Monday, December 5, 2022

 Monday Night at the Movies


Prayer

Is prayer still considered relevant in the third millennium? Our schools do not allow prayer. Nor do most schools follow the traditional invocation before a graduation event.  In the 1992 case Lee v. Weisman the court ruled that having prayers violated the establishment clause of the US Constitution and that schools have no business sponsoring prayer (Julie P. Samuels, Contributing Writer Updated June 2007 by Scott Felsenthal). The US Government is prohibited by the US Constitution from encouraging and from discouraging prayer. Prayer is personal communication between man and his or her God. You have a right to communicate with your God and no government can stop God from communicating with you.

Prayer is deeply personal and for some and the life of prayer is not a burdensome task but is refreshing and gives the mind calm; the heart gratitude; the eyes the vision to create a better world and the strength to accomplish ominous tasks with ease. Prayer has been around for a long time simply because we are created in the image and likeness of God and what we call the soul cries out and longs for communication with him. 

Warriors nearly always prayed before going into battle and as a retired soldier my leaders continually told me there are no atheists in foxholes. Soldiers also know that their enemies are also praying to God too. Similarly, part of a soldier’s prayer may be to invoke the God almighty to not pay attention to their enemies’ prayers. The Apostles of Christ were warriors of sorts and ask our Lord how to pray. Our Lord gave them the “Our Father” prayer. The “Our Father” or the Lord’s prayer has seven petitions of God (Staff My Catholic Life). The prayer begins with acknowledging that we are his children and that we can approach him with confidence when we say, “Our Father who art in heaven.”

The first petition is “Hallowed be thy Name” and we ask that we with our thoughts, words and actions never fail to honor the Holiness of God. The second petition is “Thy Kingdom Come” here we ask God that we in some way this day bring His kingdom about. We also ask that we not lose his grace and Holy Spirit in our souls and that he will lead our hearts and mind and give us the strength and spirit to build a kingdom of God with his help. The third petition is “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” which means we do the will of the Father and that Christ live in us so we may be filled with virtue. The fourth petition is “Give us this day our daily bread” where we as God to help us with our daily needs and that we also be mindful of the needs of others. In addition, this is also a call for the Holy Eucharist which feeds our souls for the daily battles and helps us to trust him in all things. The fifth petition is “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” Mercy we must give to our enemies and to ourselves. God will forgive us if we only ask. Peter asked for forgiveness and Judas did not but gave up hope and hung himself. The sixth petition is “And lead us not into temptation” we are basically asking God to guide us out of harm’s way. The seventh petition is “But deliver us from evil” we acknowledge there are evil men, thoughts, governments, and natural and spiritual forces that seek our destruction, and we ask God’s protection.

These seven petitions are all encompassing and come from our Lord. Say the Lord’s Prayer Daily. Additionally, I encourage everyone to prayer. Prayer will bring to closer to HE WHO IS and will make you happier, your mind less burdened and help you to live each day better. Through prayer you will learn to love yourself and others and be at peace and joy with God. Yes, I believe prayer is relevant in the third Millennium.

Works Cited:

Julie P. Samuels, Contributing Writer Updated June 2007 by Scott Felsenthal. Freedom Forum Institute. 2007. https://www.freedomforuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/topics/freedom-of-religion/religious-liberty-in-public-schools/graduation-ceremonies/. 26 11 2022.

Staff My Catholic Life. My Catholic Life. 2022. https://mycatholic.life/the-my-catholic-life-series/my-catholic-worship/chapter-11-the-lords-prayer/. 26 11 2022.


Monday of the Second Week of Advent

saint nicholas eve-Prohibition Repeal-Walt Disney Day 

John, Chapter 13, Verse 1

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He LOVED his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

 

Christ as man and God knowing that his sacrifice of love was eminent rises up empties Himself and disrobes and taking the role of a lowly servant washes the disciple’s feet even the feet of Judas Iscariot. This is the love of Christ displayed for us from the Father. Jesus, servant of the Father, becomes the servant of mankind. His hour has come, and he loves his friends “to the end” and so in turn His disciples must serve one another. We are all called to wash one another’s feet.[1]

 

Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1–17) occurred in the upper room, just prior to the Last Supper and has significance in three ways. For Jesus, it was the display of His humility and His servanthood. For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to their heart attitudes at that time. For us, washing feet is symbolic of our role in the body of Christ. Walking in sandals on the filthy roads of Israel in the first century made it imperative that feet be washed before a communal meal, especially since people reclined at a low table and feet were very much in evidence. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:4), He was doing the work of the lowliest of servants. The disciples must have been stunned at this act of humility and condescension, that Christ, their Lord and master, should wash the feet of His disciples, when it was their proper work to have washed His. But when Jesus came to earth the first time, He came not as King and Conqueror, but as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. As He revealed in Matthew 20:28, He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The humility expressed by His act with towel and basin foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross. Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet. When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence. To his credit, though, Peter was profoundly uncomfortable with the Lord washing his feet, and, never being at a loss for words, Peter protested, “You shall never wash my feet!” Then Jesus said something that must have further shocked Peter: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8), prompting Peter, whose love for the Savior was genuine, to request a complete washing. Then Jesus explained the true meaning of being washed by Him. Peter had experienced the cleansing of salvation and did not need to be washed again in the spiritual sense. Salvation is a one-time act of justification by faith, but the lifelong process of sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin we experience as we walk through the world. Peter and the disciples—all except Judas, who never belonged to Christ—needed only this temporal cleansing. This truth is just one of several from this incident that Christians can apply to their own lives. First, when we come to Christ for the washing of our sins, we can be sure that is permanent and complete. No act can cleanse us further from our sin, as our sin has been exchanged for the perfect righteousness of Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). But we do need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin-cursed world. The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Further, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them (and us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love. When we seek the preeminence, we displease the Lord who promised that true greatness in His kingdom is attained by those with a servant’s heart (Mark 9:35; 10:44). When we have that servant’s heart, the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed (John 13:17).[2] 

Saint Nicolas Eve 

Today traditionally is the Eve of the Feast of Saint Nicholas and is celebrated throughout much of Europe with sweets and gifts to children. Legend tells us that Nicholas was a man of action and used his abundance that the Lord provided him to give special protection to children and unmarried young women. Let us find some way today to practice both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy. Today would be a good day to do something that helps children or young unmarried women from the abundance that God has provided us. For those who cannot share it is suggested to fast twice this week as was the practice of Saint Nicholas and give the cost of the food you would normally spend to help those in need. From the store house of your spiritual abundance your prayers can make a difference: pray especially for women who are enslaved in addictions and/or the sex slave trade. Thousands of men from over 80 countries consistently pray for women led by an online organization called “e5 men”[3]. Perhaps the Lord is calling you to this. 

Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, and the Angels[4] 

As is well-known, "Santa Claus" comes from the Dutch rendering of Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop famous for giving gifts anonymously to children and the needy. However, as Father Francis Weiser argues in his Handbook of Christian Customs (p. 113), the various legends surrounding Santa Claus actually come from the god of Norse and Germanic mythology, Thor (after whom Thursday is named). Thor was portrayed as a large, jovial old man with a long white beard whose symbolic color was red (owing to his association with fire). Thunder was said to have been caused by the rolling of his chariot (drawn by two white goats) across the clouds, and his home was said to have been "Northland," somewhere among the icebergs. The fireplace was also considered sacred to Thor because it was through it that he came into his element, the fire. We owe this odd metamorphosis of a Christian saint into a pagan god to New York City. When the Dutch founded the city in the seventeenth century, they observed the Catholic custom of "Saint Nicholas' visit" on the saint's feast day (December 5). This the Dutch did even though they were Protestant. When English Protestants later commandeered the city, they were offended by the practice, but their children very much liked it. The compromise that was eventually made was to transfer the giving of gifts from the 5th of December to the 25th and to add so many pagan elements to the story that the figure of the saintly Catholic bishop (who, incidentally, was notoriously intolerant of heretics) would no longer be recognizable. 

The older Christian custom is that on the night of December 5 (the vigil of Saint Nicholas Day), children write notes addressed to the Child Jesus and put them on their windowsill, whence St. Nicholas carries them to heaven. A variation of this custom, prevalent in South America, is to write notes sometime between December 16 to 24 and to put them in front of the crib, from which point Angels carry the requests to heaven. Though the value of bringing children up on these stories is open to debate, at least the older customs explicitly tie the reception of gifts to the advent of Christ and portray the other figures (Nicholas or the angels) as His assistants. There was also a charming custom of "St. Nicholas" (a man dressed as a bishop) bringing gifts to children in person on his feast day. 

Tonight, candy for the kids and… for Mom & Dad? 

Prohibition Repeal Day[5]

If you like a drink, then Repeal Day is all about you. On the 5th of December, it’s time to raise a glass to all thing’s cocktails, beer, and spirit, and celebrate your right to have a cheeky little (or large!) tipple now and then. Whether you enjoy a sip of sophistication with a swish cocktail or simple G and T, or even if you’re happy to sit back with a bottle of beer, this day celebrates kicking back with a drink or two whether at home, with friends or at the pub.

Between January 5th, 1919, and December 5th, 1933, America was dry. And we don’t mean it didn’t get much rainfall – during these years, the consumption of alcohol was banned. This was supposed to end drunkenness and put a stop to crime – but if anything, it just made problems with lawbreaking even worse.

Simply enough, even though it had been banned, there was still a demand for alcohol – and some shady characters made it their business to help America get a swig of the sweet stuff. Soon enough, organized crime would become a key driver of the liquor trade.

Bootlegging, or rum running as it might also be known, became of especial favor with crime lords. Sneaking liquor around the country became a big business in 1920s USA, and despite the best effort of authorities, the big wigs of the underworld were soon reveling in the money it brought them.

Realizing perhaps keeping beer away from the people was causing more trouble than it was worth, several repeal organizations were born and eventually, after much consideration, the 18th Amendment was lifted. And so, on the back of all that, we celebrate repeal day.

How to celebrate Repeal Day

This day is an easy one to celebrate, especially if you are partial to a cheeky drink or two. There’s no need to get dressed up – although if you choose to go to a posh wine bar, you could always pop on something sparkly; Celebrate repeal day by grabbing yourself a quick drink on the 5th, or perhaps you could make some swanky cocktails at home.

If you’re feeling sociable after a day at work, why not get the gang together and go down to your local pub for a few? And if you don’t drink alcohol, you can always get involved with alcohol-free beer, or some tasty virgin cocktails. Cheers!

Walt Disney Day[6] 

Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation. 

The name Disney is known all over the world and is the brand name of characters and stories that are cherished and beloved the world over. Behind all of this wonder, the voices of Mickey Mouse and the seemingly endless parade of characters that the company put out was the vision of one man, Walter Elias Disney. Known to his friends, which he would consider all of us, as Walt. Walt Disney Day celebrates this incredible man and the joy and laughter he brought to the world. It is perhaps no mistake that Walt Disney was born in 1901, right at the turning of the century. He would go on to turn the entire world around, changing the face of cinema and entertainment through the introduction of his incredible cast of animated characters. Born in Chicago, Walt would move multiple times throughout his life, first in 1906 to a family farm in Missouri, again in 1911 to Kansas City where he would attend grammar school. His career as an artist and illustrator would get its start in 1919 when he returned from World War I during which he served as part of the Red Cross. It would be 1928 before Mickey Mouse came into the world, the result of a sketch being done while he was on a bus. It quickly became the centrepiece of the Disney Empire, which would grow rapidly to become one of the most important names in family entertainment in the world. 90 years later Disney is a name known around the world for its beloved characters, exciting theme parks, and most recently it’s ownership of Star Wars. 

How to celebrate Walt Disney Day 

The best way to celebrate Walt Disney Day is to get in and watch as many Disney films as you can cram into a single day, especially if you’ve never seen them before. If you’re one of those who grew up with Walt Disney as the heart of your childhood experience, then this is a perfect opportunity to take a walk down memory lane. Get together a bunch of themed food and sweets and enjoy your day with a group of friends, because Disney has always been about family.

5 Disney movies with religious messages[7]

Disney movies are a well-known and well-loved part of most people's childhood. These stories talk and teach us things, like believing in ourselves and follow our dreams. Recently, the stories inspired courage and kindness, as well as forms of "true love." But viewers may have missed something; these popular Disney stories have religious messages.

1. Snow White is a Christian princess.

Released in 1937, the first animated story Disney made is actually about a Christian princess. It may not be explicit, but Snow White was shown briefly, praying with her head bowed down and hands clasped, asking for God's blessing to the seven dwarfs that had shown kindness to her.

2. Simba is The Prodigal Son.

The youngest son in the parable is just like Simba, King Mufasa's son who just enjoys the life of a prince. But once he realizes the part he played in his father's death, he runs away and lives with animals eating grubs. Discarding the "Hakuna Matata" lifestyle, he goes back home to face the responsibilities waiting for him.

3. Rapunzel, in Tangled, symbolizes our humanity.

Like many of the characters in the Bible, the trapped princess was able to live through the darkness in her life and find the light that sets her free. Every year following her kidnapping by the witch, who represents the devil, her parents lit up the sky through lanterns helping her find her way back home. And like God, they never got tired of doing it.

4.  God's grace in Cinderella.

We might think of this heroin as not exactly the type to look up to: most the time she just lets everyone tell her what to do. She may not have deserved the happy ending she got, because she relied solely on her fairy godmother. However, the point of God's grace is it's undeserved, as depicted in the Bible stories.

5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame involves God the most.

This could be a bit of an exaggeration, as described in crosswalk.com. But remember, the beginning of the story tells of the villain wanting to kill a baby but stopped by the Church, one way the Holy Spirit works. The heroine later sings to God, how prayer should really be. Believing he's better than others, the villain constantly clashes with his faith. Whether it is intentional or not, aren't we glad Disney incorporates God and Christianity in its stories? These scenes are rarely seen in movies, so you might want to do a re-watch. You'll never see your favorite movies the same again.



Jesse Tree[8]

Jesse Tree Scriptures (The Symbols Are Only Suggestions)

December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth

December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman

December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite

December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow

December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER THREE-GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE

Article 1-THE MORAL LAW

IN BRIEF

1975 According to Scripture the Law is a fatherly instruction by God which prescribes for man the ways that lead to the promised beatitude, and proscribes the ways of evil.

1976 "Law is an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one who is in charge of the community" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 4).

1977 Christ is the end of the law (cf Rom 10:4); only he teaches and bestows the justice of God.

1978 The natural law is a participation in God's wisdom and goodness by man formed in the image of his Creator. It expresses the dignity of the human person and forms the basis of his fundamental rights and duties.

1979 The natural law is immutable, permanent throughout history. the rules that express it remain substantially valid. It is a necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law.

1980 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed law. Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments.

1981 The Law of Moses contains many truths naturally accessible to reason. God has revealed them because men did not read them in their hearts.

1982 The Old Law is a preparation for the Gospel.

1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity. It finds expression above all in the Lord's Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us.

1984 The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts.

1985 The New Law is a law of love, a law of grace, a law of freedom.

1986 Besides its precepts the New Law includes the evangelical counsels. "The Church's holiness is fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to his disciples in the Gospel" (LG 42 # 2).

Daily Devotions

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

·       Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels

·       Religion in the home: Preschool for December

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Monday: Litany of Humility

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Rosary



[1] The Collegeville Bible Commentary

[5] https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/repeal-day/

[6]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/walt-disney-day/

[7]https://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=59303


Francesco Rosi, Christ Stopped at Eboli, 1979




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