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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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.
FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN/VETERANS DAY Acts, Chapter 26, Verse 5-7 5 They have known about me from the start, if they are willing to testify, that I have lived my life as a Pharisee, the strictest party of our religion. 6 But now I am standing trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors. 7 Our twelve tribes hope to attain to that promise as they fervently worship God day and night; and on account of this hope I am accused by Jews, O king. Paul clearly explains that his entire life was in preparation for the hope of Israel, Christ Jesus, who Israel did not recognize as the son of God. Paul states that the prophets and Moses had foretold that the Christ would suffer, and as first to be raised from the dead, he would proclaim light to both God’s people and the Gentiles. The resurrection is God’s promise to Israel. Paul like Christ ultimately was a victim of intolerance.  Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost  GOSPEL Matthew 13: 24 –
feast of saint anthony, abbot Sirach, Chapter 22, Verse 16 A 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 have one or two prominent sins that have dogged our life’s path for years, and against these we struggle
Wednesday after laetare Sunday: end of mid-lent  Jeremiah, Chapter 26, verse 19 Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah condemn him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, so that the LORD had a change of heart regarding the evil he had spoken against them? We, however, are about to do great evil against ourselves.” Have you ever been around people who cannot handle the truth! Speaking the truth got Jeremiah in dire straits. Unmoving, the temple officials and elders trashed Jeremiah nonetheless they were too afraid to kill him. Dire Straits  · At the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, God tells Jeremiah to stand in the court of the temple and speak to all the people and cities of Judah. They're getting another chance to repent. Maybe they'll actually listen this time. · If the people don't finally come to their senses, God's going to do the same thing to Jerusalem that he did to Shiloh up
Ash Wednesday Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, Verse 21-22 21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the LORD has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the word does not come true, it is a word the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him. Even saints at times may have spoken presumptuously. Let us meditate on the words of Padre Pio, “Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.” This is the great beauty of the Holy Spirit for it tells us when even a very holy person speaks not every word they speak comes from God. We error sometimes in this way, making men into gods; but a heart that is filled with the spirit of God is filled with quiet joy and even if the person were to be impriso
Romans, Chapter 8, verse 14-15 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear , but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” By the sacrifice of Christ, we are the adopted children of God, who feared none, and by whose sufferings and glory we share; by reason of the Holy Spirits presence within us. We are thus giving us a new life and relationship with God. ( Novena to the Holy Spirit ) To some is giving the gift of tongues. To which many years ago (40 to be exact February 1975) at the birth of my first born daughter I had gone to the Gunpowder Inn, in Bermuda, to celebrate her birth, with a couple of Native American friends. At the time I was in the Navy Seabees and we worked together. When I had got there, all of the sudden, I got an overwhelming feeling that I needed to speak in tongues to P. Graves and I did. I felt stupid an
Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 17 Do not deal unfairly with one another, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the LORD, am your God. Our loving God wants us free and He demands that we out of love treat each other with love and fairness. In the Jewish calendar God specified that we are to rest one out of seven days but it goes further with a rest after seven weeks ending in a year of Jubilee after the 49 th year called a Shemitah. The Shemitah Year is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel and still observed in contemporary Judaism. When Moses received the Levitical law, God gave the commandment to rest on the seventh day… the Sabbath. Moses also applied the cycles of "seven" to weeks and years . A cycle of seven weeks points to the 50th day, called Pentecost. And a cycle of seven sets of seven years points to the 50th year, the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee is based on letting the land rest
Plough Monday ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS-DISTAFF DAY Psalm 2, verse 11 Serve the LORD with fear ; exult with trembling , accept correction lest he become angry and you perish along the way when his anger suddenly blazes up. Blessed are all who take refuge in him! To fully understand this verse, we must know who the writer is referring to. In verse 10 the writer states “ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear. Our God is a just God and to “those who have been given much; much is required”; to quote the spider man movie. Kings (and the 1 percent’ers) to be wise must humble themselves. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle then for a rich man to get into heaven. The "Eye of the Needle" has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed.  I a
Full Worm Moon According to the almanac we are having a Full Worm Moon-plan to take your family or grandchildren fishing! Hummingbirds are migrating North now; look for them. Monday 2 nd Week in Lent PURIM-MEATBALLDAY-HOLI Proverbs, Chapter 31, Verse 30 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Woman is the key to the salvation of the world. It is the miracle of God that the salvation of mankind was deposited in the care of the Virgin Mary and likewise in the physical sense the material world through the modern woman who is faithful to the precepts of the Lord. Such a woman knows the secret to raising children to be happy and successful is to do it in a home overflowing with love. A woman of faith truly knows: God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken, and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. A woman of Influence
Introduction to Psalms  The Bible for some is stuffy, overblown, and boring. So and so, son of so and so did such and such a thing to this ruler and then X, Y, and Z happened. (Snore.) Well, that may be a Dull Fest, but Psalms will set the record straight. Think fire and brimstone, giant sea monsters, cannibals, and even drunks. Yeah, ancient poetry is juicy. Psalms is one of the longest books of the Bible, but that's because it's actually a collection of 150 poems about life back in the day. We're talking Real Housewives of the Negev . The Bible mostly comprises stories, prophecies, and laws, but Psalms brings the poetic punch. Most of the Psalms are attributed to David , the Israelites' greatest and most famous king. Turns out King David was a poet too—yeah, he did know it. The Psalms are all written in Hebrew, and have been jazzed up, classed up, and mistranslated ever since they were written starting 3,000 years ago. Part of Psalms' appeal is its
Judith, Chapter 10, Verse 16 When you stand before him, have no fear in your heart; give him the report you have given us, and he will treat you well.” Judith prepares for war with prayer and by the enhancement of her beauty. She is so strikingly beautiful that in this verse one of the guards of the Assyrian camp advises her to be confident in the presence of Holofernes. Beauty and the Beast  After bathing (during a drought) she uses all the human arts available to her to make herself beautiful and captivating: perfumed ointment, hair, clothing and jewelry. She understands the goodness of her body. She knows physical beauty is good and comes from God. She also knows that the power of her beauty comes from within her, from her holiness, from her faithfulness to God. Since both her exterior and interior beauty come from God, her beauty must be devoted to the service of God. God intends to use her beauty as a weapon to liberate the people. She will wield the weapon t