Genesis, Chapter 31, Verse 42
If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the FEAR of Isaac, had not been on my side, you would now have sent me away empty-handed. But God saw my plight and the fruits of my toil, and last night he reproached you.”
This is Jacob speaking about his treatment from his father-in-law Laban. We see that Laban feared Isaac; Jacobs father because God was with him. People who know the Lord radiate a presence; it affects their whole being.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is real. God’s Holy presence changes us physically, mentally and in a deeper sense within the heart. We are new people. In a similar way Moses face radiated this presence so much his face had to be covered because its glowing terrified the Israelites.
In earlier postings we discussed how Sarah; Abraham’s wife was exquisitely beautiful at an advanced age. Those who radiate the presence of God seek His will. They have the right intention giving all things to God. They avoid mortal sin and obey the laws of God. They cherish God in their hearts and seek to do those things that please God. At times we find ourselves so engrossed with our day-to-day activities and worry about the mundane; much like Saint Martha forgetting “the better part”.
If we are to radiate His presence we must be in His presence. Perhaps today would be a good day to develop the practice of putting one item on your daily “To Do” list that you know will please God. We should above all; avoid thinking of ourselves too much, honor our own and other’s bodies and work hard to create a better world.
Patriarch’s examples of fatherhood
The father's role in our modern society has dwindled to almost nothing. But as a Christian the father's role is important in molding and giving examples to his children, especially to his sons.
Probably nobody denies that the typical father exercises less authority in his home today than at any time in history. Reasons for this decline probably are of no interest or help in the present discussion; but the effect of it cannot be overlooked. For evidence accumulated by psychiatrists, social workers and similar experts proves unmistakably that when children lack a strong father to guide them, they suffer serious damage in many important ways. Consider these facts:
· There is a startling growth in homosexual tendencies among the young, and most authorities agree that the boy who develops feminine characteristics usually has had unsatisfactory relations with his father in one or several important respects. Increases in juvenile delinquency — a headlined trend in every part of the country — are also due to the weak position of the father; the lack of an affectionate and understanding relationship between father and son is a prevalent characteristic in the background of boys charged with criminal offenses. Many authorities also blame the shocking rates of divorce and marriage breakdowns to this cause. The fathers of those who cannot succeed in marriage, often never gave their children a realistic example of how a man should live with his wife in this relationship.
· The importance of the father as an example of manhood to his son and daughter probably cannot be overestimated. For example, one day your son may marry and have a family. To be a successful father, he should know how to train his children; how to treat his wife and their mother in their presence; what to discuss with them about his work; how to show them manual skills, such as repairing a chair or painting furniture; how to perform in countless other important areas. The best way to learn how to act as a father is to observe one in action.
· What ideals will he display as husband and father? To a large extent, that answer will depend upon those he has learned from you, his father, in your own home. What part will he play in the religious education of his children? The answer will largely depend upon whether you have led the family to Mass each Sunday, whether you say grace before meals in your home, whether you take an active part in the spiritual life of your parish. How should he act toward his wife — aloof, affectionate, domineering, docile? Here too the answer will mainly depend upon your example.
· The adage, "Like father, like son," is firmly based on fact. No matter how much he may resist your influence; your son will be like you in many different ways. If your influence is wholesome, the effect upon him will be wholesome. If you are a bad father, you will almost surely corrupt him in some significant way. Remember also that you represent God before your child because you are — or should be — the figure of authority in your home. He will be taught that he can always depend upon the mercy and goodness of the eternal Father; but it will be difficult for him to grasp the full importance of that teaching if he cannot rely upon the goodness of his earthly father.
· It has been said that, in addition to giving wholesome example, a good father follows four fundamental rules in his dealing with his children. First, he shows himself to be truly and sincerely interested in their welfare. Secondly, he accepts each child for what he is, and encourages any special talent which the youngster possesses. Thirdly, he takes an active part in disciplining his children. And finally, he keeps lines of communication open with them at all times. Each of these rules is worth detailed consideration, because the typical American father often ignores one or more of them.
1. Show an interest in your child's welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties. In a large family, it is especially important that you find time for intimate moments with each child. Every youngster should know that his father is interested in him as an individual, and is sympathetic with him and devoted to his welfare. Modern fathers may find it more difficult to make their children an intimate part of their lives than did men of a few generations ago. Today's fathers often work many miles away from home. They leave for their jobs early in the morning and do not return until late in the evening, perhaps after the children are in bed. Unlike the men of an earlier age who often worked close to their homes, today's fathers may seldom see their youngsters during the week. To offset this condition, they should try to devote as much of their weekends to them as possible. This does not mean that you should be a "pal" to your children or that you must act like a juvenile, when aging bones may not permit this. But at family gatherings, picnics, trips to the Ball Park or even visits to the school, you are sharing leisure moments with them.
2. Accept your child and encourage his talents.
· One man hoped for a son, and found it impossible to conceal his disappointment when a girl was born. He now spends much time trying to inculcate masculine virtues in her and berates her constantly because she is not proficient at sports.
· A successful lawyer prides himself upon his intellect and once hoped that his son would achieve great scholastic success. But the lad, now in high school, has shown no pronounced ability in academic work; however, he is skilled at working with his hands. He must face unending sneers from his father about his "stupidity."
· A third man married a beautiful woman and expected his daughters to be beauties too. One girl is extremely plain, however. Even at the age of ten she knows that she is a complete disappointment to her father.
All of these examples indicate ways in which fathers display a lack of acceptance of their children. It is a fact that the qualities a child inherits — his physical attributes, aptitudes, and many other characteristics — are the result of chance. He may be a genius or an idiot: you should not claim credit if the first possibility occurs any more than you should feel ashamed for the second.
The moral is plain: your children are a gift from God, and you should always accept each of them in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, the saintly father will accept a defective child with greater gratitude, for God has offered him an opportunity to provide more love, affection and direction than the ordinary youngster might need. Remember also that your child is an individual, with talents which you perhaps cannot appreciate. Let him develop them in the best way possible. In attempting to learn why many gifted children do not go to college, researchers have found that their parents often have actively discouraged them. In a typical case, a father became wealthy through real estate investments and could easily afford college for a son with a strong aptitude in science. But the father accused the boy of trying to "put on airs" whenever college was discussed.
3. Don't shirk unpleasant tasks of parenthood. "See your mother; don't bother me" is a remark commonly made by one type of father. He returns from work, eats his dinner and then settles down to an evening behind his newspaper or before the television screen. When his children seek his aid with their homework or when they become unruly and require a strong parental hand, he is "too busy" to pay attention. Such an attitude tells a child that his mother is the true figure of importance in the family, while Dad is only the boarder who pays the bills. It is not fair for fathers to enjoy all the pleasures of parenthood — to play with the children, to boast about their growth — and to give mothers all the painful duties. A father should discipline as often as the mother. If he fails to do so, he gives the children the idea that he does not stand with the mother in her efforts to instill proper manners and acceptable forms of behavior. As a matter of fact, in major matters the good father is likely to be the court of last resort. This is as it should be for his authority is more impressive and its effect more lasting than that of the mother.
4. Keep lines of communication open with your children. Teenagers often say that they cannot talk to their fathers about questions which disturb them. This breakdown in communication usually stems from one of three factors, or a combination of them.
The father may be so severe in his discipline that he appears as a dictator in the youngster's mind; in the past he has always been "too busy" to keep on close terms with his boy; or he has not given his youngster the respectful attention he should have. Stalin-type fathers fortunately are on the way out in America, for most men have learned that it is easier to train a child with loving kindness than with brute force. But some stern unyielding fathers remain. They may beat their child into patterns of behavior that offend no one, but in the process, they often create a bitter adult who is never able to confide fully in another human being.
The second and third possible explanations for a child's unwillingness or inability to confide in his father may have even worse effects than the first. In the first instance, unless the father is a calloused brute, his child may at least discern evidence that his father is interested in his welfare. But when a father does not even care enough to concern himself with the child's upbringing in any serious way, he evidences a complete absence of love or interest.
There are many things that human beings prefer to keep to themselves, and it is probably good that this is so. Your child should not feel that he must lay bare his innermost thoughts and desires. But he should know that in times of stress and strain he has a sympathetic and loving adviser to turn to. You will fulfill that role if you strive always to treat him with courtesy and sympathy, and with an understanding based upon your memory of the difficulties, problems, fears and aspirations of your own boyhood.
Never ridicule him: it is the opposite of sympathy and probably locks more doors between father and son than any other action.
Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Some saints were as prone to worry and anxieties as the rest of us are, but by placing their trust in the Lord's presence and care, they were able to overcome their fears. Some of these fears were relatively minor ones, as faced by Bl. Helen of Udine, who, during a period of distress, was terrified even of loud noises. Others were serious fears, as faced by St. Augustine of Canterbury, the abbot of a monastery in Rome. In the year 596, he was chosen by Pope St. Gregory the Great to lead a group of forty monks on a missionary journey to England. (There were some scattered Christian communities there, but the island as a whole was pagan and uncivilized.) Augustine and his companions set out, but on reaching France, they were frightened by stories of the dangerous waters of the English Channel and the fierce temperament of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. Leaving his companions there, Augustine hurried back to confer with the Pope. Gregory encouraged the worried missionary and sent him back on his way, after telling him, "He who would climb a lofty height must go by steps, not by leaps." Augustine returned to the other missionaries; they crossed over into England and there experienced great success in spreading the Gospel.
It's said that the words "Be not afraid" appear in Scripture 366 times one for each day of the year (leap years included). Certainly, we need this sort of ongoing reminder and encouragement; life can be difficult and is often filled with anxieties, great and small. Jesus told St. Martha that, unlike her sister Mary, she was "anxious and troubled about many things." Martha took this correction to heart and learned to trust in the Lord so much so that later, even as she grieved the death of her brother Lazarus, she was able to acknowledge Jesus as the Resurrection and the life. Martha's sister St. Mary Magdalene likewise acknowledged Christ's power on this occasion; she was one of the few followers of Christ who, on Good Friday, dared to proclaim her loyalty to Him publicly by standing beneath His Cross, and for her courage and devotion she was rewarded by being the first witness of the Resurrection.
There's a saying that "Courage is fear that has said its prayers." Prayer is indeed the key to overcoming or coping with anxiety, for it reassures us of God's presence and reminds us of our need to rely on His strength, not on our own. As St. John Vianney said, "God commands you to pray, but He forbids you to worry." All Christians are called to be a source of strength and courage to others. One who understood this was St. Catherine of Siena, who centuries before women were acknowledged as equal to men used her tremendous influence to guide the affairs of popes and kings. The papacy had found Rome to be hostile and unpleasant and had taken refuge in the French city of Avignon. This "temporary" arrangement dragged on and on, to the detriment of the Church. Catherine finally persuaded a timid Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon and return to Rome.
Another woman of strength and courage was the early third-century martyr St. Perpetua, a young noblewoman (and presumably widow) who had recently given birth to an infant son. After being arrested as a Christian with some companions, she kept diary in prison. She wrote, "What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby. . .. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else. St. Perpetua, her companion St. Felicity, and several other Christians were mauled by wild animals and then put to death by the sword; according to legend, the executioner was so shaken by Perpetua's brave demeanor that she herself had to guide his sword to her neck.
Compared with what the martyrs suffered, the things we worry about may seem trifling, but God offers us the same gifts of courage and strength that sustained the martyrs in their trials." Prayer is indeed the key to overcoming or coping with anxiety, for it reassures us of God's presence and reminds us of our need to rely on His strength, not on our own, remember how St. Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to Him for help.
This attitude of confidence applies even to our encounters with evil, for St. Teresa of Avila notes that every time evil spirits fail to terrify us or dissuade us from doing good, "they lose strength, and the soul masters them more easily. If the Lord is powerful and they are His slaves, what harm can they do to those who are servants of so great a King and Lord?" Nothing can happen to us without our Father's knowledge and permission, and He is able to arrange all things for our good. We, for our part, however, must avoid useless speculation; as St. Francis de Sales tells us, "It will be quite enough to receive the evils that come upon us from time to time, without anticipating them by the imagination."
According to St. Jerome, facing our fears and doing our duty in spite of them is an important way of taking up our cross; thus, we can reassure ourselves that in our efforts to be brave, we are actually serving Christ. One who understood this was St. Thomas More, who from his prison cell wrote to his daughter, "I will not mistrust Him, Meg, although I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. As this English saint notes, we must keep our focus on Christ, not on ourselves; once we turn to Jesus in trust, we are ready to follow the advice of St. Francis de Sales: "If you earnestly desire to be delivered from some evil, or to attain to some good, above all things, calm and tranquilize your mind, and compose your judgment and will; then quietly and gently pursue your aim, adopting suitable means." Jesus offers us His peace; if we accept it and use His grace, nothing shall overcome us.
According to John McCain a person or nations character determines its destiny. McCain points out in his book Character is Destiny the person who most exemplifies the characteristic of fairness is that of Martin Luther King, Jr.
John said of King:
From a jail cell he wrote a letter that is one of the most celebrated documents in American history and summoned his country to the cause of justice. “My Dear Fellow Clergymen,” it began. Recognizing that his correspondents were “men of genuine good will and your criticisms sincerely set forth,” he promised to respond in patient and reasonable terms. They were reasonable terms, and undeniably fair, but patient they were not.
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. . . . Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.
America still struggles internally and externally to arrive at the place Dr. King had summoned us to, that exalted place that had been the highest ambition of our Founding Fathers and the highest value we recommend to the rest of the world; the place where all people are recognized as equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. African Americans recognize the debt they owe Dr. King’s courage, wisdom, and unshakable sense of fairness. But Americans of European descent owe him a greater one. At the cost of his life, he helped save us from a terrible disgrace, the betrayal of our country, and the principles that have ennobled our history. And that is a debt we must happily bear forever.
Martin Luther King Facts & Quotes
· Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was 35 years old, which made him the youngest Peace Prize winner at that time.
· I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
· Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?
· Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
· Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Martin Luther King Top Events and Things to Do
· Visit thekingcenter.org to find out about local events and ways you can help promote unity, justice, and fight racism.
· Become a mentor to an underprivileged person in your community through Big Brothers, or another similar organization.
· Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. For more info see the Official memorial website.
· Donate to the United Negro College Fund or other charities that promote college degree attainment by minorities.
· Watch a movie about MLK. Some popular films include: Our Friend Martin (1999), Selma (2014) and The Witness (2008)
Reflect on what Martin would say about the
“Cancel Culture” and “BLM”.
January 18-Ice trapped the Endurance
Antarctic explorers like Ernest Shackleton who wrote this famous advertisement for men of courage.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
Loyalty-Sir Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton like so many of his generation were ultimate adventurers – part hero, part daredevil – fighting the elements and the odds, too far from civilization to call for help – laying it all on the line purely for the love of adventure. Shackleton led a doomed expedition to miraculous survival through the sheer force of his motivational leadership. In 1914, he set out with a crew of twenty-eight men on a quest to be the first to travel across the entire Antarctic continent by way of the South Pole. His ship, Endurance, became caught in ice and was crushed. After abandoning the ship, he and his men faced incredible hardship from a variety of brutal Antarctic conditions – from shifting weather to shifting ice, along with the trials of hunger, illness and discouragement – for more than a year.
Yet every man got home safely, when the entire expedition would have perished under weaker leadership. Incredibly, the only casualty was frostbitten toes on one man. He had passion for the adventure of the mission, but he also had passion for the men he led. When he was forced to abandon his doomed ship and realized he would not achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole en route to the other side, he kept his disappointment to himself while he shifted his priorities to the well-being of his men. He said to another leader, F.A. Worsley, “It is a pity [to miss the crossing], but that cannot be helped. It is the men we have to think about. “He put his men above himself.
He understood that the survival of them all might well depend on the quality of his leadership. He also realized that he could provide better leadership if he served as well as led. “Shackleton shared the physical labors as well as the watches…[He] would forego his own rations in order to feed the undernourished or the ill. And he often did so without anyone knowing it…Shackleton always put the needs of his men ahead of his personal comfort, and as a result he saved them all.” He realized that in order to survive they would have to stay healthy – mentally as well as physically.
When we are trying to survive, having fun is the farthest thing from our minds. It may even be seen as trivializing the suffering. But during harsh tribulation it is more important than ever to find something to enjoy. During hard times we need to find a source of joy in order to maintain a healthy perspective. As a leader, Shackleton accepted responsibility for maintaining the spirits as well as the health of his men. Yes, they were brave adventurers just as Shackleton was, well able to take care of themselves. Still, Shackleton knew that as a leader he could provide a unique kind of influence that would be empowering, energizing and uplifting. He continually sought out ways to boost morale. He set aside time for recreation. They improvised various forms of entertainment. Several of the men had chosen books among the possessions they salvaged, and they read aloud to each other. They played soccer on the ice. “Humor…played a role, with Shackleton telling stories or teasing his men. What Shackleton was doing was keeping his men alive inside; by encouraging them to read or sing, he was keeping their spirits from sagging or dwelling on the inhospitalities that in other circumstances might have overwhelmed them.” He Inspired Loyalty.
Shackleton’s passion for his mission and for his men, his passion for leadership, and his passion for motivation were a source of energy and courage during times of severe adversity. These virtues made him a leader that people wanted to follow. Even when his men may not have wanted to do something for themselves, they would do it for him. He inspired this kind of loyalty because he gave it to his men. They respected and trusted him because he respected and trusted them. They took care of him because he took care of them. They put him first because he put them first. He was a wonderful example of what a role model should be.
Shackleton dedicated South, the book he wrote about their extraordinary exploits, “To My Comrades.” In one especially moving passage he observed: “In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that natures renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” Sixty years after they had been rescued, the expedition’s first officer, Lionel Greenstreet, was asked how they had done it, how had they survived such a deadly misadventure. Greenstreet gave a one-word response:
The Ice is Nice and Chee-Chee is Peachy
Over 100 years ago Roald Amundsen on March 7, 1912 announced his success in reaching the Geographic South Pole to the world. This is the story about the construction of the South Pole Station in Antarctica in 1973-4 by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB71), also known as the ICE Battalion, which the author was a member of. The difficulties encountered in the construction of the station were monumental; enduring temperatures reaching 45 degrees below zero with wind chill factors reaching 80 below. This station was comprised of a 52-foot-high geodesic dome, weather balloon launch station and an observation tower for monitoring auroral phenomena. This Battalion was on the ICE for almost five months and worked around the clock to complete the project. This was an amazing fact when you consider that most of the construction was completed in freezing temperatures at a high altitude; for the South Pole is nearly two miles high by construction engineers less than 20 years old. The physical and mental stresses of working in this "frozen desert" took its tolls on these young men. This story chronicles the authors experience in this hostile environment, with bawdy engineers; humorous antics; hard drinking and temporary insanities and the authors faith journey amid the beautify and grandeur of the earth's last frontier: Antarctica. The title of the book is also the motto of the ICE Battalion—it refers to our mission and our R&R (rest and recreation) in Christchurch, New Zealand.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Monday: Litany of Humility
 McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York.