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.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
FEAST OF THE EXPECTENCY
Proverbs, Chapter 15,
Better a little with fear of the LORD than a great fortune
The sages favor wealth over poverty—but not at any
price. Wisdom makes poverty not only bearable but even joyful like the joy of
Ember WednesdayCommemoration of the Annunciation
Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as
"Advent Embertide," and they come near the beginning of the Season of
Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days'
Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with
Wednesday's Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2: Drop down dew, ye heavens,
from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud
forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament
declareth the work of His hands. Wednesday's and Saturday's Masses will include
one and four Lessons, respectively, with all of them concerning the words of
the Prophet Isaias except for the last lesson on Saturday, which comes from
Daniel and recounts how Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago are saved from King
Nabuchodonosor's fiery furnace by an angel. This account, which is followed by
a glorious hymn, is common to all Embertide Saturdays but for Whit Embertide.
The Gospel readings for the three days concern, respectively, the Annunciation
(Luke 1:26-28), Visitation
(Luke 1:37-47), and St. John the Baptist's exhorting us to "prepare the
way of the Lord and make straight His paths" (Luke 3:1-6).
Symbols of the Advent Ember Days
·Winter is characterized by "wet and
cold," and is associated with the golden years of old age; remember them
this season. Get your children to think of what changes atmospherically and
astronomically during this season. Why is it so cold? How does the cold affect
the earth's air and waters?
·Remember that lore says that the weather conditions
of each of the three days of an Embertide foretell the weather of the next
three months, so the weather seen on Wednesday of Advent Embertide predicts the
weather of the coming January, Friday's weather foretells the weather of
February, and Saturday's weather foretells the weather of March. Make a note of
the weather on those three days and see if the old tales are true! What stars
can be seen during the Winter months? Do your children know the traditional
names for this season's full Moons?
·Ask your children to consider how the seasonal
changes of Winter affect the plants and animals. How have the trees changed?
What are the animals doing now? Which are hibernating? Which are gone, having
migrated? What do the animals that aren't hibernating or gone eat now? Have any
stored-up food to eat during the cold months? Which have fur that has grown
thicker to protect them? Do any have fur that has changed color to match the
·Ask them to consider how the seasonal changes
affect (or traditionally affected) the activities of man. What can we do now
that we couldn't do at other times of the year? What can't we do? How do modern
conveniences affect the answers to those questions?
·Ask them how they would ensure they had shelter,
food, and water if they were put into the middle of the woods right now, with
the season as it is. What plants and animals would be available to eat? How
would they keep themselves dry and warm and protected from the winds? In the
Middle Ages, the months are almost always uniformly depicted by showing the
"Labors of Man" throughout the seasons. In stained glass windows, in
illuminated manuscripts, one sees over and over the same human activities used
to portray the months.
·In addition to these things, now is the time to
make snow angels, build snowmen and snowforts and ice sculptures, sled, ski,
skate, ice fish, sit around hearths and tell tales, make crafts indoors, watch
for and feed the Winter birds, and, most of all, praise God for His artistry
and providence... Get to it! -- and know that just when you tire of this season,
Spring will be here!
This feast, which in recent times has been kept not only throughout
the whole of Spain, but also in many other parts of the Catholic world, owes
its origin to the bishops of the 10th Council of Toledo, in 656. These prelates
thought that there was an incongruity in the ancient practice of celebrating
the Feast of the Annunciation on the 25th of March, inasmuch as this joyful
solemnity frequently occurs at the time when the Church is intent upon the
Passion of Our Lord, so that it is sometimes obliged to be transferred into
Easter time, with which it is out of harmony for another reason. They therefore
decreed that, henceforth, in the Church of Spain there should be kept, eight
days before Christmas, a solemn Feast with an octave, in honor of the
Annunciation, and as a preparation for the great solemnity of Our Lord's
Nativity. In the course of time, however, the Church of Spain saw the necessity
of returning to the practice of the Church of Rome and of the whole world,
which solemnize the 25th of March as the day of Our Lady's Annunciation and the
Incarnation of the Son of God. But such had been, for ages, the devotion of the
people for the Feast of the 18th of December, that it was considered requisite
to maintain some vestige of it. They discontinued, therefore, to celebrate the
Annunciation on this day; but the faithful were requested to consider, with
devotion, what must have been the sentiments of the Holy Mother of God during
the days immediately preceding Her giving Him birth. A new Feast was
instituted, under the name of "the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin's
Delivery." This Feast, which sometimes goes under the name of Our Lady
of O, or the Feast of O, on account of the great antiphons which are
sung during these days, and, in a special manner, of that which begins O
Virgo virginum (which is still used in the Vespers of the Expectation—together
with the O Adonai, the antiphon of the Advent Office), was kept with
great devotion in Spain. A High Mass was sung at a very early hour each morning
during the octave, at which all who were with child, whether rich or poor,
considered it a duty to assist, that they might thus honor Our Lady's
Maternity, and beg Her blessing upon themselves. It is no wonder that the Holy
See approved of this pious practice being introduced into almost every other
country. We find that the Church of Milan, Whose Advent fast lasted 40 days,
long before Rome conceded this Feast to the various dioceses of Christendom,
celebrated the Office of Our Lady's Annunciation on the sixth and last Sunday
of Advent, and called the whole week following the Hebdomada de Exceptato
(for thus the popular expression had corrupted the word Expectato). But
it, too, has given way to the Feast of Our Lady's Expectation, which the Church
has established and sanctioned as a means of exciting the attention of the
faithful during these last days of Advent.
Most just indeed it is, O Holy Mother of God, that we should unite
in that ardent desire Thou hadst to see Him, Who had been concealed for nine
months in Thy chaste womb; to know the features of this Son of the Heavenly
Father, Who is also Thine; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which
will give glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will.
Yes, dearest Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to
satisfy Thy desires and ours. Make us redouble our attention to the great
mystery; complete our preparation by Thy powerful prayers for us, that when the
solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our
O Virgin of virgins! How shall this be? For never was there one
like Thee, nor will there ever be. Ye daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye
wondering at Me? What you behold is a divine mystery.
Mass was historically called the "golden Mass" and celebrated with
special solemnity, because it focuses on the role of Mary in the Incarnation.
The first reading is the famous prophecy from Isaiah about the virgin who will
conceive and bear a son. The Gospel is the Annunciation account. Mary is a
special Advent figure. The expectant mother is a sign to us of what our Advent
waiting is all about: the coming of Christ, our Savior. Today's first reading
from Isaiah is the same one we had yesterday (for the Fourth Sunday of Advent).
Ahaz, the king, had entered into political alliances in an attempt to save
Israel from her enemies. But the prophet Isaiah was telling him not to trust in
politics, but in God. Only God could deliver Israel. In refusing to ask for a
sign, Ahaz was not being humble, but tricky. He was keeping his options open,
so to speak, by refusing to trust the Lord. Mary, instead, was completely
committed to doing God's will. By her "yes" to the angel Gabriel,
Mary totally surrendered to what God was asking of her. She didn't know exactly
what would happen. It was very risky--in those days a woman in an irregular pregnancy
could suffer severe penalties. What would Joseph think? Mary turned all those
worries over to God. And God made it all work out. Whatever problems we face,
God will help us also to work them out, if we turn to him in trust.
O Lord and Ruler of
the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and
gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.
Moses approached the burning bush, so we approach the divine Savior in the form
of a child in the crib, or in the form of the consecrated host, and falling
down we adore Him. "Put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon
thou standest is holy ground . . . I am who am." "Come with an
outstretched arm to redeem us." This is the cry of the Church for the
second coming of Christ on the last day. The return of the Savior brings us
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.
·8th day, December 18th THE MULE—Patience To practice this virtue, we must complain of no
one or nothing. No shade of impatience should be seen on our countenance, nor
an impatient word heard. Be brave. The Infant Jesus suffered much more for you.
Definition: The word pogonip is a meteorological term
used to describe an uncommon occurrence: frozen fog. The word was coined by
Native Americans to describe the frozen fogs of fine ice needles that occur in
the mountain valleys of the western United States in December. According to
Indian tradition, breathing the fog is injurious to the lungs.