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“Feast of the Baptism of the Lord; the Papacy; St. Adrian of Canterbury; and Franciscan Love Duties & Life”


410px-Emblem_of_the_Papacy_SE_svg

Wednesday, Last Week
of the Christmas Season

 

. table_of_contentsToday’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoverie. pencils, & Declarations:

 

This Sunday’s “Feast of the Baptism of the Lord” is the Catholic Church’s transition Baptismfrom the “Christmas Season” to “Ordinary Time”.  Most of us have dismantled our Christmas lights and decorations, and packed away until next winter.  The “live” Christmas trees have been discarded, hopefully in an ecological way.  And, from a secular viewpoint, many gifts have been taken back to their respective stores to be exchanged or returned.  So, “Christmas” is packed away for another year!! 

From a religious viewpoint – – liturgically – –  the “Baptism of Jesus”, which we will celebrate in just a few days,  is an invitation and challenge to us to do OUR part in bringing about the reign of the Trinitarian Godhead on Earth, through His reign of peace, justice, and love.  So, are we ready to do our parts?!

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. history colorToday in Catholic History:

†   1428 – Pope Martinus V declares Jacqueline, Countess of Haintaut’s marriage to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, invalid

†   1431 – Judges’ investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc begin in Rouen, France, the seat of the English occupation government.

†   1522 – Adriaan F Boeyens is elected as the only Dutch pope (Adrian VI)

†   1554 – Birth of Gregory XV, [Alessandro Ludovisi], pope (1621-23)

†   1856 – Birth of Anton Askerc, Slavic priest/poet (Primoz Trubar)

†   1859 – Birth of Frederik Pijper, Dutch vicar/church historian (The Monasteries)

†   1902 – Birth of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Spanish Catholic priest and founder of Opus Dei (d. 1975)

†   1958 – Birth of Mehmet Ali Ağca, Turkish attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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C. Catholic Apolgeticsatholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

The Papacy, Part II

“‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like 410px-Emblem_of_the_Papacy_SE_svgwheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren’ (Luke 22:31-32) RSV.

“’Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32) KJV.

***

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (John 1:42) RSV.

He brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone. (John 1:42) KJV.

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. Fran st monkA Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Adrian of Canterbury (d. 710)

 

Though St. Adrian turned down a papal request to become Archbishop of Canterbury, England, Pope St. Vitalian accepted the rejection on the condition that Adrian serve as theadrian Holy Father’s assistant and adviser.  Adrian accepted, but ended up spending most of his life and doing most of his work in Canterbury.

Born in Africa, Adrian was serving as an abbot in Italy when the new Archbishop of Canterbury appointed him abbot of the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in Canterbury.  Thanks to his leadership skills, the facility became one of the most important centers of learning.  The school attracted many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future bishops and archbishops.  Students reportedly learned Greek and Latin and spoke Latin as well as their own native languages.

Adrian taught at the school for 40 years.  He died there, probably in the year 710, and was buried in the monastery.  Several hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state.  As word spread, people flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles.  Rumor had it that young schoolboys, in trouble with their masters, made regular visits there.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tauSecular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 09 & 10 of 26:

09.  The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to His every word and call.  She was embraced by Francis with indescribable love and declared the protectress and advocate of his family.  The Secular Franciscans should express their ardent love for her by imitating her complete self-giving and by praying earnestly and confidently.

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10.  United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed His will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life.  Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.

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“The Success of My Blog Site; a House Blessing; the Papacy’; St. Gregory Nazianzen; & The Secular Franciscan Order & Rule!” – †


“The Success of My Blog Site; a House Blessing; the Papacy’;St. Gregory Nazianzen; & The Secular Franciscan Order & Rule!” – †

 

2nd Wednesday of Christmas Season

. table_of_contentsToday’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:. pencil

 

It is the start of a new year, and my 4th year of Blogging.  I started this site – – “Dan’s Blunders & wordpressWonders of Thought!” – – in September of 2009.  In those 4 last months of 2009, only 500 visits were made to my reflection blog site, averaging 4.1 visits per day. 

For 2012, I averaged 205 visits per day, for a grand total of 75,034 – – in just this last year!!  And, the numbers are going up, up, and up!!  I averaged 310 visits in December alone – the highest ever for my site.  My reflection blog apostolate has spread throughout the world, with the top ten Countries (in number of visits) for 2012 being: 

  1.         United States           33,019
  2.         Philippines                5,334bigstockphoto_Top_Ten_4561594_0
  3.         United Kingdom      5,033
  4.         Canada                      3,717
  5.         India                           3,282
  6.         Australia                   2,681
  7.         Indonesia                  1,017
  8.         South Africa             733
  9.         Malaysia                   704
  10.         Netherlands                587 

However, as you can see by the picture posted with this article, my blog site has been visited by people from every corner of the world, and nearly every country except for Greenland, a few in central Africa, and portions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

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Each new year, I post a Blessing for the home:

Blessing of a Home at Epiphany

Leader:  Peace be to this house.

All:  And to all who live here.

Leader:  Bless, O Lord, this household and family, and allow all of us who live in this home to find in it a shelter of peace and health. Inspire each of us to develop our individual talents and to contribH21-House-Blessingute wisdom and good works for the benefit of the whole family. Make our house a haven for us all, and a place of warmth and caring for all our friends who come to visit us. Enlighten us with the brilliance of your Epiphany star, so that, as we go into the world, we might clearly see our way to You and discover You in our work and play. This we ask to your glory and in the power of your kingship.

All:  For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory now and forever, Amen.

Then, bless the house with the sign of the cross.

After the blessing, the initials of the Magi (traditional names: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar) are written with chalk over the main door way of the house, like this:

20 + C + M + B + 13

(The “+” is a cross; the “13 stands for 2012; change the year accordingly).

Adapted from a commonly used parish prayer format.

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 . history colorToday in Catholic History: 

†   533 – Mercurius becomes Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.

†   1585 – Spain & Catholic France sign Saint League of Joinville.  The Treaty of Joinville was signed in secret in December 31, 1584 by the French Catholic League, led by France’s first family of Catholic nobles, the Guises, and Habsburg Spain. In this treaty, Philip II, King of Spain, agreed to finance the Catholic League.  The aim of the treaty was to form a Catholic alliance against Protestant forces, notably Elizabeth I of England, in response to the potential succession to the French throne of Henry III of Navarre, at this point a Protestant.

†   1860 – The discovery of the planet Vulcan is announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.  Spock becomes the first Federation Envoy to Earth.

†   1873 – Birth of Saiknt Thérèse de Lisieux, French Roman-Catholic nun (d. 1897)1881 – Camille Saint-Saëns’ 3rd Concerto in B, premieres

†   1941 – World War II: German bombing severely damages the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales.

†   1985 – Egyptian President Mubarak reappoints Coptic pope Shenuda III

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site o
tday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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. Catholic ApolgeticsCatholic Apologetics:

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

The Papacy

“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.  The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter …” (Matthew 10:1-2). RSV

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; …”(Matthew 10:1-2). KJV

***

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’” (Matthew 16:18-19). RSV

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew. 16:18-19). KJV

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A F. Fran st monkranciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Gregory Nazianzen (329-390)

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery.  The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed gregoryhelp in his diocese and estate.  It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility.  He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism.  At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.  An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints.  Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades.  Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence.  He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only Orthodox Church in the city.  In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous.  In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence.  An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity.  He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty.  He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”

Comment:

It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten.  Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, and no pain.  In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.

Quote:

“God accepts our desires as though they were a great value.  He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor.  His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving.  So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness.”

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tauSecular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 02 & 03 of 26:


02.  The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful.  In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state.  By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.

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03.  The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times.  Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.

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“Newtown Shooting, in light of this Friday’s ‘Feast of the Holy Innocents’; Christ’s REAL presence in the Eucharist; St. Stephen, the first Catholic Martyr; OFS Expenses and Fraternal Visits”


 

Wednesday, Second Day
in the Octave of Christmas

 

 

. table_of_contentsToday’s Content:

 

• Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations

• Today in Catholic History

• Catholic Apologetics

• A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day

• Reflection on article of the OFS Rule

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:. pencil

 

Further thoughts on the Newtown Shooting, in light of this Friday’s “Feast of the Holy Innocents”:

For most of us, what should be a happy and joyous family shhootingstime filled with hope and togetherness, was shattered by the horrific shootings of twenty elementary school children and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all those martyrs, their families and friends, the first responders, and the townsfolk of Newtown.

Like everyone else in this great country, I was truly horrified, frustrated, and saddened – – maybe even “angry”. I asked myself, “How could someone do this gross act, especially to these six and seven year old children?” Hopeless cannot even describe how I felt for our countries “future” when I first heard of the shootings; we are truly circling the drain of the moral and spiritual sink indeed. It seems all I can do is pray, but maybe – – No, I am SURE – – this is WHAT we ALL need to do, for this country’s future!!

As we all respond to the intentional and gruesome evil perpetrated in Newtown, we need to find solace and support in our faith, hope, and trust that those who lost their earthly lives have found eternal life in Jesus’ heavenly Father’s house, their Father’s heavenly house. Along with the grief and suffering of – – and for – – those most directly affected in shocking and sickening act, we enter more deeply, more fully, into the “mystery” of the “Feast of the Holy Innocents”, this Friday, December 28th. In the face of such rampant disregard for the sacredness of human life in our society, we can endeavor to live more lovingly, building a nation of moral and spiritual values instead of the contempt and insignificance found in today’s society.

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. history colorToday in Catholic History:

 

† 268 – Death of Pope St Dionysius

† 418 – Death of Pope St Zosimus

† 795 – St Leo III begins his reign as Catholic Pope

† 1492 – First Spanish settlement in New World founded by Columbus (A Franciscan Tiertiary).

† 1751 – Birth of Clement Hofbauer, Austrian hermit and Redemptorist missionary and saint (d. 1820)

† 1862 – Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover are the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

† 1948 – Venerable Cardinal Mindszenty, Archbishop of Esztergom in Hungary, is arrested and accused of treason and conspiracy.

† Feasts/Memorails: St. Stephen’s Day, a public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Ireland; Synaxis of Theotokos and feast of St. Joseph, King and Prophet David and St. James the Just (Orthodox Christianity); The first of the twelve days of Christmas in Western Christianity; Abadiu of Antinoe is commemorated in the Coptic Church on this date; In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden, the 26th is known as the Second day of Christmas.

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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. Catholic ApolgeticsCatholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church. Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral. Oral tradition includes written forms. After all, it ALL started with oral tradition. Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination.

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Real Presence in the Eucharist

“’For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant of my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). RSV

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). KJV

***

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). RSV

”Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:27). KJV

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. Fran st monkA Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Stephen (d. 36 A.D.?)

 

All we know of Stephen is found in Acts of the Apostles, chapters Six and Seven. It is enough to tell us what kind of man he was:

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the St_Stephen_MartyrdomHebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit… (Acts 6:1-5).

Acts says that Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders among the people. Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

In his speech, Stephen recalled God’s guidance through Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).

His speech brought anger from the crowd. “But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God….’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him…. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…. Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b).

Comment:

Stephen died as Jesus did: falsely accused, brought to unjust condemnation because he spoke the truth fearlessly. He died with his eyes trustfully fixed on God, and with a prayer of forgiveness on his lips. A “happy” death is one that finds us in the same spirit, whether our dying is as quiet as Joseph’s or as violent as Stephen’s: dying with courage, total trust and forgiving love.

Patron Saint of: Bricklayers; Deacons; Hungary

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tauSecular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 25 & 26 of 26:

 

25. Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.

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26. As a concrete sign of communion and co- responsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.

To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions.

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“Newtown Connecticut Shooting; Jesse Tree; Divinity; Pope Urban V; Blessed Union; Joy; and Fraternity!” – †


 

3rdWednesday of Advent

 

. table_of_contentsToday’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:. pencil

 

“Where is the HOPE in Newtown, Connecticut – – What should we do?!!”

My response to the vicious attacks on children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut this last Friday (12/14/12).

 

Being an amateur writer of sorts – – and quite often, a poor on at that – – I try to look at what I am writing using the “tried and true” formula:11577584-brainstorming-questions--what-when-where-why-how-who--white-chalk-handwriting-on-vintage-slate-black

“Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.”

This tragic event affected EVERYONE in this country in a uniquely personal and intimate way.  This is true even if you live in other parts of the country and had no direct link to the people involved in this horrific tragedy.

We do know the “who” performing this act of destruction.  I choose NOT to give his name, because I do not want to exploit or make “trendy” his name in any form or way.  Doers of evil should never be idolized; far too many mass-murderers are look upon as “role models” and “iconic stars” in this oft-times messed-up and casually careless society

We also know, per news reports, that this young “boy-man” had a mental problem of some type.  However, we do not know, nor will we probably ever know the true reason, the “why” he felt the need to savagely murder his mother, six teachers, and 20 young children who were just starting their lives in the supposed “safety” of their school (the “where”).  After performing this act of brutal darkness, he finally felt the need to kill himself – – a hopeless act of self-destruction on his own body.  All these deaths happened at the beginning of the new school day (the “when”), and within a 20 minute span of time from – – beginning to end – – at the elementary school.

 TWhat-should-I-dohe only part of my writing formula left is the “WHAT”.  My question:

“What should we do, Lord?”

It’s interesting, and prophetic, that this same question I am asking now, “What should we do”, is asked three separate times in our past Sunday’s Gospel reading (cf., Luke 3:10-18).  John the Baptist’s preaching in this reading – – and his mission and task in life – – was simply to “awaken” the people to God’s “Word”, to “unsettle” them from their contentment, and to “arouse” within them enough good will to “recognize” and receive the Messiah when He appears on the scene. 

We must remember that each and every one of us has a SPECIFIC ROLE to play in God’s salvation plan.  Some will be rescuers, or bystanders, or even victims and martyrs.  Whatever our role in His plan, we need to have a true and real concern for a person’s “neighbor”.  We must ALWAYS offer HOPE – – and be HOPEFUL – – even in the most dismal of circumstances.

Though understandable, anger, and even fear, becoming etched into our minds – – is the WRONG ANSWER – – in God’s kingdom!  What we should do; what we need to do, is to pray for ALL those involved:

  • ·        The children whose lives were snatched from them at far too young an age.
  • ·        The six teacher’s who died while attempting to save (and some successfully) the young charges in556915_10151342239996743_989693953_n their care.
  • ·        The parents, family, and friends, directly and indirectly involved in this tragic assault on humanity.
  • ·        The First Responders (PD, FD, EMS) and Emergency Department personnel  who had to not only witness the results of the carnage, but also had to work within this bloodbath, stabilizing and controlling all aspects of the crime scene and the individual lives (and deaths) entrusted to them by society, law, and ethics.
    • o   As a retired/disabled paramedic of 35 years, I personally know what these brave men and women are – – and will be – – going through in their future personal lives.  I know they had to “swallow” their feelings at the time they were desperately needed, in order to perform their jobs correctly.  Thus, their “caged” emotions are now slowly eating at their bodies and souls, secretively emerging at a later date down the road, usually in very negative and self-abusive ways.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) is extremely prevalent within these highly emotion-charged public service fields.
    • o   So, please pray for these warriors of society who responded to an urgent need that day at that school building.  They will most certainly need these prayers in the days to come.
  • ·        And, finally, for the people of Newtown Connecticut and for the entire nation as a whole, that healing, faith, and hope finds its way into everyone’s body and souls.

Friday, December 28th – – exactly two weeks from the tragedy in Newtown – – is the “Feast of the Holy Innocents” commemorating Herod’s ordering of the “massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity tHolyInnocents(web)wo years old and under”.  Our Christmas Season of JOY is tempered today by a feeling of sadness.  I am sure the Church will look to the “glory and joy” of these children in Newtown – – of these innocent victims – – who are with Jesus, following Him, the “Holy Lamb”, wherever He goes.

Prayer surmounts all evil.  We know not the reason, other than it was an act of profound photo2evil, not of our loving God.  However, God can and will take this tragic event, allowing it to be used as an act for increasing one’s faith, and for bringing others into His awesome and magnificent kingdom.  We should remember that God was (and is) always with these innocent souls, even in the BAD times that occurred last Friday morning at a little school building in a very obscure and small town on the East Coast of the Unites States of America.

Through all – – HOPE ALWAYS PREVAILS!!  I wish to close with a prayer, by an unknown author, circulating on Facebook:photo

“Lord, We pray for the innocent children and all precious brothers and sisters affected by the Connecticut shooting.  Please wrap your arms around these families, and give them strength as they mourn this terrible tragedy.  We pray for peace and perseverance, that they may be able to trust You during this difficult time.  Thank you for your mercy and protection Lord, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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The Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree is a unique Advent tree that can be very useful for teaching children about the Bible at CJesse_Treehristmas, and also a fun activity!  So, what is a Jesse Tree?   The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ.  It tells the story of God’s salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah.  The name comes from the book of Isaiah:

“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom” (Isaiah 11:1).

Each day of Advent a homemade ornament is added to the Jesse Tree, a small tree made of evergreen branches.  These symbolic ornaments can each represent a prophecy foretelling of Christ.  Other variations include creating ornaments that represent the ancestors in the lineage of Christ, or using the various452px-Tree_of_Jesse_Beauvais_cathedral_2007_06_17 monogram symbols of Christianity as handmade ornaments.

Jesse was the father of the great King David of the Old Testament.  He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.

In Church art, a design developed showing the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical personages.  This design showed a branched tree growing from a reclining figure of Jesse.  The various branches had pictures of other Old and New Testament figures who were ancestors of Jesus.  At the top of the tree were figures of Mary and Jesus.  This design was used mostly in stained glass windows in some of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe.  The Cathedral of Chartres (which was dedicated in 1260) has a particularly beautiful Jesse Tree window.

Another development in religious art during the “Middle Ages” was that of “Mystery Plays” – – dramas depicting various Bible stories and/or lives of Saints and Martyrs.  These plays were performed in Churches as part of the liturgical celebrations.  One such play was based on the Bible account of the fall of Adam and Eve.  The “Tree of Life” used during the play was decorated with apples. (This is also the forerunner of our own Christmas tree.)

To make the Jesse Tree ornaments you will need: glue; ribbon or yarn (preferably purple); and crayons, Jesse Tree Ornamentsmarkers, paints or colored pencils; plus cardboard stock to create paper backgrounds for the ornaments.  The ornaments may be decorated with bits and pieces of bright colored paper, cloth, wood, plastic, etc., that you may find around your home.  You will also need a Bible.

It will take planning and work from each family member to make your own Jesse Tree.  The needed materials are usually found around most homes.  The tree itself can be one of several types.  A small artificial tree works fine, as does a tree branch that is anchored in a bucket or a large can of sand or gravel.  The tree branch looks particularly attractive if painted white and sprinkled with silver glitter while the paint is still wet.  Another possibility is a large drawing of a tree on cardboard or poster board that can be hung on the wall.

The other thing needed is a set of ornaments to hang on the tree.  These are best if they are homemade by various family members.  If you decide to use one symbol each day during December, there are 24 symbolic ornaments to make for your Jesse Tree, so each family member will need to make several.  Making the ornaments is a good project for Sunday afternoons during Advent.

To make an ornament, first read the Scripture verses for the day.  Then pick out one or two short verses that give the main idea.  Copy these verses on the back of the ornament.  By this time you will probably be thinking of various ways to illustrate your Scripture verses.

Use lots of creativity in making your ornament!  You can use pictures from magazines or old greeting cards, or draw pictures or symbols yourself.  Color them with crayons, pencils, markers or paint.  Look around the house for bits and pieces that will make your design beautiful!  If you prefer to have a pattern already made, you can find excellent samples and templates on-line. 

Jesse tree scriptures can be found from various websites, including one listed below.

Information from the following websites:
http://christianity.about.com/od/christmas/qt/jessetreeadvent.htm
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=545

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. history colorToday in Catholic History:

†   401 – St Anastasius I ends his reign as Catholic Pope

†   1370 – Death of Urban V, [Guillaume de Grimoard], 1st Avignon Pope (1362-70), b. 1310

†   1749 – Francesco Antonio Bonporti, Italian priest and composer (b. 1672)

†   1744 – Birth of Jacobus J Cramer, priest of Holland/Zealand/West-Friesland

†   1865 – Birth of Saint Tikhon Toropets, Pskov Russia, patriarch of Russian Orthodox church

†   1891 – 1st Black Catholic priest ordained in US, Charles Uncles, Baltimore

†   1914 – Death of Johann F Ritter von Schulte, German Catholic lawyer, dies at 87

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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. Catholic ApolgeticsCatholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Christ’s Divinity, Part 3:

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power …” (Hebrews 1:1-3) RSV

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high …” (Hebrews 1:1-3) KJV

**

But of the Son he says, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom.  … And, “Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” (Hebrews 1:8, 10) RSV

 

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  … And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” (Hebrews 1:8, 10) KJV

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. Fran st monkA Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Blessed Pope Urban V (1310-1370)

 

In 1362, the man elected pope declined the office.  When the cardinals could not find another stUrbanVperson among them for that important office, they turned to a relative stranger: the holy person we honor today.

The new Pope Urban V proved a wise choice.  A Benedictine monk and canon lawyer, he was deeply spiritual and brilliant.  He lived simply and modestly, which did not always earn him friends among clergymen who had become used to comfort and privilege.  Still, he pressed for reform and saw to the restoration of churches and monasteries.  Except for a brief period he spent most of his eight years as pope living away from Rome at Avignon, seat of the papacy from 1309 until shortly after his death.  

He came close but was not able to achieve one of his biggest goals—reuniting the Eastern and Western churches.

As pope, Urban continued to follow the Benedictine Rule.  Shortly before his death in 1370 he asked to be moved from the papal palace to the nearby home of his brother so he could say goodbye to the ordinary people he had so often helped.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tauSecular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 19 & 20 of 26:

19.  Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardonMessengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others.  Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.

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20.  The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international.  Each one has its own moral personality in the Church.  These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.

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“The Advent Wreath; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Christ’s Divinity; Creating though Purity, Love, and Spirit, a Worthwhile Community!” –†


 

2ndWednesday of Advent

 

. table_of_contentsToday’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:. pencil

 

Today, I will bring to you the origins of, traditions of, and reasons for using the:

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition.  However, the actual origins are uncertain.  There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during 800px-adventkranz_andreathe cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future for the warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring.  In Scandinavia, during winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light so this god would  turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun in order to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

In the “Middle Ages”, Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.  After all, Christ is “the light come into the world” (John 3:19), dispelling the darkness of sin and radiating the truth and love of God to all.  By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath at Christmas time.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is indeed spiritually beautiful.  The wreath is made of various evergreens, themselves signifying continuous life.  These various evergreens have a traditional meaning Advent-wreath-wk2-mwhich can be adapted in our faith: The laurels signify victory over persecution and suffering, with pine, holly, and yew, pointing toward immortality; and cedar aimed at strength and healing.

Holly, in addition, has a unique Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of Christ’s crown of thorns.  One English legend even tells us of the cross being made of holly wood (not from California).  The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ.  Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also reinforce the symbolization of life and resurrection.

So, all together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul AND the new, everlasting life promised to us through Jesus Christ, the eternal living “Word” of God the Father, who entered our world becoming true man, and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.

The ring of the Advent wreath – – decorated with candles – – was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity to its shores.  Though some sources suggest the wreath was in common use in the Middle Ages, others say that it was established in Germany as a Christian custom only in the 16th century.  Regardless of the origin, Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and in the 1930s it spread to North America among the German immigrants.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. I personally know of three separate traditions advent_wreath_sm_wk4involving the lighting of these candles to represent eras of our faith, and the individual meanings of each candle.  If you know of others, please let me know.

One tradition is that each week (and its candle) represents one thousand years, the sum of years – – 4,000 – – from Adam and Eve until the Birth of our Savior.  

Another similar type of tradition has each candle representing a separate era of Christianity: the first being the era before Christ; the second candle being the 33 year era of Christ’s physical human/divine presence on earth; the third “rose” colored candle representing Christ’s continual loving and merciful presence with each of us until the end of time, which is itself represented by the fourth candle signifying the awaiting of the Parousia.

Finally, in this third separate tradition:

    • The first purple candle lit (1st week) is called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets – – primarily Isaiah – – who foretold the birth of Christ; thus representing hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.  
    • The second purple candle represents “love”, and is called the “Bethlehem Candle”, symbolizing Christ’s manger
    • The third rose-colored candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy
    • The fourth and last purple candle, called the “Angels Candle,” represents “peace”.

In the Catholic Church, the most popular colors for the Advent candle theme are undeniably the colors “purple” and “rose”, corresponding with the colors of the liturgical vestments for the four Sundays of Advent. Thus, three candles are purple, and one is rose.  

Purple is the traditional color of penitential seasons, with the purple candles symbolizing the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken during the Advent Season.  

Rose is the color for the third Sunday of Advent, known as “Gaudete Sunday”, a Latin word meaning “to rejoice” – – and is taken from the first line of the traditional entrance prayer (called the Introit) for the Mass of the third Sunday of Advent.  Rose-colored vestments, worn by the priest at Mass on this day, are a symbol of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and we are ever-so-much closer to Christmas. 

A variation of the Advent wreath adds a white candle in the center to symbolize the “Christ Candle“.  White is the traditional color of “purity” in the Western church.  Jesus Christ is the sinless, spotless, and advent%20wreaththe pure Messiah Savior.  In addition, those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, are washed clean of their sins and made whiter than snow.

The progressive lighting of the candles from week to week symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world AND the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.  This “light” from the candles, as a whole, signifies Christ, the “Light of the world”.  

Since Advent is a time to stir our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the wreath and its associated prayers provide us a great way to augment our special preparations for Christmas.  Moreover, this good symbolic tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our preparations, not losing sight of the TRUE meaning of Christmas (CHRISTinMASS).

Information taken from the following sites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent_wreath;
http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0132.html;
http://christianity.about.com/od/christmas/qt/adventwreath.htm

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. history colorToday in Catholic History:

†   1098 – First Crusade: Massacre of Ma’arrat al-Numan – Crusaders breach the town’s walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants.  After finding themselves with insufficient food, they resort to cannibalism.

†   1212 – Death of Geoffrey, Archbishop of York

†   1524 – Pope Clement VII approves Organization of Jewish Community of Rome

†   1610 – Birth of Saint Vasilije (d. 1671), AKA:Saint Basil of Ostrog, a Serbian Saint venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

†   1769 – Pope Clement XIV proclaims a universal jubilee

†   1779 – Birth of Madeleine Sophie Barat, French saint (d. 1865)

†   2003 – Death of Joseph Anthony Ferrario, American Catholic prelate (b. 1926), the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.

†   2008 – Death of Avery Dulles, Roman Catholic Cardinal, Theologian (b. 1918)

†   Feasts/Memorials: Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe Day

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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. Catholic ApolgeticsCatholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Christ’s Divinity, Part 2:

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’ (John 8:58). RSV

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58). KJV

*

I and the Father are one (John 10:30). RSV

I and my Father are one.”(John 10:30). KJV

*

For in Him [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9). RSV

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9). KJV

 

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.

A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego.  He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City.  On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he Our%20Lady%20of%20Guadalupe%208_1422was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds.  A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess.  The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga.  The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign.  About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill.  This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady.  The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees.  On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac.  It was December 12, 1531.

Comment:

Mary’s appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary and the God who sent her accept all peoples.  In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for Native Americans.  While a number of them had converted before this incident, they now came in droves.  According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time.  In these days when we hear so much about God’s preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God’s love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.

Quote:

Mary to Juan Diego: “My dearest son, I am the eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, Author of Life, Creator of all and Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth … and it is my desire that a church be built here in this place for me, where, as your most merciful Mother and that of all your people, I may show my loving clemency and the compassion that I bear to the Indians, and to those who love and seek me…” (from an ancient chronicle).

Patron Saint of: Americas, Mexico, Phillipnes

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tauSecular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 12 & 13 of 26:

12.  Witnessing to the good yet to come and obligated to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters.

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13.  As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.

A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ.

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“Candy Cane’s; Christ’s Divinity; Eucharistic Life; And OFS Profession & Intimacy!” – †


 

Wednesday of the 1st Week of Advent

 

. table_of_contents Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations 
  •  Today in Catholic History 
  •  Catholic Apologetics
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:. pencil

 

Last Sunday and today, I am sharing information on two objects used by all people in a secular way, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the “Candy Cane”.  However, these items started out as ways to catechize Catholics during times of suppression from governments of the day.

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The Candy Cane

(Adapted by Charles Kirkpatrick)

The candy cane is a long-time Christmas tradition.  Everywhere we look we see them.  Did you know they are based on Holy Scripture?  Here are two verses from both the Old and New Testaments:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His stripes you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).

The candy cane is a long-time Christmas tradition.  Everywhere we look we see them.  They are used as decorations on Christmas trees and, of course, they are one of the most popular of all Christmas treats.  I have heard several stories about the history and meaning of the candy cane.  I don’t know if they are candy-canetrue, but I do think that the candy cane can teach us a few things about the true meaning of Christmas.

First of all, if you look at the candy cane like this it looks like the letter J.  Jesus starts with the letter J, so that should remind us of Jesus and help us to remember that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

If you look at the candy cane this way, it looks like a shepherd’s crook.  The shepherd used candy-cane-04his crook to keep the sheep from wandering away from the flock and getting lost or eaten by a wild animal.  The Bible says, “The Lord is my shepherd.”  The candy cane should remind us that Jesus is our shepherd and He will keep us from wandering away and getting lost or hurt.

The candy cane is mostly white, a symbol of purity.  That should remind us that Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God and that because He came to be the sacrifice for our sin, we can become as white as snow. 

As you know, the candy cane has three red stripes.   The Bible tells us that before He was crucified, Jesus was beaten with a whip which made blood-red stripes across his back.  The Bible says that we are healed by those stripes.  The stripes on the candy cane should remind us that Jesus suffered and died, so that we can have everlasting life.

To many people, the candy cane is a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time or just a piece of candy to be eaten and enjoyed.  I hope that this year, every time you see a candy cane, you will be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

http://www.sermons4kids.com/candycane.html

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 . history color Today in Catholic History:

†   663 – Fourth Council of Toledo takes place.

†   749 – Death of Saint John of Damascus, theologian

†   1301 – Pope Boniface VIII’s degree Ausculta fili (only nominee)

†   1443 – Birth of Pope Julius II, Albisola, Republic of Genoa, Pope (1503-13), patron of Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, (d. 1513)

†   1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and leads to one of the severest witch hunts in European history.

†   1492 – Christopher Columbus (A Secular Franciscan) becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola.

†   1590 – Niccolo Sfondrati chosen Pope Gregory XIV

†   2008 – Death of Patriarch Alexy II of Russia, head of the Russian Orthodox Church (b. 1929)

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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. Catholic Apolgetics Catholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Christ’s Divinity, Part 1:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’” (Isaiah. 9:6). RSV

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah. 9:6). KJV

*

“Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 16:16-17).  RSV

“Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-17). KJV

*

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). RSV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1). KJV

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. Fran st monkA Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Sabas (b. 439)

 

Born in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey), Sabas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.

After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabas finally sought refuge in a monastery.  While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life.  Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.

At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude.  Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit.  Initially, Sabas lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer.  At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets.  Following the death of his mentor, St. Euthymius, Sabas moved farther into the desert near Jericho.  There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron.  A rope was his means of access.  Wild herbs among the rocks were his food.  Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.

Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude.  At first he refused.  But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.

The bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership.  While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit.  Throughout each year —consistently in Lent—he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress.  A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility.  When Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.

Over the years Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church.  At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression.  He fell ill and, soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba.  Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and St. Sabas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.

Comment:

Few of us share Sabas’s yearning for a cave in the desert, but most of us sometimes resent the demands others place on our time.  Sabas understands that.  When at last he gained the solitude for which he yearned, a community immediately began to gather around him and he was forced into a leadership role.  He stands as a model of patient generosity for anyone whose time and energy are required by others—that is, for all of us.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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. sfo rule tau Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule Article #’s 05 & 06 of 26:

 

05.  Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in liturgical activity.  The faith of St. Francis, who often said, “I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except His most holy body and blood,” should be the inspiration and pattern of their Eucharistic life.   

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06.  They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession.  Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.

Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialog of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.

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Fatima Prayers; Faith and Works; Saint Nicholas Tavelic & Companions; Fraternity; and Justice


 

32nd Wednesday in Ordinary Time

 

 Today’s Content:

 

  • ·        Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • ·        Today in Catholic History
  • ·        Catholic Apologetics
  • ·        A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • ·        Reflection on article  of  the OFS Rule

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

I believe that we as a Catholic faith should pray these three prayers daily – – for our country – – during this time of tribulation affecting the Church’s pro-life and religious freedom status:

 

The Fatima Prayers

 

The Pardon Prayer: (This prayer was taught to the three children in the initial Fatima apparition in the spring of 1916, by an angel who called himself “the Guardian Angel of Portugal”):

 

“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love you!  I ask forgiveness for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love you.”

 

The Angel’s Prayer: (In the autumn of 1916, Lucia and her cousins saw the same angel again, and he taught them a second prayer.  At the same time the three saw a vision of the Blessed Sacrament suspended in the air with the Angel prostrating himself, praying:

 

“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly.  I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended.  By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

(The Angel’s Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.)

 

The Eucharistic Prayer: (On May 13, 1917, the three children saw a woman clad in radiant white, whom they later realized was the Virgin Mary.  Her primary message at first was the importance of praying the Rosary.  She also asked the children if they would be willing to offer sacrifices in reparation for the sins of the world, and they agreed; she then said “You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”  When she said “the grace of God” she held out her hands and the children experienced a great light surrounding and penetrating them.  Without thinking about it, they found themselves saying these words):

 

“Most Holy Trinity, I adore you!  My God, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

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Today in Catholic History:

†   1359 – Death of Gregorius Palamas, Byzantine mystic/archbishop/saint

†   1391 – Death of Nikola Tavelić, First Croatian saint (b. 1340)

†   1550 – Pope Julius III proclaims new seat on Council of Trente

†   1601 – Birth of Jean Eudes, French missionary (d. 1680)

†   1675 – Pope Clemens X declares Gorcumse martyrs divine

†   1907 – Birth of Pedro Arrupe, Spanish priest/Jesuit

†   1971 – Enthronment of Pope Shenouda III as Pope of Alexandria

†   Feasts/Memorials: St. Josaphat Kuncevyc on the General Roman Calendar as in 1954; Barlaam of Kiev; Saint Philip, celebrated in Eastern Orthodox Church

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

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Catholic Apologetics:

 

My reason and purpose for this section on my blog is to provide “scriptural confirmation” for our beliefs and doctrines, not to cause dissention or opposition with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, yet not in union with the Roman Catholic Church.  Whether God speaks to us through the “Bible”, or through “Tradition”, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires the “Word” from which all authentic tradition flows.

Tradition can be separated into two aspects: oral and behavioral.  Oral tradition includes written forms.  After all, it ALL started with oral tradition.  Behavioral tradition includes Baptism, Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, Laying on of hands for healing, Intercessory prayer, and Ordination. 

All Scriptural verses are taken from both the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Faith and Works, Part 3

For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans. 2:6-8) RSV

“Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. (Romans. 2:6-8) KJV

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 “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?” (James. 2:14). RSV

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? (James. 2:14). KJV

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Saint Nicholas Tavelic & Companions (d. 1391)

 

Nicholas and his three companions are among the 158 Franciscans who have been martyred in the Holy Land since the friars became custodians of the shrines in 1335.

Nicholas was born in 1340 to a wealthy and noble family in Croatia.  He joined the Franciscans and was sent with Deodat of Rodez to preach in Bosnia.  In 1384 they volunteered for the Holy Land missions and were sent there.  They looked after the holy places, cared for the Christian pilgrims and studied Arabic.

In 1391 Nicholas, Deodat, Peter of Narbonne and Stephen of Cuneo decided to take a direct approach to converting the Muslims.  On November 11, 1391, they went to the huge Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem and asked to see the Qadi (Muslim official).  Reading from a prepared statement, they said that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus.  When they were ordered to retract their statement, they refused.  After beatings and imprisonment, they were beheaded before a large crowd.

Nicholas and his companions were canonized in 1970.  They are the only Franciscans martyred in the Holy Land to be canonized.

Comment:

Francis presented two missionary approaches for his friars.  Nicholas and his companions followed the first approach (live quietly and give witness to Christ) for several years.  Then they felt called to take the second approach of preaching openly.  Their Franciscan confreres in the Holy Land are still working by example to make Jesus better known.

Quote:

In the Rule of 1221, Francis wrote that the friars going to the Saracens (Muslims) “can conduct themselves among them spiritually in two ways. One way is to avoid quarrels or disputes and ‘be subject to every human creature for God’s sake’ (1 Peter 2:13), so bearing witness to the fact that they are Christians.  Another way is to proclaim the word of God openly, when they see that is God’s will, calling on their hearers to believe in God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all, and in the Son, the Redeemer and Savior, that they may be baptized and become true and spiritual Christians” (Ch. 16).

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From
http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) Rule
Article #’s 14 & 15 of 26:

14.  Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively.  Mindful that anyone “who follows Christ, the perfect man, becomes more of a man himself,” let them exercise their responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service.

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15.  Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives.  Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.

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