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.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Full snow moon
10, Verse 12-13
Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you but to fear the LORD, your God, to follow in all his ways, to love and
serve the LORD, your God, with your whole heart and with your whole being, 13to
keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD that I am commanding you today
for your own well-being?
What is meant by serving God?
Doing the will of God in all things which He requires of us, in
whatever state of life we may be placed, and doing this with fidelity, with
unwearied zeal, and out of love for Him. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896)
When we are bored and familiar with routine
work, let us generously offer ourselves to the Lord for He indeed knows our
needs and will take care of our well-being.
There are many and varied
ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an attractive way. Spiritualists or Spiritualistic Churches
involves a communication with the dead or with the spirit world by some psychic
or occult means.
care is to be used because many people are fooled. There can be the use of the
Bible, holy water, statues of saints and Catholic hymns. Spiritualists often
believe in the Fatherhood of God, doing good to others, personal responsibility
for what one does, reward for good deeds and punishment for evil deeds. Many
are Christian or even Catholic and profess faith in Jesus.
is always a dangerous attempt to communicate with the dead or with spirits in
some way. It can be through a seance, or perhaps the person just seems to go
into a trance.
are involved in healing, witchcraft, fortune telling or even blessing homes to
protect them. Sometimes they believe in reincarnation as well.
is the belief that the soul, after death, passes into the body of another human
being, an animal, a plant or even an object. Many oriental religions or cults
believe this. In Hinduism the god Vishnu is believed to have several
reincarnations as a fish, a dwarf, as the person of Rama, and as Krishna in the
different ages of the world. This is contrary to the Bible and to all Christian
belief in the afterlife. "It is appointed that men die once, and after
death be judged" (Heb. 10:27). Those involved with spiritualists must
renounce Satan, renounce spiritualism, ask God's pardon, and confess their sin
to a priest.
THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)
King Richard was glad to see all the Grand knights and
their sons preparing for the Quest. Why even Sir Michael sent for his God-son
Gabriel to be part of the great quest. Gabriel was the son of Henry, Sir
Michael’s brother. Henry was not a member of the royal court and lived deep in
the forests of Utopia. Henry had renounced his birthright, by his marriage to a
simple peasantry woman, named Diane, who was known not only for her beauty but
also for her intelligent mind and loving ways. Diane and Henry had raised
Gabriel quite different from the other young men of Utopia. He was taught all
the great sciences of the time and his father trained him in the Knightly arts.
He was a young man of strength in both mind and body. That was why Sir Michael
chose him to be his Sergeant at Arms on the great crusade to find the Tree of
When Gabriel got the word that he was to go with his
uncle he was in his most favorite places to be. He was in the upper most
branches of the oldest oak tree in the forest. It was said of the tree that it
was used as a meeting place for Mass when St. Dennis first brought Utopia to
the church over 500 years ago and if this was true it would make the tree at
least 600 years old. Gabriel always loved it here. This was his special place.
This was the place where he spoke with his creator. It was here he developed
his strength of mind and by climbing the great tree he also developed his
After Gabriel joined Sir Michael, King Richard and the
rest of the Crusaders visited many faraway lands in search of the Tree of
Happiness. They fought many battles (which are stories themselves) they learned
the value of friendship, duty and the worth of selfless service. The king and
his Knights found themselves returning to the beliefs of the church and
strangely found themselves happy although suffering in hardships together.
After five years of searching, they found their selves approaching Utopia
having never found the Tree of Happiness and having a sense of failure. Gabriel
now a Knight himself, found they were approaching the tree of St. Dennis, his
special place, in the middle of a terrible storm. As they approached the tree,
Gabriel was mentioning to King Richard how this tree was a special place to
him, and they camped there for the night to wait out the storm. Gabriel had
just finished mentioning this to King Richard when a great bolt of lightning
struck the great tree splitting it. Sadly, later that night Gabriel went to
In the morning Gabriel, Sir Michael, King Richard and
the company of Knights approached the split tree. As they approached, they
discovered buried within the tree a crucifix that had been attached to the tree
and the tree had grown around it. The crucifix was the cross of St. Dennis
which had the following words inscribed upon it, “Upon this tree (cross) God
hung in payment for our sins and love for us. THIS is the true Tree of
Full Snow Moon
to the almanac today we are having a Full Snow Moon. Plan to have a day to take
your children or your grandchildren out to play in the snow and talk a little
with them about your love and faith in God and make snow angels.
Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells
of a snowfall that seemed more impossible, namely in Rome, Italy. August 5,
352, snow fell during the night in Rome.
There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless
wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the
Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope
Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a
particular sign. In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5,
appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius,
directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline
Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?
“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”
Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during
that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news
quickly spread, and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white
splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of
the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the
people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the
Where Mass Is
Never Canceled on Account of Cold Weather
hard to imagine that, 60 million years ago, Antarctica was teeming with
dinosaurs languishing in the sweltering, subtropical heat typical of the “White
Continent” at the time. Now, it’s home only to seals, penguins, walruses and
humans who insist they don’t mind the frigid temperatures. The first official
nod to Christianity on Antarctica came from Capt. Aeneas Mackintosh, who
erected a large memorial cross on Wind Vane Hill on Cape Evans in honor of
three members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic
Expedition party who died in 1916.
Priests Down South
William Menster (1913-2007), a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and
U.S. Navy chaplain, wrote in his 1949 book Strong Men South about his
Antarctic expedition in 1946 and 1947, “The highlight of my life was the
celebration of Mass at and blessing the Antarctic continent.” This first Mass
on the continent was celebrated in a temporary tent on an altar oriented
eastward — or what passes for eastward when you’re at the bottom of the planet.
The first Jesuit stationed in Antarctica was seismologist Jesuit Father Henry
Birkenhauer, in 1957-58, earning him the nickname “The Polar Priest.” Jesuit
Father Daniel Linehan was a scientist and explorer who made two expeditions to
Antarctica in 1954-55 and 1955-56. The Linehan Glacier is named after him.
Vatican astronomer Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno visited Antarctica in 1996
and discovered a number of meteorites. (The climate aside, it’s easy hunting
for such rocks, as they stand in clear contrast to the continent’s snowy
fields.) Jesuit geophysicists Edward Bradley and J. Joseph Lynch also did
extensive research in Antarctica.
are currently nearly 90 science stations in Antarctica, half of which are only
used in summer months, when the days are long. Most research stations have a
small multipurpose room that serves as an ad hoc chapel. However, several bases
and settlements have their own dedicated chapels, including:
Notre-Dame des Vents (Port-aux-Français, Kerguelen Island)
Capt. James Cook discovered this uninhabited island on Christmas Day 1776, an auspiciously
appropriate day for what would subsequently become the southernmost
French-Catholic church in the world. French for Our Lady of the Winds, the chapel
is located in Port-aux-Français, the capital settlement of the Kerguelen
Islands, territory of the French Southern and Antarctic lands in the south
Indian Ocean. The concrete chapel was built in the 1950s, and its proportions
are based on the “Golden Ratio” — the ratio of the building’s dimensions is the
same as the ratio of the sum of the larger of the chapel’s two quantities. This
is a fancy mathematical way of saying the chapel is exquisitely beautiful and
exceptionally pleasing mathematically, aesthetically and emotionally. This
chapel serves as the parish church for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and
the British Antarctic Territory. A statue of Our Lady of the Winds stands vigil
between the chapel and the Golfe du Morbihan, welcoming congregants
while assuring them of her love and prayers.
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Punta Arenas)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (El Sagrado Corazón) in Punta Arenas, on
the southern tip of South America, serves the Chilean Antarctic Territory.
Punta Arenas is the southernmost diocese in the entire Catholic world. Its
parish, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, in Puerto Williams on Navarino Island
is the southernmost Catholic parish on the planet. Though not “technically” on
Antarctica, it’s practically there; and the Vatican has given it its specific
mission of serving the faithful who temporarily call Antarctica home.
The Ice Cave Catholic Chapel at Belgrano II Base (Coat’s Island)
Belgrano II Base at Coat’s Island is the southernmost house of worship — of any
religion — and is entirely made of ice blocks. Built in 1955, it’s used
year-round by the scientists, soldiers and staff of the Argentine military base
and research station on the island. A wedding was conducted in the chapel on
January 29, 2007, for two researchers, a Chilean and a Russian.
Notre Dame de l’Ocean (Amsterdam Island)
Lady of the Ocean Chapel serves the scientists of French-administered Amsterdam
Island. This squarish, cozy chapel is immediately adjacent to the researcher’s
quarters and hosts Mass every Sunday. The chapel offers a magnificent view of
the Antarctic Ocean.
Chapel of the Snows (Ross Island)
Chapel of the Snows is located at McMurdo Science Station on Ross Island and
was constructed in 1956. The chapel was rebuilt after a fire in 1978 and was
re-consecrated in 1989. It later opened its doors to Protestants, Mormons,
Bahais and Buddhists so that they might conduct their own services. The chapel
serves 200 researchers and support personnel, but it can host up to 1,000
visitors. It contains a stained-glass window depicting Antarctica.
Notre Dame des Oiseaux Chapel, Possession Island
tiny French-administered island in the Crozet Archipelago has a chapel
dedicated to Our Lady of the Birds. The chapel is located near Alfred Faure
Base and was built in 1984.
Trinity Church (Bellingshausen, King George Island)
Russian Orthodox chapel warmly, pun intended, welcomes Catholics to celebrate
Mass there. The quaint structure is made of pressurized Siberian pine treated
to withstand the subzero temperature of the southernmost continent. It can hold
30 worshippers at any given moment. Two Russian monks’ man this remote chapel,
committing to a year’s service. Defying the destructive power of the polar
winds, the wooden structure with Russian carvings stands 15 meters (49 feet)
tall, and Mass is generally celebrated in either Spanish or English.
San Francisco de Assisi Chapel (Hope Bay)
chapel dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi is appropriately located at Esperanza
(Spanish for “hope”) Station in Antarctica’s Hope Bay. This is one of
Argentina’s 13 research bases in Antarctica. Catholic babies are routinely
Chilean Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz (Villa Las Estrellas,
South Shetland Islands)
humble and utilitarian church is made out of repurposed shipping containers
stacked side by side and can fit up to 36 congregants. The local population,
aside from the penguins, can be up to 120 people, making it the largest
civilian settlement in Antarctica. Located on the Chilean military base of King
George’s Island, Villa las Estrellas (Spanish: “The Village of Stars”),
it’s not uncommon for personnel to bring their families, with children, to live
on the base for up to two years at a time, necessitating religious services and
Chapel of the Santisima Virgen de Lujan at Marambio Base
Chapel of the Most Holy Virgin serves Argentina’s permanent, year-round base.
On Jan. 3, 2013, during the 44th Overwintering Campaign, Father Marcelo Lopez
and the team of researchers consecrated the entire base to the Virgin Mary.
St. Ivan Rilski Chapel, Livingston Island
Orthodox church was built on Bulgaria’s St. Kliment Ohridski expeditionary base
Stella Maris Chapel, Cape Horn Island
to the lighthouse on Cape Horn Island lies a tiny wooden chapel dedicated to
the Blessed Virgin Mary. It serves the sacramental needs of the researchers and
staff at this station, which lies between South America’s Tierra de Fuego
and the Antarctic continent. The first Catholic, let alone human being, to
visit the area was Ferdinand Magellan on his round-the-world-trip across the
straits that still bear his name. Oddly, the 90 researchers and support staff
of the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay don’t have a permanent
chapel, despite lay Italian Catholics offering to build one for free. In fact,
a German shipping company offered to transport the prefab chapel to Terra Nova
Bay gratis. Despite this, the Italian government is dragging its feet, to the
detriment of the devout scientists and staff on the base. The Worldwide
Antarctic Program (WAP) is spearheading the construction of a Catholic chapel
at the base. So far, the plan is on ice.
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."
With you, Jesus,
what joy in suffering, what light in darkness!