And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke, Chapter 1, verse 67-79:
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.69 He 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. 76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord* to prepare his ways, 77 to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us 79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Christmas Eve was my father’s time to celebrate and open the presents and later we would go to midnight mass. Mom and Dad always put the presents under the tree as they got them; wrapped of course and I think this was done to create a sense of anticipation for Christmas. It was remarkable we didn’t break the gifts from all the shaking we gave them to try to figure out what the gift was. Mom and Dad never had much money but Mom would start going to the garage sales in October and get tons of stuff on the cheap. We never knew what Mom would find but she never gave us anything that would take away from our dignity or disappoint us with an awful Christmas sweater. After all Christmas is celebrating the greatness of a God that took it upon Himself to raise the dignity of man.
John McCain in his book “Character is Destiny” points out the work of Viktor Frankl as a man who best portraits the virtue of dignity. Viktor was before World War II was a prominent Jewish psychiatrist who lost everything during the Nazi takeover of Germany. The Nazis had taken his freedom, his vocation and everyone he loved. They starved him, beaten him, cursed him and worked him almost beyond human endurance. They had set his life upon a precipice from which at any moment they chose, they could push him as they had pushed thousands. Yet as they drove him out one winter morning into the fields like an animal, striking him, his mind rose above his torment and his tormentors, taking leave of the cruelty to contemplate the image of his wife. He did not know if she was alive or dead, but in his heart he heard the words of the eighth Song of Solomon; Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death. “My mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with uncanny acuteness…Real or not, her look was more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise…Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: the salvation of man is through love and in love,” Frankl relates in Man’s Search for Meaning. Throughout his captivity he held on to his love and with his love he kept from his captors the thing they thought they destroyed, the one thing that no human being can take from another, for it can only be surrendered, but not taken: his dignity.
“Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself, or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
“The prisoner who had lost his faith in the future — his future — was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.”
“I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, “homeostasis,” i.e., a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
“Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
“Man has suffered another loss in his more recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism).”
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.’”
“What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. To put the question in general terms would be comparable to the question posed to a chess champion: “Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world?” There simply is no such thing as the best or even a good move apart from a particular situation in a game and the particular personality of one’s opponent.”
Vigil of the Nativity or Christmas Eve
“When we are no longer able to change a situation — just think of an incurable disease such as an inoperable cancer — we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”
CHRISTIAN, for the love of Christ, and for thine own salvation, occupy thy mind, during this holy night, with holy thoughts and aspirations, in order to make thyself worthy of all the graces which Christ will grant thee on His coming. Consider how St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, in obedience to the edict of Cgesar, and in perfect submission to the will of God, went to Bethlehem, and, finding no room there, at last entered an open stable, where they were content to stay. Does not the Son of God deserve all our love when He thus humbled Himself for us?
The Christmas Tree 
Much confusion surrounds what is arguably the season's most famous symbol. Christmas trees start appearing in shops, homes, and even some churches soon after Thanksgiving. Traditionally, however, the Christmas tree was not put up until Christmas Eve and was not taken down until the Vigil of the Epiphany. (Thus, it was only around for the Twelve Days of Christmas.) The reason for this will be explained in the section on Christmas customs; for now it suffices to point out that the Christmas tree is not meant to be a part of the Advent landscape. However, because finding a tree on December 24 can be difficult, one practical measure is to buy the tree early and leave it in the home undecorated until the 24th. An undecorated evergreen brought indoors is not a Christmas tree but a "Yule" tree, a harmless, pre-Christian reminder of life to help dispel the gloom of winter. When the tree is decorated, it will then be transformed from a natural token to a Christian statement rich with supernatural symbols for the season.
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COURAGE FOR THE MODERN WORLD 2017 #2017CALENDAR
Authored by Mr. Richard H. Havermale Jr.This book is the continuation of my first book based on more than 365 references in the Bible to fear, dread, and that in fact our God encourages us to "BE NOT AFRAID". To do this we must be in the presence of our Lord and talk to Him. I recommend you develop the habit of spending 10-15 minutes a day with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel or if that is not available some other quiet place where you can be in the presence of our Lord. Read the daily entry and reflect on it asking our Lord and His mother to talk to your heart and reveal to you the will of the Father and then Do it. The layout of this book is to list and reflect on the books of the bible Sirach through Revelations. In the early part of September my search of the verses dealing with fear and being afraid was completed; so I asked the Lord what do I, do now. After some reflection I realize that the fruit of fear in the Lord is the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love which ultimately results in Peace of the Lord. As a consequence the month of September will deal with Peace, October with Love and the month of November will be reflections on Faith and Hope. After Thanksgiving for the season of Advent and Christmas this work uses a multitude of references that reflect the Christmas season. There are many theologians who state that the eighth deadly sin is fear itself. It is fear and its natural animal reaction to fight or flight that is the root cause of our failings to create a Kingdom of God on earth. Saint John Paul II in his writings and talks also tells us to BE NOT AFRAID. In fear or anger we walk away from God. Our Lord, Jesus Christ taught us how to walk back toward God in His sermon on the mount through the Beatitudes. Each of the beatitudes is the antidote for the opposite deadly sins.
McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.