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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Friday, December 8, 2017

Feast of the Immaculate Conception



Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 8-10:
8 When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.”

Before the fall both Adam and Eve were unafraid of being exposed to God and they were innocent in that they knew not that they were naked.  Adam states I heard the sound of you in the garden. We do not know what the sound of God is from the verse. Was it the same sound as a man walking in the garden? Or was it the sound of a rushing wind? We do not know; but Adam heard God and he was afraid because he was naked. On the cross our Lord who always heard the Father was now utterly alone,…And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' and he was also naked nailed to a tree. Tradition states that our Lord’s cross rested on the skull of Adam in payment for the fall. Our Lord paid the ultimate price for our sins. Christ on the cross reversed the taking of the fruit and the eating by Adam and Eve and became the fruit of life. Christ on the cross reversed the nakedness of Adam and Eve by being naked himself. Christ on the cross no longer heard the Father and He was afraid. The greatest fear is a world without the Father. Christ brought us at a great price to bring us back to the Father. We need not fear for God is now in us through the accomplishment of the Holy Spirit. We must listen to His voice and follow Him.

Patroness of the United States of America[1]

Read: "No sin would touch her, so that she would be a fitting and worthy vessel of the Son of God. The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the virginal conception and the birth of Christ, but rather to Mary's being conceived without inheriting Original Sin." (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, 142-143) Take time today to read about the Immaculate Conception.

Reflect: In today's Gospel, we hear and reflect on Mary's famous words to the angel Gabriel: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 2:38)

Pray: Pray with Pope Francis on this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Act: On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, attend Mass and pray the Hail Mary before meals.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception[2]

Mary who was conceived without sin on the Feast day of the Immaculate Conception is our example of courage in the presence of God and His angels.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  (Luke 1:30-31)

ON this and the following eight days the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men. The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times. Pope Pius IX., forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally, on December 8, 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin. It is, therefore, now no longer, as formerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith, that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.



Immaculate Conception Facts[3]

·         God gave Mary a pure soul incapable of sinning when she was received.  It prepared her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  This teaching does not appear in Scripture.  It was decreed by Pope Pious IX on December 8, 1854.
·         Our Holy Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness for the United States - as decreed by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
·         Our Mother Mary is full of beauty because she is full of grace. - Pope Francis via twitter on Dec 30, 2013.
·         The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. - Catechism of the Catholic Church

Immaculate Conception Top Events and Things to Do

·         Go to Mass.  It is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholic in the United States.
·         Study the Immaculate Conception in art.  One famous painting, The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception was completed by Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo in the 17th century.  It hangs in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
·         Watch the movie, Mary of Nazareth (2013)

More Things to Do[4]

·         The dogma of the Immaculate Conception lends itself to fruitful meditation and should be taught to children. The doctrine of original sin, the sin of Adam and its effects on the human race, is a good beginning for study. For the best explanation of the teachings of the Church on this, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 386-412. Also you might read Pope Piux IX's bull, Ubi Primum (On The Immaculate Conception) proclaiming the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of Faith. Other reading from the Catholic Culture Library:

o    Immaculate Conception Defined by Pius IX by Pope John Paul II;
o    John Duns Scotus: Champion of the Immaculate Conception by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.;
o    The Message of the Virgin of Lourdes by Bishop Donald Montrose, D.D.;
o    The Immaculate Conception by Abbot Gueranger

·         Mary as the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. Visit or take a virtual tour of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, America's patronal church.
·         This day would also be appropriate for parents to plan their approach on family sex education, as it is the privilege and duty of parents to teach their own children in this area.
·         Make a Mary candle for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. See Celebrating for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for details and other ideas.
·         Prepare an all white meal for dinner and then discuss with your children the dogma of the Immaculate Conception with the visual aids of dinner showing the purity and the stainlessness of Mary's soul. Read Teaching the Immaculate Conception and Advent and the Immaculate Conception for discussion ideas.
Ideas for dinner:

Appetizers: Rice crackers and white cheeses;
Soups: cream soups, such as clam chowder, pototo soup, cream of celery;
Main Course: chicken breasts, pasta with alfredo sauce;
Side Dishes: mashed potatoes, white rice, cauliflower with (or without) white cheese sauce, white bread (with crusts removed), white corn;
Dessert: White cake with white icing, meringue kisses, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, white chocolate.

·         The special treat for this feast is Moravian Spritz, or gingerbread cookies, loaded with fine, aromatic spices. These are mixed on the vigil, December 7. Or make your favorite gingerbread cookie. Perhaps for this solemnity the family could make a gingerbread house or Gingerbread Bowls.
·         Today, plant an Immaculate Conception Rose Bush. During this winter season, it is also a good time to plan a Mary Garden. Flower Theology by John Stokes, the website Mary's Gardens and the book Mary's Flowers, Gardens, Legends and Meditations by Mary's Gardens Associate, Vincenzina Krymow, are good beginnings for planning your garden.
·         No room for a garden? No time to nurture nature? Read Flowers for the Fairest by Daniel Foley to read about flowers appropriate for Our Lady, and purchase a small bouquet or a few flowers...real or silk to display for feasts of Mary.

Darkess Hour[5]

Mary as the new Eve is an essential part of God’s redemptive plan bringing light to a dark world.

The season of Advent is about preparing to celebrate the birth of our redeemer. God in his love has chosen us, predestined us to be his children and then in the fullness of time, redeemed us.

These are our darkest afternoons. But, surprise! For most of us, December 8, will bring the turnaround. It’s a major winter milestone: the day of our earliest sunset. This puzzles people, but in fact it’s a reliable yearly sequence. First comes earliest sunset, this week. Then there’s the solstice half a month later, the day with the fewest minutes of daylight. Finally, another two weeks later, in early January, we get our murkiest morning—the latest sunrise. So we’re now slam bang at the low point of afternoon sunshine. And since far more people are awake and aware of things at 4:30 PM than they are at 6 in the morning, in a very real sense you can forget about the solstice and the “official” shortest day of the year. So far as what most folks actually experience, NOW is the darkest time of the year.

49 Godly Character Traits[6]

As we begin the Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Dependability vs. Inconsistency

Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice (Psalm 15:4)

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father."

Fitness Friday-Hunting Workout

Recognizing that God the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength; mind, soul and heart.

Elk hunting[7] (or indeed any rough-country hunt where drastic elevation changes are a routine part of the hunt) requires a different kind of planning and conditioning than your usual whitetail hunt. The most common problem out-of-state hunters experience is not being in good enough physical condition to handle constant up-and-down foot travel at high elevation - especially when carrying a pack. The result is a physically exhausted hunter who is unable to perform. Hours and days of precious hunting time are wasted due to need for rest and recovery. Here’s a twelve-week plan that will prep you for the high country. There are two main components to physical prep for rough-country hunting: cardiovascular and muscular. Plan on exercising thirty to forty-five minutes per weekday, alternating between cardio and muscular workouts. Be sure to stretch and warm up gradually before workouts and cool off gradually afterwards.

Week One: Start out easy on yourself to lower risk of hurting joints or tendons.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Go for a brisk 45-minute walk, preferably including up and down terrain.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Spend 30 minutes climbing up and down the local bleacher stairs (or a nice steep hill). Take regular short rests.

Week Two: Step it up a little.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Add short stints of jogging to your walk.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: same 30-minute routine, just cut down on rest time.

Week Three: Start getting focused.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Begin pushing yourself, walking less and jogging more.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same 30-minute routine, add three squats and three lunges (don’t use weights) alternately during short rest periods.

Week Four: You should be feeling much stronger by now, and hurting less. Remain careful to avoid injury.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Try to jog the majority of your 45 minutes.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to spend the entire 30 minutes climbing your stairs or hillside, alternating between five squats and five lunges every few minutes. Only rest at the ten and twenty minute marks.

Week Five: By now you should be enjoying your workouts.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Warm up, then alternate two minute sprints with walking to catch your breath. 45 minutes.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Wear a pack with 20 pounds of weight in it during your routine. Rest when needed.

Week Six: You should be feeling like a bonafide athlete.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to jogging, but pick up the pace a bit.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to get through your routine – hiking with pack and five crunches/lunges every five minutes – without stopping to rest.

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. (Psalm 42)

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         30 Days with St. Joe
·         Catholic Christmas Calendar
·         Please pray for me and this ministry





[2] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[3] http://www.wincalendar.com/Immaculate-Conception
[6]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/
[7]https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/game-changers/your-12-week-plan-get-shape-elk-hunting-season

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