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.
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Thursday, December 26, 2019
feast of st.
Proverbs, Chapter 24,
21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; have nothing
to do with those who hate them; 22
for disaster will issue suddenly, and calamity from them both, who knows when?
Proverbs chapter 24 comments on the fates of the
wicked and foolish—it begins with a warning not to take the foolish as role
models. The faithful are encouraged “to be jealous, zealous; to emulate.”
Christ; for—the wicked have no future.
If Christ is real to you every day of your life then rendering to God what is
God's is not a sacrifice. No, we are compelled by the Holy Spirit and we must give ourselves up entirely to Him;
as did the first martyr Steven.
THE epistle of to-day contains a
short account of the life and sufferings of this saint. It only remains to be
added that, on account of his virtues, his wisdom, and his zeal for the faith,
the apostles thought him worthy to be chosen the first of the seven deacons,
whose office it was, in addition to the preaching of the word of God, to serve
the poor, and properly to dis tribute the alms of the faithful. The Introit says:
Princes sat and spoke against me, and the wicked persecuted me; help me, O Lord
my God, for Thy servant was employed in Thy justifications. Blessed are the undefiled
in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
to imitate what we honor, that we also may learn to love our neighbors, as we
celebrate the feast of Him Who knew how to beseech even for His persecutors. Amen.
EPISTLE. Acts vi. 8-10; vii. 54-59.
In those days: Stephen full of
grace and fortitude did great wonders and signs among the people. Now there
arose some of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the
Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia,
disputing with Stephen. Arid they were not able to resist the wisdom and the
spirit that spoke. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and
they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he being full of the Holy Ghost,
looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on
the right hand of God. And he said: Be hold I see the heavens opened, and the
Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they crying out with a loud
voice, stopped their ears, and with one accord ran violently upon him. And
casting him forth without the city, they stoned him: and the witnesses laid
down their garments at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul. And they
stoned Stephen, invoking, and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And
falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this
sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.
Stephen is unjustly persecuted; yet
he prays for his persecutors. Can we excuse ourselves if we do not love our
enemies? Were not Stephen, and others who have imitated him, men like ourselves?
With the grace of God, could not we do what they have done? Could we call
ourselves Christians were we not to do this? No; for the love of our neighbor,
and of our enemy also, is the chief token of the Christian; since it is only by
this love that we become like Christ, and resemble our heavenly Father, Who
makes His sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rains upon the
just and upon the unjust (Matt. v. 45). Let us, therefore, imitate the love of
God, of Christ, and of St. Stephen, and then we may one day be able to give up
our souls with calmness into the hands of our Maker.
GOSPEL. Matt, xxiii. 34-39.
that time Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees: Behold I send to you
prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and some of them you will put to death
and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from
city to city: that upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed
upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of
Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the
altar. Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are
sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the
hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not! Behold your
house shall be left to you desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see Me
henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Those in our days who stone and kill the prophets and preachers are those who,
by their evil backbiting, defame their pastors, who mock at and despise
preachers and sermons; for to the servants of God this is a great torment and
source of grief; it destroys their courage and paralyzes their efficiency. On
this account it provokes the anger of God, as through the prophets He often
told the Jews.
Supplication to St. Stephen.
St. Stephen, first of the martyrs, who wast filled with fortitude, grace, and
love, whose guiltless face shone like the face of a pure angel, I beseech thee,
by the grace which rendered thee worthy to see heaven opened and Jesus sitting
at the right hand of the Father, that thou wouldst, by thy prayers, procure for
me from God a pure conscience, and a holy, meek love, that like thee I may
readily forgive those who injure me; may pray for them; may not only desire for
them whatever is good, but may do them good indeed, and thereby merit the grace
of a happy death. Amen.
there is no historical connection, St. Stephen is considered the patron
saint of horses. Scholars speculate that this has something to do
with the relief from work that domestic animal enjoyed during Twelfth night; in
any case, horse parades or horse raceswere always held on
this day. One custom in rural areas was for the horses to be decorated and
taken to the church, where the priest would bless them. Afterwards, they would
be ridden around the church three times. Horse's food(hay or oats)
is also blessed on this day.
the eleventh century, the Church instituted special feast days during the
Christmas Octave for various ecclesiastical ranks. Today, on
the day in which one of the first seven deacons was martyred, was the festival
But what exactly are the Twelve
Days of Christmas? They are the days between Christmas and the Feast
of the Epiphany that constitute an unbroken period of joy and celebration.
Epiphany is considered the twelfth day of Christmas (in fact it is sometimes
called "Twelfth Day") while the Eve of Epiphany is called
"Twelfth Night." Shakespeare's play, "Twelfth Night,"
takes its name from the Vigil because during this period festivals (such as the
of Fools or the Feast of the Ass) used to be held
in which everything was turned upside-down -- a little like the reversed
identities of the characters in the play. These "preposterous"
observances, incidentally, were a joyful mimicry of the inversion of
almighty God becoming a lowly man, of the King appearing as a humble infant.
The twelve nights of Christmas were primarily a time of rest from unnecessary labor and
joyful prayer. On each of these nights the Christmas tree lights and the Christmas candle would be lit, while the family
would gather around the manger to recite prayers and sing carols
and hymns. Similar services are held in some churches during these nights as
well. Several saints' days which fall within the Octave of Christmas are
also a part of the Twelve Days.
is the second day of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves from the song the 12 days of Christmas
represent the two parts of the Sacred Scriptures: the old and new testament.
Stephen is the first martyr of the Church, and is the patron of stonemasons,
masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. His story comes from the
Acts of the Apostles. He is usually pictured in deacon's vestments, holding the
symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand,
to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a
wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos
you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St.
John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born
liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes
us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ— He who was the world's outstanding
Martyr." — Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.
is an African-American and Pan-African celebration of family, community and
culture. Kwanzaa, a week-long cultural festival from the 26th of December to
the 1st of January that climaxes in feasts and gift giving, was initially
established to unite African-Americans with their African roots and heritage.
Nguzo Saba, the seven principles that guide the holiday, is central to
Kwanzaa as a different principle is emphasized every day during the
celebration. Celebrants often dress in traditional Pan-African clothing and
decorate their homes in African artwork. Kwanzaa was created in 1965 by Dr.
Maulana Karenga, a major figure in the Black Power movement, with the intention
of providing African Americans with a link to their ancestral heritage. Karenga
aimed to bring together African-Americans as a community through the
combination of various aspects of other celebrations such as Thanksgiving,
Christmas and African Yam Festivals. Since Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a
religious one; it can be celebrated by Africans from all religious backgrounds.
name Kwanzaa is derived from Matunda ya kwanza, which in Swahili means first
fruits. Kwanzaa is based on the Ashanti and Zulu traditions of first
fruit harvest celebrations.
day of Kwanzaa celebrates one of 7 principles, known as Nguzo Saba. These
include Unity, Self-determination, Collective work and responsibility,
Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. The colors of Kwanzaa are
black, red and green. Each color carries an important meaning to unify
those of African descent. Black is for the people, red for the noble blood
that unites all people of African descent and green for the land of Africa. A
candle holder, called a Kinara, holds the seven candles that represent the
seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa Top Events
and Things to Do
about the seven principles of Kwanzaa with your family. These principles
teach about working together, learning from the past and strengthening bonds.
a Kwanzaa celebration event.
a festive Kwanzaa dinner. Include Kwanzaa foods include:
1) Shisa nyama (meat cooked over a hot wood fire).
2) Kapenta with sadza (kapenta is a freshwater fish and sadza is a maize
3) Nyama na irio (mashed potatoes, peas, corn and onion served with spicy roast
festive Kwanzaa gifts to your friends and family. Some traditional gifts
include a food basket, kinara candle holder, books about African culture and
handwoven items like gloves and scarves.
“The Black Candle” (2008). This is a vibrant and powerful
documentary that illuminates the African American experience from the
perspective of Kwanzaa. Narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou (poet), the
documentary won the award for best full-length documentary at the Africa World
Documentary Film Festival in 2009.
Chapter 23, Verse 27Thus, all who dwell
on the earth shall know, all who remain in the world shall understand, that
nothing is better than the fear of
the Lord, nothing sweeter than obeying the commandments of the Lord. What happens
when those who dwell on the earth no longer know God and what should we do when
it becomes abundantly clear to us that our duty to God is threatened by the
governments of men? The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Churchaddresses the issue of when and how St. Peter's teaching that obedience to
God comes before obedience to men as it applies in the modern Christian's life. Presciently, or perhaps better, prophetically, Pope
Benedict XVI foresaw and foresees increasing conflict between American
Catholics and a public authority increasingly secularized and increasingly
hostile to the moral values of its Catholic citizens. The conflict is caused by
the increasing demands of the State to &qu…
Chapter 25, Verse 6 The crown of the elderly, wide
experience; their glory, the fear of the Lord. We used to say in
the military to the younger troops fresh out of high school that joined the
military that beyond showing us normal military courtesy they really should
listen and follow what we do because “We survived youth.” The fact is
experience is the best teacher and experience teaches us that God is real, and
the older ones have learned that fear
of the Lord is more than a crown of glory it is the key to reaching old age. One of the most curious phenomenon of our modern society
is that by the year 2020 we will have five generations working together: Each
with different values and views of life. The Johnsons report
that each generation has been influenced by the major historical events, social
trends, and cultural phenomena of its time. These forces shape ideas about
everything from expectations and perceptions about what the workplace will
provide and how employees should…
CARNIVAL FRIDAY Sirach,
Chapter 22, Verse 18Small stones lying on an open
height will not remain when the wind blows; So, a timid mind based on foolish
plans cannot stand up to fear of any kind. The wind
is often used as a representation of the Holy Spirit in the bible. I wonder if
this verse expresses the trinity of love which compels us to protect life and
preserve the liberty to pursue the will of the Father in our lives. Human Life and
Dignity For the Church, there
is no distinction between defending human life and promoting the dignity of the
human person. Pope Benedict XVI writes in Caritas in
Veritate. . . that "The Church forcefully
maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that 'a
society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such
as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand,
radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in
which human life is devalued …
Carnival Monday PLAY MORE CARDS
DAY Psalm 19, Verse 10-11 10 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the
LORD are true, all of them just;11 More desirable than gold,
than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the
Lord showed no fear of the money changers or the priests when He overturned the
tables in holy zeal for the statutes of the Lord. Is the Holy Spirit moving you
to make a real change today? Are you being called to be holier, stronger, more
committed to God and better prepared for the trials and persecution of our
world? Consider the message of The Holy League. The Holy League
History-Pope St. Pius V formed the original
Holy League in response to the dire situation in which Christian Europe found
itself in 1571. Small bands of Catholic men and remnant armies from various
nations came together under the spiritual leadership of the saintly pontiff and
the military leadership of Don John of Austria. By prayer and fasting, …
25, Verse 10-12 10 How
great is the one who finds wisdom, but none is greater than the one who fears the Lord. 11Fear of the Lord surpasses all else. To whom can we compare the one
who has it? 12
of the Lord is the beginning of loving him, and fidelity is the beginning of
clinging to him. If only congress was afraid
of the Lord as a prime motivator! The quality of mercy is
not strain’d; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. William Shakespeare Saint Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts on fear
1. Fear is a shrinking back from evil. Hence, we cannot fear God in
himself, for God is infinite goodness. But one is said to fear God in
the sense of fearing the evil of being separated from God by sin, and in the
sense of fearing to incur his punishments for sin.
2. Fear is called servilefearwhen it is the dread of punishment
alone. It is called filialfearor chaste fear
when it is…
Sirach, Chapter 4, Verse 17-18 17 “I will walk with them in disguise, and
at first I will test them with trials. Fear
and dread I will bring upon them and
I will discipline them with my constraints. When their hearts are fully with
me, 18then I will set them again on the straight
path and reveal my secrets to them. Do
you walk with others and engage or walk away? Are you tested with trials? Are
you constrained? Then bring your hearts to the Lord.
‘Walk with sinners, open the Book, break the Bread’ The story opens with two
people going the wrong way. In Luke’s Gospel, Jerusalem is the spiritual center
of gravity: it is the locale of the Last Supper, the cross, the resurrection
and the sending of the Spirit. It is the charged place where the drama of
salvation unfolds. So, in walking away from the capital city, these two
erstwhile disciples of Jesus are going against the grain. Jesus joins them on
their journey—though we are told that they are pr…
Psalm 15, Verse 1-5 1 LORD, who may
abide in your tent?Who may dwell on your holy mountain? 2Whoever
walks without blame,doing what is right, speaking truth from the
heart; 3 Who does not
slander with his tongue, does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor; 4
Who disdains the wicked, but
honors those who fear the LORD; Who
keeps an oath despite the cost, 5lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent. In life we are
always moving toward the future. Our destination is life eternal with our
creator. In our little sailboat of life, we tend to be either moving toward God
by taking advantage of His graces which provide the wind for our sails or we do
nothing but drift. Napoleon Hill
noted in his manuscript on a book he never published entitled “Outwitting the
devil” stated drifting was one of the tools the devil uses to keep us off tack
and not sailing towards God’s mountain. A Protection
against drifting lies within easy reach of every human being …
Chapter 26, Verse 3A good wife is a
generous gift bestowed upon him who fears
the Lord. So, does this mean that if you don’t fear the Lord you
are to be cursed with a bad wife? I don’t think that is the message here
though; the point is that if our primary relationship with the Lord is right
then as a natural result all our relationships will be improved. If you fear
the Lord, that is Love the Lord, then you will love those around you and not
see others as objects to be used but as persons of worth and dignity. As a husband
seek to love your wife as Christ loved the church giving Himself up for her. Today we are a community living in the fulfillment of faith
in Christ and He asks us to do something unthinkable, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and
drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my
Thursday after Sexagesima-Carnival holy face (Day 5) FRANCISCO AND JACINTA
Chapter 22, Verse 16A wooden beam firmly
bonded into a building is not loosened by an earthquake; So the mind firmly
resolved after careful deliberation will not be afraid at any time. A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by
violent and conflicting thoughts. Sometimes we all have senseless thoughts and
feelings which shake us, but faith is a firm anchor for our thoughts. We indeed
do have the power within ourselves to choose not to react to impulsive
thoughts. Sacredness ·Holiness
consists in friendship with God. If we would be in any sense the friends of
God, we must have at least that
desire for holiness without which such friendship would be impossible; growth
in the knowledge of God is the deepening of this friendship. ·To
know God is to know self and if we know ourselves well, we know we have one or
two prominent sins that have dogged our life’s path for years, and against
these we str…
1 Samuel, Chapter
28, Verse 20Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, in great fear because of Samuel’s message. He had
no strength left, since he had eaten nothing all that day and night. Christ is the strength of the weak and the humble and
the confidence of those who trust in him. Christ says to us, “My sheep hear my voice,
says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. (Jn. 10:27) Saul was in
great fear because the spirit of God had long ago left him, and he no longer
heard the voice of God. In desperation now that Samuel had died was to have the
witch of Endor act as a medium to conjure up the spirit of Samuel to help save
him from the Philistines. Saul broke his own laws by seeking the aid of a
sorcerer. The Israelites were a Holy people and Saul could not understand the Ends never justify the means. No, we
must be calm and listen to the voice of he that was the epitome of fairness and
justice that took upon Himself our sins to the cross and thus be…