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.
On the third day
Joseph said to them: “Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man.
Joseph (coat of many colors) is a god-fearing man, even when he was in prison,
he was free because he never esteemed anything above god; never forgetting
god’s love and goodness. Knowing that a person becomes as great or small and
inferior as the things he loves and values. When a person looks only for
worldly satisfactions, they become blind to the gentle loving presence of the
creator. One who seeks only pleasure, ease honor or profit is a worldling, that
is, he lives only for this life. Gradually he becomes a slave of his earthly
desires, so that he cannot even think of God. He will believe in heaven to
late—when he finds its gates forever closed to him.
A joyful warning comes from the Lord's heralds.
"Rejoice: The Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church
emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our
Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh
when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The
oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of
the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John:
"Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament. Today is
known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the
Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize
our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent
Here is a wonderful description of the tradition of the
nine-day custom Posadas, that commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from
Nazareth to Bethlehem.
·Bunuelos are the big crisp fried cakes
that Mexicans have for Christmas Eve supper. They are eaten either plain, with
cinnamon and brown sugar syrup, or sometimes with honey. But before supper
there is the traditional Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Cock, at the
village church. And for nine consecutive nights before that, there are the
posadas to commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to
Bethlehem and their search for lodgings.
·The word, posada, means an inn. To the
humble Mexican the re-enactment of the Holy Family's quest for lodgings is a
ritual of deep religious significance. The posadas, which start on the sixtenth
of December and end on Christmas Eve, take place at different houses each
night. Since Christmas, to the Mexican, is a community rather than a family
affair, relatives and friends in a neighborhood often club together to defray
posada expenses. The climax of each is the breaking of the Pinata.
·Pinatas are pottery jars, filled with trinkets,
candies, and miniature toys. The jars are ingeniously decorated with bright
paper to represent birds of paradise, dancing girls in gaudy ruffled skirts, or
clowns with grotesque costumes and chalkwhite faces. Since Christmas is not a
time for gift-giving, pinatas, with their bright baubles and inexpensive
trifles, are as important to Mexicans as Christmas trees to their neighbors,
north of the Rio Grande.
·Posada ceremonies begin after dark on December
16. They start with a procession of pilgrims, led by two children. With poles
on their shoulders, the little ones support a platform. with figures of Joseph,
the Virgin riding a small burro, and a number of protecting angels. Green
branches and paper stars adorn the platform. Each member of the procession has
a lighted candle. As the pilgrims approach the door of the house assigned to
the first posada, they chant traditional verses in which Joseph wakens the master
of the place and asks for lodgings for Mary. From behind closed doors the
master threatens beatings unless the company moves on. Once more Joseph pleads
for admittance. At first, the owner of the house scoffs, but finally, convinced
of his guests' identity, he joyously opens the door and bids the pilgrims
welcome. Then everyone kneels before the nacimiento, or miniature manger —
often loaned to, the host for the evening — and offers prayers and Christmas
hymns. When the religious ritual ends, there are refreshments. Then the
children start a gay little song:
the candies, scatter the sweets, for we are children who want to eat."
·Generally, the pinata is suspended by a long
rope or pulley cord hung from a tree in the patio. Each child in turn is
blindfolded, given a stout stick, and told to break the jar. But just as Lola
or Jose is about to hit, a yank on the rope takes the pinata out of reach. This
tantalizing performance continues for some time while everyone — except the
blindfolded victimshouts, jeers, and claps. Finally, the pinata is shattered.
With shouts and whoops, the guests drop to all fours and dart about after the
booty, scattered in every direction.
·In this mingled atmosphere of religious fervor
and childlike enjoyment, posadas and pinata-breakings continue until Christmas
Eve. Then the search for lodgings ends and the Babe is born, with great
rejoicing on the part of the pilgrims. Shortly before midnight, they sing nine
Ave Marias and address a song to the Virgin, telling her that the night of her
confinement is at hand.
·At some posadas small children, dressed as
shepherds, stand at either side of the nacimiento on this last night. Two of
the guests, acting the parts of godfather and godmother, walk between the
shepherds with an image of the Baby Jesus. As the pilgrims kneel, they chant a
litany to lull the Little One to sleep.
·At midnight on Christmas Eve everyone surges
into the churches to celebrate the Mass of the Cock. After the service,
whistles blow, fireworks explode, bells ring, and magnificent processions form,
for Jesus' birth is the occasion of unbounded demonstration.
·In the midst of the happy tumult families hurry
home to, supper. For the poor there are special holiday foods such as
tonightbean soup, revoltijo, a traditional dish made with shrimp,
potatoes, chili, and prickly pears, and a salad of nuts and fruits. Then come
the bunuelos, the festal fried cakes that are puffed, brown, and
Activity Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 1960
May the coming of our humble Lord help us to focus on our
loyalties that are due to our God, Church, Nation, family and neighbors during
this season and our own journey of life!
It is nine days
before Christmas. Today start a Christmas
Novena with your family or someone you love.
A special devotion that can be performed during Advent to
prepare for the coming of the Infant Savior. It can be adapted for adults
and/or children and applied as is appropriate to your state in life.
·6th day, December 16th. THE HAY—Meekness
Prepare a soft little bed of Hay for the Divine Infant by practicing this
beautiful virtue. Do not yield to anger today; and speak very kindly to such as
are repulsive to you. When tempted to speak harshly, say this little prayer
instead. O Jesus meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
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:
Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or
others (Colossians 3:2)
oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all the following
conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged violation of
fundamental rights; 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted; 3) such
resistance will not provoke worse disorders; 4) there is well-founded hope of
success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution.
2728 Finally, our
battle has to confront what we experience as failure
in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness
that, because we have "great possessions," we have not given all to
the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will;
wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our
resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth.
The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome
these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.