Hebrews, Chapter 4
1 Therefore, let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed. 2 For in fact we have received the good news just as they did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in FAITH with those who listened.
This verse refers to the keeping of the sabbath rest and to making the day holy.
How should we keep the Sabbath holy?
· The Third Commandment given by God to Moses clearly stated, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. Therefore, the Sabbath was not only a day of rest and refreshment for everyone, being mindful of the many blessings received through creation, but also a day of remembering the covenant He had made with His people through the Passover sacrifice and the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. For Christians the “Sabbath” rest was transferred to the first day of the week– Sunday, the day our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Sunday is the fulfillment of the Sabbath of the Old Testament.
· Despite our very complex and busy modern times, we must strive to keep the “Sabbath Day”– Sunday– holy. Our first priority is to worship God publicly by participating at Holy Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought, we have a moral obligation to give visible, public, and regular worship to the God who created all things, including ourselves, who has blessed us in many ways, and who has saved us from sin. Just as we attend to our material and physical concerns– such as getting proper sleep, food, exercise, and hygiene– we must attend to the well-being of our souls through prayer and public worship.
· While this is a precept of our Church, we should consider it a privilege to attend Mass. When “the Mass has ended” and we have given thanks, we then go on to our regular routine and our busy world, but we take Jesus with us. The ending really marks a beginning. The Mass becomes the launchpad for the rest of the week.
· God must come first– not soccer or baseball, the shopping mall, or bed. We cannot play games with God and say, “Oh, God will understand. I can pray in my heart.” God is God, and we are His creatures: unless we are sick, facing an emergency, or have some other serious reason, we owe God His due worship. If we consider ourselves part of the Church, it is only right to worship as part of a Church. To fail in this obligation is to commit a grave sin (Catechism, #2181). Think of so many people who lived under communism and risked the loss of freedom, job opportunities, and education just to attend Mass. Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer…. Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal…. We have often said, ‘This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.'”
· The second priority is to take time for personal rest and for those that we love. In our fast-paced world, sometimes Sunday becomes “catch-up” day of running to the store, doing laundry, and the like. However, we should reflect on the structure of our lives and strive to accomplish those routine tasks sometime during the week. By doing so, we can take good leisurely time for ourselves. All of us need some time to read, think, meditate, and talk with God in the quiet of our hearts. For some people, cooking the special dinner is not only relaxing but also an act of love for the family.
· Sunday should be a family-oriented day. We should also think of our “extended family”: Sunday should also be a day for charitable activities, such as visiting the sick or elderly, especially elderly relatives who know the burden of being alone. In our very complex and busy modern times, we need to make Sunday the Lord’s Day. Voltaire (d. 1791), the great critic and attacker of the Church, said, “If you want to kill Christianity, you must abolish Sunday.” Sadly, many have abolished Sunday on their own by how they live their lives, and in so doing, have abolished the presence of God in their lives. We would all be much better off if we were mindful of Sunday as a day for worshipping God as a Church, praying to Him, and sharing ourselves and our love with our families.
Health Benefits of Bergamot
If you’ve ever had Earl Grey tea, then you’ve tasted the flavor of bergamot. It comes from the Citrus bergamia plant, a fruit tree believed to be native to the Mediterranean region.
A blend of the sour orange and lemon (or citron) plant, bergamot produces a fruit that looks like a round lemon. Although generally too sour to eat on its own, it’s been part of the Mediterranean diet since the early 18th century.
People use extracts from bergamot’s sour juice and oil from its peel for a variety of things including:
- Scents for personal care products
- Health supplements
Bergamot has health benefits include:
Several studies have shown that bergamot may help to reduce overall cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol. It may also help to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and has the potential to be an effective supplement to cholesterol drugs.
Studies have shown that an aromatherapy blend that includes bergamot may help with depression symptoms in older adults, people with terminal cancer, and women who are at high risk of postpartum depression.
There hasn’t been enough research yet to confirm the results, and there’s no conclusive evidence that it can help with depression in other populations. However, there have been some promising early studies with animals.
Scientists have found that bergamot might protect the joints in people taking aromatase inhibitors as part of cancer treatment. More research is needed.
One study shows that taking bergamot supplements may help people with schizophrenia think more clearly. People in the study had better results on several cognitive tests after taking bergamot. Further research is needed.
Health Risks of Bergamot
Mild side effects. Some people experience side effects like dizziness, muscle cramps, and heartburn when they take bergamot with food.
Blood sugar issues. Bergamot may cause your blood sugar to drop. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar might reach unsafe levels. It’s important to monitor those levels if you choose to use bergamot supplements.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, bergamot could make it harder for doctors to control your blood sugar during surgery. Experts recommend that you stop using bergamot supplements two weeks before you have surgery.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
III. THE LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
The fecundity of marriage
The gift of a child
2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity.
2374 couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. "What will you give me," asks Abraham of God, "for I continue childless?" And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!"
2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God."
2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."
2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children." "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person."
2378 A child is not something owed to one but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."
2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.
Thru January 31
The Canadian Rockies is the place for adventure in January. Besides the predictable winter activities — skiing, snowshoeing, skating — Jasper in January hosts fat bike snow races, sleigh riding, dog sledding and ice climbing. And that’s just during the day, Jasper’s evenings offer wine and whiskey tasting, food-a-paloolza, live music, entertainment, kids’ scavenger hunts, plus stargazing and northern-light viewing with s’mores.
· Fish Friday: Honey Bourbon Salmon