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Saturday, December 23, 2017


Psalm 25, Verse 12-14
12 Who is the one who fears the LORD? God shows him the way he should choose. 13 He will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The counsel of the LORD belongs to those who fear him; and his covenant instructs them.

Today is a day for any last minute shopping. Remember that “A happy heart is better than a full Purse.”

Ponder on the thought that God wants us to study the world, fall in love with its creator, and live happily forever after. “Lord my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you.” Anselm of Canterbury

So what are the covenants of God that instruct us?


Covenants in the Bible[1]

Covenant comes from the Latin word "convenire" which means to come together.  A covenant is basically an agreement between people, or between God and His people, that binds one to the other. This is much different than a contract, which involves the exchange of goods or services for money. A good way to remember this distinction is to examine Holy Matrimony between a husband and a wife, and contrast that with prostitution. In the former, the two become one flesh at the marriage ceremony, with vows taken before God, each other, the priest, friends, and family, and they have sexual relations with each other that are holy and good.  In the latter, money exchanges hands for sex.  A covenant can be thought of as a sacred family bond, taken with an oath before a higher power, whereas a contract can be thought of as an agreement to pay someone for services rendered, which involves a promise to each other, rather than an oath. Covenants most often involve a ceremony with witnesses, invoking God, and a communal meal. The covenant therefore unites flesh and blood, as well as ensuring a common family name. So why did God decide to make covenants with mankind?  Well, we are God's family, and through sin, we have separated ourselves from the eternal love of God, preferring instead the temporary pleasures of this world. Hell awaits us if we fail to unite ourselves to Him while we are still alive. To help show us the way, God our loving Father initiated 6 major covenants in the Bible to bring us back into His family.  Notice the 4 things similar in these covenants - A blessing, a condition/curse, a sign, and the resultant form of God's family. 


God's Covenants with man

First, is God's covenant with Adam and Eve.  God created Adam and Eve to be joined together as one flesh: Genesis 2:23-24: Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" Malachi 2:14: You ask, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

·         The Blessing - Their descendants will fill the earth and subdue it.
·         The Condition/Curse - Do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil/death will result.
·         The Sign - The Sabbath - Keep it holy
·         The Family Form - Marriage

Second is God's covenant made with Noah and his family. God promises to never again destroy mankind through a flood, and the rainbow is his constant reminder of that: Genesis 9:9-17: "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:  I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."

·         The Blessing -God will never flood the entire earth again.
·         The Condition/Curse - Do not drink the blood of animals or shed human blood
·         The Sign - A Rainbow
·         The Family Form- Traditional Family

Third is the God's Covenant made with Abram: Genesis 17:1-10:  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."  And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

·         Blessing- Land and many blessed descendants
·         Condition/Curse-Circumcision
·         Sign- Circumcision
·         Family Form - Tribe


Fourth is God's Covenant made with Moses:

Exodus 34:10, 24:And he said, "Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD; for it is a terrible thing that I will do with you..... For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

·         Blessing- Becoming God's chosen people
·         Condition/Curse- They MUST keep God's law and the Commandments
·         Sign-The Passover
·         Family Form - A holy nation

Fifth is God's Covenant made with David: 2 Samuel 7:9-16:Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David, `Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. When he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men; but I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

·         Blessing- God becomes our Father, and we become his child
·         Condition/Curse-Chastisement with the rod of men
·         Sign- Solomon's Temple
·         Family Form - An eternal royal kingdom

Sixth is the Covenant promised through Jeremiah, fulfilled by Jesus: Jeremiah 31:31-34: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

·         Blessing - God's Law will be written on our hearts.  Believers become the new chosen people.
·         Condition/Curse - Belief in Jesus as the son of God, Baptism, eating His Flesh and drinking His blood at Communion, and living as Christians, not pagans.
·         Sign - The Eucharist
·         Family Form  - A universal worldwide Kingdom, or His Church

Notice how the family form progressed with each of God's six covenants - Man and wife, family, tribe, nation, kingdom, universal worldwide kingdom.  What God is doing here is not only building up man's relationship to Him using signs and other humans, he is revealing more and more of Himself to us with each and every covenant, until at last He has revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ.  Sadly, man broke each covenant and had to endure the curses associated with each one.  But God has been true to each one of His covenants with us, and that is really good news for us all.
So now that you know you belong to a universal (catholic) worldwide Kingdom, are you being true to your part of the last covenant, namely, living a Christian life following baptism and consuming the Eucharist?  Or, are you living like a pagan?  The choice is yours to make, right now. If you choose God's way, the benefits are literally out of this world.  If not, you will have hell to pay....Choose Wisely!

Notice the evil ones assaults of these Covenants 1) against the church with the protestant reformation 2) against the kingdoms in the age of enlightenment 3) against the holy nations in communism and atheism 4) against the tribe (local community) with TV/Computers/games which isolate us 5) against the family with divorce, contraception, abortion, etc. and 6) against holy union with same sex unions, prostitution, pornography and pedophilia. Yet, God is good He has and will overcome evil not with evil but with love.

Temperance the power of the soul

The virtue of temperance is necessary to the Christian who would live according to the law of God. When this virtue is wanting, the spirit becomes the slave of the flesh. It can no longer relish things divine; for, says St. Paul, "the sensual man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. ii, 14.) In fact, gluttony and gross living naturally tend to the obscuring of the intellect and to the quenching of spiritual light. It is vain, therefore, to look for wisdom among those that live in luxury and abundance: "Wisdom is not found in the land of them that live in delight." (Job, xxviii, 18.) Moreover intemperance, by exciting a wild gaiety, often provokes bickering’s and dissensions, and it is a known fact that gluttony takes a greater toll of human lives than does disease. But what is still worse, intemperance excites in man all kinds of impure thoughts, which find vent in words, gestures and actions contrary to holy modesty; it hardens the heart and prepares the way to eternal perdition.
THE Church teaches us that the Christian must all submit in expiation of our sins. Our divine Redeemer Himself impressed upon us this great truth when He said: "Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish." (Luke xiii. 3.) The object of penance is, in the first place, to lead us to refrain ourselves, in so far as reason and faith demand, from the inordinate desire of sensual pleasure, to which our fallen nature is inclined. So strong is this inclination, that we are ever in danger of falling into the slough of vice. How many Christians, alas, by following their unbridled imagination, lose both soul and body together! Wherefore, Holy Church imposes upon us the obligation of fasting, putting us in mind of the advantages which accrue from this salutary penance to which we practice. Fasting, in effect, "represses vices, raises our thoughts heavenward, makes easy the practice of virtue, and is a constant source of merit." (Preface for Lent.) As Mary was not tainted with original sin, she did not experience in herself this disorderly proneness to the pleasures of sense, the.baneful consequence of the sin of our first parents. Being full of grace, she maintained always the just balance of the powers of her soul. She performed all her actions with ease and delight, not having to use violence with herself, in order to preserve that even poise of the faculties, which reason arid the law of God demand. Nevertheless, Mary subjected herself willingly to the law of penance and mortification, denying herself those. Her life was one long series of privations and self-denials. Her fasting and abstinence was continual. She only allowed herself what was necessary to maintain life. She mortified all her senses, so that it were hard to say in what particular kind of mortification she excelled, in modesty of the eyes, in lowliness of demeanor, in the sparingness of her words or in the dignity of her gestures. It was natural, then, that her Heavenly Bridegroom should find in her all His delight. And as the fruit of this temperance, Mary acquired an extraordinary facility in conversing familiarly with her Well-Beloved, a heavenly joy which was depicted on her countenance, a virginal beauty which radiated from her whole presence, a something so indescribably sweet and majestic, that it gave to her an aspect rather divine than human: "How beautiful art thou my love, how beautiful art thou! Thine eyes are as doves' eyes, besides what is hid within!" (Cant. iv, 1.)

The fall time Ember days the Natural Season[2]

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 Labors 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.


Advent Calendar

Read: Have you blessed your Christmas tree yet? Prepare to do so before Advent is over.
Reflect: "To be fully a disciple of Jesus means not only accepting and believing his message, but also taking up and participating in the mission of encountering and inviting others to join our pilgrim journey to his heavenly kingdom." —His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington 
Pray: Add this "O Antiphon" to your daily or meal-time prayer today: "O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!" (Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, 77)
Act: Pope Francis said of evangelization: "It is not the mission of only a few, but it is mine, yours and our mission." Carry the lessons learned about evangelization into the Christmas season and beyond.


49 Godly Character Traits[3]

During this 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:

Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)

899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:

Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.

2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

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





[3]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/ 

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