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Friday, December 20, 2019


Ember Friday of the Third Week of Advent

GO CARROLLING DAY

 Proverbs, Chapter 16, Verse 6

By steadfast loyalty guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.

This verse is a language of worship to express what is acceptable or not to God, so this saying uses similar language to declare that lovingly loyal conduct undoes the effects of sin.[1]

 Ember Friday of Advent.[2] Commemoration of the Visitation.


Mary visits her relative Elizabeth; they are both pregnant: Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. Mary left Nazareth immediately after the Annunciation and went "into the hill country ... into a city of Judah" (Luke 1:39) to attend to her cousin (Luke 1:36) Elizabeth. There are several possibilities as to exactly which city this was, including Hebron, south of Jerusalem, and Ein Karem. The journey from Nazareth to Hebron is about 130 kilometres (81 mi) in a direct line, probably up to half as far again by road, depending on the route taken. Elizabeth was in the sixth month before Mary came (Luke 1:36). Mary stayed three months, and most scholars hold she stayed for the birth of John. Given the prevailing cultural traditions and needs for security, it is probable that Joseph accompanied Mary to Judah then returned to Nazareth, and came again after three months to take his wife home. The apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19–25, may have taken place then to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.
In the Gospel of Luke, the author's accounts of the Annunciation and Visitation are constructed using eight points of literary parallelism to compare Mary to the Ark of the Covenant.
Some Catholic commentators have maintained that the purpose of this visit was to bring divine grace to both Elizabeth and her unborn child. Even though he was still in his mother's womb, John became aware of the presence of Christ, and leapt for joy as he was cleansed from original sin and filled with divine grace. Elizabeth also responded and recognized the presence of Jesus, and thus Mary exercised her function as mediatrix between God and man for the first time.
And she [Elizabeth] spoke out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb. And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:42–45)
In response to Elizabeth, Mary proclaims the Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord) Luke 1:46–55.
The word "blessed" is rendered in Greek not by the word "makarios" but as "evlogimeni", which is the feminine second person singular, used only this once in the New Testament. Its masculine third person singular counterpart "evlogimenos" is used only for Jesus and only on this occasion and when he was welcomed into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". The masculine/mixed gender third person plural "evlogimenoi" is used by Jesus only when referring to the righteous who are to be raised to life in the Last Judgement.

 Ember days-wintertime[3]

Psalm 147:12, 16-17 "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion. Who giveth snow like wool: scattereth mists like ashes? He sendeth his crystal-like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold?"

Winter is a time of reflection, when human activity is stilled, and snow blankets the world with silence. For the Christian, Winter symbolizes Hope: though the world now appears lifeless and makes us think of our own mortality, we hope in our resurrection because of the Resurrection of the One Whose Nativity we await now. How providential that the Christ Child will be born at the beginning of this icy season, bringing with Him all the hope of Spring! Also among our Winter feasts are the Epiphany and Candlemas, two of the loveliest days of the year, the first evoked by water, incense, and gold; the latter by fire...Yes, despite the typical, unimaginative view of Winter as a long bout with misery, the season is among the most beautiful and filled with charms. The ephemeral beauty of a single snowflake... the pale blue tint of sky reflected in snow that glitters, and gives way with a satisfying crunch under foot... skeletal trees entombed in crystal, white as bones, cold as death, creaking under the weight of their icy shrouds... the wonderful feeling of being inside, next to a fire, while the winds whirl outside... the smell of burning wood mingled with evergreen... warm hands embracing your wind-bitten ones... the brilliant colors of certain winter birds, so shocking against the ocean of white... the wonderfully long nights which lend themselves to a sense of intimacy and quiet! Go outside and look at the clear Winter skies ruled by Taurus, with the Pleiades on its shoulder and Orion nearby... Such beauty! Even if you are not a "winter person," consider that Shakespeare had the right idea when he wrote in "Love's Labors Lost":


Why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

Spiritual Crib[4]

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.

·         10th day, December 20th: THE SHEPHERDS—Works of Mercy These are so pleasing to our Lord, and we must therefore practice them corporally as well as spiritually. Pray much for poor sinners and for God's dear missionaries who are trying to convert them.


God’s Handiwork[5]

Every Christmas although the same in many ways is always new for each Christmas expresses a hope learned from a lifetime of praising God. For every Christmas if we open our eyes to truth, we will see the handiwork of God; the rock of our salvation. Perhaps in these final days of anticipation it would do us well to reflect on the virtues of Mary Christ’s very own mother and in these final days in some way reflect them in our own lives.

Generosity[6] the mode of Our Lady’s soul




Our Lady puts all she has at God’s disposal. In an instant, all her personal plans – and no doubt she had many – were discarded so that she could do everything God wanted her to. She made no excuses, had no reservations. From the very first moment, Jesus is the one great ideal of her life. Throughout her life on earth Our Lady showed limitless generosity. Among the few episodes of the Gospel that refer to her, two of them speak directly of her attention to the wants of others. She generously gave of her time to look after her cousin St Elizabeth until the birth of her son, John, and she was solicitous for the well-being of the young couple and their guests at the wedding reception in Cana of Galilee.  Such attitudes were second nature to her. Her neighbors in Nazareth would have much to tell us about Mary’s innumerable little services to them in their everyday lives. The Blessed Virgin never thought of herself, but of others. She did her household chores with the greatest simplicity and happiness while maintaining the deepest interior recollection, for she knew that God was within her. In Elizabeth’s house everything was sanctified by Our Lady and the Child she carried in her womb. In Mary we confirm the truth that generosity is a virtue of great souls, who know how to find their reward in the act of giving: you received without pay, give without pay.  A generous person knows how to be loving and understanding and how to give material help ­without demanding love, understanding or help in return. He gives and forgets he has given, and in this lies his riches. He has understood that it is better to give than to receive.  He realizes that to love is in its essence to give oneself to others. Far from being an instinctive inclination, love is a conscious decision of the will to draw close to other people. To be able to love truly it is important to be detached from everything and, especially, from self, to give gratuitously … This detachment from self is the source of a balanced personality. It is the secret of happiness.

Christmas gift suggestions

·         to your enemy, forgiveness.
·         To an opponent, tolerance.
·         To a friend, your heart.
·         To a customer, service.
·         To all, charity.
·         To every child, a good example.
·         To yourself, respect.”
— Oren Arnold

Go Caroling Day[7]

Any fan of old classic movies knows that carolers were one of the hallmarks of any Christmas themed movie. Whether it was “It’s a Wonderful Life” or Charles Dickens “Christmas Carol”, you could be certain at some point some warmly bedecked singers would arrive at someone’s door belting out the traditional songs for Christmas. While Caroling is slowly falling out of style, there’s still time to preserve this time-honored tradition, and Go Caroling Day is your call to arms. Caroling has a long history in the world, potentially existing longer than Christmas itself and having moved into that religious practice from much older roots. This is no surprise, given that the act of singing has long been a form of religious observance, and religious hymns are certainly not a new way of honoring one’s faith. Caroling itself, however, is specifically used to reference those songs and traditions of Christmas, and for many years was a heavily practiced tradition that many people eagerly took part in, whether by joining the carolers or by avidly awaiting their arrival at their doorstep as avatars of Christmas cheer. Wassailing was another tradition that was quite similar in many ways but was actually used to travel to the orchards and other places where cider was produced. It was believed that singing to the trees would promote a good harvest for the year and was almost exclusively practiced in England.

How to Celebrate Go Caroling Day

Well, one might suppose that the answer is right there in the name, might they? The best way to celebrate Go Caroling Day is to organize a group of friends and relations and get out there and get your songbird on for this holiday! All of the songs you might want to sing have to be familiar after all these years, you’ve sung them growing up, as part of your school choir, and they’re on the radio in multitudinous variations starting from before Thanksgiving. (That’s another issue, don’t get me started). However, if you are more of the non-traditional sort, you can still get your songster on each year by learning the many variations of these holiday songs. The point of Go Caroling Day is to get out and share the spirit of the season, however, you celebrate it, with everyone.

Now get singing!




Evening Antiphon

Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison.

O Key of David, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens; Come and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.


Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         54 Day Rosary day 49
·         Christmas Novena
·         Iceman’s 40 devotion
·         Operation Purity

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