Friday, October 16, 2020
Introduction to Revelation
The Apocalypse, or Revelation to John, the last book of the Bible, is one of the most difficult to understand because it abounds in unfamiliar and extravagant symbolism, which at best appears unusual to the modern reader. Symbolic language, however, is one of the chief characteristics of apocalyptic literature, of which this book is an outstanding example. Such literature enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles from ca. 200 B.C. to A.D. 200.
This book contains an account of visions in symbolic and allegorical language borrowed extensively from the Old Testament, especially Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel. Whether or not these visions were real experiences of the author or simply literary conventions employed by him is an open question. This much, however, is certain: symbolic descriptions are not to be taken as literal descriptions, nor is the symbolism meant to be pictured realistically. One would find it difficult and repulsive to visualize a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes; yet Jesus Christ is described in precisely such words. The author used these images to suggest Christ’s universal (seven) power (horns) and knowledge (eyes).
A significant feature of apocalyptic writing is the use of symbolic colors, metals, garments, and numbers (four signifies the world, six imperfection, seven totality or perfection, twelve Israel’s tribes or the apostles, one thousand immensity). Finally, the vindictive language in the book is also to be understood symbolically and not literally. The cries for vengeance on the lips of Christian martyrs that sound so harsh are in fact literary devices the author employed to evoke in the reader and hearer a feeling of horror for apostasy and rebellion that will be severely punished by God. The lurid descriptions of the punishment of Jezebel and of the destruction of the great harlot, Babylon, are likewise literary devices. The metaphor of Babylon as harlot would be wrongly construed if interpreted literally. On the other hand, the stylized figure of the woman clothed with the sun, depicting the New Israel, may seem to be a negative stereotype. It is necessary to look beyond the literal meaning to see that these images mean to convey a sense of God’s wrath at sin in the former case and trust in God’s providential care over the church in the latter.
The Book of Revelation cannot be adequately understood except against the historical background that occasioned its writing. Like Daniel and other apocalypses, it was composed as resistance literature to meet a crisis. The book itself suggests that the crisis was ruthless persecution of the early church by the Roman authorities; the harlot Babylon symbolizes pagan Rome, the city on seven hills.
The book is, then, an exhortation and admonition to Christians of the first century to stand firm in the faith and to avoid compromise with paganism, despite the threat of adversity and martyrdom; they are to await patiently the fulfillment of God’s mighty promises. The triumph of God in the world of men and women remains a mystery, to be accepted in faith and longed for in hope. It is a triumph that unfolded in the history of Jesus of Nazareth and continues to unfold in the history of the individual Christian who follows the way of the cross, even, if necessary, to a martyr’s death.
Though the perspective is eschatological—ultimate salvation and victory are said to take place at the end of the present age when Christ will come in glory at the parousia—the book presents the decisive struggle of Christ and his followers against Satan and his cohorts as already over. Christ’s overwhelming defeat of the kingdom of Satan ushered in the everlasting reign of God. Even the forces of evil unwittingly carry out the divine plan, for God is the sovereign Lord of history.
The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. In the face of apparently insuperable evil, either from within or from without, all Christians are called to trust in Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. Those who remain steadfast in their faith and confidence in the risen Lord need have no fear. Suffering, persecution, even death by martyrdom, though remaining impenetrable mysteries of evil, do not comprise an absurd dead end. No matter what adversity or sacrifice Christians may endure, they will in the end triumph over Satan and his forces because of their fidelity to Christ the victor. This is the enduring message of the book; it is a message of hope and consolation and challenge for all who dare to believe. The author of the book calls himself John, who because of his Christian faith has been exiled to the rocky island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony.
Although he never claims to be John the apostle, whose name is attached to the fourth gospel, he was so identified by several of the early church Fathers, including Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Hippolytus. This identification, however, was denied by other Fathers, including Denis of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom. Indeed, vocabulary, grammar, and style make it doubtful that the book could have been put into its present form by the same person(s) responsible for the fourth gospel. Nevertheless, there are definite linguistic and theological affinities between the two books. The tone of the letters to the seven churches is indicative of the great authority the author enjoyed over the Christian communities in Asia. It is possible, therefore, that he was a disciple of John the apostle, who is traditionally associated with that part of the world. The date of the book in its present form is probably near the end of the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81–96), a fierce persecutor of the Christians.
OCTOBER 16 Friday
ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE-WORLD FOOD DAY
Revelation, Chapter 1, Verse 17-18
When I caught sight of him, I fell
down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be AFRAID. I am the first and the last,the one who lives. Once I was dead,
but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the
All have sinned; all are unjust. Have you ever thought “Now comes the reckoning for his blood” as Joseph’s brothers did (OT: coat of many colors)? Yet, the Lord has touched us, and it is important to note that he has touched us with his right hand; signifying power, forgiveness and authority saying, “Do not be afraid”.
Saint Pope John Paul II was an example of someone who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and feared no evil. The Lord’s rod and staff sustained him through the nightmare of the Nazis and the Communists. Both were evil empires devoted to the destruction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all except for the few selected elites. These empires systematically replaced God with the rule of the chosen ones of the State. People from both the Fatherland and the Motherland sat by and watched the evil grow without taking decisive action, making the adage ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (or women) do nothing.’
Remember to measure our nation and our politics with Gods Rod (Rods were often used in ancient times to measure) and not the political States or the media nor the opinion of the rich and the powerful. Let us be ever ready to speak up for what is righteous using Gods rod, which are His laws of justice and mercy, working tirelessly and remember Saint Pope John Paul II words of encouragement, “I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”
Let us also carry with us for the journey the Staff of God, which is truth, not worldly truth but Gods truth. “The word of truth, publicly, indeed almost liturgically, proclaimed was the antidote the Rhapsodic Theater sought to apply to the violent lies of the Occupation. The tools for fighting evil included speaking truth to power.” 
Satan has in the past assailed us by evil governments; is it any wonder that having been unsuccessful; that now the attack comes from within. Let us remember it is Christ who holds the keys to death and the netherworld.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
A self-effacing nun in the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial, France, was inspired by the Lord Jesus to establish the devotion of the Holy Hour. Her name was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and from the age of seven, when she received her first Holy Communion, she had always manifested an intense love of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord appeared to her often, usually as the Crucified Christ. Her simplicity caused her to feel that these apparitions were also granted to others who had recourse to Jesus in the sacrament of His love. Once the Master appeared to the young girl as she was returning from a dance and reproached her for not espousing Him. When twenty-four years of age, Margaret entered the cloister, choosing the most menial tasks. Gifted with intelligence and common sense, she made great progress in holiness. Our Lord entrusted to her the mission of establishing the reign of the Sacred Heart among the children of men. Criticism did not hamper her zeal, and her charity toward her opponents won them over to the cause of the Master. In the first revelation of the Sacred Heart to the nun, Our Lord made known His burning desire to be loved by all men, and His design of manifesting to them His Sacred Heart with its treasures of mercy. Margaret Mary communicated Our Lord's wish that the faithful receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month and observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. After nineteen years in the convent, St. Margaret Mary died October 17, 1690. Many pilgrims to her tomb have sought and obtained favors. Through her apostolate of devotion to the Sacred Heart many sinners have repented and found grace with God.
Patron: against polio; devotees of the Sacred Heart; loss of parents; polio patients.
Things to Do:
· Find out more about the Jansenist heresy.
· Read the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Strive to fulfill the obligation for the Nine First Fridays.
· Find out more about the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart and establish this practice in your home. A book to read on this is Enthronement of the Sacred Heart by Francis Larkin, SS.CC.
For the ideal union in love of husband for wife and wife for husband, God's examples are before you—Joseph and Mary. Your marriage is something to be appreciated ever more deeply. From time to time meditate on its precious character, as, for example, is suggested in the following prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for husband and wife to say in their own behalf. We can summarize the spirit of Christian married life no better than in this prayer.
O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, dwell in our hearts and be our King; grant us by Your grace to love each other truly and chastely, even as You have loved Your spotless Bride, the Church, and have given Yourself up for her.
Bestow upon us that mutual love and Christian forbearance which are so highly acceptable in Your sight, and a mutual patience in bearing each other's defects; for we are certain that no living creature is free from them. Do not permit even the slightest defect to mar that full and gentle harmony of spirit, the foundation of the mutual assistance in the many and varied hardships of life, that is the end for which woman was created and united inseparably to her husband.
** O Lord God, grant that between us there may reign a perpetual holy rivalry toward a life perfectly Christian, by virtue of which there may shine forth more and more clearly the divine image of Your mystic union with Your Holy Church, as You have deigned to imprint it upon us on the auspicious day of our being made one.
Grant, we beseech You, that our good example of Christian living may serve as a powerful inspiration to our children to conform their own lives to Your holy law; and finally, after this exile may we ascend into heaven, where by the help of Your grace, for which we earnestly pray, we may merit to be joined with our children forever and praise and bless You through everlasting ages, Amen.
(**If there are no children, the prayer from this point reads: O Lord God, grant that between us there may reign a perpetual holy rivalry toward a life perfectly Christian, by virtue of which there may shine forth more and more clearly the divine image of Your mystic union with Your Holy Church, as You have deigned to imprint it upon us on the auspicious day of our being made one, and so living, may both of us ascend into heaven, and merit to praise You and bless You forever. Amen.)
Prayer Source: Family for Families, The by Francis L. Filas, S.J., The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1947
World Food Day is recognized in order to raise awareness about hunger and encourage the public to support efforts to eradicate world hunger. Food plays an essential role in life; many people go without it and cannot guarantee when they will eat their next meals, while others waste large amounts of food every day. World Food Day is organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The FAO was founded on October 16, 1945 in an effort to help the world with its constant battle against hunger and malnutrition. World Food Day was officially established in 1979 and today, it is observed in over 150 countries. It is celebrated annually on the same day as the FAO's founding, October 16th. Since 1981, a different theme has been adopted each year based on current issues. The day is also heavily promoted by organizations that are concerned with food security and insecurity.
World Food Day Facts & Quotes
· Approximately 1/3 of all food produced worldwide, about $1 trillion dollars’ worth, is wasted. The biggest culprits are industrialized countries; they waste almost as much food as the entire production weight of sub-Saharan Africa- 222 million vs 230 million tons.
· The quest for food security can be the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future. – José Graziano da Silva, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General
· In a world of plenty, no one, not a single person, should go hungry. But almost 1 billion still do not have enough to eat. I want to see an end to hunger everywhere within my lifetime. – Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General
World Food Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Do not waste food. World Food Day promotes Think. Eat. Save. as a way to reduce waste so, t=Think about what you’re buying, plan meals and shop smart. Eat mindfully. Are your eyes too big for your stomach? Save food, save money, save the environment.
· Lobby your government to changes its laws on waste. France passed a law banning supermarkets from throwing away destroying unsold food, instead making them donate it to charities and food banks.
· Watch a documentary about the food production process. Food Inc. (2008), Super-Size Me (2004) or Fresh (2009) are all documentaries about food production and waste.
Read a book about food activism, eco- and ethical farming why not try one
of these books that may help us find sustainable solutions to feed the 9.6
billion people that will to be fed by 2050. Our picks:
1) The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World by Andrew S Winston
2) Feeding Frenzy: Land Grabs, Price Spikes, and the World Food Crisis by Paul McMahon
3) The Political Economy of Arab Food Sovereignt by Jane Harrigan
Fitness Friday-Hunting Workout
Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Elk hunting (or indeed any rough-country hunt where drastic elevation changes are a routine part of the hunt) requires a different kind of planning and conditioning than your usual whitetail hunt. The most common problem out-of-state hunters experience is not being in good enough physical condition to handle constant up-and-down foot travel at high elevation - especially when carrying a pack. The result is a physically exhausted hunter who is unable to perform. Hours and days of precious hunting time are wasted due to need for rest and recovery. Here’s a twelve-week plan that will prep you for the high country. There are two main components to physical prep for rough-country hunting: cardiovascular and muscular. Plan on exercising thirty to forty-five minutes per weekday, alternating between cardio and muscular workouts. Be sure to stretch and warm up gradually before workouts and cool off gradually afterwards.
Week One: Start out easy on yourself
to lower risk of hurting joints or tendons.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Go for a brisk 45-minute walk, preferably including up and down terrain.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Spend 30 minutes climbing up and down the local bleacher stairs (or a nice steep hill). Take regular short rests.
Week Two: Step it up a little.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Add short stints of jogging to your walk.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: same 30-minute routine, just cut down on rest time.
Week Three: Start getting focused.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Begin pushing yourself, walking less and jogging more.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same 30-minute routine, add three squats and three lunges (don’t use weights) alternately during short rest periods.
Week Four: You should be feeling much
stronger by now and hurting less. Remain careful to avoid injury.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Try to jog the majority of your 45 minutes.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to spend the entire 30 minutes climbing your stairs or hillside, alternating between five squats and five lunges every few minutes. Only rest at the ten- and twenty-minute marks.
Week Five: By now you should be
enjoying your workouts.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Warm up, then alternate two-minute sprints with walking to catch your breath. 45 minutes.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Wear a pack with 20 pounds of weight in it during your routine. Rest when needed.
Week Six: You should be feeling like a
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to jogging but pick up the pace a bit.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Try to get through your routine – hiking with pack and five crunches/lunges every five minutes – without stopping to rest.
Week Seven: Halfway there!
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Back to sprinting/walking. Push yourself.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Add five pounds to your pack (total 25), same routine.
Week Eight: Second amendment week.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Trade the jogging in for a smooth relaxed 45 min run. (Faster than jogging, but not a sprint)
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same routine as week seven but carry your bow or rifle (empty of course) or object of similar weight/balance).
Week Nine: Hang in there.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: Sprinting and walking. Keep pushing.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Add five pounds – you’re up to 30 pounds plus your rifle/bow. Stay strong and focused.
10. Week Ten: Home stretch – only three weeks till the hunt.
Mon/Wed/Fri cardio: More smooth relaxed running. Keep it strong.
Tues/Thurs/Sat muscular: Same routine, add another five pounds. You’re up to thirty-five now, approximately the weight of a three-day bivy pack. Keep up the squats and lunges, they will prep you for big tough steps when climbing and crouching while stalking.
 George Wiegel, Witness to Hope, 1999, p66.
* Note: My youngest daughter Nicole married her loving husband Matthew on this past Sunday 10/11/20; this is for them.