- One linguistic theory is that the word "yule" came from "aboriginal Scandinavians," and meant the winter solstice festival or "a celebration of the cycle of nature and a reaffirmation of the continuation of life," according Candle Grove.
- The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. It also marks the march toward spring. According to Candle Grove, "many of the ancient traditions surrounding Yuletide are concerned with coping with the darkness and the evils it was thought to harbor, and helping the return of light and warmth."
- Jesus Christ is supposed to have been born Dec. 25, four days after the winter solstice. There is some controversy as to whether this date is accurate because of time discrepancies in the Gospels. Regardless, Christmas Day is celebrated Dec. 25 as the day of Christ's birth. Emperor Constantine, once he adopted Christianity as his religion, was responsible for "co-opting the December [pagan] festivals of Saturn and Mithras for a celebration of Christ's birth."
- "Trees, specifically evergreens, were a common part of pre-Christian solstice celebrations, but in England it wasn't until Victorian times that the idea of having one in the house was revived. It was the Queen's [Victoria] own family who introduced the custom to the country," according to a report in the Telegraph newspaper. The yule log, now a Christmastime pastry, was originally a fresh-cut piece of wood brought into a home to protect against evil and darkness.
- According to the Telegraph, Santa Claus and Father Christmas were actually two different individuals. St. Nicholas, or "Sinterklaas," is the patron saint of children and students. In Dutch legend, he was a "bringer of gifts at Christmas." He was portrayed as a chubby, bearded man. Father Christmas was the character of the joyous season. Over time, the two became one, and in the 1930s, Coca-Cola added Santa Claus' signature red suit in an advertisement, and it has stuck ever since.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
This has been a great Christmas study from several different perspectives.
Listening to the Anti-Catholics debating this, it really sounds like they can't handle the idea that they are wrong about the foundations of the Catholic Faith.
For them, the Catholic Church has to be born from Paganism. Jesus can't really be the founder of the Catholic Faith so for them, Dec 25th can't be true.
Listening to good Catholics who hear this for the first time, it sounds to dogmatic, maybe to mean to shake family traditions. It's a wonderful tradition and the Church is celebrating Christmas to counter Paganism.
To them it doesn't matter what day we celebrate Christmas. It has been interesting to be caught in the middle between faithful Catholics and anti-Catholics.
Of course we will always side with the faithful Catholics on this, but I think it is great that we can go deeper into the truth of Christmas. Recent scientific data, tradition, the scripture all point to the validity of Dec 25.
This is the basis on which the rest of this article will be based. I want to try and place all the pieces together for the Christmas Story. December 25, Joseph brought Jesus and Mary into Bethlehem, but as they arrived, Luke 2:6 says, "While they were there, the time came for her to have her child".
Maybe Joseph was attempting to report to the census, maybe because of Mary's labor, it was an emergency that they find a place to deliver the child. Luke 2:7 indicates Joseph attempted to find an inn but there was no room because of all the travelers coming to file in to the census. The manger or cave appears to have been a hasty place provided because of Mary's quick labor.
Luke 2:7 says that Mary gave birth to Jesus where "she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger".
Another possibility is that it was dark when Joseph and his family arrived in Bethlehem, as they quickly found a manger, the angels began praising God saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14).
The Shepherds were out in the pastures watching over their sheep when all this began to take place.
Meanwhile, the star had led the Wise men to Israel and by this time, they are going through Jerusalem asking "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage".
This ruckus grabbed the attention of King Herod and he summoned the Wise men to ascertain the time of the stars appearance.
Herod intended to deceive them so he could identify this threat to his throne and kill the Christ Child.
From the birth until the wise men arrived bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, St. Joseph moved from the cave or stable to perhaps a relatives house.
Since Bethlehem was the City of Joseph's heritage (David), it's possible that Joseph had relatives present in Bethlehem so he was able to make this move.
The star continued to shine over Bethlehem for another 5 more days. At any rate, Matthew 2:11 indicates that when the wise men did arrive, they entered the house where Mary and the Child was.
When did the wise men actually arrive at the place where Jesus and Mary were resting? There is a short window following this star for five days.
I think this event had to occur between 25 December and very early 1 January. I tend to think it would have been later than sooner because what happens next. Matthew states that the Wise men (magi) camped for the night and beheld a dream.
God warns the magi not to return to Herod, but to go another route out of the Country. This dream had to be important because as the magi were leaving Joseph received a dream from an angel saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herold is going to search for the child to destroy him" (Matthew 2:13).
I do not see St. Joseph waiting around to see what happens, they leave Bethlehem immediately. I think that the Magi's visit and Joseph's departure would be the same evening. This probably would be the night of 31 December or very early 1 January.
Luke's next hard time line should be 1 January as Jesus is in Jerusalem (7 miles away from Bethlehem) and he is presented to the temple for circumcision.
This happened on the eighth day from his birth. The Child was named Jesus. Simeon foretells that Jesus would be "the fall and rise of many in Israel".
That Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword. Also, there was an older lady who began to speak "about this child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem".
Now this presents a problem for Joseph, after receiving a vision from an angel to get out of dodge and here they are in Jerusalem where surely if Herod knew Jesus was there, he would have called back all the Soldiers to Jerusalem?
Now you have older ladies and men prophesying about your Son who you know the government is after. This almost becomes a suspense story.
Luke only records that from this scene, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Luke mentions nothing about Egypt and the haste leaving Bethlehem.
Remember, St. Luke was a Gentile and he writes what God wanted him to say. It makes sense that Joseph would take the Holy Family to Nazareth and from there flee to Egypt through a major route that Herod would not suspect.
The good news is that Jesus did not get caught by Herod's thugs, but the bad news is that the magi could not have been in Bethlehem visiting Jesus on 6 January.
Jesus was on his way to Nazareth getting far away from Bethlehem. But the gold and gifts the magi gave to the Holy Family helped to pay for the trip to Egypt.
Science, scripture, and tradition along with personal perspective on my part, this is the most I can tell from the evidence given.
For more information concerning Dec 25 as the birth of Christ, please click here:
Video used by permission:
About the Author of the presentation video/DVD of the Star of Bethlehem project:
When you watch this video, you will see a picture given me from Iraqi friends of a baby being baptized. If you take a good look, you can see the water rolling off the head of the child in the form of a Rosary!
You Tube Channel
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
One late night during the summer of 2007, I was abruptly awaken by a Currier with a message that the Battalion Commander wanted to see me ASAP.
I quickly got myself together and made a mad dash to the Battalion Headquarters where the Commander was awaiting.
My Platoon Leader, a young Lieutenant, just went on a 30 day leave so I was acting Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and because we were short of Medics, I would go out on missions with the Scouts (PSD) and who ever else needed support.
The Battalion had been given a late mission from Brigade coming from Division. It always seemed that we would always have short notice for critical planning, but, sometimes this is the nature of our business. We must be flexible especially in an environment such as in Iraq OIF 2006-2008.
It was my task to provide a plan for Brigade the medical support for an up coming mission that would require a main push of our Battalion assets. All the Company elements will play a role given areas of responsibilities.
This will be a door to door seek and find mission of enemy elements in an area where Americans had not been. This was going to be potentially dangerous. Of course, before I was to present my plan of support for this mission, I would have to give the plan to the Battalion leadership first.
That is a smart move because we all must be on the same sheet of music. Of course, before I shared the plan to Battalion, our Company Commander and First Sergeant wanted to know what my plan was before I did anything.
As you can see, this was very labor intensive and the plan had to be accepted up the chain. I had already a good plan of support at the Company level as my squad leaders were doing a good job keeping me informed of the missions they had been conducting. This upcoming mission was going to be a major push that would require the Division to move forward.
I would have to ensure a good Evac route from all avenues of approach. I would need a good estimate calculating the supplies I would need to have on hand.
I had to ensure that the logistics supporting this mission was all in place. This would have to be briefed to all the leadership and I would be the one to present it.
Everyday there were the meetings, the preparation of the power point presentations. If your act was not together, it would not be good so everyone tried to stay ahead of the program. You are the subject matter expert and you were expected to know the questions and answers before you presented yourself.
You had to know backwards and forwards what your role was and to know what your team leaders of the other sections were doing. In other words, if the Scouts had a mission, I needed to know what it was and how I was going to support them.
I had to know from the point of attack how long it would take an Evacuation Black hawk helicopter to arrive at the scene and then how long it would take to get the casualties back the the green zone. I had the Golden Hour incorporated in the plan.
Whenever there are casualties, if you can get the wounded to the Green zone and on an operating table in an hour, you greatly increase the chance of survival for many of our Soldiers. We have the best Military strategy the world has ever seen and I am proud to have played a major role at the tip of the spear.
During all this stress and daily headaches, I was able to keep up with my commitment to the Rosary Patrol. Prayer has always been my shield especially going out in harms way. All along the way to completion, I presented my plans of action and I was able to answer any and all questions relating to the mission.
On the morning of the kickoff, I was supporting our Echo Company Elements who was building a JSS in the middle of enemy strongholds. We had three Companies conducting mop up missions which were highly successful.
As we were rolling down the road, we were attacked with small arms fire and IED.
I was riding in a vehicle right behind the hit vehicle. There was a large explosion and the debre, smoke, and dust litterally made it hard to see. The vehicle right in front of me was hit by an IED.
I was the first on the scene with my Aid Bag as the vehicle Commander gave support ensuring that I was protected under fire.
I made the decision to Evac the wounded by vehicle to the JSS where I had a set Helicopter pad available. This was a short two miles away from point of impact.
I could have called for the evac to come to the location where we were hit, but the terrain was not the ideal place.
As far as the plan went, it was picture perfect. My plan worked as planned and the wounded were on the operating table within 45 minutes.
This showed the Command that we had the right plan in place and I was thankful that the wounded survived. Two of them did have to evac back to the States, but they went home alive.
It was another good day, when we did not lose anyone, that was always a good day. I would receive a Combat badge with a star that would make me the old man in the Battalion.
That is rarely scene, but once in a while you will see someone with the badge with a star. Besides myself, I seen one other but for me the most important thing was no body died.
I look back at this today and I am so thankful to God, I don't know what it would have been like for me without my Catholic Faith. For me, this was more than a healing.
You Tube Channel
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Salvation has come to the world! This is marked in the happiness of a new born child.
The scripture tells us that Mary pondered these things in her heart. We too should ponder these things as we reflect the meaning of all this.
St. Joseph was a great provider with strong faith and trust in God. He gives a great example for all fathers. Joseph and Mary would first be Jesus protectors, then teachers. All the happiness of the past couple of days will be enjoined with the coming of the magi bearing gifts of Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
All this for a new born King! The small community in Bethlehem shares a calm before the storm. Jesus was born into the world humbling himself accepting humanity as a new born infant.
Thus the Word became flesh for the salvation of the world. Not long before this nativity scene display, there was no room for the Holy Family in the inn, if the Lord were to come to your house this day, would he find room in the inn?
Do we receive this Word into our hearts? If we do, then like Zaccheaus, "today, salvation has come to this house.."
Mary, is like every other mother who loves their children. She is the role model of motherhood. Whenever I see a statue or picture of May with the Christ Child, I reflect the great love between a mother and her child.
The Christmas song "Silent Night" makes this scene come alive for me. Every child should be loved like this.
St. Joseph is a great model in his role of fatherhood. His leadership, his love for Jesus and Mary.
God entrusted his Son to St.Joseph making him one of the world's greatest dad's! These first few joyous days will quickly change as danger is coming. Powerful forces seek to find the Christ child to kill him. Not only King Herod wants baby Jesus dead, so does the king of darkness.
Revelation 12:3 states, "Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on it's head were seven diadems".
This would appear very terrible for any family with a small child to overcome. However, when you have God's protection, all things are possible.
Jesus had to rely on the faithfulness of his parents as they are entrusted with the greatest mission the world will ever receive. Nobody ever did it any better than Joseph and Mary.
Events that we will celebrate in the next few days are the coming of the magi, and the presentation of Jesus into the Temple when he was eight days old.
From this scene we have the Prophecy of Simeon, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself (Mary) a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed".
"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the Temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2"36-38).
It would not be long however before the small community would be shaken as "Rachel will not be consoled".
We too, like Joseph, must act when tough times are coming. We must seek to do the Lord's will in all things and he will lead us to the Promised Land.
You Tube Channel
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
We celebrate his birth this night, as we do, we celebrate the faith he has given to us. Merry Christmas to everyone and may the Love of God bless you all!
You Tube Channel
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Old Testament offers clues that point to the Catholic Faith from different avenues of approaches. Daniel 2:44 states, "In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in peaces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever".
This kingdom that Daniel refers to was founded by Christ. The Catholic Church proclaims this kingdom through the authority of the apostolic witness.
Matthew 16:19 Jesus states, "I will give you (St. Peter) the keys to the KINGDOM of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".
There are other denominations however, who believe that Christ did not establish a church or a kingdom on earth but will do so when he returns at the Parousia (Second Coming).
In other words, they are still awaiting for the kingdom to be established. They take Revelation 20:4 literally that Christ will set up a thousand year reign.
The Catholic Church does not believe this passage to be literal, "Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ's resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God's people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin" NAB footnotes to Rev 20:1-6.
Daniel 2:44 seems to indicate Christ prophesied would establish his kingdom. He is the "Rock" that breaks statue into pieces. Matthew 13 seems to agree with this assessment, "Then, dismissing the crowds, he (Jesus) went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field'. He said in reply, 'He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the KINGDOM. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will collect out of his KINGDOM all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the KINGDOM of their Father".
Jesus established his kingdom nearly 2,000 years ago.
Through Baptism and Confirmation,we become son's and daughters of God. Even so, we must continue to pick up our cross and follow him.
The Kingdom of God is provisional in that we must keep his commandments.
Just as in the day of Moses who dealt with the rebellion of Korah, Kohath, Dathan, and Abiram, so it is today that people openly dissent from official Catholic teaching.
Hosea 4:6 warns, "My people perish for want of knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood; Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons".
1 John 2:4 states, "Whoever says, 'I know him', but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him".
Matthew 18:6-7 warns, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come"!
Think about what Jesus just said?
Isaiah 5:20 warns, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness".
1 Timothy 1:8-10 warns, "We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted".
Our Country is legalizing the acts of the Sodomites (homosexuals) allowing them to serve in the Military.
Jesus will hold those accountable for legalizing this along abortion. Think about the musicians, Hollywood, all those who participate in drugs and loose living.
Sports figures who are not good role models, the list goes on and on.
All this even though the Kingdom of God is in our midst. People are rebelling, in Arizona, a Bishop finally discredited a Catholic Hospital for conducting an abortion.
There are "Catholics" who support abortion, pornography, homosexuality who are greatly compromised with the world.
The devil has planted his seed among the vineyard, but in the end, God will prevail and so will his Church. God so loves us, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father" (Matthew 18:10).
Our politicians, our media, many of our own family members do not regard much for the Lord or his Church. We can make a better difference for our young people offering them the truth. Many of them are crying out for the truth.
The true message of Christmas is the hope for a better world because the Lord did establish his Kingdom, and it is right here in our midst!
You Tube Channel
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The first picture of an eclipse coinciding with the winter solstice for the first time in nearly 400 years. It also coincides with our 25th wedding anniversary.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The following is something I put together after my first deployment to Iraq with the 2-5 CAV (Oct 06-Jan 08).
During this deployment, it was a high honor to serve as our Divisions RCIA Instructor and chief Catholic Bible teacher. To be available for so many in a very tough environment. .
The Song "Frontline" is from a Christian group IdleCure.
Two of my Son's, Nathan (currently in Afghanistan) singing and playing guitar with Jason (my youngest son) playing drums. The Pictures are primarily from Iraq Feb 09 - Jan 2010. (Below)
You Tube Channel
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
I received a message today from one of the listeners during the radio show and I want to take an opportunity to answer their question here.
I explained that John the Baptist was born without Original Sin.
He was conceived with Original Sin, but he was born free of this fallen nature.
How can this be? Luke 1:13-15 states, "But the angel said to him (Zechariah), 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb".
Luke 1:44 states, "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy".
This fullfulls what the angel had said. At this moment, St. John the Baptist was given an infusion of Sanctifying Grace that cleansed him from the Original Sin.
This was not a baptism, but a singular grace given. This event was a preparation for St. John the Baptist to be the herold of the Messiah, the forerunner of Jesus.
This sign of grace given to John was very important in God's plan of salvation.
You Tube Channel
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The past few years I have not been someone who watches many new sitcoms because of the liberal Hollywood influence that I feel they are pushing.
I think there is a definite tie between the liberal left in politics and Hollywood.
Because of cable TV I have the opportunity to bring back some of the old shows I loved growing up.
You can shop at any Cracker Barrel and buy many of the older shows! That's a great place to eat and shop around!
There was a valuable theme that ran prevalent in these shows. That good triumphs over evil, that even in an untamed west, there were men of valor. A generation of young men were raised on this growing up. Some of my favorites were:
Cheyenne was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. With the ability to remaster these great shows, it is like discovering them all over again. Recently, I spent some time with my Brother visiting and we both enjoyed this show.
My wife bought me all six seasons of Daniel Boone staring Fess Parker and I had the opportunity of watching this on my off time in Iraq.
Laredo was another of my Shows growing up. I loved the competition and the pranks they played on each other.
Who doesn't like Bonanza? Hoss and Little Joe? Excellent show!
Gunsmoke, the longest running western of all time. Great action pact drama.
These shows paid respect to religious people. Many times Catholic Priests (actors) appear in the shows and they helped instill the goodness in people in an untamed land. Things today are much different as Secularism is front and center. When religious people are portrayed, it is most of the time negative. Hense, the modern day Hollywood epic. Today there are great abilities we have to make good special affects but somewhere in the translation, it has become more vile, raunchy and indecent. Every now and again a good movie does arrive like "Blind Side", that's when we should remind the Movie Industry that these will sell! Remember this when you go shopping this year for Christmas. For a Soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan, buy an old movie or series from Craker Barrel and you might surprise them!
You Tube Channel
They were so strong on keeping tradition that despite the temp was 100 degrees, they still wanted to burn a Yule log.
What some people will do to keep alive something of home.
My family has never burned such a log that I am aware of so I thought this was a good opportunity to investigate the roots of this tradition.
The following is taken from www.whychristmas.com
The custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to, and before, medieval times. It was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, such as Germany.
The Yule Log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was considered important that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands. Nowadays, of course, most people have central heating so it is very difficult to burn a tree!
In Provence (in France), it is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night. If any of the log is left after 12th night, it is kept safe in the house until the next Christmas to protect against lightning! In some parts of Holland, this was also done, but the log had to be stored under a bed! In some eastern European countries, the log was cut down on Christmas Eve morning and lit that evening.
In Cornwall (in the U.K.), the log is called 'The Mock'. The log is dried out and then the bark is taken off it before it comes into the house to be burnt. Also in the UK, barrel makers (or Coopers as barrel makers were traditionally called) gave their customers old logs that they could not use for making barrels for Yule logs. (My surname is Cooper, but I don't make barrels! My Great Grandfather did own a walking stick factory though!)
The custom of the Yule Log spread all over Europe and different kids of wood are used in different countries. In England, Oak is traditional; in Scotland, it is Birch; while in France, it's Cherry. Also, in France, the log is sprinkled with wine, before it is burnt, so that it smells nice when it is lit.
In Devon and Somerset in the UK, some people have a very large bunch of Ash twigs instead of the log. This comes from a local legend that Joseph, Mary and Jesus were very cold when the shepherds found them on Christmas Night. So the shepherds got some bunches of twigs to burn to keep them warm.
In some parts of Ireland, people have a large candle instead of a log and this is only lit on New Years eve and 12th night.
Different chemicals can be sprinkled on the log like wine to make the log burn with different coloured flames!
- Potassium Nitrate = Violet
- Barium Nitrate = Apple Green
- Borax = Vivid Green
- Copper Sulphate = Blue
- Table Salt = Bright Yellow
This sounds very dangerous, so please only try this out with some adult supervision!!
The ashes of Yule logs were meant to be very good for plants, this is sometimes called 'potash'. But if you throw the ashes out on Christmas day it was supposedly very unlucky!
A Chocolate Yule Log or 'bûche de Noël' is now a popular Christmas desert or pudding. It's traditionally eaten in France and Belgium, where they are known as 'Kerststronk' in Flemish.
They are made of a chocolate sponge roll layered with cream. The outside is covered with chocolate or chocolate icing and decorated to look like a bark-covered log. Some people like to add extra decorations such as marzipan mushrooms!
You Tube Channel
It was just somehow associated with Christmas. In looking at some of these traditions we see in Christmas traditions, most of them had Pagan origins.
I've had people tell me that Christians should not participate in these celebrations because God is offended by it. I can't agree with that assessment, Christianity is always adapting to the environment or rather converting it.
The transformation of the heart centralizes why we celebrate any feast. What the Church does in these celebrations I find people doing the very same thing today through Christian Contemporary Music. I think this is great because music reaches where the people are.
Just as these celebrations do. People would be horrified to learn that some of the most beloved hymns like "Amazing Grace" were taken from popular bar songs from that time period. That was what was popular at the time.
Today, when we sing old fashioned hymns today, who recalls much of the secular songs of that time? I think you would have to be a history music major to know much of that culture. As we continue to prepare for the Christmas Season, here is a fine article by Adrianne Loggins "Yuletide History" from www.ehow.com
You Tube Channel
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'd be a rich man today. I am rich, but not necessarily through worldly wealth.
I am blessed beyond measure.
For the times that God has saved me and forgiven me, healing me and restoring me through his priesthood in my life.
Every time I go to Confession I receive his grace.
My sins are thrown into the sea of forgetfulness and he remembers them no more.
Every time I receive Jesus in Holy Communion, I renew the Covenant with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The one who created all creation: the stars in the heavens, some people look to the stars for their answers, I can go to the one who made the stars who is the answer.
Jesus offers us his grace through the Ministry of his Catholic Church. What great blessings we receive that cleanses us, heals us, forgives us, and strengthens us.
The Old Testament Priesthood of Levi was a foreshadowing of the Priesthood of Christ. God's people in the Old Testament received only a glimpse and the hope for what Christ initiated in the upper room.
Christ is the "Son of David" who sits upon the throne. He sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Moses said, "A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen" (Deuteronomy 18:15).
Compare this with what Jesus said, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me" (Luke 10:16).
Moses was laying the foundation for the promise of the Messiah, Jesus is giving his authority to his Priesthood. "
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord" (Exodus 34:29).
Matthew 17:2-3 states, "And He (Jesus) was transfigured before them (Peter, James, and John); his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him".
Moses shone brightly because he was in the presence of God Almighty, Jesus Shone brightly revealing his glory as the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity.
The Israelite's were given manna to feed the people in the desert (Exodus 16). Jesus is the "Bread of Life" who restores life through an everlasting Covenant (John 6).
Moses struck the water giving drink to the thirsty (Exodus 17:6) and Jesus said to the woman at the well: "Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink', you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10).
Jesus fulfills the Old Testament Sacrifices of the animals with his own Sacrifice on the cross. As the Old Testament sacrifices blotted out sin as a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Ephesians 5:1-5 states, "So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not be mentioned among you, as is fitting among the holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God".
St. Peter instructs the Presbyters (Priests), "So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory".
Notice St. Peter instructing them to "Tend the flock of God"! Jesus had instructed St. Peter with the very same charge, "Tend my sheep", and "Feed my Lambs" (John 21:15-16).
Jesus gives his Church the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, the power to "bind and loose", the power to forgive sins, to anoint the sick. To offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, "Do this in memory of me" (Luke 22:19).
The Apostles ordained men through the "imposition of hands of the presbyterate" (1 Timothy 4:14).
Through Apostolic Succession, the Priesthood (presbyterate) of Christ continues to offer the pure and holy sacrifice, "For from the rising of the sun, even to it's setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering" (Malachi 1:11).
Jesus Christ is this "pure offering". The sacrifice is the Mass, Jesus offers himself to the Father in an unbloodied sacrifice, a perpetual Sacrament offered continually.
Jesus died only once and for all, but the efficacy of that sacrifice is presented in the Mass.
When you receive the Eucharist, you receive Jesus Christ totally, body, blood, soul, and divinity.
"Transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek μετουσίωσις metousiosis) means the change of the substance of host bread and sacramental wine into the substance of the Body and Blood (respectively) of Jesus in the Eucharist, while all that is accessible to the senses (accidents) remains as before" (Wikipedia).
From the Didache, "Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized in the Name of the Lord," for it was in reference to this that the Lord said, "Do not give that which is holy to dogs." Matthew 7:6
St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote, "I desire the bread of GOD, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ".
St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote (106 A.D.) "stand aloof from such heretics", because, among other reasons, "they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again."
St. Justin Martyr wrote (150 A.D.), "Not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."
St. Justin Martyr wrote, "Now it is evident, that in this prophecy to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks."
This is the Catholic Church, this is the Kingdom of God on earth, this is the New Testament based from the New and Everlasting Covenant established by our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Virgin Mary appearing at Fatima Portugal echoes Hebrews 13:18, "Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect. I especially ask for your prayers that I may be restored to you very soon". Mary would warn us not to judge a Priest, but to pray for them. There would be Priests that will displease our Lord. They will face judgment and they need our prayers. As we go forward through the Church year, remember to pray and obey our leaders (Hebrews 13:17).
You Tube Channel
Monday, December 13, 2010
They have three children they want to have Baptized and so I was able to give her some help who to contact to get enrolled in our RCIA program.
What a joy this was to hear this! While there, another lady whose husband is in Iraq sent me the following. I have to tell you, when I first seen this it really upset me.
This is not for the faint of heart, but this needs to be exposed. I promised the lady that I would post this on deepertruth and to get this out there. People, please pray for the people in these Countries as they are under a great darkness. The following needs no words to explain:
They want to bring Sharia Law here, or they want us to respect Sharia Law for American Muslims. The State of Oklahoma has it right, we need to ensure that this never comes here to America and if anyone tries this in the United States, that they will be punished for this crime.
It has come to my attention that the above could be a trick? You can catch the debate here:
You Tube Channel
Colossians 1:28 states, "It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ".
St. Paul is basing this through the Authority of Christ as he states, "Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions on Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, o which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past".
As we search for this center of faith, an important clue comes from St. Augustine, "the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed".
Jesus Commands the Church to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Through the apostolic Ministry of the Catholic Church, "As they traveled from city to city, they handed on to the people for observance the decisions reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem. Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number" (Acts 6:4-5).
1 Corinthians 1:10 commands us, "I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Chris, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be know divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and purpose".
Acts 14:22-23 encourages us "They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith".
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, "Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Your every act should be done with love".
St. Jude echos this writing "Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once handed down to the holy ones. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. ON THOSE WHO WAIVER, HAVE MERCY; SAVE OTHERS BY SNATCHING THEM OUT OF THE FIRE; ON OTHERS HAVE MERCY WITH FEAR, ABHORRING EVEN THE OUTER GARMENT STAINED BY THE FLESH" (Jude 3,21).
St. James echos this teaching, "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
St. Paul writes, "I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you o live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all"(Ephesians 4:1-5).
Titus 3:15 says, "All who are with me send you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith".
Having gone to many nations and meeting many people from around the world, I find St. Paul's encouragement to "love us in the faith" really inspiring. The Catholic Church is truly universal and to meet people from all over has been a great blessing.
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are (From Wikipedia):
- Wisdom: With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the whole image of God. We see God as our Father and other people with dignity. Lastly being able to see God in everyone and everything everywhere.
- Understanding: With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live. The gift of understanding perfects a person's speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. It is the gift whereby self-evident principles are known, Aquinas writes.
- Counsel (Right Judgment): With the gift of counsel/right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus. The gift of truth that allows the person to respond prudently, and happily to believe our Christ the Lord
- Fortitude (Courage): With the gift of fortitude/courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risks as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death. The gift of courage allows people the firmness of mind that is required both in doing good and in enduring evil, especially with regard to goods or evils that are difficult, just like Joan of Arc did.
- Knowledge: With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God. The gift of knowledge is more than an accumulation of facts.
- Piety (Reverence): With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love. Piety is the gift whereby, at the Holy Spirit's instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father, Aquinas writes.
- Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe): With the gift of fear of the Lord we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love. This gift is described by Aquinas as a fear of separating oneself from God. He describes the gift as a "filial fear," like a child's fear of offending his father, rather than a "servile fear," that is, a fear of punishment. Also known as knowing God is all powerful. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7) because it puts our mindset in its correct location with respect to God: we are the finite, dependent creatures, and He is the infinite, all-powerful Creator.
With these gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit this gives us the tools to fight the battle of life:
Wait upon the Lord
To go through the journey to the center of the Faith, your only true hope is to find the Catholic Faith to utilize the Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.
You Tube Channel