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.
Save me from the hand
of my brother, from the hand of Esau! Otherwise I fear that he will come and strike me down and the mothers with the
Jacob here was afraid
of his brother whom he cheated. What’s interesting is that Jacob was Esau’s
twin brother. Twins often think a feel alike so one wonders was Jacob’s fear
generated because he assumed Esau would do what He himself would have done.
Here is where God takes two imperfect humans and makes them better. God
intercedes softening both Esau and Jacob’s heart.
Have you ever been so angry; livid at someone or
something and then discovered the reason for your anger was directly correlated
to a defect in yourself that you had buried and chose to ignore? We all have
and then realized that we are not as perfect as we pretend to be. Let us
reflect on Paul’s advice to the Ephesians, “Brothers and sisters: I declare and
testify in the Lord that you must no
longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how
you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way
of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of
your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and
holiness of truth. (Eph 4:17-20) By the renewal of our minds we through
Christ’s grace check our feelings, moods and prejudices or preferences and
strive to maintain the right intensions.
Lord, Grant that I may follow Your
words in my daily life. Let Your truth teach me, guide me, and protect me and
may it deliver me from all evil desires and foolish love. Let me esteem nothing
as great, or valuable, or wonderful, except insofar as it makes me better and
more pleasing in your eyes. In this way I shall never be a slave of this earth
but shall walk daily towards Heaven in Holy Fear.
traditional story of St. Lucy tells us that she was of noble Greek parentage,
born in Syracuse, Sicily, and brought up as a Christian by her mother, Eutychia.
Although Lucy, like Cecilia, wished to dedicate herself to God, Eutychia
arranged for her a marriage with a young pagan. The mother, who suffered from
hemorrhage, was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, to offer prayers at
the tomb of St. Agatha. Lucy accompanied her mother, and their prayers for a
cure were answered. Then Lucy made known to Eutychia her desire to give her own
share of their fortune to the poor and devote herself to God's service.
Eutychia, in gratitude for her cure, gave permission. This so angered the young
man to whom Lucy had been unwillingly betrothed that he denounced her as a
Christian to the governor, Paschius. The persecutions instituted by the Emperor
Diocletian were then at their height, and when Lucy steadfastly clung to her
faith, she was sentenced to prostitution in a brothel. God rendered her
immovable and the officers were not able to carry her off to the place of evil.
An attempt was then made to burn her, but boiling oil and pitch had no power to
hurt her or break her strong spirit. At last she was put to death by the sword.
At Rome in the sixth century Lucy was honored among the other virgin martyrs,
and her name was inserted in the Canon of the Mass. A reference to her sanctity
occurs in a letter written by Pope Gregory the Great. In the Middle Ages, she
was invoked by persons suffering from eye trouble, perhaps because Lucy (in
Italian, Lucia) derives from , the Latin word for light. The first
church writer to give an account of St. Lucy from her was the
English bishop St. Aldhelm of Sherborne at the end of the seventh century. This
saint's relics are venerated at Venice and at Bourges, in France. She is
patroness of Syracuse; her emblems are a cord and eyes.
Father Kenelm Digby Best knew her example of fearlessness when he
penned in his book “A Priest’s Poems”on St. Lucy:
Flames might not harm her: Saint
still as a statue's the neck which they smote: Scarcely another save, Lucy, was
tearless. When the sharp dagger was plunged in her throat.
The customs surrounding the Feast of St. Lucy also illuminate
the themes of Advent and Christmas. Lucy, whose name means light and whose
association with light has made her the patron saint of the "light of the
body" (the eyes), once had her feast fall on the shortest day of the year.
(Before the Gregorian calendar was reformed in the Middle Ages, December 13 was
the day of the winter solstice.) For all of these reasons, St. Lucy is honored
with a number of customs involving fire. Lucy candleswere once lit in the home and Lucy firesburned outside.
In Sweden and Norway, a girl dressed in white and wearing an evergreen wreath
on her head with lit candles would awaken the family and offer them coffee and
cakes. She was called the Lussibrud(Lucy bride) and her pastry the Lussekattor.
The Feast of St. Lucy comes at a propitious time during the
observance of Advent. Reminding us of the importance of light, the light of St.
Lucy foreshadows the coming of the Light of the World at Christmas like a spark
foreshadows the sun.
” The superiority of chocolate (hot
chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same
preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
sad to say that President Jefferson didn’t quite hit the mark on this one, but we
can all agree that he should have. Perhaps he should have included it in the
American constitution to ensure that his good sense got passed on to the
country he formed. It’s not too late to make this statement become true! Hot
Cocoa Day reminds you that your options go far beyond “Tea or Coffee” when it
comes to your morning hot beverage. Chocolate’s history goes far back into
history, far longer than most people are aware. It first was found by European
explorers in South America, where it had been being enjoyed for hundreds of
years prior to their arrival. We have reason to believe that the reason the
America’s didn’t make contact with Europe sooner is they didn’t want to share
this delightful beverage with the rest of the world. The first origins of cocoa
can be traced back to 500BC, but many archaeologists believe that this is only
as early as we can trace it, and that coffee consumption predates even that august
culture. Of course, the chocolate of those days was much different than that
which we consume now, as sugar was not something that had found its way to the
America’s. Instead, the beverage was flavored with vanilla and often with chili
and was served at all temperatures dependent on the recipe being used. The
Spaniards first found the flavor unpleasant and one an individual had to
acquire. It would not be until it was introduced to Europe and had spent some
time there as a luxury drink of the wealthy that it would be sweetened, and
milk chocolate invented. It took until 1828 for a powdered chocolate to be
made, and in that glorious moment of culinary history, both the chocolate bar
and instant hot cocoa came into existence.
How to Celebrate Hot Cocoa Day
think the best way to celebrate Hot Cocoa Day is to try every variety you can
think of. Form a gathering of friends and have everyone bring their favorite
recipe and all their favorite varieties. White and Dark, Milk and Bittersweet,
there are as many different Hot Cocoa recipes as there are individuals! Our
personal favorite is to make Hot Cocoa with 50/50 Milk and Sweetened Condensed
milk and Dark Powdered Chocolate, followed by a sprinkling of cinnamon and
shavings of dark chocolate on top. Rich and flavorful, it’s not for the timid.
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.
·3rd day, December 13th: THE WALLS—Charity
Today we must erect the Walls of our little stable by showing great love and
kindness towards others, in spite of our feelings for them. Always to excuse
their faults, and if that is not possible, at least the intention. Take no
offence at anything and show great kindness to such as put your patience to the
test. Pray much for the Poor Souls and for poor sinners. Visit the
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:
The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best
Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures
of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice
and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction,
revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of
suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up
one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.
By prayer we can discern "what is the will of
God" and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters
the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my
Father in heaven."
these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that
I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father.
And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only
stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you
will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the
end you will be a more worthy soul."
'If only I had broken it off at the start!' you said. — Let us
hope you haven't to repeat that tardy complaint.