Friday, December 16, 2022

 


1 Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 21

Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with LOVE and a gentle spirit?

 

Love demands we tell it like it is. At times because God is a Father he must discipline those he loves. We as children, like those that are gentle with us there are times we must be corrected. Paul tells us that if we are to be true Christian’s we must follow the example of Christ who did not seek self-comfort’s but sacrificed all He had for the love of us. Therefore, seek a spiritual leader and honor the parent(s) who will challenge you. Who will not let you be less than you can be! A good spiritual leader teaches by example. Leadership is caught not taught.

 

Creditable Leadership[1]

 

Creditable leaders are not afraid and model Christ’s behaviors for all. They do this because they know the law of the picture and people do what they see. Leaders embody the principles they teach. Paul shows us that leadership requires the leader to:

 

1.     Be on display and open for ridicule.

2.     Be willing to play the fool in order to model the surrendered life.

3.     Be able to endure the mocking of others without wavering.

4.     Be willing to sacrifice luxuries.

5.     Be hard working without retaliating against opposition.

6.     Be fatherly and live an exemplary life for others.

7.     Be encouraging of others to imitate your example. 


Ember Friday of Advent.[2] Commemoration of the Visitation. 

Mary visits her relative Elizabeth; they are both pregnant: Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. Mary left Nazareth immediately after the Annunciation and went "into the hill country ... into a city of Judah" (Luke 1:39) to attend to her cousin (Luke 1:36) Elizabeth. There are several possibilities as to exactly which city this was, including Hebron, south of Jerusalem, and Ein Karem. The journey from Nazareth to Hebron is about 130 kilometers (81 mi) in a direct line, probably up to half as far again by road, depending on the route taken. Elizabeth was in the sixth month before Mary came (Luke 1:36). Mary stayed three months, and most scholars hold she stayed for the birth of John. Given the prevailing cultural traditions and needs for security, it is probable that Joseph accompanied Mary to Judah then returned to Nazareth, and came again after three months to take his wife home. The apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19–25, may have taken place then to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.

 

In the Gospel of Luke, the author's accounts of the Annunciation and Visitation are constructed using eight points of literary parallelism to compare Mary to the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Some Catholic commentators have maintained that the purpose of this visit was to bring divine grace to both Elizabeth and her unborn child. Even though he was still in his mother's womb, John became aware of the presence of Christ, and leapt for joy as he was cleansed from original sin and filled with divine grace. Elizabeth also responded and recognized the presence of Jesus, and thus Mary exercised her function as mediatrix between God and man for the first time.

 

And she [Elizabeth] spoke out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb. And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:42–45)

 

In response to Elizabeth, Mary proclaims the Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord) Luke 1:46–55.

 

The word "blessed" is rendered in Greek not by the word "Makarios" but as "evlogimeni", which is the feminine second person singular, used only this once in the New Testament. Its masculine third person singular counterpart "evlogimenos" is used only for Jesus and only on this occasion and when he was welcomed into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". The masculine/mixed gender third person plural "evlogimenoi" is used by Jesus only when referring to the righteous who are to be raised to life in the Last Judgement. 

Ember days-wintertime[3]

Psalm 147:12, 16-17 "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion. Who giveth snow like wool: scattereth mists like ashes? He sendeth his crystal-like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold?"

Winter is a time of reflection, when human activity is stilled, and snow blankets the world with silence. For the Christian, Winter symbolizes Hope: though the world now appears lifeless and makes us think of our own mortality, we hope in our resurrection because of the Resurrection of the One Whose Nativity we await now. How providential that the Christ Child will be born at the beginning of this icy season, bringing with Him all the hope of Spring! Also among our Winter feasts are the Epiphany and Candlemas, two of the loveliest days of the year, the first evoked by water, incense, and gold; the latter by fire...Yes, despite the typical, unimaginative view of Winter as a long bout with misery, the season is among the most beautiful and filled with charms. The ephemeral beauty of a single snowflake... the pale blue tint of sky reflected in snow that glitters, and gives way with a satisfying crunch under foot... skeletal trees entombed in crystal, white as bones, cold as death, creaking under the weight of their icy shrouds... the wonderful feeling of being inside, next to a fire, while the winds whirl outside... the smell of burning wood mingled with evergreen... warm hands embracing your wind-bitten ones... the brilliant colors of certain winter birds, so shocking against the ocean of white... the wonderfully long nights which lend themselves to a sense of intimacy and quiet! Go outside and look at the clear Winter skies ruled by Taurus, with the Pleiades on its shoulder and Orion nearby... Such beauty! Even if you are not a "winter person," consider that Shakespeare had the right idea when he wrote in "Love's Labor’s Lost":

Why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

Las Posadas[4] 

Here is a wonderful description of the tradition of the nine-day custom Posadas, that commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. 

·       Banuelos are the big crisp fried cakes that Mexicans have for Christmas Eve supper. They are eaten either plain, with cinnamon and brown sugar syrup, or sometimes with honey. But before supper there is the traditional Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Cock, at the village church. And for nine consecutive nights before that, there are the posadas to commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for lodgings.

·       The word, posada, means an inn. To the humble Mexican the re-enactment of the Holy Family's quest for lodgings is a ritual of deep religious significance. The posadas, which start on the sixteenth of December and end on Christmas Eve, take place at different houses each night. Since Christmas, to the Mexican, is a community rather than a family affair, relatives and friends in a neighborhood often club together to defray posada expenses. The climax of each is the breaking of the Pinata.

·       Pinatas are pottery jars, filled with trinkets, candies, and miniature toys. The jars are ingeniously decorated with bright paper to represent birds of paradise, dancing girls in gaudy ruffled skirts, or clowns with grotesque costumes and chalkwhite faces. Since Christmas is not a time for gift-giving, pinatas, with their bright baubles and inexpensive trifles, are as important to Mexicans as Christmas trees to their neighbors, north of the Rio Grande.

·       Posada ceremonies begin after dark on December 16. They start with a procession of pilgrims, led by two children. With poles on their shoulders, the little ones support a platform. with figures of Joseph, the Virgin riding a small burro, and a number of protecting angels. Green branches and paper stars adorn the platform. Each member of the procession has a lighted candle. As the pilgrims approach the door of the house assigned to the first posada, they chant traditional verses in which Joseph wakens the master of the place and asks for lodgings for Mary. From behind closed doors the master threatens beatings unless the company moves on. Once more Joseph pleads for admittance. At first, the owner of the house scoffs, but finally, convinced of his guests' identity, he joyously opens the door and bids the pilgrim’s welcome. Then everyone kneels before the Nacimiento, or miniature manger — often loaned to, the host for the evening — and offers prayers and Christmas hymns. When the religious ritual ends, there are refreshments. Then the children start a gay little song: 

"Scatter the candies, scatter the sweets, for we are children who want to eat."

 

·       Generally, the pinata is suspended by a long rope or pulley cord hung from a tree in the patio. Each child in turn is blindfolded, given a stout stick, and told to break the jar. But just as Lola or Jose is about to hit, a yank on the rope takes the pinata out of reach. This tantalizing performance continues for some time while everyone — except the blindfolded victims shouts, jeers, and claps. Finally, the pinata is shattered. With shouts and whoops, the guests drop to all fours and dart about after the booty, scattered in every direction.

·       In this mingled atmosphere of religious fervor and childlike enjoyment, posadas and pinata-breakings continue until Christmas Eve. Then the search for lodgings ends and the Babe is born, with great rejoicing on the part of the pilgrims. Shortly before midnight, they sing nine Ave Marias and address a song to the Virgin, telling her that the night of her confinement is at hand.

·       At some posada’s small children, dressed as shepherds, stand at either side of the Nacimiento on this last night. Two of the guests, acting the parts of godfather and godmother, walk between the shepherds with an image of the Baby Jesus. As the pilgrims kneel, they chant a litany to lull the Little One to sleep.

·       At midnight on Christmas Eve everyone surges into the churches to celebrate the Mass of the Cock. After the service, whistles blow, fireworks explode, bells ring, and magnificent processions form, for Jesus' birth is the occasion of unbounded demonstration.

·       In the midst of the happy tumult families hurry home to, supper. For the poor there are special holiday foods such as tonight bean soup, revoltijo, a traditional dish made with shrimp, potatoes, chili, and prickly pears, and a salad of nuts and fruits. Then come the Banuelos, the festal fried cakes that are puffed, brown, and delicious. 

Activity Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960 

May the coming of our humble Lord help us to focus on our loyalties that are due to our God, Church, Nation, family and neighbors during this season and our own journey of life! 

It is nine days before Christmas. Today start a Christmas Novena with your family or someone you love. 

Spiritual Crib[5] 

A special devotion that can be performed during Advent to prepare for the coming of the Infant Savior. It can be adapted for adults and/or children and applied as is appropriate to your state in life. 

·       6th day, December 16th. THE HAY—Meekness Prepare a soft little bed of Hay for the Divine Infant by practicing this beautiful virtue. Do not yield to anger today; and speak very kindly to such as are repulsive to you. When tempted to speak harshly, say this little prayer instead. O Jesus meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine. 

Fitness Friday-Aztec Fitness 

On Monday we celebrated Mary’s appearance to the Aztec’s where she told them God does not demand blood sacrifice and converted 9 million Aztecs. The Aztecs were great warriors and had incredible fitness.

 Aztec Jaguar Warriors

 Due to the foremost importance of military conquests in the Aztec Empire, the elite warriors were among the most respected members of society. They were granted lands by the emperor and their status was on par with landed nobility. Becoming a warrior of distinction was also one of the surest ways of upward social mobility for the common people. The Order of the Aztec Jaguar Warriors was the order of the elite warriors and rigorous training was required for a male member of Aztec society to become a Jaguar Warrior.

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 3 THE CHURCH, MOTHER AND TEACHER

III. Moral Life and Missionary Witness

2044 The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church's mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. "The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God."

2045 Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ, Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. the Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

2046 By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, "a kingdom of justice, love, and peace." They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.

Daily Devotions

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: For the Poor and Suffering

·       Fish Friday: Mexican Fish Bake Banuelos

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Iceman’s 40 devotion

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Operation Purity

·       Rosary





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