NATL MARRIAGE WEEK-WINTER FESTIVAL-BALLET
Mark, Chapter 6, Verse 20
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak, he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
Similarities are to be noted between Jesus and John the Baptist. Herod and Pilate, each in turn, acknowledges the holiness of life of one over whom he unjustly exercises the power of condemnation and death. The hatred of Herodias toward John parallels that of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus. After the deaths of John and of Jesus, well-disposed persons request the bodies of the victims of Herod and of Pilate in turn to give them respectful burial.
The Death of John and the Mission of the Twelve—Two More Stories in One
· Jesus sends the twelve disciples out in pairs and grants them an authority—control over demons. They are permitted a staff, but can carry no bread, purse, or money. They can wear sandals, but cannot take a second shirt.
· They're also supposed to stay in only one person's house for each city. If people do not receive them or listen to their pitch, they are to shake the dust off of their feet as they exit the city. With these instructions, the disciples go forth and proclaim repentance, just as their own teacher Jesus and John the Baptist before him did. They also exorcize demons and heal the ill just like their teacher, Jesus. The ever-increasing fame of Jesus draws the attention of Herod, who ruled over Galilee, but disagreements prevail over Jesus's identity.
· Some think Jesus works miracles because he's John the Baptist, who's returned from the dead, while others think he's the ancient prophet Elijah or another of the prophets of old, who've returned from the dead. Herod is certain that Jesus is John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded. Herod is plagued by guilt and is confident that John is haunting him. John was arrested. John is in prison because Herod's wife Herodias had a vendetta against John.
· John criticized Herod for marrying Herodias, who was previously married to his brother Philip. This action is contrary to the Torah. Herodias was first married to another brother of Herod also named Herod, and Herod was not "king" of Galilee, but tetrarch, which was a title that lacked the preeminence of "king," even if the actual post guaranteed similar powers. Anyway, Herod protects John, whom he respects as a religious leader. He actually enjoys listening to John speak, even though he doesn't really get what he's saying. An impasse arises between Herodias, who wants John dead, and Herod, who likes the guy.
· Herodias finally makes her move during one of Herod's birthday parties, when all of the crème de la crème of the political elite was present. Herod's daughter Herodias danced before all of the guests, who enjoyed some pleasurable dinner theater.
· Everyone is so pleased that Herod repeatedly offers her on oath whatever she wants in payment, even up to half of his kingdom. The girl exits to confer with her mother Herodias, who requests the head of John the Baptist. The girl returns to the banquet, where she requests the head as her mother directed, but with her own gruesome twist. She wants not only the head, but the head on a platter.
· Upon hearing her request Herod grieves—after all, he liked John. Nonetheless, denying her would embarrass him in front of his guests. Herod orders the executioner to behead John. The executioner brings the head on a platter and gives it to the girl, who then gives it to her mother. John's disciples entomb his headless corpse. After this lengthy flashback, the narrator reports that the twelve's trip was a big success.
The Baptist and Christ asks us to not be afraid; remember that those who are controlled by the devil are always deathly afraid. Therefore, trust in Him and remember that according to the Talmud God says to us: With thy very wounds I will heal thee. If you are unhappy it is because of sin therefore seek the healing that Christ gives in the sacrament of confession and receive joyfully the Holy Eucharist.
Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Order of the Visitation, at Parayle-Monial, France; one day, when, according to her custom during the octave of Corpus Christi, she was deeply engaged in devotions before the Blessed Sacrament, the divine Savior appeared to her, showed her His Heart burning with love, and said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to Me is that they are hearts consecrated to Me. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by communicating on that day and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered.”
The Supreme Lover
The Goodness of God means that God gives us what we need for our perfection, not what we want for our pleasure and sometimes for our destruction. As a sculptor, He sometimes applies the chisel to the marble of our imperfect selves and knocks off huge chunks of selfishness that His image may better stand revealed. Like a musician, whenever He finds the strings too loose on the violin of our personality, He tightens them even though it hurts, that we may better reveal our hidden harmonies. As the Supreme Lover of our soul, He does care how we act and think and speak. What father does not want to be proud of his son?
If the father speaks with authority now and then to his son, it is not because he is a dictator, but because he wants him to be a worthy son. Not even progressive parents, who deny discipline and restraint, are indifferent to the progress of their children. So long as there is love, there is necessarily a desire for the perfecting of the beloved. That is precisely the way God's goodness manifests itself to us. God really loves us and, because He loves us, He is not disinterested. He no more wants you to be unhappy than your own parents want you to be unhappy. God made you not for His happiness, but for yours, and to ask God to be satisfied with most of us as we really are, is to ask that God cease to love. — Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
National Marriage Week  the tabernacle of love
National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14, 2020) every year, it is an opportunity to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with promoting and defending marriage and the family.
· National Marriage Week USA is part of an international event seeking to mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses in a common purpose to strengthen marriage in communities and influence the culture. For information and resources, visit: https://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/.
· World Marriage Day (Sunday, Feb. 9) is another internationally recognized event held every year on the second Sunday of February. For more information visit: http://www.wwme.org/wpd-wmd.
Just like that sweet little vegetable patch in your backyard, the more you nurture and nourish your relationship the happier you’ll both be. And what does that look like? Quality nourishment requires pausing, listening, and paying attention to your partner. It requires that you learn to love people in ways that are meaningful to them and listen when they tell you what their needs are.
Here are 10 ways you can nudge your relationship into a happier, healthier, more fulfilling version of itself.
1. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not and just be yourself insteadWhen we are who we really truly are – weird hobbies and all – magic happens. Being true to ourselves allows us to navigate life and relationships free of hang-ups, emotional baggage, or expectations. In the beginning stages of relationships, many of us focus on showcasing our best selves in an attempt to garner love and affection. We become ridiculously, painfully focused on making a good impression. But being who you really are and being who you think someone wants you to be – it’s hard to do those two things simultaneously. Take a deep breath, release those shoulders, and stop pretending and polishing yourself. Just be right here, who you are, today.
2. Smile at your loved oneTo the best of your ability, greet your partner with a smile when you see each other for the first time that day. Imagine how good that would feel – after a tough day at work and sitting in traffic, you walk through the door and are greeted with a smile and a kiss from the person you love most. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to start your evening? This is not to say you’re never allowed to share the low points of your day, but maybe save them for dinner – rather than the first five minutes that you see your sweetie. Other great times to smile at your partner: across a crowded party, before you part ways for the day, when you know they need encouragement.
3. Realize things changeWe’re living, breathing organisms – subject to the changing tides of emotion and circumstance. It can be emotionally crippling to get too attached to the “status quo” – not just in your romantic relationships but in life. Change is inevitable. Next week your partner might wake up and want to change careers, move to the east coast, or have kids (like, soon). Can you allow space for that? Could you create a new life with him while he pursued something new? And, of course, things will change for you – your passions, your career, your family, your health. When your partner tells you that they’ve got some big changes in mind – a new workout plan, a move to the country, no more dairy – do your best to listen with an open mind and heart.
4. Work out togetherExercise gives you energy and is a wonderful way to show your partner that you’re interested in your health and you want to stay healthy for them. Trying new workouts together also helps you bond! Take a couple’s yoga class, a hip-hop dance class, or try rock climbing. Even if you’re terrible, later you’ll be able to laugh together about his terrible downward dog or your total failure to pop ‘n lock.
5. If you want quality time with your significant other, plan itYou’ve heard this advice before and that’s because it works! Make time for thrilling, exciting things – not just birthdays and anniversaries. As your weekend winds down, take a few minutes to schedule in at least one fun date each week – whether that’s trying a new restaurant, going for a hike, or catching a movie at the second-run theater. Fun things happen when you make time and space for them.
6. Express your needsSome people like to text every day. Some people need a lot of alone time. Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates. All of these needs are equally legitimate. But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell them. You don’t need to open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say, “I want you to feel loved and appreciated. How can I do that?” and when you’ve heard their suggestions, you can share yours. When they do what you asked? Offer lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.
7. Give without any expectationsI know it’s incredibly tempting (so tempting!) to keep a mental list of all the nice things you’ve done for your sweetie.
· Picked up a new yoga mat because I saw hers was deteriorating
· Made a reservation for dinner Friday
· Bought his mom’s birthday present
8. Don’t stop caring about how you look!Male or female, we’ve all done this, right? Constantly hanging out in our old gym clothes and dirty hair, eating pizza for dinner three times a week. You want to find your partner attractive and – not surprisingly – they want to find you attractive. Help them do that by keeping up with your workouts and saving the sweatpants for alone time.
9. Cultivate intimacy and independenceIt might sound counterintuitive, but you can connect while also retaining autonomy. Don’t stop doing the things that filled you up now that you’ve found a partner. Keep attending those pottery classes, keep working on your novel – and keep telling your partner all about it and why you love it. Just as important? Give them the space to pursue a few passions without you. You’ll both be that much more excited to come home and tell each other about your adventures.
10. Inspire your partner by loving yourself fiercelyThe more you love yourself; the more others will follow your lead. We’ve all witnessed it: the confident woman who maintains healthy boundaries always seems to attract amazing partners. Do your best to identify your needs and meet those needs yourself. Need creative inspiration? Rather than trying to date an artist or force your accountant boyfriend to take drawing classes, buy a DSLR and get to shooting. Crave a more active social life? Don’t hassle your introverted girlfriend into house parties and nights out. Call up your most outgoing friends and schedule a night out, complete with cute shoes and cocktails. We teach people how to treat us and when you nourish yourself with love and respect, the world – and your partner – take notice.
Party in Quebec City
For fabulous winter fun, head to the annual Winter Festival in Quebec City. Snow rafting, ice canoe racing, a bartending competition, snow baths (clothing optional), a snow sculpture competition and a masquerade ball are among the many activities.
Ballet DayBeauty is the Foretaste of Heaven
When life takes me on a new journey, I simply remember the smile my first ballet recital put on my face and I move forward.
– Andrea Thompson
– Andrea Thompson
There’s something magical about going to ballet. The music, the outfits, the utter passion of the dance as the ballet artists lose themselves to the performance, all of it comes together to create a beautiful, otherworldly experience for those in attendance. There is an almost magical power in their graceful movements across the stage, like flower petals on a stiffening breeze. Ballet Day encourages you to get out and see the ballet again, or for the first time if you haven’t already. Ballet found its origins during the Renaissance throughout Italy and France, though it had yet to evolve into the form we know it today. There were no tutus, no ballet slippers, and the iconic pointe work of ballet were all things to come in the future. It found roots in court dances, and thus incorporated the proper dance dress of women at the time, formal gowns that descended to the ankle. Unlike modern performances, the audience would join the dance as it came to a close. Later, it would come to take influences from the French ballet de cour, a form of performance which were performed strictly by the nobility, and would blend dance with speech, music, verse, song, and a great amount of pageantry. Ballet was beginning to take the shape we know of today, and it was here that it developed into a true art form. Since then it has spread throughout the world, from Russia to Germany, and is loved everywhere for its intrinsic beauty. Since then it has been driven to new artistic heights and embraced multiple cultures, and Ballet Day encourages you to get out and experience its beauty for yourself.
How to celebrate Ballet Day
Go to the ballet! That’s the first and best way. World Ballet Day is a yearly organized event that celebrates the beauty of ballet and what it’s become in the world today. Events are held all over the world, and videos are taken, so don’t think you have to miss out on this beautiful expression of the arts simply because you aren’t able to get out to see them. Ballet will come home to you! So, get out there and get yourself some culture!
US Disunion of State and Faithful Citizenship
The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. We are a nation founded on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the terminally ill, and the elderly, the most vulnerable members of the American family. We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue "liberty and justice for all," but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live-in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. We are part of a global community charged with being good stewards of the earth's environment, what Pope Francis calls "our common home," which is being threatened. These challenges are at the heart of public life and at the center of the pursuit of the common good. They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, "We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature" (Laudato Si', no. 139).
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.