Featured Post

Thursday, September 26, 2019

2 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 29 His foster brother Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew i...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016


John, Chapter 5, verse 20:
For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.

Jesus as the son of God has received His power; the divine power of life-giving and judgment. These two powers form a constant part of the Father’s life. Babies are born, even on the Sabbath, and people die. God does not stop his life giving on the Sabbath and neither should we. God the Father gives life and so too the Son which He demonstrated by rising from the dead. Christ gives life and whoever hears and accepts him receives eternal life and does not come under judgment for he who hears the Son hears the Father. Whoever responds negatively judges himself or herself by that very fact. Christ is loyal to those who trust in Him.[1]

Loyalty-Sir Ernest Shackleton[2]

Sir Ernest Shackleton like so many of his generation were ultimate adventurers – part hero, part daredevil – fighting the elements and the odds, too far from civilization to call for help – laying it all on the line purely for the love of adventure. Shackleton led a doomed expedition to miraculous survival through the sheer force of his motivational leadership. In 1914, he set out with a crew of twenty-eight men on a quest to be the first to travel across the entire Antarctic continent by way of the South Pole. His ship, Endurance, became caught in ice and was crushed. After abandoning the ship, he and his men faced incredible hardship from a variety of brutal Antarctic conditions – from shifting weather to shifting ice, along with the trials of hunger, illness and discouragement – for more than a year. Yet every man got home safely, when the entire expedition would have perished under weaker leadership. Incredibly, the only casualty was frostbitten toes on one man. He had passion for the adventure of the mission but he also had passion for the men he led. When he was forced to abandon his doomed ship and realized he would not achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole en route to the other side, he kept his disappointment to himself while he shifted his priorities to the well-being of his men. He said to another leader, F.A. Worsley, “It is a pity [to miss the crossing], but that cannot be helped. It is the men we have to think about. “He put his men above himself. He understood that the survival of them all might well depend on the quality of his leadership. He also realized that he could provide better leadership if he served as well as led. “Shackleton shared the physical labors as well as the watches…[He] would forego his own rations in order to feed the undernourished or the ill. And he often did so without anyone knowing it…Shackleton always put the needs of his men ahead of his personal comfort, and as a result he saved them all.” He realized that in order to survive they would have to stay healthy – mentally as well as physically. When we are trying to survive, having fun is the farthest thing from our minds. It may even be seen as trivializing the suffering. But during harsh tribulation it is more important than ever to find something to enjoy. During hard times we need to find a source of joy in order to maintain a healthy perspective. As a leader, Shackleton accepted responsibility for maintaining the spirits as well as the health of his men. Yes, they were brave adventurers just as Shackleton was, well able to take care of themselves. Still, Shackleton knew that as a leader he could provide a unique kind of influence that would be empowering, energizing and uplifting. He continually sought out ways to boost morale. He set aside time for recreation. They improvised various forms of entertainment. Several of the men had chosen books among the possessions they salvaged, and they read aloud to each other. They played soccer on the ice. “Humor…played a role, with Shackleton telling stories or teasing his men. What Shackleton was doing was keeping his men alive inside; by encouraging them to read or sing, he was keeping their spirits from sagging or dwelling on the inhospitalities that in other circumstances might have overwhelmed them.” He Inspired Loyalty. Shackleton’s passion for his mission and for his men, his passion for leadership, and his passion for motivation were a source of energy and courage during times of severe adversity. These virtues made him a leader that people wanted to follow. Even when his men may not have wanted to do something for themselves, they would do it for him. He inspired this kind of loyalty because he gave it to his men. They respected and trusted him because he respected and trusted them. They took care of him because he took care of them. They put him first because he put them first. He was a wonderful example of what a role model should be.

Shackleton dedicated South, the book he wrote about their extraordinary exploits, “To My Comrades.” In one especially moving passage he observed: “In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that natures renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” Sixty years after they had been rescued, the expedition’s first officer, Lionel Greenstreet, was asked how they had done it, how had they survived such a deadly misadventure. Greenstreet gave a one-word response: “Shackleton.”


I have been to Antarctica, and with Shackleton, I can voice I have seen the face of God through the power and majesty of nature. As catholic’s we recognize this same power of God in nature and celebrate it in our Ember Day observations.


The fall time Ember days the Natural Season[3]


Psalm 147:12, 16-17 "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion. Who giveth snow like wool: scattereth mists like ashes. He sendeth his crystal like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold?"

Winter is a time of reflection, when human activity is stilled and snow blankets the world with silence. For the Christian, Winter symbolizes Hope: though the world now appears lifeless and makes us think of our own mortality, we hope in our resurrection because of the Resurrection of the One Whose Nativity we await now. How providential that the Christ Child will be born at the beginning of this icy season, bringing with Him all the hope of Spring! Also among our Winter feasts are the Epiphany and Candlemas, two of the loveliest days of the year, the first evoked by water, incense, and gold; the latter by fire...Yes, despite the typical, unimaginative view of Winter as a long bout with misery, the season is among the most beautiful and filled with charms. The ephemeral beauty of a single snowflake... the pale blue tint of sky reflected in snow that glitters, and gives way with a satisfying crunch under foot... skeletal trees entombed in crystal, white as bones, cold as death, creaking under the weight of their icy shrouds... the wonderful feeling of being inside, next to a fire, while the winds whirl outside... the smell of burning wood mingled with evergreen... warm hands embracing your wind-bitten ones... the brilliant colors of certain winter birds, so shocking against the ocean of white... the wonderfully long nights which lend themselves to a sense of intimacy and quiet! Go outside and look at the clear Winter skies ruled by Taurus, with the Pleiades on its shoulder and Orion nearby... Such beauty! Even if you are not a "winter person," consider that Shakespeare had the right idea when he wrote in "Love's Labours Lost":

Why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

It is nine days before Christmas. Today start a Christmas novena with your family or someone you love.



No comments:

Post a Comment