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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018


FEAST OF ST. JOHN


Exodus, Chapter 14, Verse 13
But Moses answered the people, “Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the LORD will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.

At Christ’s transfiguration Moses along with Elijah appeared with Him. The purpose of the transfiguration was to fortify Peter and the other apostle’s faith for pain and hopelessness they must have felt at the loss of their friend Jesus on Good Friday. They must have felt much like the throng with Moses, noted in this verse, standing by the Red Sea awaiting the certain death by the Egyptians. 

I wonder did the apostles hear a quiet voice saying in their soul-Do not fear; stand your ground and see the victory of the Lord. Believe in Him who was born to take us to places of grandeur.

Places of grandeur[1]

·         Glorious Walking and Delicious Repasts. The Lake District Lancashire and Cumbria, England Long and narrow, Windermere is a ribbon lake. The poet William Wordsworth described England’s Lake District as “the loveliest spot that man has ever known.”


·         Grandeur transcends any language. It is the primary attraction of Denali National Park, but it’s not the only draw. Visitors return from the 6-million-acre park with tales of grizzlies, moose, and golden eagles; of sweeping vistas of subarctic tundra, glaciers, and the massive peaks of the Alaska Mountain Range.

·         Mount Desert Island Maine is a place of craggy grandeur. Visitors will find extraordinary Oceanside drives, surf-battered bluffs, off-island whale-watching, and lobster shacks with a view. Some of the nation’s loveliest walking and bicycling paths (they become cross-country ski trails offseason) join 120 miles of moderate hiking trails, all offering great views.


·         The West’s Most Scenic Mountains: Grand Teton National Park Wyoming, U.S.A. Craggy, glacier-chiseled, and rising to 7,000-plus feet above the floor of Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley (itself more than 6,000 feet above sea level), the dramatic peaks of Grand Teton National Park win America’s topographical beauty pageant. With no foothills to mar the view, the oft-photographed Tetons dominate the skyline with a grandeur that’s starkly primeval.


·         The White Continent Antarctica: Antarctica’s large icebergs form when glacier pieces break off into the ocean. Antarctica— Terra Australis Incognita, “the unknown land of the south”— is the surreal seventh continent at the bottom of the world, a place of ethereal beauty and unequivocal grandeur that inspired the great explorers of old and captures the hearts of adventurers today. The limitless landscape of ice, sea, and sky comes in a million shades of blue, and jagged, snowy mountain peaks and glistening glaciers dwarf anything ever made by man. It is the ultimate, end-of-the-earth expedition, the world’s most inaccessible continent. Check my book on this!


·         West Fork Oak Creek Sedona, Arizona: West Fork Oak Creek is a popular trail. There is a pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor as you hike it where you can look up at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it. During this hike you will meditate on each of the ways you may have been walking away from God; marking each of the conciliations as you cross the stream multiple times. Check my other book, “Divine Mercy Hikes”


Feast of St John[2]

The Feast of St. John the Apostle commemorates his life.  He was one of Jesus' 12 disciples.  He was one of the three disciples, which included Peter and James, who were involved in some of the most important events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, including Jesus' crucifixion and transfiguration.

St John Facts

·         John was a fisherman before he began following Christ.  He was the brother of St. James the Greater.  Jesus gave the brothers the name, sons of thunder. (Mark 3:17)

·         When Jesus was dying on the cross, he asked John to take care of his mother (John 19:25-27).
·         In the Gospel of John, he frequently refers to the most beloved disciple. Some theologians believe he is referring to himself, while others believe the reference is used for the reader to insert himself into the role.

·         Besides Paul, John was the most prolific writer in the New Testament.  His body of work includes 'The Revelation of John' and three epistles.

·         The Feast Day for St. John the Apostle is held in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations on December 27, the third day of Christmas.  In the Orthodox Church, it is called the Feast of the Holy and Glorious Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, which is held September 26.  This feast shouldn't be confused with the Feast of St. John the Baptist, which is held in both faith traditions on June 24.

St John Top Events and Things to Do

·         Read the Gospel of John.  It is different than the other three Gospels and was thought to be the last written of the four books in the New Testament.

·         Read the Revelation of John, thought to be written by the apostle.  The rich symbolism has been thought to foretell the end of the world, but many biblical scholars believe it was written to offer hope to Christians persecuted by Rome.

·         St John is the Patron Saint of Turkey.  Consider visiting this beautiful country - or take a virtual tour with Google Maps.

·         St. John answered the call to be an apostle of Jesus. Have you listened for Jesus's call in your life?
·         Pray today to know your own vocation.
·         Bless your wine for the new year.

Blessing of the Wine[3]

Traditionally wine is blessed on the Feast of St. John. Wine if used in moderation is a good thing. Yet, sometimes it may cause an increase in our fears or make us fool hardy when speaking, giving us a false sense of courage. So, blessing our wine is a good idea to dedicate its use for our good and not our detriment.

St. John's Day[4] (December 27)

Saint John was the only Apostle who did not suffer martyrdom, though several attempts were made on his life. One of these involved giving him a glass of wine that had been poisoned. The saint, however, suffered no harm because he blessed it before he drank. It is in honor of this deliverance that the blessing and drinking of wine on St. John's Day was once a popular custom. People had a bottle of wine blessed after the Saint's Mass and then drank it at the family dinner (notice how easily this can still be done). The special blessing for this occasion from the Roman ritual sums up the meaning of this custom:

%  Blessing for the 1st Cup

Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God! You willed that Your Son, equal to You in agelessness and substance should descend from heaven and in the fullness of time be born of the most holy Virgin Mary. Thus, He could seek the lost and wayward sheep and carry it on His shoulders to the sheepfold, and could cure the man fallen among robbers of his wounds by pouring in oil and wine. Deign now to bless and sanctify this wine which You produced for man's drink. Whoever drinks of it on this holy feast, grant him life in body and soul. By Your goodness, let it be to him strength to prosper him on the way, that his journey may come to a blessed end. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

%  Blessing for the 2nd Cup

O Lord God deign to bless and consecrate with Thy right hand this cup of wine and of whatever drink: and grant that through the merits of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, all who believe in Thee and who drink from this cup may be blessed and protected. And as blessed John drank from the cup of poison and remained completely unharmed, may, through his merits, all who drink from the cup on this day in honor of blessed John be rescued from every sickness of poison and from every kind of harm; and, offering themselves up body and soul, may they be delivered from all fault. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

%  Blessing of the 3rd Cup

Bless, O Lord, this creature of drink: that it may be a remedy of salvation for all who consume it: and grant through the invocation of Thy holy name that whoever will have tasted of it may, through Thy giving, experience health of the soul as well as of the body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
  
%  Blessing of the 4th Cup

Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit descend upon this creature of wine and of whatever drink and remain forever. Amen.

Today, on the day honoring the disciple who lay closest to Christ the High Priest during the first Mass, was the festival for priests.
The wine drunk or blessed on this day is called "St. John's Love" (Johannesminne) or St. John's Wine. When the wine has been blessed by a priest, it becomes a sacramental, and is kept in the house throughout the year as a good thing for a newlywed couple to drink on their return from church, as an aid for travelers before a long trip, and as succor for the dying after they have received the sacraments. In the Catholic Cookbook, William Kaufman includes a recipe for St. John's Wine:
1-quart red wine
3 whole cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 two-inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar

Pour the wine into a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients. Boil for 5 minutes (after which point the alcohol is virtually evaporated). (Serve hot. 8-10 servings).[5]



Three French Hens

Today is traditionally the third day of Christmas and the Three French Hens from the song the 12 days of Christmas represent the three cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  Let us talk to the Lord today and ask Him how we are doing in these three virtues and how we may improve in them. 

49 Godly Character Traits[6]

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:

Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness

Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve (John 15:13)

218 In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love. And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins.

1880 A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of society, each man is established as an "heir" and receives certain "talents" that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good.

2238 Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution. . . . Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God." Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.

The Way[7] Mortification

"Read 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."

Choose mortification's that don't mortify others.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan




[1]Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=46
[6]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/
[7]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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