Monday, December 4, 2023


 

Monday Night at the Movies


John Patrick Shanley, Doubt, 2008

Monday in the First week of Advent

St. Barbara's branch-Walt Disney

 

Job, Chapter 9, Verse 33-10:1

33 Would that there were an arbiter between us, who could lay his hand upon us both 34 and withdraw his rod from me, So that his terrors did not frighten me; 35 that I might speak without being AFRAID of him. Since this is not the case with me, I loathe my life.

 

It certainly sounds as if Job is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. 

 

The Pained Spirit[1]

 

·         Job decides he won't take this lying down.

·         This is his "why me?" moment. He asks God why he specifically has become God's target. 

·         He's in such pain that even death would be better. 

·         Bildad (friend #2) tells Job to repent. Why? He thinks it could have been his kids who sinned and brought this misery upon Job.

·         Then he gets all poetic, comparing Job's suffering to a garden sown with bad seeds from his past or from his offspring.

·         Bildad is just trying to give the situation some sense for his buddy.

·         Job wants a mediator. Can't someone just judge who's right—him or God? Because really, if God is omniscient and omnipotent, then what he did was really, really mean.

·         He laments that there is no justice between mortals and immortals, and then he demands a trial with God. 

 

Trauma and Spirituality[2]

How does one discuss Spirituality in the same breath as Trauma? Can they both coincide? The answer to these questions cannot be revealed in an article or by anyone else but the survivor. This article is about Spirituality and how the survivor can reclaim it in his or her life. It is often said that "if there was a God, why did _____ happen?" This article is not about philosophical answers and does not wish to push any religious agenda. It is not about God unless the survivor called his or her Higher Power God. It is about defining what spirituality in one's life and being able to draw strength from it. Trauma can cause a disconnection from various parts of a person's being. This disconnect happens as a defense mechanism again feeling the effects of the trauma. Unfortunately, this disconnect can also be prolonged and present itself in survivor's relationships with family, friends, and a Higher Power. In this complex world, it is best to have full access to all of them to survive. Many survivors of trauma become angry at God or the Entity they believe in. There are questions such as "Where were you?" "Why didn't you protect me?" or simply, "Why me?" Survivors may feel as if they are broken or not worthy of love. It seems like having a connection is for those who are able to have faith and trust. For many survivors, it is important to recapture their spirituality in order to aid their healing. It is essential that they be given permission to create a Higher Power of their understanding. It is possible to create a new connection, one that is based on love, acceptance, and safety. These qualities are often shaken when an individual experiences trauma. They are replaced with feelings of judgment and shame.

Here are some suggestions on reclaiming one's spirituality. It is not meant to be exhaustive, nor will it feel right for every individual. It is suggested that you do this with a friend, counselor, or spiritual advisor. It may help to confront one's trauma with someone else's help. It may be a place too scary to go alone.

Step One: Validate the effects the trauma has had on your life. Trauma affects lives in so many different ways. It is important to honor how it has affected you. It may have had an impact on your relationships, self-esteem, feelings of safety, and the list could go on ad nauseam. These are scars that only you know about and it's time to share them with others and lessen the shame associated with them.

Journal Exercise: Write a list of the effects the trauma has had on you in the following areas.

·         Physical

·         Emotional

·         Sexual

·         Relational

·         Self-esteem

·         Financial

·         Occupational

Step Two: Write a list of characteristics you want in a Higher Power or Spiritual practice. There are no boundaries here. You have the right and permission to create a Higher Power of your understanding who you always wanted and needed. One suggestion is to think of characteristics you want in a best friend or a parent.

Journal Exercise:

·         Write a list of characteristics of a friend or someone you know whom you admire or feel safe with.

·         Write out a list of characteristics of your new Higher Power.

Step Three: Surround yourself with a loving and understanding person with whom you can share your spiritual journey. This is a delicate matter; you want to choose someone you see practicing spirituality themselves. You want someone you can be honest with about your experience and how you are feeling.

Exercise:

·         Tell someone you trust that you need his or her help.

·         Share some of your journaling exercises with this individual.

·         Initiate a conversation on how they found spirituality.

Journal Exercise: Journal what it felt like to tell someone about what had happened and discuss the concept of spirituality and what you may have learned from this conversation.

Step Four: Recognize your Spirituality or Higher Power. Try and envision your Higher Power. Next, recognize where you see your Higher Power or witness Spirituality in the world. Make a list of characteristics that you see in daily life that is evidence of a spiritual presence. An example of this is seeing the concept of "peace" within the ocean or witnessing "strength" in the eyes of a child. Make your Spirituality or Higher Power something you can see in your daily life.

Journal Exercise:

·         Write out what your Higher Power looks like, feels like and smells like.

·         Write down some things that your Higher Power would say to you.

·         Recognize in the world where you see evidence of the characteristics of your Higher Power. There are an infinite number of answers to this question.

Step Five: Communicate with your Higher Power. Have a dialogue with this new Higher Power on a regular basis. Write letters if it best suits you. Remember, there is no wrong way to have a dialogue.

Journal Exercise:

·         Write out a few things you say on a daily basis. These can be "prayers" or take the form of affirmations. Type them up and put them in places where you will see them daily. Be specific. If there is something that you are struggling with, write a prayer or affirmation about it.

·         Note where you see your Higher Power work in your life. If you are able to get through something that was difficult and feel as if a Presence got you through it or may have contributed to your strength, then write it down. Perhaps you felt an instance of peace where you used to have none. Put it on paper. Feel the presence in your life.

This is not an easy journey. It may take time for you to develop this relationship. As with any relationship, it takes time and effort. I have witnessed strength in survivors where they thought there were none. I have seen them capture spirituality that they thought was beyond them. It starts with a willingness to believe in Something. Remember this is a journey, not a destination.

Monday in the First week of Advent[3] 

Advent is the time for renewal or repentance for the coming of Christ. "Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time, it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart)" (CCC, 1431). Today's Gospel (Matthew 8:5-11) of the Centurion and his servant illustrates both the invitation for all, from both East and West, to come to Christ. The Centurion gives us words for our heart for trust and mercy in his grace, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof: only say the word and my servant will be healed."

 

Feast of St. Barbara [4]

 

Barbara (from Nicomedia) was the daughter of a pagan noble who worshipped false gods. Because of her striking beauty, her father enclosed her in a tower to hide her from the snares of men. Barbara vowed virginity, and during an absence of her father had a third window added to her quarters in honor of the Blessed Trinity; at the same time, she also adorned her bath with the sign of the holy Cross. Upon his return her father was so angered over these changes that a miracle was needed to save her life. She was presented before the magistrate, subjected to much torturing, and finally her own father wielded the sword that severed her head. Immediately God's vengeance struck him dead. The holy virgin is highly honored both in the East and the West as patroness of artillery men and of miners. She is especially invoked for preservation from sudden death. She is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers."

In the past, the following prayer to St. Barbara was often recited:

Saint Barbara, thou noble bride,
To thee my body I confide
As well in life as at life's end.
Come, aid me when I breathe my last,
That I may, ere here all is past,
Receive the Blessed Sacrament!

Barbara Branches

St. Barbara, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, is the patron saint of artillerymen, miners, and a happy death. Though her feast on December 4 obviously belongs to the cycle of saints and not to the temporal cycle of Advent, there is a custom observed in her honor that ties into the meaning of the Advent season. A Barbara branch is the name given to a twig that is broken from a fruit tree (especially cherry), placed in a bowl of water, and kept in a warm, well-lit part of the house, such as the kitchen. According to legend, if the Barbara branch blooms on or before Christmas Day, good luck will come to the person whose branch it is. Aside from this harmless superstition, Barbara branches are reminiscent of the image from Isaiah of Christ as a Flower from the root of Jesse (Is. 11.2; the Epistle for Advent Ember Friday); they can thus be instructive in teaching children the meaning of Advent and Christmas. They are also used as the Saint's tribute to the Christ Child in the manger, lovingly placed in the crèche when they have blossomed.

Things to Do

 

·         Celebrating for the Feast of St. Barbara. See also Painting Angels, Saints and Their Symbols for a description of St. Barbara's symbols.

·         Have a St. Barbara's Party, Syrian Style.

·         Further reading:

-          Story of St. Barbara for Children

-          Encyclopedia of Catholic Saints

-          Short Biography and History by Father Weiser.

-          Read about the German custom of St. Barbara's Twig, where every member of the family puts a small cherry or peach branch into water so that it will blossom on Christmas. If you have a young lady in your home desiring marriage, the custom of St. Barbara's Cherry Twigs will have St. Barbara pick the right husband for young unmarried girls. An alternative idea to this custom would be forcing Amaryllis or other bulbs to bloom for Christmas. Start the bulbs today!

·         St. Barbara is the patron of artillerymen. Offer your rosary or say a prayer for all our enlisted men and women who are in harm's way. This page provides the Legend of St. Barbara and the explanation why she is the patron of artillerymen. Read the Ballad of St. Barbara by G. K. Chesterton.

·         Read about Barbórka, Miners Day, which is celebrated in Poland and other European countries.

·         Schweinelendchen Barbara


 

Walt Disney Day[5] 

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[6]

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[7]

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


 

Daily Devotions


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

·         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

·         Cabernet Franc Day

·         Rosary




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