Mother or Madness

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Mother or Madness – A Story

I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.

PS 139:14-15

In this post it should be stated I am in complete agreement with the teachings of the Church in its entirety, to wit,

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

2272 … The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.

And yet I cannot remain silent in this current and cold juridic atmosphere of the Church and of American Civil Society that is most troubling. The unholy alliance of Catholic and Evangelical forces is drowning the society in a vat of a fluid falsehood covered in divine law making the perfect poison: vain worship.

I intend to argue my point by your letting me tell you her story….

My Mom died. She was 85 years old. I love her very much. She taught me how to love. She had a lot to say about love.

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Kathryn E. Palermo

November 27, 1934 – February 05, 2020

Mother had the talk with me as a young teen. She explained the necessity of respect in relations with women. It was the birds and the bees but from the female perspective. She was clear in her mind the answer ‘you make it, you raise it’. She was equally clear. A woman should be able to choose but woe to the one who chooses abortion a decision one is haunted by the rest of their life.

1934

Edmund and Agnes had their second child, a girl, Kathryn. They already had a first daughter Margaret and now the second. Kathryn quickly became the favorite of her father. However these things go and how they come about is really unknown but the love between this Father and Daughter was very deep. Edmund was a funeral director and little Kathryn often played at the funeral parlor between and among the grieving.

Unfortunately Edmund had the rheumatic fever and the heart disease that comes with it. It would be in 1947 that he succumbed to the illness. Perhaps his line of work had a complicated reality: appreciation for life, respect for the dead, and workplace damage to the heart and lungs. He spent many years in-patient sanitarium. Kathryn would go to see him there. He would die but not before having a Son.

1940

Agnes and Edmund had a son, Edmund. The whole house was filled with joy. A son! Margaret (Peggy) and Kathryn (Kay) were super excited to have a baby boy in the house. Naturally he would be subject to dress up and tea parties!

The Visit

There was a problem. Agnes and Edmund were the original odd couple. They did not fit the mold society had envisioned for them. Agnes was low Irish. Edmund was high Irish. A family delegation came to the door.

We want the boy.

You can’t have him.

Your husband is dying. You will be a widow with three children. Let us take the boy and we’ll help you with some money.

No.

Agnes kicked the high Irish out of her home never to be seen again. It was a very painful memory for Agnes, Peggy and Kay but they were able to stay together. Agnes worked hard to keep them fed and safe. The three children took care of Agnes in her old age. The three of them remained close throughout their lives. We will bury Kathryn on the same month and day that Edmund, Jr died 21 years ago. His beautiful Wife and beautiful two daughters will be there graveside for Kay.

1950 Teenager

Kay was a beautiful young woman. Kay was a catch but certainly easy prey. She grew up and attended Saint Sebastian Catholic School, Woodside NY, immersed in the Church and in prayer. Even in the closing days of her life I would tuck her in at night. Mom, let us say our evening prayer… Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take followed by a Hail Mary and Glory Be. She was calm again. The storm of advancing decline no longer troubled her.

She was beautiful, very young and naïve indeed. A slick talking young man embraced her in romance and abandoned her in pregnancy. At fifteen she had an awful predicament. There were many voices that counseled abortion but she instead opted to give her first baby up for adoption. You see a marriage proposal was made in 1951 by another at the price of giving up her first born to adoption or abortion.

1953 Young Mother

Her first child in marriage was a delightful little boy, Frankie, 1953. Kay dedicated herself to motherhood. It was her mission now to raise her children. He had childhood leukemia. He died at 2 ½ years old in 1955. The doctors counseled Frankie’s parents that at each hospital visit young Frankie would rally because of love. These rallies while hopeful signs were in-fact delaying the inevitable. Kay and Frank were instructed to kiss their little boy one last time and never return.

He died shortly thereafter.

How does one get through all these tragedies? Well, you need good people around you, loving people. Those who would teach, coach and mentor Kay. My Uncle Tony was such a man. So beloved was Tony his name and kindness was often the conversation. I contacted my remaining Uncle also a very good man. He gave ne the title to the plot where Uncle Tony rests. Kay will rest with Tony and right alongside her son, Frank.

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Four Plus One

Kay and Frank went on to have four more children. Along the way, well meaning people offered ‘a pill’ to take care of it. Especially the last one. I guess for some five children is too many. Now the women who advised her wanted her to abort. No. This is my baby. A beautiful baby. A beautiful soul. She sings like an angel.

She’ll sing at her Mom’s funeral on Monday. The baby bracelets were kept for 67 years in a little tiny box by her nightstand.

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Men Should Tremble

Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master. Gen 3:16b.

I doubt many understand this verse. Its deepest meaning is in the unity and forgiveness that is stronger in women than in men. Women endure (Eve endues Adams betrayal of Eve by Adam to God). Woman place unity at a higher value than retribution for errors committed.

Obsession

In 2005, Pope Benedict on building a just society: We are dealing with human beings, and human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity. They need heartfelt concern. Charity is inseparable from Word and Sacraments.

In 2013, Pope Francis observed that the Church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

Lawless Law

The only laws that matter are laws firmly rooted in charity. We are falling into the madness of law which has the appearance of justice but the root of evil.

Woe also to you scholars of the law!

  • You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. Lk 14:42
  • You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. Lk 14:46

Study

There has not been a comprehensive valid study on the causes of abortion in over 50 years. The CDC should be tasked with a thoughtful analysis and statistical reporting of causes and outcomes of abortion. A longitudinal approach will provide better data. No, you really don’t know. You never knew Kay’s stories and the millions of women who have stories are like hers. Prevention via education, medical care, and supportive services are barely on the agenda of most pro life political groups (thankfully not all).

A 35 y/o married woman with 3 children has a completely different motivation than a 16 year old woman abandoned by her boyfriend.

Incentive

We pride ourselves on a capitalistic society but use none of the techniques available to us. Consider, a new, incentives for medical facilities to promote life and aid for women to accept the challenges of bringing forth life.

Embracing

Child care in high schools…. Equal pay for equal work… promoting male equality in roles and responsibilities for pregnancies and children (no, I mean actually making that true not the window dressing of most States).

Gradation

Weightier matters and lesser matters are a serious question for a Christian. It applies to those who live under law and who construct the law. Both!

Heartless Law and Heartless Science

Heartless science is alive and not well working its evil effects. Soon enough, public abortion will be a thing of the past for all the wrong reasons. Soon enough the greater injustice: abortions not in back alleys, not in abortuaries but by scientific advances that make all of these abortions cheap, hidden and beyond the reach of anyone.

If we don’t embrace the women, we will lose the children. It is that simple. Tremble. Tremble before God our callousness to women.

Obituary: https://www.boyntonmemorial.com/index.cfm/obituary/kathryn-palermo

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

The Essentials

The Four Essentials for Life 300 x 90

The Essentials

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: IS 58:7-10; PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 COR 2:1-5; MT 5:13-16

Moonlit Walk

Early this morning I took my early walk. It was a peaceful early morning hours before the Sun rises. Yet the Moon shone in the sky. Full, bright, and given the atmospheric conditions especially warm and close. As you know the Moon has no light of its own rather it brilliantly reflects the light of the Sun. So well, I could have read by its light. The Moon beaconed me to draw closer to the one true light. It is not the light but a reflection of it in nature. The Moon as no soul but nonetheless has the power to beacon.

The Sun

As I write this homily the Sun is beginning to rise. The Sun cannot be seen directly, at least very successfully with the naked eye. The brightness of the Sun is so intense that we cannot gaze upon it. We get better glimpses of the Sun at sunrise and sunset. We get another glimpse when clouds pass before it and during a solar eclipse. We miss the Sun and want it back during the storms that seem to block every good thing about it.

When we think of the celestial Sun we cannot look at it but can see the fruits of it in creation. To say it another way, I know the Sun in the flowers of the Earth and the fruits of the vine. The Sun unapproachable is known by its effects.

Light of the World

You are the Light of the World says Jesus in today’s Gospel account. Jesus uses this simile to help us understand or vector into the divine life as expressed in the Beatitudes. Jesus is describing what it means to participate in being Sun/Son. Your light is a part of you and is also the divine spark within you. There is no separation for you. As the Sun in the sky is not the object of our ordinary vision it is the actions and effects of its light that bring sight (recognition of true essence) and praise of God (who is the power of light) through you.

Said another way, more than merely Moon that simply reflects and we do reflect too the glory of God. More than that, we are united and ablaze as a spark within the divine fire and yet the seeing is not of/for us but of the work for seeing God. Our good works help people see God.

The second Essential of this gospel reading is being Light that people do not gaze at us but glory at the works of God. When we read the first reading (Isaiah) how could that not be clearer?

Salt of the Earth

Salt is good. I think like so many others I am a ‘saltaholic’. Can’t get enough of it although my blood pressure requests otherwise!

Salt is an essential mineral and highly valued in ancient times and today as well even if no longer so expensive. Salt makes food taste great.

We use salt in everything including topical antiseptics.

Salt however can be impure in three different ways:

  1. Material contamination (mixed with sand and dirt).
  2. Interior contamination (inside the crystals there are some impurities mixed in).
  3. Substantial contamination (here the salt has become reactive to other chemical agents making it completely unusable – diluted would be the word to use).

The first essential of this gospel reading is being Salt for the Earth. The salvific message is essential salts. It is delivered through people. We must always be the saltiness of the divine life. Jesus prescribes a way to restore saltiness by being trampled underfoot, that is, (1) to sift out the mixture, (2) release the interior contaminants by fracturing the crystal and (3) sweeping away the diluted solution to return the saltiness of the person.

Being salt is that important.

The second reading today gives us an approach. Paul proclaims the mystery of salvation not with sublimity of words or of wisdom but in weakness and fear and much trembling (humbly). The Church herself, through us, brings out a demonstration of Spirit and power that reveals God and his glory.

Essentially

Salt – necessary and always needing refinement with humble hearts that will reveal God through the Sacraments.

Light – the burning love of God through the effects and actions (works) that do not force us to look at a light that is too bright to see but a light that is warm and inviting, the Divine light.

Invitation

Come to the banquet table. Feast with the Divine. Be restores Salt and become the work of the Divine.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

Touch Me

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Touch Me

Greetings on this the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Readings: IS 42:1-4, 6-7; PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; ACTS 10:34-38; MT 3:13-17

Christmas Season Ends

As we draw the Christmas season to a close we do so with the Baptism of the Lord.

It is reasonable to end the celebration of the incarnation with the depths of the purpose of the incarnation.

It is Divine Revelation, the personal revelation of God himself with father speaking, dove descending and son humbling himself to be one of us.

For each case, each person an invitation with the sweetest of intention:

  • Those who are a bruised reed he shall not break him
  • Those who are a smoldering wick he shall not quench him
  • Those who are blind he shall make his eyes opened
  • Those in confinement he shall set this prisoners free
  • Those who live in darkness he shall be the light to follow.

His baptism is a holy exchange, our misery for a portion of his divinity and friendship.

Sacramental Life

The salvation path begins with baptism. It is the first among the sacraments. It is the pathway not decided by any other than God. Permit it he said in order to fulfill all righteousness. Baptism brings forgiveness for original sin and the actual sin of each person. His Baptism opens the heavens and brings us into the interior life of God.

Mass 4:00 PM Vigil Feast Baptism of the Lord

Tell story of mother’s baptism and the chain of baptisms until this day.

Tell the story of the new baptismal rite prayers.

Remind today we will renew the baptismal promise.

Touch Me

It is this holy touch the hand of God reaches all of us through the hands of the one administering the sacrament. Touch me and I shall be healed.

Jesus, touch me.

Please we all need to be the hands of God.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Jesus My All in All

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Jesus – My All in All

Greetings on this the Epiphany of the Lord.

Readings: IS 60:1-6; PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13; EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6; MT 2:1-12

Approaching

Epiphany is always a favorite in the domestic Church. People place figurines of the Magi in proximity to the Nativity beginning Holy Family Sunday. Each day of the week the figurines are repositioned to be closer and closer to the baby Jesus. Finally on Epiphany Sunday morning the Magi have arrived to see Mary, Joseph and Jesus and present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It’s really a nice way to visually approach Epiphany.

Earlier this week I posted Manifest for Manifestation with some ideas to help one approach the Epiphany of the Lord, more specifically, to prepare ourselves to enter into the Manifestation. I want to add two more details that help frame this wonderful moment in human history where the Lord comes and lives among us.

Joseph and Pharaoh

The story of Joseph and Pharaoh is in the book of Genesis. We can’t cover everything but if you’ve a mind to the chapters of interest are Genesis 37 to 50.

Joseph became a trusted administrator to the Pharaoh and was a dream interpreter. Joseph warned Pharaoh seven years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine in the land is coming soon. Since Pharaoh was warned in a dream twice on this point, he immediately gave this proven slave Joseph great authority to prepare the kingdom for this major event.

When the famine came and so severe was the famine that the entire world Egyptian, Hebrew and the 7 nations (all the gentile kingdoms) had to procure their rations of grain from Joseph in order to survive. Joseph, this insignificant man from an insignificant land saved the whole world from starving. Joseph was food for the journey.

Joseph’s action were unitive:

  1. He preserved the Egyptian people.
  2. He gathered the Hebrew people together and brought peace between the brothers/tribes.
  3. He fed all the nations.

What was paid for the grain? In stages:

  1. They paid cash
  2. They paid with their livestock. Livestock is essential to worship in those days.
  3. They paid with their land and their person (sharecroppers).

In effect, Joseph received a portion of everything to keep them alive. It was a manageable deal where the sharecroppers paid 20% of the crop to Pharaoh and kept 80% for themselves and their families.

Magi of the Nations

In our romantic version of the Magi there are three wise men from Persia that come to see this newborn king. That’s fine. But I want to use some more specific biblical theological and archeological perspectives.

More likely the number of Magi were between 7 and 12 groups. Each group had an entourage of about 1,000 to 1,200 soldiers. Since they came from every point of the compass they arrived from different directions all in the same time. It is no wonder King Herod was greatly troubled and all Jerusalem with him. His capitol city was surrounded by 7 different kings with small armies all looking for a king to be born.

These Magi Kings came with gifts:

  1. Gold – their cash. Well, cash.
  2. Frankincense – their ‘livestock’. Frankincense is essential to worship in those days.
  3. Myrrh – their inheritance, the very essence of who they are. Yes, we describe this in burial ritual terms as it relates to personhood.

As you can see the Epiphany carries the same theme as Joseph and Pharaoh of old:

  1. He is here to preserved creation, most specifically people.
  2. He is here to gather the Jewish people together and bring peace between the Judea and Israel.
  3. He is here to feed all the nations.

Jesus completes the work of Joseph.

Jesus in the manger is the bread of life to sustain the people.

Jesus is reversing the curse of famine and opens the treasury of heaven for everyone to give each their rations/allotment.

Epiphany

We celebrate the realization that the Lord has not abandoned us to famine but rather to the share his vast riches of heaven.

Specifically Jesus shares himself the food of the manger. Food for the spirit. Food for the soul. Food for the ages.

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Manifest for Manifestation

In the hours leading up to the Epiphany or the Manifestation, I thought to list a manifest of preparation that will help us actually experience the Epiphany.

Manifest

A ship or plane’s manifest is the list of cargo or passengers on a particular trip.

Four Basics

1. Tear down walls of separation – from within and around me root out the prejudice which erodes the depth of our humanity.

2. See the Presence of God – teach us to recognize the many forms of God’s presence in one another.

3. Assent to be holy as God is holy – with integrity of word and deed, faith and action.

4. Let God transform me and all of creation – may every heart, voice, deed, action throughout the universe be transformed.

Happy Epiphany!

Family Madness

Holy Family

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My Joseph – rest in peace, Dad.

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Family Madness

Greetings on this the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Readings: SIR 3:2-6, 12-14; PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; COL 3:12-21; MT 2:13-15, 19-23

Whew

For many of us the obligatory family gatherings are over.

Either we traveled to or had others travel to us in order to have common time again and share a meal. Ideally the gathering included attending a religious service or two together as in the olden days of our youth or maybe not? Fractures in faith are a part of modern life. Sometimes these fractures are severe.

Of course I am being dramatic!

But I ask you:

How uplifting was your Christmas gathering?

Were you able to set aside old grievances and the perceived new slights in favor of the holiness of family unity?

Perhaps this homily can be of help. Maybe you can read it without pre-loaded grievances and bias?

Honor

The Liturgy of the Hours reading this morning is straight forward. It describes honoring your mother and father in terms of your benefit.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God, has commanded you, that you may have a long life and prosperity in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. Deut 5:16

I think it is fair to say that the writer of this instruction knew that we must always account for our own self-interest or that, sadly, we are driven primarily by our own self-interest. It is the first commandment after the three commandments concerning how we relate to G-d (Protestants take note I am using the traditional accounting of the 10 commandments not the revised version).

Effects on Others

The first reading today offers a slightly elevated view taking one beyond self to otherness. Not only long life and prosperity but atonement for sin, preservation from future sin, joy in children and your prayers are always heard.

Even further and the part that begins to expand how we see family… he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother. Ah, to see a happy mother is to know rightness.

Paul and the Colossians

Paul, like usual, takes us to the heart of the matter in regards to family life. Paul prescribes these things to ‘put on’ or to do/live:

  1. heartfelt compassion,
  2. kindness,
  3. humility,
  4. gentleness and patience,
  5. bearing with one another and forgiving one another.

Bond of Perfection – Love

Over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. Paul is a smart guy, yes? He prescribes an enabling methodology too:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Prayer
  3. Scripture
  4. Psalms and holy and spiritual songs.

Best for Last

Paul then lays out how to understand each other in order that peace is present within and between us. This is not the handcuffs of moralistic thinking. This is the liberation of thought and perspective. Don’t get weird on me.

Put down your pre-loaded thoughts and bias. Otherwise, you’ll miss it all.

Person Object Subject Intention Perspective – Circumstances
Wives Subordinate Husband Proper to Lord The standard is my reasonableness.
Husband Love Wife Non Bitterness The standard is my motivation.
Children Obey Parents Pleasing to Lord The standard is my unity.
Fathers No provoking Children Non Discouraging The standard is well being and growth.

If you cross the metric with your Parents now we see that none of these are specific to the role in the family but the fact you are family.

Person Object Subject Intention Perspective – Circumstances
Son/Dau Subordinate Mom/Dad Proper to Lord The standard is my reasonableness.
  Love Mom/Dad Non Bitterness The standard is my motivation.
  Obey Mom/Dad Pleasing to Lord The standard is my unity.
  No provoking Mom/Dad Non Discouraging The standard is well being and growth.

Boom!

Gospel of Matthew

(People get annoyed with me and my focus on keeping a thread current)….

In the Gospel of Matthew we continue with the perspective of Joseph.

Let’s add his wife’s inner thoughts now.

Again the Angel of the Lord instructs Joseph this time to flee to Egypt. They are in great peril here with King Herod, the Great, wanting to kill this newborn king.

So they go to Egypt most likely to the Jewish Diaspora in Egypt/Libya (modern day) most likely to relatives of Joseph.

Perspective: we are going uninvited to my in-laws home in Egypt thought Mary and I don’t know how long I will be there.

Ahem!

The Angel again appears to Joseph in a dream, years later perhaps, saying it’s time to go back to Israel. But in hearing Archelaus was ruling Judea and being warned in a dream he diverted to Galilee. Foot note: imagine the quandary – into the pot or into the fire!

Perspective: ok, so now we are leaving our home place for Galilee where I have no family thought Mary and I don’t know how long I will be there either.

Ahem!

Can you imagine (humorously) the possible conflict points there were for this family?

How easily things could have fallen apart and family unity destroyed?

Communication v Communion

For a Catholic we celebrate the Eucharistic gift as Communion with the Lord and with one another. Cutting through our own pre-loaded thoughts and biases we are expected and given the strength to See and Hear God…. and one another.

In the secular world they even preach, if you will, Communication. We, as a gospel message, preach communion. Communion is beyond being clear about what I want, what I need and what I feel. Communion is entering into the wants, needs, and feelings of each other as a part of what we want, need, and feel together.

Go now and Communion.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Think with Love

Wednesday night Benediction was the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph visited by an Angel in a dream story.

It is also the Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent. Perhaps we can use this story for our current situation.

Joseph thought in terms of righteousness. He wanted to do the right thing – at least what he thought were the available options.

He considered his options under the law: 1. Subject her to the moralists, 2. Divorce her quietly.

While he considered he had a visitation. Here is where I want to expand our understanding of Divine angelic visitation.

This invitation is to think in and through love. The third option, the one he couldn’t imagine under the law: Marry Her. Thinking in and through love he became the Protector of the incarnate one and his mother.

Yesterday the House of Representatives impeached Donald J Trump. This is the situation. This is the state of affairs. This is our predicament.

Where do we go from here? I am not suggesting The Donald is anything close to a innocent! I am not suggesting The Donald is anything close to a righteousness man!

There is no question that President Donald John Trump should be convicted and removed from office.

I’m worried about us, the People of these United States. I AM worried we are stuck between the false choice of the moralists and the quiet divorce options.

We need the same Angel to speak to us. Help us find the option of love. Which in this case is removal and full disclosure of the evil among us.

We need the contours of options knowable but only through revelation.

May God bless these United States of America.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

O Antiphons

O Antiphones

Evening prayer for the 7 days leading up to Christmas Eve contains a special focus. The Antiphon for the evening Canticle of Mary starts with the mystery of Salvation History. It starts with creation and completes with Emmanuel – God is with us!

The Canticle of Mary is given especially heightened emphasis as her great “Yes” to the Lord comes to fruition in the birth of the Son of God, Son of Man. This Magnificat prayer is directly from scripture Gospel of Luke (1:46-55). Stylized version below:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly farmer’s foot.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever

Below each O Antiphon and a mini reflection on each. Perhaps this can be your evening prayer leading up to Christmas Eve?

December 17
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!
Reflection: From the dawn of creation the Lord God had but one purpose, to share his infinite love. When we contemplate creation and even contemplate love itself, it is the Wisdom of God that informs us and makes intelligible his plan.

We desire to know. We desire to know him. Know him as like a Mother holds a baby. Mary held Emmanuel in her loving arms. Simeon did as well. So shall you, my friends.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 18
O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!
Reflection: The Lord God rescues us from our folly. We have this tendency to enslave others. The entire nation of Israel needed to be freed. Through His mighty power He freed them and gave Moses the Law on Mount Sinai.

The Law serves two purposes: to alert us to our negative tendencies (shall not) and to bring us to our highest perfection, to wit, Keep Holy this Day of the Lord. Mary keep and the fruit is her Son.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 19
O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!
Reflection: The Lord God has never forgotten. Wait on the Lord, He shall not delay. The Root of Jesse, long thought dead (400 years of no prophets speaking!). Yet now, through the earth or root of Mary comes Emmanuel.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 20
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!
Reflection: The darkness of man is over. We are prisoners no longer to ignorance. Knowing God incarnate shall make us like Moses. We shall walk with God as one walks with a friend (Ex 33:11). Mary is the first to speak to Jesus. What did she say?

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 21
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Reflection: We live under the shadow of death. Each of us facing that final justice. May this Perpetual Light shine on us in this life and the life to come! May justice, the Justice Mary proclaims in her song, be ours in this Emmanuel!

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 22
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
Reflection: We are dust and to dust we shall return. But not just dust. Breath. Rûaħ. You, O God, have made this dust with your own breath. Save your breath so closely knitted and integrated within us as Emmanuel is knitted within Mary.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 23
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!
Reflection: Divine Love. Save us as only love can save. Let us learn to love as the way Mary beheld her son.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

Peace be with you!

Deacon Gerry

Advent Humility

Humility

Advent Humility

Greetings on this the Third Sunday of Advent

Readings:  IS 35:1-6A, 10; PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10; JAS 5:7-10; MT 11:2-11

Rejoice

The Church encourages us today to Rejoice! Maranatha, the Lord has come!

Today we rejoice in the promise of Jesus Christ.

We rejoice in Advent Humility. John the Baptists is first in humility – none greater.

Vector Help

I want to include two scriptural references to aid us today in Rejoicing.

In the Temple

Let us look at the story of Simeon. A righteous and devout man awaiting the consolation of Israel and the holy Spirit was upon him. He was one who contemplated the Lord and dreamed of his person.

Upon seeing Jesus he took him in his arms and said:

Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,  for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “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 a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2: 25ff.

At the Covenant at Mount Sinai

For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and  fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. Ex 20:5-6

Unpacking this you can easily say:

When we make a mistake God works hard to limit the effects.

When we do good work God makes the good effect last for a thousand generations.

John the Baptist

Following the theme I proposed at the beginning of Advent, we need to dream the dreams of Isaiah.

On this joyous Sunday we remember the dreams John the Baptizer dreamed from his birth and Jesus encourages him to go still further.

How do you read John’s questions? Is John tired? Is he afraid? Was he lacking faith?

Jesus affirms him by reminding him of the dream (prophecy) of Isaiah and that the dream has been actualized.

The blind regain their sight,

the lame walk,

lepers are cleansed,

the deaf hear,

the dead are raised,

and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them (Isa 35 x-ref Mt 11:5).

Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me

John is having a crisis but it isn’t necessarily a misunderstanding or mistrust of Jesus.

It isn’t even that he expected the military freedom some expected the Messiah to bring. This is the current teaching and understanding. Rather John is blessed in that he is taking no offense in Jesus.

John is accusing himself.

John is humbly, if harshly, evaluating his own life’s work.

Does what I have done matter anyway? All this preaching, baptism of repentance, scolding and reproving seems to have developed into nothing good.

Here I sit in prison. Does it even matter?

Jesus affirms John in John’s work. Yes, John, it does matter!!

You, John and you, good reader, are a part of the salvific message. Do not be discouraged. All the good you do is in the power of and the will of the Messiah Jesus. The same power that makes the blind see is the power that makes your good work last for a thousand generations.

Jesus Reveals the Biggest Herald

Jesus reveals what John is actually revealing. We go back to Mount Sinai and the book of Exodus.

Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. (Ex 23:20, Mal 3:1, Matt 11:10)

Jesus, Word/Law, (the Law given on this mountain) is to lead the people to victory not by arms and war but by will and divine power. The person of Jesus is given.

Humility and Adoration of Jesus

John the Baptizer was a very humble man. He was the humblest of them all.

Jesus affirms him and his work by his own power.

Do good.

Let God multiply your small good by a thousand generations.

Enter into this blessed life.

He comes!

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry