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.
certainly sounds as if Job is suffering from post-traumatic stress
decides he won't take this lying down.
is his "why me?" moment. He asks God why he specifically has become
in such pain that even death would be better.
(friend #2) tells Job to repent. Why? He thinks it could have been his kids who
sinned and brought this misery upon Job.
he gets all poetic, comparing Job's suffering to a garden sown with bad seeds
from his past or from his offspring.
is just trying to give the situation some sense for his buddy.
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.
laments that there is no justice between mortals and immortals, and then he
demands a trial with God.
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.
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.
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
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.
Tell someone you trust that you need his or her
Share some of your journaling exercises with
Initiate a conversation on how they found
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.
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.
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
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 
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!
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
Have a St. Barbara's Party, Syrian Style.
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
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.
Walt Disney Day
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rapunzel, in Tangled, symbolizes our humanity.
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.
God's grace in Cinderella.
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.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame involves God the most.
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.
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
Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark,
animals, dove, rainbow
waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
Monday: Litany of Humility