Saturday, November 30, 2019


Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle



Psalm 119, Verse 79
Let those who fear you turn to me, those who acknowledge your testimonies.

As the believer finds trouble from the world, he prays that he may find help from the Lord's people. The very sight of our Father's family is cheering. It brings not only fellowship but help. For the wise distribution of gifts in the body—each having his own gift—was ordained for the mutual help and sympathy of the several members. It is painful therefore to see Christians often walking aloof from each other, and suffering coldness, distance, differences and distrust to divide them from their brethren. Who then will not pray, that he, who has the hearts of all his people in his hand, would turn the hearts of those that fear him and know his testimonies, unto their brethren? It was the honor of Mordecai, that he was "accepted of the multitude of his brethren."

In the primitive church, "Demetrius had good report of all men, and of the truth itself" and the members of the church generally" did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart; praising God, and having favor with all the people." 'Then,' as Chrysostom exultingly exclaims, 'the Church was a little heaven.' Then they could say to each other—"Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" and even their Heathen neighbors were awed and constrained into the confession—"See how these Christians love one another."

Alas! that our Jerusalem should no longer exhibit the picture of a "city compact together"— that so many "walls of partition" should separate brother from brother, so that our Zion has very rarely been exhibited in her "perfection of beauty," when "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." with prejudice and misconception divided Job from his friends. Want of forbearance cankered the union of the members of the Church of Rome and even prevailed to separate chief friends — Paul and Barnabas. Diversity of sentiment injured the influence of brotherly love at Corinth. And thus, it has been in every successive age of the church so that the full answer to the Redeemer's prayer, and the grand display to the world of the Divine original of the gospel, is yet to be manifested.

But as "the communion of saints" was the peculiar feature of primitive Christianity, and ever since has formed an article of her faith; in proportion as we return to the primitive standard, we shall hold closer fellowship with each other—as "members of one body" "considering one another, to provoke unto love and to good works" —"bearing one another's burdens"—and "receiving one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God."

Want of Christian self-denial presents the main hindrance to this "keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." But—admitting that some of the brethren are "weak in the faith" in comparison with ourselves—are we then to be 'rolling endlessly the returning stone,' obtruding always the same stumbling-offence upon them? We are "not to please ourselves" in compelling them to adopt our views; but rather to "receive them, and bear their infirmities." Accursed be that charity, that is preserved by "the shipwreck of faith!"

But though scriptural truth must never be denied, there are times when it may be forborne. The Apostle "knew and was persuaded of the Lord Jesus, that there was nothing unclean of itself" yet he would rather allow even the misconception of conscience, until clearer light should be given, than endanger the unity of the church. Liberty must give place to love; and for himself, he would rather restrain himself from lawful indulgence, than hazard the safety of a weaker brother, or turn from one that loved his Savior.

Wherever, therefore, in the judgment of Christian charity, we discover those "that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" we must be ready to give them our very hearts, to view them as brethren, as one with ourselves, and to welcome them with brotherly love, as those whom, with all their infirmities, Jesus "is not ashamed to call his brethren."

We must be ready to turn to them, as those that fear God, and have known his testimonies. And does not the believer's anxiety for the company and assistance of the Lord's people rebuke Christian professors, who are far too closely linked to the society of the world?

Surely, if the lovely attraction of many of its most avowed votaries can compensate for the absence of their Savior's image, they can have but little relish for that heavenly enjoyment, which unites the children of God together in close and hallowed communion with God. And do we not see a proof of the deteriorating influence of this worldly spirit, in their readiness to feel disgust at the infirmities of the real brethren of the Lord, and to neglect the image of Christ in them, from the unsightliness of the garb, which may sometimes cover it?

But let us mark the completeness of the Christian, combining the fear with the knowledge of God. Knowledge without fear would be self-confidence. Fear without knowledge would be bondage. But the knowledge of his testimonies, connected with an acquaintance with his ways, molds the character of men of God into the spirit of love; and qualifies them, "as fathers" in the gospel, to counsel the weak and inexperienced. Should we, however, be excluded from the privilege of their intercourse; or should they be prevented from turning unto us; may it not be the appointed means of leading us to a more simple dependence on Divine teaching and grace, and to amore blessed anticipation of our Father's house in heaven, where all will be harmony, peace, and love?'

We shall carry truth and the knowledge of God to heaven with us; we shall carry purity thither, devotedness of soul to God and our Redeemer, Divine love and joy, if we have these beginnings here, with whatsoever else of permanent excellence, that hath a settled, fixed seat and place in our souls now: and shall there have them in perfection. But do you think we shall carry strife to heaven? Shall we carry anger to heaven? Envying’s, heart-burnings, animosities; shall we carry these to heaven with us?
Let us labor to divest ourselves, and strike off from our spirits everything that shall not go with us to heaven, or is equally unsuitable to our end and way, that there may be nothing to obstruct and hinder our "abundant entrance" at length into the everlasting kingdom.'[1]

Feast of Saint Andrew[2]


ANDREW, a brother of St. Peter, born at Bethsaida, was first a disciple of John the Baptist. Afterwards both the brothers were called by Christ, on the Sea of Galilee, before all the other apostles, with the words: Come after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men (Mark i. 17). Immediately they left all, and became faithful disciples of Jesus, arid witnesses of His deeds and sufferings, of His resurrection and ascension. After the descent of the Holy Ghost, Andrew travelled through Scythia, Epirus, and Thrace, and by his teachings and miracles converted vast numbers to Christ. As he was preaching at Patras, a city of Achaia, he was violently pressed by the proconsul, Aegeas, to offer sacrifice to the idols; but he nobly answered him, I daily offer sacrifice to God; not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of rams, but an unspotted Lamb; and although all the faithful may have partaken of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains as before He was offered, alive and undivided. Aegeas, enraged, committed him to prison, and on the following day caused him to be scourged; and as he persevered in his declaration, condemned him to be put to death by crucifixion. When he saw the cross, the instrument of his death, he greeted it with joy, embraced it, and said, O good cross, that was adorned with the limbs of Christ, thee have I long desired; thee have I fervently loved; thee have I continually sought. Now thou art made ready for me, according to the wish of my heart. Take me away from men, and restore me again to my Master, that through thee I may come to Him Who through thee has redeemed me. After this he was nailed to the cross. Two days he remained hanging thereon, preaching faith in Jesus, until his soul was taken up to Him Whom he had so ardently desired to resemble in the manner of His death.

In the Introit of the Mass the Church announces to us how greatly the apostles were exalted by God, Who made them teachers and fathers of the whole world. She cries out, therefore, “To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened. Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me; Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up” (Ps. cxxxviii.).
Prayer.

We suppliantly beseech Thy majesty, Lord, that as blessed Andrew the apostle was both a preacher and ruler of Thy Church, so he may be with Thee as a perpetual intercessor for us. Amen.

EPISTLE. Rom. x. 10-18.

Brethren: With the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in Him, shall not be confounded. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord overall, rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him, in Whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe Him, of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith then cometh by hearing: and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the whole world.
GOSPEL. Matt. iv. 18-22.

At that time: Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers). And He saith to them: Come ye after Me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets, followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and He called them. And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed Him.


Explanation.

The alacrity with which Andrew followed the call of Jesus teaches us:

1. That we should, on the spot, give ear to God when He inspires us with a good thought, or calls us to a better course of life.

2. That, in order to follow His voice, we should cast behind us all desires for temporal goods, and even leave our parents, if they should prove a hindrance to us, for “he that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. x. 37).


Aspiration.

Mayest Thou be forever praised, most amiable Jesus, that Thou didst choose, not the wise, the mighty, or the rich, but, what in the eyes of the world was foolishness, to confound the wisdom and power of the world, and didst accordingly graciously look upon poor fishermen, and exalt them to the height of the apostolic dignity. Look also with fatherly regards upon us, Thy frail children; call, nay, draw, us in such manner to Thee that, after the example of St. Andrew, we may suffer nothing in the world to detain us from following Thee, and may always glory in Thy cross, which is our salvation, our life, and our resurrection.

Things to Do: [3]


·         Today's feast traditionally marks the end of the Church year and beginning of Advent. Advent always begins on the Sunday closest to November 30, with this day being the last possible day of the old Liturgical Year. Christmas is right around the corner. An old saying reflected this:
St Andrew the King
Three weeks and three days
before Christmas begins.
Because weddings were not allowed during Advent and Christmas and Andrew is the patron of unmarried maidens, many countries have marriage-related superstitions connected to this day. See Patron Saints Index for a few traditions.
·         Beginning today the Christmas Anticipatory Prayer, also known as the "Novena to St. Andrew" (Hail and Blessed be the hour...) is prayed every day until Christmas.
·         View some of the art depictions of St. Andrew. Here's another Gallery of Images of Andrew.
·         Remember to pray for fishermen and all who make their livelihood by the sea.
·         Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, and Romania. The flag of Scotland (and the Union Flag and the arms and Flag of Nova Scotia) feature a saltire (X-shaped cross) in commemoration of the shape of St. Andrew's cross.
·         Read more about St. Andrew from Butler's Lives of the Saints. Also read about Andrew from The Golden Legend.
·         Foods connected with this feast: St. Andrew was a fisherman, so fish dishes and biblical themes would reign supreme. Women for Faith and Family have reprinted Evelyn Vitz's suggested "Biblical Dinner" menu. But there are other foods connected with this day
o    Scotland: St. Andrew is the patron of Scotland. Scones, haggis, sheepshead and fish dishes are traditional. The scones are called "wigs", although their shape is rectangular.
o    England: St Andrew is a patron of lace-makers. On his feast, sometimes known as "Tander", areas such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire celebrate by feasting, drinking elderberry wine, sports and serving a special cake called the Tandra Cake, particularly in Bedfordshire. It has a bread dough base to which lard, sugar, currants, lemon peel and eggs are added. This is also a day for squirrel hunting in England, so Brunswick Stew would be another dish on the table in England.
o    Slovakian Countries: Halushky (pasta dish) is cooked. Unmarried girls place slips of paper with names of single young men into the dish.

St Andrew Facts[4]

·         Andrew was fishing with Simon Peter, James the Greater, John, and their father, Zebedee, when Jesus came and said he would make them fishers of men (John 1:35-42).
·         Andrew was reportedly martyred on November 30 in the year 60 A.D by a Roman governor's order in Achaia (Greece).   He was crucified and bound to the cross to increase his suffering.  The cross was tilted to create an "x," which is known today as St. Andrew's cross and is the basis for the Scottish flag.
·         The Feast of St. Andrew is the last holiday of the Christian year.  It is held the day before Advent begins, November 30 in Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches.  St. Andrew's Day is a holiday in Scotland that honors the disciple as the country's patron saint.


·         St. Andrew is the brother of St. Peter (Simon Peter), who was the first leader of the church.
·         St. Andrew is the Patron saint of:  Amalfi (Italy), Barbados, Esgueira (Portugal), Luqa (Malta), Patras (Greece), Romania, Russia, Scotland and Ukraine.

St Andrew Top Events and Things to Do

·         Travel to Scotland to celebrate St. Andrew's Day.  The holiday commences many parties and festivals in Scotland, and it is also an official holiday in the country.
·         St. Andrew's remains, or relics, are thought to be buried in Italy at the cathedral in Amalfi.  Pilgrimage to Italy to visit.
·         Go fishing or enjoy a seafood dinner.  St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen.  He was a fisherman before he left his old life to follow Jesus Christ.
·         Visit St Andrew's Cathedral in Patras, Greece. It is the largest church in the Balkans region and one of the largest in Europe. According to history, St. Andrew was crucified just outside of the church.
·         Take pictures of yourself on St Andrew's Day and use the Instagram tag #myinstagram to win prizes.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday serves to support and promote small and local businesses.  Small businesses are an important part of the American economy, providing 66% of all new jobs and accounting for 54% of all US sales.

Small Business Saturday was created by the American Express Corporation.  Small Business Saturday was first held on November 27, 2010 with help from American Express' advertising campaigns to support the day. The following year, in 2011, political figures such as President Obama, voiced their support for Small Business Saturday.  Since then, Small Business Saturday has been observed annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday Top Events and Things to Do
  • Do your daily or holiday shopping a local or small business to support your community.
  • Watch a movie about entrepreneurship and general business. Building a business from an idea, into a small business and perhaps into something larger is difficult. Our recommendations: The Wolf of Wallstreet, The Pursuit of Happiness, Jerry MaguireThe Social Network and You've Got Mail

  • Participate in Small Business Saturday as a business owner or encourage those you know who own small business to participate.  American Express provides material online to further assist small businesses with business promotion for the day.

  • Take a look on Groupon for some local deals. Groupon always offers deals to small local businesses.

  • Contribute to a local cause and donate to a small non-profit organization within your community. Many of these organizations organize activities for local children or help those in your community who are most in need.

  • Check these small businesses

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         54 Day Rosary day 30
·         Iceman’s 40 devotion
·         Octave of Christ the King[1]
ü  I plan to attend Mass daily or via EWTN or the internet
ü  Mediate on the virtues of Mary (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding/love and Wisdom. One for each day.
ü  Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).
ü  Exercise-Universal Man Plan.



[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octave_(liturgy)

Advent and Christmas

The Advent season in the Northern Hemisphere is normally cold, dark and the days are short. Traditions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas have been established to help dispel the psychological fear that develops as a result of the darkness. However, in the Southern Hemisphere the days are long and warm.

This is a good time if you have the means to take a winter’s break and go to a warmer climate to give you a chance to create a brighter spirit. However, if this is not possible, we can greatly reduce our fears by getting some sun for 10 or 15 minutes a day. Try to walk at the brightest time of the day, or if you have a sun window to sit in the sun. This would also be a good time to pray.  Through prayer the Holy Spirit strengthens us from the inside and the sun charges us from the outside.

Also spending some time exercising daily will definitely dispel our fears. We are both physical and spiritual and having a balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual activities will make us resilient to the darkness in the world. I find hiking a wonderful anecdote to the blues and fears.

It is also important to reach out to others. We can strengthen ourselves by being with and for others. No matter what your cultural background this season will provide many ethnic opportunities to celebrate together. Think of the giant Redwoods they are the largest trees in the world. These trees survive by intertwining their roots because the ground is so hard the Redwood cannot strike a taproot to hold itself up but by supporting each other they become the largest trees in the world.
  
DECEMBER

We turn our attention indoors with Advent prayers and preparations for the birth of Christ; for most of us, the indoors makes up the part of our environment in which we spend the most time. It is also the most unregulated and can be the most polluted part of the total environment –due to new home cleaning products and tighter ventilation. Consider a simpler home environment, where houseplants purify the air, where fresh air is plentiful, and where chemical products are limited and controlled. The yearly cycle of twelve months can make us more aware of our human environment and should help us as individuals and as a community to conduct a monthly examination of conscience.

Overview of December[5]

The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is ordinarily celebrated on December 8 but since it falls on a Sunday, the feast has been transferred to December 9. The first 24 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as of Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence.

The liturgy of Advent focuses on remembering Christ's first coming at Bethlehem which then directs our mind to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. The readings focus on the people of the Old Testament awaiting the Messiah, John the Baptist, heralding the way for Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and her maternal preparations.

The main Feasts of Advent are St. Francis Xavier (December 3), St. John Damascene, (December 4), St. Nicholas (December 6), St. Ambrose (December 7), Immaculate Conception (December 9), St. Juan Diego (December 9), St. Damascus (December 11), Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), St. Lucy (December 13), St. John of the Cross (December 14) and St. Peter Canisius (December 21) and St. John of Kanty (December 23).

Christmastide begins with the First Vespers (Evening Prayer) of Christmas on December 24th and ends on the Sunday after Epiphany. Christmas and Easter are the only solemnities with octaves attached in the revised calendar. The Christmas octave differs from Easter in that it includes some major feasts: St. Stephen (December 26), St. John the Evangelist (December 27), the Holy Innocents (December 28) and St. Sylvester I (December 31). The octave closes on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

The feast of St. Thomas Becket (December 29) is superseded by the Sunday liturgy. The feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) has been transferred to December 9 because of the Sunday Liturgy.

The Reason for the Season

The month of December is filled with expectation and celebration. Preparation is the key word for the first 24 days of December. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity.

Christmas is a Christian feast — and we must reclaim it as such! In the same way that a family eagerly prepares for a baby, so in Advent should we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. We should keep Advent as a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and of hope and keep our thoughts on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on the flesh of the Virgin Mary. Let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell.
The best person we can turn to for help during Advent is Mary, Christ's and our Mother. She awaited the day of His birth with more eagerness than any other human being. Her preparation was complete in every respect. Let's crown our preparation and borrow something of Mary's prayerfulness, her purity and whole-hearted submission to God's will.



[1]https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/19-psalms/text/books/bridges-psalm119/bridges-ps119.pdf
[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[3]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2019-11-30
[4]https://www.wincalendar.com/St-Andrew

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