Skip to main content

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

 

Tuesday in the Octave of Christmas

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS-CARD PLAYING DAY

 

Wisdom, Chapter 18, Verse 25

To these the destroyer yielded, these he FEARED; for this sole trial of anger sufficed.

 

The destroyer angel fears nothing, but the name of God inscribed on the doorposts of the Jews written in the blood of the lamb. At this does he stop his destruction, at this name the angel turns aside; at the name of He that is the angel of death yields.

 

The Destroying Angel[1] 

The particular term "destroying angel" (malakh ha-mashhit) occurs twice in the Bible, in II Samuel 24:16 and its parallel, I Chronicles 21:15. Other allusions to this "destroyer" (mashhit), can be found in Exodus 12:23 and Isaiah 54:16. In the cultures of the ancient Near East, gods were believed to be responsible for death and destruction. The Bible, however, does not portray such a configuration. Instead, the destructive agents act according to God's instruction: they are His messengers and it is the Lord who initiates death and destruction. We will see that the Bible refers to the angelic forces of destruction in a way that negates the ideas of neighboring cultures. 

The Plagues of Egypt 

The destroying angel seems to be alluded to in the Bible's description of the slaying of the firstborn, where he is called ha-mashhit: for the Lord will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home (Ex. 12:23). While is stated explicitly that the Lord passed through Egypt to smite the firstborn (Ex. 12:12–13), and the text of the Passover Haggadah expounds this to mean, "I and not an angel," verse 23 attests that the Lord was accompanied by the destroying angel, whose nature is to strike down all whom he encounters, unless – as here – the Lord restrains him. This seems to be the intention of the Mekhilta's comment on verse 22, None of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning: "This indicates that when the destroying angel is given permission to do harm, he does not distinguish between the righteous and the wicked." The Psalmist's account of the plagues of Egypt (Ps. 78:49) indicates that the plagues were inflicted by mishlahat malakhei ra'im – a band of deadly [lit. evil] angels. The talmudic sages used the term mishlahat to describe a band of destructive creatures, specifically a wolf pack. Kraus believes that this "band of evil angels" does not refer to the "destroying angel" (mashhit) associated with the last plague (Ex. 12:23), but to the demonic powers that the Lord dispatches with every affliction. It seems, then, that we must distinguish the "destroying angel," ha-mashhit, from the messengers of death who come to punish individuals only. By contrast, the Destroyer is sent by the Lord to kill multitudes through a plague. Unlike the deadly messengers, who bring both natural and premature death, the Destroyer inflicts only a premature, painful death. Still, this mashhit is controlled by God. 

Wrath 

Another implicit allusion to the destroying angel can be found in For wrath [ketzef] has gone forth from the Lord: the plague has begun (Num. 17:11 [RSV 16:46]). Milgrom sees this wrath or anger as an independent entity, similar to the Destroyer that acts on behalf of the Lord. There are indeed several references to it in the Bible. Thus (Num. 1:53), The Levites, however, shall camp around the Tabernacle of the Pact, that the wrath [ketzef] may not strike the Israelite community. Similarly, the mandate continues, No outsider shall intrude upon you as you discharge the duties connected with the Shrine and the altar, that wrath [ketzef] may not again strike the Israelites (Num. 18:5). According to Rashi, this plague is spread by the Angel of Death, who is also known as "the Anger before the Lord with the authority to kill." In the Talmud, the Angel of Death (malakh ha-mavet) has assistants, one of whom is actually named Ketzef: "Rav Hisda said: 'They are: Fury, Anger and Wrath [Ketzef], Destroyer and Breaker and Annihilator'". Elsewhere, Ketzef is the name of an angel of destruction (Targum Yerushalmi, Numbers 17:11). He is also specifically noted as acting on behalf of God, not as an independent entity: Wrath [ketzef] has gone forth from the Lord (Num. 17:11). The Sages regarded the Destroyer as an amoral force that could be overcome only through sacrificial blood, incense, or some other ritual. However, these rituals were directed to God, not to the Destroyer himself. In the ancient Near East, incense was burned for the gods to placate them and still their anger. Egyptian reliefs depict Canaanite priests standing on a high place and offering incense to Pharaoh, who is massacring the inhabitants of a city. In both of the biblical stories about the Destroyer (the Tenth Plague and the threshing floor of Araunah), the plague is halted by a ritual act (placing blood on the doorpost, building an altar, burning incense), but it is God, not His messenger, who responds.

 

Conclusion 

The destroying angel is explicitly mentioned twice in the Bible (II Sam. 24:16; I Chron. 21:15). In addition, there are several other passages in the Bible and rabbinic literature that refer to destructive supernatural forces. The idea of the destroying angel as an independent force, acting of its own accord, is foreign to the Hebrew Bible, which emphasizes that God is in control of these destructive forces so as to negate polytheistic beliefs. The angel can do nothing on its own initiative and must only act in compliance with the will of God. It is He alone who deals death and gives life 

Feast of the Holy Innocents[2] 


DECEMBER 28. 

THE account of the martyrdom of these children is given in the gospel of to-day. The Church justly honors them as martyrs, since they confessed Christ, if not by the mouth, yet by their death, which they suffered by reason of Herod s hatred against Christ.

The Introit of the Mass reads: “Out of the mouth of infants and suckling’s Thou hast perfected praise, because of Thy enemies, O Lord. O Lord, how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth.” 

Prayer. 

O God, Whose praise the martyred innocents confessed on this day not by speaking, but by dying mortify in us all the evils of vices, that our life also may confess by actions Thy faith, which our tongue proclaims. 

EPISTLE. Apoc. xiv. 1-5. 

In those days I beheld a Lamb standing upon Mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty-four thousand having His name, and the name of His Father written on their fore heads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers, harping on their harps. And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the ancients: and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand, who were purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were purchased from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb: and in their mouth there was found no lie: for they are without spot before the throne of God. 

GOSPEL. Matt. ii. 13-18.

 


At that time: An angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee: for it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the child and His Mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the Wise Men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men-children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the “Wise Men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 

What persons are like Herod?   

All those who destroy children, in body or in soul; for example, unmanly men who are cruel to their wives while with child, who strike them, incite them to anger, or terrify them; heedless parents who neglect their little ones, who do not take pains to keep them clean and healthy; those corrupt and godless women who destroy the fruit of their shame either before or after birth, and while yet unbaptized. But more cruel than all these, and even than Herod himself, are they who scandalize little children by impure conversations, by indecent songs, by acts of impurity in their presence, or by inciting them to the like; for thereby they plunge the souls of the children into destruction. 

Innocents Day[3]

In many religious communities, Innocents' Day was the traditional feast for the youngest members. In keeping with the upside-down spirit of Twelfth night, the youngest novice had the privilege of sitting at the first place or even of being abbot for a day. Feast of the Holy Innocents is a day for the younger members of the family or religious community. Some kind of "baby food" -- such as a hot cereal with sugar and cinnamon -- is generally served to them. In the family, the youngest member is also the "celebrity" of the day, especially if he is a baby. Customs like decorating the crib or blessing the baby are appropriate ways of observing the feast. Today, on the day in which little ones shed their blood for Christ, was the festival for choirboys and students.

Feast of the Holy Innocents - Day Four[4]

The Holy Innocents saved the Child Jesus from death by King Herod by the shedding of their own blood. The Holy Innocents are the special patrons of small children, who can please the Christ Child by being obedient and helpful to parents, and by sharing their toys and loving their siblings and playmates.

The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children. From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion. But parents can simply sign a cross on the child's forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say: May God bless you, and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mind—the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who didst embrace and lay thy hands upon the little children when they came to thee, and didst say to them: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs, and their angels always see the face of my Father," — look with a Father's eye upon the innocence of these children and their parents' devotion, and bless them this day through our ministry. By thy grace and goodness let them make progress in desiring thee, loving thee, fearing thee, obeying thy commandments — thus coming to their destined home, through thee, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Today I will ask the Lord to bless all my seven children! (Claire, Christopher, Candace, Dara, Rachel, Nicole and Vincent) Also my stepchildren! (Kelly, Ryan and Nathan) 

Four Calling Birds 

Today in the song the 12 days of Christmas the 4th day we sing of the Four Calling Birds which represent the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. During the upcoming year it would make a worthy project to read them all. These gospels will help us to be persons of courage. 

Christmas Calendar[5] 

Read: Read today about the Holy Innocents who were put to death by King Herod. 

Reflect: The observances of the Christmas season illuminate many key themes for the faithful. Meditate today on this one: 

"The sacredness of human life and the wonderful event that is every birth, since the Word of life came amongst men and was made visible through his birth of the Virgin Mary (see 1 Jn 1:2)." 

Pray the Rosary for life today. 

Act: Add an intercession for life that has particular meaning for your family to the mealtime blessing today.

Card Playing Day[6]

The holiday season has come and gone, and the end of the year is in sight. You know what you need to do now? That’s right, you need to sit back and play out a few rounds of solitaire, or maybe get the family together for a night of Texas Hold’em, Slap Jack, or War. Whatever your pleasure, Card Playing Day is a chance to wind down from all the kerfuffle of the season by engaging in a card game or three. Playing cards are thought to have first been introduced to the world in China before spreading across the globe to India, Persia, and ultimately every corner of this… sphere. Ok, so that corner thing never has made sense, unless you’re talking about a rectangular playing card, which thankfully we are! A whole pack of them in fact. Playing cards have always been the last bastion of entertainment in inclement weather, and thus were a favorite of the winter holidays. After all, before the invention of television and electricity, what was one to do when you’d heard all of Uncle Joe’s story, and couldn’t possibly bring yourself to lay your eyes on another dog-eared novel? That’s right, you play cards! There are numerous games that exist in the world, hundreds from every culture imaginable. Some games are unique to a particular region, or at least distinct to it (Like Baccarat) or can be found in variations all over the world while clearly being recognizable (like poker). Others still involve the use of playing boards as a utility in keeping track of points, such as cribbage. Card Playing Day is an opportunity and excuse to return to this age-old form of entertainment, and to spend a little time alone, or connecting with your family.

How to celebrate Card Playing Day

Well, the simplest way to celebrate Card Playing Day is, of course, to participate in the aforementioned past-time! However, if you’re really looking to make an experience out of Card Playing Day, you may consider trying to learn a variation of a game you already know, or even learning a completely new card game altogether. There’re countless games out there you can learn, and if the game you know has lost its appeal, it’s time to learn another one! We also suggest getting out there and investing in a new deck of cards, there are limitless variations on style and theme, and a new deck can make a new game even more fun!

Daily Devotions/Activities

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Binding and suppressing the Devils Evil works.

·       Read-Theodore Dresser’s (died today 1945) writer of “Sister Carrie” a Novel about the killing of childlike innocence.

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion

·       Pray Day 5 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops

·       Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Pray for our nation.

·       Rosary.

                                             

[1] bardestroyingangel-1.pdf

[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

[4]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-12-28

[5]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/christmas/christmas-december-28.cfm

[6]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/card-playing-day/





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thursday, May 27, 2021

  Auxilium Christianorum - Praying for Persecuted Priests Monday, May 24 is the Feast of Mary Mother of the Church. It is also the Feast of  Mary Help of Christians  (Auxilium Christianorum). Please consider joining this Auxilium Christianorum family to pray daily for our holy and courageous persecuted priests. The Church teaches us that it is divided into the  Church Triumphant  (which includes the members of the Church in heaven), the  Church Suffering  (this includes the members of the Church in purgatory), and the  Church Militant  (this refers to those members of the Church who are alive in this world). Because we are part of the Church Militant, we are in a spiritual warfare and this spiritual warfare requires that we recognize, as Saint Paul teaches us "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." ( Ephesians 6:12 ) The me

Monday, August 12, 2019

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 [1] 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

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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. [1] Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost [2] GOSPEL Matthew 13: 24 –

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday after laetare Sunday: end of mid-lent [1] 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 [2] ·          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

Thirty Days with Mary-Day 26-September 9

    30 Days of Women and Herbs – Frauendreissiger Mugwort   (Artemisia vulgaris) 2 Maccabees, Chapter 15, Verse 8 He urged his men not to  fear  the attack of the Gentiles, but mindful of the help they had received in the past from Heaven, to expect now the victory that would be given them by the Almighty.   As an old, retired military man it was common for us to say while we were loading our magazines with bullets, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." We knew that without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Optimists see steppingstones where pessimists see stumbling blocks.   Heavenly Intercession [1] "Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him, he said 'Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall crush your adversaries.' " —2 Maccabees 15:15-16   Nicanor planned to slaughter the Jews on th

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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 [1] ·          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, March 6, 2019

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

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

Monday, January 7, 2019

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. [1]   I a