Today would be a good day to reflect on them.
On my 2006 visit to Israel my wife and I visited and had Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes.  I remember our Priests were a little miffed with the little sister who worked there.  She was upset with us because it was a warm day and some in our group had taken off their sweaters and their arms were exposed. She was focused on the rules, as Christ pointed out to the Pharisees who were focused on the outside of the cup being clean rather than the inside being clean.  Similarly the beatitudes of our Lord seek to not do away with the rules (10 commandments) but points at our inner dispositions. …

December 31, 2014

Psalm, Chapter 147, verse 10-11: 10 He takes no delight in the strength of horses, no pleasure in the runner’s stride.11 Rather the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his mercy.
This verse actually means that person full of hubris and pride of life has a hard time acknowledging their dependence upon God.  They may feel they have strength and speed however those who have Holy fear God delights in.

December 30, 2014

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Psalm, Chapter 145, verse 19:
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
I would like to focus on the word desire in the above verse.  I like to hike and pray.  One day I was hiking in the Fay Canyon area of Sedona, Arizona and I was reflecting on the seven deadly sins and the opposing virtues of our Lord sermon on the mount.  As I was hiking and musing over the words that are associated with the deadly sin of lust: such words as long for, hanker for, hunger for, yearn, crave, and desire.   In my mind I repeated desire, desire, desire and I asked our Lord what do you want me to desire?  As I asked that question I looked up at the canyon and spied a rock formation in the shape of a chalice.  Yes Lord, I exclaimed.  I shall desire to receive you in the Holy Mass.
Today would be a good day to rest in the Lord and go to Mass and receive His body and blood.  As we receive realize that He has heard our cry’s and has saved us.  Such is the love of our God…

December 29, 2014

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Psalm, Chapter 135, verse 20: 20 House of Levi, bless the LORD! You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
This psalm begins and ends with a Hallelujah.  In it we see that those who love and have holy fear have it in their heart to praise God.  It would be a good practice to make a prayer of praise to our God when we get up and when we go to bed.
This is the prayer of praise as a pious Jew that Jesus said every morning: 
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord you God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind, and with all your strength.
For the evening prayer might I suggest to sit quietly before bed reflecting on Psalm 40:11 “Be still and know I am God.”  Offer to our Lord your good works, and your failings, and praise Him for the graces He has given in regards to your concerns.

Today is the Feast of St. Thomas Becket and it is also the 4th day of Christmas the Four Calling Birds represent the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke an…

Feasts of the Holy Innocents and the Holy Family

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Psalms, Chapter 128, verse 1: 9 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and who walk in his ways.
Those who fear the Lord work to not react to their feelings but act from the principle of God’s unconditional love to empower others even at personal cost.  They practice the three cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  The act of blessing works both ways and bless’ all; both those who receive and those who give.
Today is traditionally the third day of Christmas and the Three French Hens from the song The 12 days of Christmas represent the three cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  Let us talk to the Lord today and ask Him how are we doing in these three virtues and how we may improve in them. 
Today is also the Feast of the Holy Innocents who were killed by Herod in his search to kill the baby King who was born in Bethlehem.

What persons are like Herod?  
According the 1896 edition of Goffine's Devout Instructions all those who destroy children, in body or in soul.  For exa…

Feast of St. John

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John, Chapter 7, verse 13: 13 Still, no one spoke openly about him because they were afraid of the Jews.
Today is the feast of St. John so I chose a verse on fear from the gospel of John.  We see here that Jesus was a wanted man because he was fearless toward the Jews and they hated him for it.  People were afraid to even speak about Jesus or worst yet speak up in his behalf.  Often it is easier for us to not speak up when we hear gossip or worse yet to join in the gossip and relish in it.  We often love to hear the worse things about others or lack the courage to defend their good name.  It has been said it is better to say nothing then to say anything negative about another but Christ compels us to go even further with this verse; to be fearless in the defense of others.
Traditionally wine is blessed on the Feast of St. John.  Wine if used in moderation is a good thing.  Yet, sometimes it may cause an increase in our fears or make us fool hardy when speaking, giving us a false sense o…

Feast of St. Stephen

Luke, Chapter 2, verse 10:
10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Christmas

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Luke, Chapter 2, verse 9:
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
In this verse the “them” were shepherds. The angels appeared and filled lowly shepherds with holy fear.  Shepherds were the gypsy’s of their time.  They were in the same social class as dung sweepers and tax collectors. 
As you open your “presents” today remember these scum bag shepherds needed to be in His “presence”.  To do that was not an easy task; they had to move with all of their sheep to the place of the Kings birth.  Can you imagine the scene with hundreds perhaps millions of sheep, bleating as they go and eating everything along the way.  It took great courage to do this to bring unlawfully out of the desert these sheep and to honor the King.  Imagine their surprise to see the messiah, the king of kings, in a nasty cave used to stable animals, lying in a manger.  (A manger is basically a feed troth for animals.)
The shepherds stil…

Christmas Eve

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Luke, Chapter 1, verse 67-75: 67 Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:68“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.69He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,70even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant 73and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that,74rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
My prayer is that the Lord our God will rescued the Christians in the Middle East so they might worship him in holiness and righteousness.  Indeed this prayer is needed in our own country where our government and the media have shown they hate us.
In America, we have until now had no fear in worshiping hi…

December 22, 2014

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Luke, Chapter 1, verse 50: 50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
Happiness is a choice; just as love is a choice.  We either decide to be happy or we do not.  No amount of money or material things will bring us joy, no amount of pleasure or power either.  Mary knew that true happiness comes from God’s mercy.  That is a choice too.  God’s mercy is given to those who fear Him and then in turn honor the gift of love.  We in order to accept the gift of mercy must be open to receive.  We make a choice.
It is funny Mary’s whose name means bitterness was just the opposite.  She emptied herself to be filled to the brim with God’s love and within three days she will have given birth to Christ our redeemer.  I imagine she pondered on this day ages ago as she felt His movement within her that his mercy is overpowering.
Let us empty ourselves of all our bitterness and resentments, asking Mary to pray for us as we do. 
Let us in these remaining days before Christmas, do all we can to…

December 21, 2014

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Luke, Chapter 5, verse 9-10: 9For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, 10 and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
The Lord says that to each of us.  We all play a role in the plan of God and are forevermore fishers of men.
Notice how our Lord took simple fishermen and using their raw natural talent he, even in their sinfulness, was able to mold them into legends.  To do this for them they had to have Faith.  Faith is the opposite of fear.  It is an expression of love.

Christ needs good men who hear the call of our Lord to be a fisher of men.  If today you hear His voice; harden not your heart.  Be not afraid.


December 18, 2014

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Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 19-20: 19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.20Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
Even righteous people become afraid at times but Mark Shea a catholic writer points out that Joseph being a devote Jew may have had Holy fear as the basis of his being afraid.
”Modernity assumes it was because he thought her guilty of adultery, but the typical view in antiquity understood the text to mean he was afraid of her sanctity — as a pious Jew would be afraid to touch the Ark of the Covenant. After all, think of what Mary told him about the angel's words: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be b…

EMBER DAY December 17, 2014

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Matthew, Chapter 25, verse 24-25: 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’
Christ is always trying to draw us away from fear to having a relationship of love and peace with the Trinity.  For if we live our faith in fear we will be like the person who buried his only talent. We must if filled with the love of Christ go forth bravely to build Christ's Kingdom in our own spheres of influence and in our way of being. 
The church recognizes that fear slowly creeps into our lives and makes changes in the liturgy to renew us and avoid sinfulness. One of the corrections that the church made in the liturgy change of 1969 was the obligation for Catholic’s to fast on Ember Days. 
Today, Friday and Saturday are Ember Days according to the old calendar.  Ember Days…

Christmas Novena December 16, 2014

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Matthew, Chapter 21, verse 46:
46 And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
They feared the crowds because of Jesus and John the Baptist.  Fear is a natural reaction: when we fear something we naturally do one of five things.   We either: fight, run away, do nothing, compromise or grow make things better.  The entire bible is filled with stories of people making good and bad choices.  Some of people’s choices were righteous and some were evil and through it all it was the spirit of God that urged men to make choices that promoted growth in humankind; to create a Kingdom of God on earth.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus were marked by the priests and elders for death because they threatened their power over the people which they feared.  Like savage beasts they killed anything that got in their way.
According to John Maxwell[1] leaders lose their right to selfishness and must take the lives of others into account before thei…

December 15, 2014

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Matthew, Chapter 21, verse 26: 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.”
The chief priests and the elders of the people were master politicians during Christ’s time.  Some of them were faithful in thought word and deed, but many were as Christ pointed out like marble sepulchers which are pretty on the outside but inside full of death and rottenness.  Many of them put on the airs of piety but in reality were agnostic in nature. 
Here we see the priest and elders were afraid of the people.  I think in our time a similar thing occurred with Saint John Paul II’s struggle with communism in Poland.  John Paul was a John the Baptist of his time.  The Poles, I assume like the Jews during  the Baptists time, were hungry for a chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the rule of the communist’s.
I believe John the Baptist's message to have been very similar to John Paul’s.  John Paul told the Poles to b…

December 14, 2014

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Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday

Luke, Chapter 1, verse 50: 50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
Today is also the third Sunday of Advent called Gaudete Sunday and we light the rose colored candle because we are rejoicing in that Christ is drawing near with his birth in ten days.  We are to rejoice just as Mary did in her Canticle of Praise when she entered the house of Zechariah.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,according to his…

FEAST OF SAINT LUCY

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December 13, 2014
Luke, Chapter 1, verse 10-12: 10 Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, 11the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. 12Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
Zechariah was troubled and he was afraid.  I do not think this was Holy fear for Zechariah’s faith did not equal his fear and he was filled with unbelief.  His intellect outweighed his heart and as a result he was left unable to speak until the birth of his son as the angel told him.  That son was John the Baptist. There are times when we must listen to our hearts and not our heads.
Today is also the feast of St. Lucy.  Lucy is an excellent example of a person whose heart is filled with faith.  She is one of the church’s incorruptibles.  That is her body is still intact long after death.  She had a great heart of great courage.

Father Kenelm Digby Best knew her example of fearlessness when …

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

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December 12, 2014

Luke, Chapter 1, verse 30: 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Mary had no fear of the world or man, yet, when the angel appeared she was immersed in holy fear.  Let us follow Mary’s example and bravely face the day saying YES to God. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Listen to Mary’s words of encouragement as she appeared to Saint Juan Diego. "Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
One wonders if Mary thought of these same affirmations during the angel’s visit of God the Father.  Are you not happily within my fold!  Are you not under my protection!
Mary appeared …

December 11, 2014

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Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse 13: 13For I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, do not fear, I will help you.
I picture Christ saying this to Peter in the Sea of Galilee as He pulls Peter up after he walked on the water and feared the waves and began to drown.  We must not waiver when we feel covered over by the waters of fear for He will help us.  When in fear if we cry out for his help He will grab us by the hand and bring us back into the boat; which is His church.
Let us not be children of fear but children of faith.  In fact the opposite of Faith is fear.  Napoleon Hill author of the bestselling book THINK AND GROW RICH stated in his unpublished manuscript entitled “Outwitting the Devil” that the devil uses fear to manipulate and control us.  Hill uses an imaginary conversation with the devil where the devil states:  Once I capture the mind of a child, through fear, I weaken that child’s ability to reason and to think for himself, and that weakness go…