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Wednesday, July 24, 2019


NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY

Tobit, Chapter 4, Verse 8
Give in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, do not be afraid to give alms even of that little.

Tobit here is instructing his son Tobiah in the three virtues characteristic in his own life: Truth (fidelity), righteousness, and almsgiving. The instruction to almsgiving is the most lengthy. Tobit tells his son to care for his burial just as his father has cared for the burial of others. He instructs Tobiah to pay servants wages immediately to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked and to give alms in proportion to what he has. Almsgiving will be for him a protection from death and will be a worthy offering, a worthy worship to God.[1]


Tobit[2]
  1. Later on, he washed, but he still decided to spend the night in the courtyard.  Even though he had no problems polluting himself by having contact with a corpse, he was considerate of others and maintained his distance until the time of purification was over. That night, swallow droppings fell into his eyes and a white film formed, impairing his vision. The more he sought medical help, the worse his eyesight was until one day he was totally blind.
  2. The irony is sharp.  His misfortune occurred on Pentecost because he wanted to share his provisions with the homeless, to dutifully bury a Jewish body, and to keep the law regarding purification.  Those “good works” led to blindness.  Yet, there is no evidence that he railed against God or even lamented this misfortune. For the first two years of Tobit’s blindness, Ahiquar supported him, but then he was transferred to Elymais, which scholars think was located south of Media. This transfer meant that Ahiquar’s financial support ended, and life became very difficult for Tobit and his family. Since Tobit was completely blind, his wife went out to do “women’s work.”  This is not specified, but most think she would have been working in someone’s household. Surely this was a blow to Tobit’s image and esteem.  After all, this was the person who had a big position in the king’s court.  Now he was disabled and unemployed. One day in addition to paying her for her services, Hannah’s employers gave her a goat to take home.  It might have been for an upcoming feast day, which would suggest that she was working for a Jewish family.
  3. When the goat started to bleat, Tobit assumed she had stolen it and accused her of doing so.  It highlights his inability to see; he didn’t know it was there until it started making noise.  Scholars don’t know why he did this.  Nothing in Hannah’s character suggested she’d be the person to steal something.  So maybe this was yet another affront to his ego and lashing out was his poor way of handling things.  It shows how tense things had become and the stress they were under. Hannah yelled back saying, “And look what your good deeds have gotten us!” There was little that Tobit could say to that.  He prayed deeply, asking for forgiveness for himself as well as the nation. Then he asked God to take his life in order to end his suffering.
  4. On the very same day in Ecbatana, another righteous person was praying – Sarah. The distance between Nineveh and Ecbatana was about 185 miles. Sarah’s name means “Mistress.” At that moment, one of her servant girls was chiding her because she had been given in marriage to seven men, but each night the demon, Asmodeus, killed them off before the marriage could be consummated.  If it’s a Hebrew word, Asmodeus means something like “Destroyer.”  He was known as the demon of lust.  The idea was that he loved Sarah and would not allow any other man to be with her. The servant didn’t know about the demon, so she assumed that Sarah was doing the killing. 
  5. Sarah thought about hanging herself, but she was an only child and couldn’t imagine bringing such shame to her parents. So, she also prayed that God would take her life and put her out of her misery. At this point, these two incidents seem totally separate, though both people are of the tribe of Naphtali.  Later, readers will find out that they are close kinsmen. Nonetheless, both of their prayers were heard in the glorious presence of God. God decided to send the angel, Raphael, to heal them both. Raphael, the angel’s name, means “God has healed.” God’s plan was to give Sarah in marriage to Tobias and to heal Tobit’s blindness.
  6. This information is given to readers but not to any of the characters in the story. As Tobit prepared to die, he remembered the money he had given his cousins in Media for safekeeping. He called Tobias and started by counseling him on the major issues of life. First, he was to provide a proper burial for Tobit, and then he needed to take care of his mother.  He was also to follow in Tobit’s footsteps, always doing good and being true to the Lord.  There is some irony here because of the fact that Tobit’s life had not been blessed despite all of his good works. This comes at a time in Jewish history when they believed good works would be rewarded with great blessings.  Tobit’s life had not turned out that way.  Still, he expected integrity and faithfulness from Tobias, which indicates that Tobit was a very righteous man.
  7. Only after he had counseled him in all these aspects did Tobit mention the ten talents awaiting him in Media. His final counsel was: “You have great wealth if you fear God, flee from all sin, and do what is good in the sight of the Lord your God.”  Obviously, Tobit believed that God really was going to end his life.
National Tequila Day[3]

Another Hedonistic progressive holiday--Note: Humility and its source is where all goodness comes from; the Spirit of God, and not this spirit.
National Tequila Day is dedicated to recognizing Tequila, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant and the main alcohol in a margarita.  Blue agave plants produce sugars such as fructose, which are ideal for preparing tequila.  The plant only grows in the rich and sandy soil of Jalisco, Mexico at altitudes of 1,500 meters.

To make tequila, the heart or piƱa of the plant is removed when the plant is approximately 12 years old and weighs around 40-90kg.  The heart is then heated to extract sap which is fermented and distilled into tequila.  According to history, the Aztecs created fermented beverages from the agave plant prior to arrival of Spaniards in 1521.  The origins of National Tequila Day are not well understood; however, it appears that National Tequila Day began to emerge around the late 1990s. This holiday is celebrated every year on July 24.


National Tequila Day Facts & Quotes

·         During prohibition, tequila became more popular because smuggling liquor into the country was easiest from Mexico.

·         Hollywood celebrities have ventured into the tequila industry.  Here are some celebrities who have created their own tequila brands:
Justin Timberlake: 901 Silver Tequila
Carlos Santana: Casa Noble Tequila (Sold ownership in 2014)
Vince Neil: Tres Rios Tequila
Sammy Hagar: Cabo Wabo Tequila
George Clooney: Casamigos Tequila

·         According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive bottle of tequila was worth $225,000 in 2006.  The Platinum & White Gold Tequila bottle was sold by Tequila Ley .925 to a private collector.  The tequila was harvested from 100% blue agave plants that had been aged 6 years.

·         As per the Official Mexican Standard for Tequila (NOM-006-SCFI-2005), the alcohol content of tequila ranges from 35-55%.

·         As per the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council), Mexico produced 118.9 million liters of 100% pure agave tequila, of which 77.9 million liters were exported.

·         I wanted to do my part to help preserve that golden age of travel… I step aboard the Patron Tequila Express railcar, and I go back in time to the days when a long journey was something fun and very special. - Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, Owner of the Patron Spirits Company

National Tequila Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Try the World's Best Tequila.  Winner of the World's Best Tequila Award 2015, 1800 Anejo is produced by La Rojena.

·         Attend a tequila festival.  Here are some popular ones to consider:
1) Day of the Dead Tequila Festival
2) South Florida Tequila Festival
3) Northwest Tequila Fest
4) Texas Tequila and Margarita Festival

·         Tour tequila distilleries along the tequila trail in Jalisco, Mexico. The distilleries offer insight into the production process and offer ample opportunity to sample a variety of tequilas.

·         Try different categories of tequila.  These include:
1) Blanco (white) tequila which is unaged or has been aged for less than two months.
2) Joven (gold) tequila which is unaged silver tequila that is flavored with either caramel coloring or sugar-derived syrups, etc.
3) Resposado tequila which has been aged for a minimum of two months but less than 1 year in oak barrels.
4) Anejo tequila which has been aged for at least 1 year, but less than 3 years in oak barrels.
5) Extra Anejo tequila which has been aged for at least 3 years.

·         Try a tequila twist in your favorite recipes.  Many recipes can be infused with tequila, for example:
1) Citrus and tequila infused cupcakes.  Add some citrus zest and sprinkles of tequila to the cupcake frosting.
2) Tequila glazed chicken.  Just add a few spoons of tequila to your favorite chicken glaze recipe.
3) Barbecued tequila and lime pork spareribs.  Add lime and tequila to an overnight sparerib marinade.

Today is my millennial daughter Nicole Patience’s (Victorious Patience) birthday; hopefully she is eating cake and not slamming shots! I ask your prayers.
"Vaya con Dios, mi amor"

Marriage: The Gift of Love and Life[4]

C.S. Lewis once wisely observed: “When everyone is rushing headlong towards the precipice, anyone going in the opposite direction would appear to be mad.” In July of 1968, the world at large thought Pope Paul VI had lost his mind. For in that month he issued his long-awaited encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the Church’s age old ban on every form of contraception. A tidal wave of angry dissent erupted over the pope’s decision. Catholic and non-Catholic alike berated “the celibate old man in the Vatican” for hindering the Church’s full entry into the modern era. As we approach the fortieth anniversary of that historic document, I wish to emphasize its importance for our times.  As a backdrop for my remarks, I would like to place it in the context of its time. In the same year that Pope Paul issued Humanae Vitae, another Paul—Paul Ehrlich— published a book entitled, The Population Bomb. In that 1968 bestseller, Ehrlich made some stark predictions. For example: 

·         “The battle to feed humanity is over.  In the 1970s the world will undergo famines …hundreds of millions of people (including Americans) are going to starve to death…”  Fact: Food production worldwide is well ahead of population growth, and obesity now kills 300,000 Americans a year.
·         “India couldn’t possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980.”  Fact: Since 1968 India has doubled its population by half a billion and is still self-sufficient in food.
·         Comparing population explosion to a cancerous tumor, Ehrlich prescribed “cutting out the cancer [too many people]” as the only remedy to save humanity. Fact: Today Europe is dying, with most countries fluctuating around the 60% replacement level.    

Against this foreboding background, the reaction to Pope Paul’s encyclical came as no surprise, even though it only restated what the Church has taught for 2,000 years. Namely:

“There is an inseparable link between the two meanings of the marriage act: the unitive meaning [making love] and the procreative meaning [making babies].  This connection was established by God himself, and man is not permitted to break it on his own initiative.” (H.V, no. 12)      In Deuteronomy 18:21 we learn how to tell an authentic prophet from a false one: Has the prophecy materialized or not? Judged by that benchmark, Paul Ehrlich is a false prophet.  What about Paul VI?

Pope Paul predicted four dire consequences if the use of contraception escalated:

1) increased marital infidelity;
2) a general lowering of morality, especially among the young;
3) husbands viewing their wives as mere sex objects; and
4) governments forcing massive birth control programs on their people.
Forty years later the moral landscape is strewn with the following stark reality:

1) The divorce rate has more than tripled. 
2) Sexually transmitted diseases have increased from six to fifty.
3) Pornography—especially on the Internet—is a plague, addicting millions annually. 
4) Sterilization is forced on women in third world countries, with China’s one-child policy in the vanguard.

In the waning years of his life, St. Augustine wrote his mammoth work, The City of God. According to Augustine, the whole world is comprised of two communities: The City of God and the City of Man. Citizens of each city are determined not by one’s birthplace or residence, but rather by the object of one’s love: placing the love of God above self, or the love of self above God. The two cities are still with us. Paul Ehrlich and Paul VI could well serve as icons of each city. In one case, death and darkness prevail—in the other, life and light. Death or life? The choice is ours!  

Novena of St. Ann[5]

Daily Prayer to Saint Ann

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .

O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.

EIGHTH DAY

Hail, St. Ann! I rejoice at your exalted glory. You gave birth to Mary, whose divine Son brought salvation to our lost world by conquering death and restoring life and hope to sinners. Pray to Him who, for love of us, clothed Himself with human flesh in the chaste womb of your daughter.

Glorious St. Ann, with your blessed daughter, deliver me from everything that is displeasing in the sight of God. Pray to your gentle and powerful Grandson that He may cleanse my soul in His precious blood, that He may send His Holy Spirit to enlighten and direct me in all that I do, always obedient to His holy inspirations.

Good mother keep a watchful eye on me. Help me bear all my crosses. Give me the fullness of your bounty and sustain me with courage.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         90 Days for our Nation, Total Consecration-Day 15
·         It is traditional in Spain to make a yearly pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela on July 24. Read more about this custom. From Catholic Culture's Library: Pilgrimage To The Stars and Cycling through time on the Camino de Santiago.



[1]The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.
[2]http://www.biblewise.com/bible_study/characters/tobit-and-tobias.php
[5]Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio


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