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First Friday

ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS-Distaff-Day 14-Fitness 

Psalm 103, Verse 13

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who FEAR him. 

Does God derive anything from having us fear Him? 

His only wish is to see us truly growing and fruitful.  He made us and as a loving father knows our needs both physical and spiritual. If we have a loving fear of our father, we are compelled by the Holy Spirit into spiritual leadership avoiding sloth which often comes as a result of being stuck in a victim mentality or not letting go of rage by forgiving the offender. 

Today seek the Father’s compassion by going to confession then arise and grow in spiritual leadership. 

As we grow in our spiritual leadership[1] we tend to be: 

·       Confident in God

·       Know God

·       Seek God’s will

·       Self-sacrifice

·       Serve all

·       Motivated by love

·       Trust the Holy Spirit

·       Lead others 

First Friday Devotion[2]

Nine consecutive Fridays in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque (1647-1690), a French nun in the Visitation Order, and gave her the special task to spread devotion to His Most Sacred Heart at a time when religion was growing cold in the hearts of mankind. He said to her:

“Behold this heart which, not withstanding the burning love for men with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from most Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference and ingratitude, even in the sacrament of my love [the Eucharist]. But what pierces my heart most deeply is that I am subjected to these insults by persons especially consecrated to my service.” Jesus asked for special prayers and practices to make amends (reparation) for this great neglect to the proper reverence owed to God. For those who did this faithfully, he made what St. Margaret Mary referred to as the “Great Promise” which was the last and greatest of the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“I promise you in the unfathomable mercy of my heart that my omnipotent love will procure the grace of final penitence for all those who receive communion on nine successive first Fridays of the month; they will not die in my disfavor [the grace of final repentance], or without having received the sacraments, since my divine heart will be their sure refuge in the last moments of their life.”

Conditions to Fulfill the First Friday Devotion

The specific conditions to receive the Great Promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are:

1. Receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month (this assumes that the person is in a state of grace, having made a sacramental confession for any mortal sins prior to receiving communion).

2. Having the intention, at least implicitly, of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for all the sinfulness and ingratitude of men.

Orthodox Christmas[3]


 

Well, if you have not got enough of the Christmas Season you can always celebrate with the Orthodox Catholics.

 

Some Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, but others mark the birth of Jesus on a variety of dates including January 7th and January 19th. It depends on which calendar the particular church follows - while western Christendom has adopted the Gregorian calendar, some Orthodox churches use the older Julian calendar to calculate the dates for holy feast days. December 25th on the original Julian calendar falls on January 7th of our calendar. Most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on this date; however, some churches, including Armenian orthodox Christians use the revised Julian calendar and their Christmas falls on January 19th of our calendar. While Christmas is a very important religious celebration for Orthodox Christians, it falls second to Easter which they consider to be the most important date in the religious calendar. 

Religious Observance of Orthodox Christmas 

Most believers in the Eastern Orthodox Church prepare for Christmas with 40 days of fasting, continuing right up until late on Christmas Eve Jan 6th.

 

·       Traditionally, when the first star appears on Christmas Eve Eastern Orthodox Christians will break their fast with a celebratory meal.

·       Also, on Christmas Eve, traditionally Orthodox Christians will cut a branch from a tree and bring it into their home, as a symbol that Jesus is entering their house and their hearts.

·       A prayer and blessing will be said before the Christmas Eve feast begins, and the head of the family will greet each person present with the traditional Christmas greeting of 'Christ is born' to which the response is 'Glorify him!'. Then the bread will be torn by hand and shared with all present. Some families will have straw scattered around the table, as a reminder of Jesus's birth in the manger.

·       On Christmas Day, Orthodox Christians will attend Divine Liturgy, which will usually be a little longer than usual due to being an exceptional religious holiday. It is traditional to light candles in honor of Jesus, as light of the world.

·       Afterwards people walk in procession to a sea, lake or river. The water will be blessed as part of an outdoor ceremony, and some people will take the blessed water back to their homes.

Orthodox Christmas Top Events and Things to Do[4]

·       Attend an Orthodox Christmas service.  Orthodox Christianity is popular in Greek and Slavic-language communities, including Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Macedonian communities.

·       Go on a fast or diet leading up to Orthodox Christmas.  Try eliminating meat and animal foods from your diet.

·       Go for dinner at the Russian or Greek Restaurant.  Many will serve specials to commemorate this holiday.


Distaff Day[5], also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the traditional feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff's Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women's work. In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth. Men have their own way of celebrating this occasion; this is done through Plough Monday. It is the first Monday after Epiphany where men are supposed to get back to work. Every few years, Distaff Day and Plough Monday falls on the same day. Often the men and women would play pranks on each other during this celebration, as was written by Robert Herrick in his poem "Saint Distaff’s day, or the Morrow After Twelfth Day" which appears in his Hesperides.

St. Raymond of Penafort - Day Fourteen[6]

 

St. Raymond devoted much of his life to helping the poor. The famous incident which is recounted in the story of Raymond's life took place when he went with King James to Majorca. The King dismissed Raymond's request to return home. Relying on his faith and love of God, Raymond walked on the waves to his ship, spread his cloak to make a sail, made the sign of the cross then sailed to the distant harbor of Barcelona.

 

For St. Raymond's feast we should remember that "caroling and storytelling belong to the whole Christmas season. Hospitality and giving to others also must continue if true Christmas joy is to remain. An outing to which friends are invited or a party that includes a round of caroling become perhaps even more appropriate with the approach of Epiphany." — Excerpted from The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

·       Day Fourteen activity (Legend of the Little Girl)

·       Day Fourteen recipe (Christstollen)

 

Fitness Friday[7] 

BRIGHT MINDS Program, which is designed to identify and treat all 11 risk factors that contribute to memory problems. Here is what the words BRIGHT MINDS stand for:

 

B – Blood Flow

 

R – Retirement/Aging

 

I – Inflammation

 

G – Genetics

 

H – Head Trauma

 

T – Toxins

 

M – Mental Health

 

I – Immunity/Infection Issues

 

N – Neurohormone Deficiencies

 

D – Diabesity

 

S – Sleep Issues 

Watch your weight being 20 pounds overweight has a number of BRIGHT MINDS vulnerabilities, including low blood flow to the brain as well as high blood glucose, homocysteine and ferritin, or iron—all tied to faster aging. 

In addition to getting older, the general risk factors associated with living past retirement age are: 

·       Not working or working less than half-time

·       Social isolation

·       A lack of new learning

·       Having attained less than a high school education 

It is a good idea to have a checkup with your health-care provider to evaluate your current state of health. Request these specific lab tests: 

·       Ferritin

·       Telomere length (telomeres are casings at the ends of chromosomes that shorten with age; people with longer telomeres tend to live longer) 

You can take these simple steps to make sure your mind and memory are sharp for years to come: 

·       Spend at least 15 minutes a day learning something new, such as a language, a musical instrument or dance moves

·       Take your health seriously—eat well, exercise, get seven hours of sleep a night

·       Eat more antioxidant-rich foods like cocoa, walnuts, blueberries, artichokes and pomegranates, and more choline-rich foods like eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, scallops, shrimp, salmon, cod, chickpeas, and lentils

·       Limit your consumption of charred meats

·       Supplement your diet with a good multivitamin/mineral, extra vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA and the following nutraceuticals to strengthen your brain: PS (phosphatidylserine), alpha GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), ALCAR (acetyl-L-carnitine), huperzine A, saffron (standardized extract), sage

·       Try a daily 12-to-16-hour fast to help your brain clear out debris (if dinner is at 7 pm, breakfast should be no earlier than 7 am)

·       Get the social support you need so you aren’t isolated or lonely

·       Volunteer for an organization you believe in

·       Donate blood if your ferritin is too high 

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Restoring the Constitution

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Christmas and the Eucharist

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Iceman’s 40 devotion

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Operation Purity

·       Rosary




[1] John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.

[2]https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/what-is-the-first-friday-and-first-saturday-devotion/

[6]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-01-07

[7] https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/retirement-aging-brain/



1 comment:

  1. I ran across your blog while looking into the history of St. Distaff for a spinning article I am writing. I need to offer a correction in your text above. I am a handspinner. A distaff is not a rock. A distaff is a stick, or staff, around which fiber is arranged and lightly bound. This assists in the spinning process, making it easier for the spinner to draw out the fiber as it is fed onto the spindle. There are many types of distaffs, some for use with a drop spindle and some for use with a spinning wheel. Although most commonly used with flax or linen to make the very long plant fibers easier to manage, distaffs can also be used with wool. Some distaffs are a simple wooden shaft, while others are forked.

    The word "distaff" is also a reference to the matriarchal line.

    The "rock" to which you refer is the "whorl," or weight, found on primitive drop spindles. Typically a ball of clay would be pierced by a smooth stick on the simplest and most ancient drop spindles. In many parts of the world, this rock was later replaced by a smooth, flat disc, usually made of wood, which spins more evenly and well-balanced when twirled. (In some cultures, an X-shaped structure is used to achieve the same effect.) When referring to a drop spindle, the stick is called the shaft and the weight (rock), regardless of material or shape, is called the "whorl." The simple clay ball and stick spindle is still in use in some parts of the world, with Peru being the most well-known area where this method of construction is still in use.

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