Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Song of Songs, Chapter 2, verse 8:
The sound of my lover! Here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.
The Lord demonstrates his love for us by loving us into existence and by giving us freewill to love him in return. But when we reject that love He not wanting our destruction came through the virgin to woo us back to him. He came as a poor child born in a stable and upon becoming a man attracted His apostles by His power and love. We all play a role in the plan of God and are forevermore like the apostles “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. We must have the faith of a shepherd who trusts even during the longest night that there will be a dawn and remain unsullied to our purpose and protect those entrusted to us as a shepherd does his sheep. There is no better example for us of purity of purpose then Christ’s own mother Mary.
After the fall of Adam, man's senses became rebellious to reason. As a consequence, chastity is the most difficult of all the virtues to practice. Saint Augustine says: "Of all inner conflicts the most arduous are concerned with chastity. These battles are of daily occurrence, but victory is rare." however, Mary is a shining example of this virtue. Saint Sophronius replies: "God chose a pure virgin for his mother, that she might be an example of chastity to everybody." That is why Saint Ambrose calls Mary "the standard-bearer of virginity." Because of Mary's purity the Holy Spirit declared that she is as beautiful as the turtledove: Your cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's (Cant 1:9). "A most pure turtledove" is what Aponius calls her. She inspired everybody who saw her with chaste thoughts. Saint Thomas confirms this when he says that the beauty of the Blessed Virgin incited to chastity all who looked at her. Saint Jerome maintains that Saint Joseph remained a virgin as a result of living with Mary. Saint Gregory of Nyssa says that the Blessed Virgin loved chastity so much, that to preserve it she would have been willing to renounce even the dignity of Mother of God. This seems evident from her reply to the archangel: How shall this happen, since I do not know man? (Lk 1:34). And from the words she added then: Be it done to me according to your word (Lk 1:38), signifying that she gave her consent on the condition that, as the angel had assured her, she should become a mother only by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Saint Ambrose says that "anyone who preserves chastity is an angel; anyone who loses it is a devil." Our Lord assures us that those who are chaste become angels: They...shall be as the angels of God in heaven (Mt 22:30). But the unchaste become hateful to God, like devils. Saint Remigius used to say that the majority of adults are lost by this vice. We have quoted Saint Augustine as saying that a victory is very seldom gained in this combat. Why is this? Because the means by which the victory may be gained are very seldom used. These means are threefold, according to Bellarmine and the masters of the spiritual life: fasting, the avoidance of dangerous occasions of sin, and prayer.
1. By fasting we mean especially mortification of the eyes and the appetite. Although our Blessed Lady was filled with divine grace, she nevertheless practiced mortification of the eyes, according to Saint Epiphanius and Saint John Damascene. Her glances were always modest and she never gazed fixedly at anyone. She was so unassuming, even from childhood, that everyone who saw her was charmed by her reserve. Saint Luke remarks that when she went to visit Elizabeth, she went with haste (Lk 1:39), in order to avoid the public gaze. Saint Gregory of Tours maintains that she fasted throughout her life. Saint Bonaventure explains this: "Mary would never have found so much grace if she had not been moderate in her meals, for grace and gluttony do not go together." In short, Mary was mortified in everything, so that it was true to say of her: My hands dripped with myrrh (Cant 5:5).
2. The second means is avoidance of the occasions of sin: He that is aware of the snares shall be secure (Prov 11:15). Saint Philip Neri coined the expression: "In the war of the senses, cowards conquer." By cowards he means those who flee from dangerous occasions. Mary fled as much as possible from the gaze of men. Remember Saint Luke's remark that, in going to visit Elizabeth, Mary went with haste into the hill country. One author calls attention to the fact that Our Lady left Elizabeth before Saint John was born: And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son (Lk 1:56-57). Why did Mary not wait for Saint John's birth? Because she wanted to avoid the hubbub and excitement that usually accompany such an event.
3. The third means is prayer. The Wise Man said: And as I knew that I could not otherwise be continent except God gave it...I went to the Lord and besought him (Wis 8:21). Mary revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary that she did not acquire any virtue without effort and without continual prayer. Saint John Damascene calls our Immaculate Mother "a lover of purity." She cannot endure those who are content to be unchaste. And if anybody appeals to her to be delivered from unchastity she will certainly help him. All he has to do is call upon her confidently. The Venerable John of Ávila used to say that many have conquered impure temptations merely through devotion to Mary Immaculate.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year as the Northern Hemisphere is angled the farthest away from the Sun on this day.
Winter Solstice Facts
· On the Winter Solstice, there are 24 hours of sunlight in the Antarctic Circle, and 24 hours of darkness in the Arctic Circle.
· Many pagan rituals have revolved around the Winter Solstice. The short days and long hours of darkness prompted rituals intended to lure the Sun back.
· The Mayan calendar ended on the Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012.
· 10 inches of snow melt down into only 1 inch of rain.
Winter Solstice Top Events and Things to Do
· Eat more Vitamin-D rich foods to balance out the lack of sunlight.
· Light some candles and enjoy the early evening.
· Finish some last minute Christmas shopping.
· Purchase a Christmas tree. Tip: For a more environmentally friendly Christmas, purchase a Live trees in a burlap root sack that can be planted after the holiday.
· Watch the lunar eclipse which happens within several days of the winter solstice.
Come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
O Dawn, splendor of eternal light, and sun of justice, come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
GREAT GIFT FOR THE NEW YEAR!
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.
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