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
God's Covenants with man
· 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
· 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
· Blessing- Land and many blessed descendants
· 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
· 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
· 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
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 SeasonPsalm 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.
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
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.
· Please pray for me and this ministry