This blog is based on references in the Bible to fear. God wills that we “BE NOT AFRAID”. Many theologians state that the eighth deadly sin is fear. 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. By “the power of the Holy Spirit” we can be witnesses and “communicators” of a new and redeemed humanity “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7 8). This blog is dedicated to Mary the Mother of God.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017
feast of st. Stephen
John, Chapter 7, verse 13:
Still, no one spoke openly about him
because they were afraid of the Jews.
As soon as Christ was born he was spoken of in
whispers. The people were divided over Jesus and he was either loved or hated.
Even today you must decide to follow
Christ or follow the world for there is no middle ground.
todays Saint, like Jesus is unjustly persecuted; yet he prays for his
persecutors. Can we claim ourselves Christ like if we do not love our enemies? Was
not Stephen, and others who have imitated him, men like ourselves? With the
grace of God we do what they have done? Indeed can we call ourselves Christians
were we do not to do this? No; for the love of our neighbor, and of our enemy
also, is the chief token of the Christian; since it is only by this love that
we become like Christ, and resemble our heavenly Father, Who makes His sun to
shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rains upon the just and upon the unjust
(Matt. v. 45). Let us, therefore, imitate the love of God, of Christ, and of
St. Stephen, and then we may one day be able to give up our souls with calmness
into the hands of our Maker.
deacon Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem two years after the death of Christ, has
always been the object of very special veneration by the faithful. He is the
first martyr. The account in the Acts of the Apostles relating his arrest and
the accusations brought against him emphasize the parallel with our Saviour's
trial; he was stoned outside the city wall and died, like his Master, praying
for his executioners. Stephen belongs to the group of seven deacons whom the
Apostles associated with their work in order to lighten their load. He was
"filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," "full of grace and
strength" he showed himself as a man of God, radiating divine grace and
apostolic zeal. As the first witness to Christ he confronted his opponents with
quiet courage and the promise made by Jesus (Mark 13.11) was fulfilled: ".
. . Disputing with Stephen they were not able to resist the wisdom and the
spirit that spoke." In St. Stephen, the first martyr, the liturgy
emphasizes the imitator of Christ even to the extent of the complete gift of
self, to the extent of that great charity which made him pray in his suffering
for his executioners. By establishing the feast on the day after Christmas the
Church draws an even closer comparison between the disciple and the Master and
thus extends his witness to the whole mission of the redeeming Messiah.
there is no historical connection, St. Stephen is considered the patron
saint of horses. Scholars speculate that this has something to do
with the relief from work that domestic animal enjoyed during Twelfth-night; in
any case, horse parades or horse races were always held on
this day. One custom in rural areas was for the horses to be decorated and taken
to the church, where the priest would bless them. Afterwards, they would
be ridden around the church three times. Horse's food(hay or oats)
is also blessed on this day.
the eleventh century, the Church instituted special feast days during the
Christmas Octave for various ecclesiastical ranks. Today, on
the day in which one of the first seven deacons was martyred, was the festival
But what exactly are the Twelve
Days of Christmas? They are the days between Christmas and the Feast
of the Epiphany that constitute an unbroken period of joy and celebration.
Epiphany is considered the twelfth day of Christmas (in fact it is sometimes
called "Twelfth Day") while the Eve of Epiphany is called
"Twelfth Night." Shakespeare's play, "Twelfth Night,"
takes its name from the Vigil because during this period festivals (such as the
of Fools or the Feast of the Ass) used to be held
in which everything was turned upside-down -- a little like the reversed
identities of the characters in the play. These "preposterous"
observances, incidentally, were a joyful mimicry of the inversion of
almighty God becoming a lowly man, of the King appearing as a humble infant.
The twelve nights of Christmas were primarily a time of rest from unnecessary labor and
joyful prayer. On each of these nights the Christmas
tree lights and the Christmas
candle would be lit, while the family would gather around the manger to
recite prayers and sing carols and hymns. Similar services are held in some
churches during these nights as well. Several saints' days which
fall within the Octave of Christmas are also a part of the Twelve Days.
is the second day of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves from the song the 12 days of
Christmas represent the two parts of the Sacred Scriptures: the old and new
Also, today is another pagan, culturally
correct day, designed to minimize the true meaning of Christmas and confuse
children about the good news of the season.
Kwanzaa is an African-American and
Pan-African celebration of family, community and culture. Kwanzaa, a week-long
cultural festival from the 26th of December to the 1st of January that climaxes
in feasts and gift giving, was initially established to unite African-Americans
with their African roots and heritage. Nguzo Saba, the seven principles
that guide the holiday, is central to Kwanzaa as a different principle is
emphasized every day during the celebration. Celebrants often dress in
traditional Pan-African clothing and decorate their homes in African artwork.
Kwanzaa was created in 1965 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a major figure in the Black
Power movement, with the intention of providing African Americans with a link
to their ancestral heritage. Karenga aimed to bring together African-Americans
as a community through the combination of various aspects of other celebrations
such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and African Yam Festivals. Since Kwanzaa is a
cultural holiday, not a religious one; it can be celebrated by Africans from
all religious backgrounds.
Kwanzaa Facts & Quotes
·The name Kwanzaa is derived from
Matunda ya kwanza, which in Swahili means first fruits. Kwanzaa is based
on the Ashanti and Zulu traditions of first fruit harvest celebrations.
·Each day of Kwanzaa celebrates one
of 7 principles, known as Nguzo Saba. These include Unity,
Self-determination, Collective work and responsibility, Cooperative Economics,
Purpose, Creativity and Faith. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green.
Each color carries an important meaning to unify those of African
descent. Black is for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all
people of African descent and green for the land of Africa. A candle holder,
called a Kinara, holds the seven candles that represent the seven principles of
Kwanzaa Top Events and Things to Do
·Read about the seven principles of
Kwanzaa with your family. These principles teach about working together,
learning from the past and strengthening bonds.
·Attend a Kwanzaa celebration event.
In 2015 the most popular events were the Energize, Recognize! event at
then American Museum of Natural History (NYC), Regeneration Night at the Apollo
Theater (NYC) and the Celebration at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African
American History (Detroit, MI).
·Prepare a festive Kwanzaa dinner.
Include Kwanzaa foods include:
1) Shisa nyama (meat cooked over a hot wood fire).
2) Kapenta with sadza (kapenta is a freshwater fish and sadza is a maize
3) Nyama na irio (mashed potatoes, peas, corn and onion served with spicy roast
·Give festive Kwanzaa gifts to your
friends and family. Some traditional gifts include a food basket, kinara
candle holder, books about African culture and handwoven items like gloves and
·Watch The Black Candle
(2008). This is a vibrant and powerful documentary that illuminates the
African-American experience from the perspective of Kwanzaa. Narrated by
Dr. Maya Angelou (poet), the documentary won the award for best full-length
documentary at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival in 2009.
During this Christmas 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:
Giving to others’ basic
needs without having as my motive personal reward
(I Corinthians 13:3)
219 God's love for Israel is compared
to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a
mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his
beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will
extend to his most precious gift: "God so loved the world that he gave his
Jesus said to his disciples: "Love
one another even as I have loved you."
In response to the question about the
first of the commandments, Jesus says: "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: The
Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your
strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no other commandment greater than these." The apostle St. Paul
reminds us of this: "He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The
commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall
not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up
in this sentence, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no
wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
1784 The education of
the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the
child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by
conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear,
selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of
complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience
guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.
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Dear U.S. Grace Force, I believe we are facing a watershed moment. I am feeling we need to be in intense prayer right now. Today, I received on strong calling that we should do a 54 Day Novena of intense mortification and prayer from All Saints (November 1) to Christmas (December 24). I don't know where folks are at. For some, this may be overkill since we just finished a 54 Day Novena. For others, they may be sensing what I am sensing, and want to go all in. Then, after receiving this calling, I was made aware of what of these two blood brothers, Fr. James Blount and Fr. Tony Blount, have already prepared. The Blount Fathers are in exact sync with all of us. LET'S JOIN THEM!! All of the information is here: https:// queenofpeacemedia.com/54days/ Here is a short video in which the Blount Fathers (brothers) explain this prayer campaign:
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