Monday, February 11, 2019

Who I Am To God

Yesterday my wife and I went to the Byzantine church in Gilbert, Az - St. Thomas. The sermon was on the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Tax Collector) [from Luke 18:9-14]. The Ukrainian pastor taught on who we are to God; are we the Pharisee, who boasts only of his own praises - or the Tax Collector, who would not even raise his eyes to Heaven in his humility saying "Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner." 

9 And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, he spoke also this parable:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.
12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. [DRB]
How do we approach God in prayer and confession?  Do we truly come to Him in humility?  When we confess our sins, do we have a true resolve to never commit the sin again? What steps have we taken to remove the near occasion of sin?  If you're not taking steps to remove the near occasion of sin - your confession may be invalid! How sincere are you in your promise to never commit that sin again if you continue to keep yourself in the face of the temptation of that near occasion?  

Thoughts to consider...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Christmas is ALMOST over!

Yes, it is STILL Christmastide!  The Season of Christmas lasts until Candlemas - which is February 2nd. This is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and is also the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (not that she needed purification - but she needed to fulfill the law). It is 40 days after the birth of our Lord.

So. let me get it in at least one more time this season:


Something else is observed on this day... it has to do with a groundhog named  Punxsutawney Phil. The Pennsylvania Dutch legend has it - if Phil sees his shadow there will be 6 more weeks of Winter; if he does not see his shadow - it will be an early Spring (weather-wise).

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tattoos and Leviticus

Someone I know mentioned he was considering getting a tattoo and I didn't say anything except Leviticus 19:28. I didn't quote it, I just cited it and said nothing else.  The response I got follows in green and my further response follows...
Ok, thanks for that verse in Leviticus, but just curious, did you read the entire chapter?  
Yes, I have read the whole chapter - and I do not find it lacking.
And to carry it a step further, it says not to wear clothes made of two different materials and not to eat meat with blood in it. So are you saying that we need to wear only pure cotton or pure leather type clothes?  Most clothing is a blend nowadays and that means no more steak or burgers or pork, ect. They all have blood. There are many laws that we as humans break in this one chapter. 
It is not really fair to pull the examples you have made out of context.  There are at least 38 rules or laws mentioned in Leviticus 19.

The law about not mixing materials has a couple different answers. According to My Jewish Learning the main reason for difference in clothing was primarily for the Jewish identity, to not do as the Gentiles did. "The ancient rabbis taught that maintaining their distinctive dress in Egypt was one of the reasons the Jews were worthy of being rescued from servitude" (MJL, 2003).

"Shatnez" is what this is called... and that is the sewing together of linen and wool. I found a couple reasons for not sewing these together.  One reason is that one will shrink and the other will not - so stitching them together will ruin the garment. Another reason, which doesn't really state the reason except that the Torah says it, is that because it is in the Torah - Jews cannot do it - "we can never truly understand the entire reason for this Mitzvah" (Being Jewish, 2017). Again, according to Being Jewish, one can where linen and wool at the same time, so long as they are not sewn together (2017).
Now, to the subject of eating meat without the blood drained... 
Well, first off - during the slaughtering of an animal the "life-blood" is drained off. The "red liquid" you see coming from, say a steak, is not blood!  That red liquid is mostly water and myoglobin.
Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to its cousin, hemoglobin, that stores oxygen in red blood cells.  This is necessary for muscles which need immediate oxygen for energy during frequent, continual usage.  Myoglobin is highly pigmented, specifically red; so the more myoglobin, the redder the meat will look and the darker it will get when you cook it (Hiskey, 2016).
So steak and pork, etc. are not against Leviticus 19.
Not necessarily giving an excuse, more so looking for a explanation of how to look at this chapter in its entirety. Then we can talk about other things, like women not speaking in church, how are so many women pastors? Or even lead Worship? Just was saying I was thinking about getting a tattoo, not that I was.
Well again, there are at least 38 rules or laws in Leviticus 19 - most of them I am sure you support whole-heartedly, like do not slander (Lev. 19:16); do not steal (Lev. 19:11); etc., etc. The point is that Leviticus 19:28 clearly says we are not to mark our bodies, period. 
And did you ever speak to (name withheld) about tattoos? All of her kids have them and she has wanted one too. And (name withheld) has 3, how does someone who never knew about this verse go about the fact that they already have them? Many questions...
To be culpable of a sin you must be aware that it is a sin - and then have gone forward with it anyway with full knowledge and forethought. Consider the woman caught in adultery - she likely even knew it was a sin, but Jesus did not condemn her - he forgave her and then told her to "go and sin no more." (John 8:1-11) Having a tattoo prior to knowing God's Word says not to get one does not keep one out of Heaven. 

Some argue that the modern form of tattooing is not addressed in Lev. 19:28 - but as for me - knowing what this verse says, I could not get a tattoo.


Being Jewish. (2017, December 18). Clothing Mixtures: The Commandment of Shatnez. Retrieved from 

Hiskey, D. (2016, March 04). The Red Juice in Raw Red Meat is Not Blood. Retrieved from 
MJL. (2003, September 25). Jewish Clothing. Retrieved from

Sunday, January 13, 2019

One or Two Spaces?

In a course I am currently taking, this subject came up and I thought I would throw it out here too for any of you to add a comment to, should you care to...

I have to jump into the fray on this as I can relate to the “MUST have two spaces between sentences” v. “MUST have one space.” 
I was “helping” my son with a high school paper a few years ago, and I told him per APA (Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 2010) and MLA (The MLA Center, 2016) one or two spaces is acceptable. He was marked down for using two spaces and his high school teacher said "two spaces is no longer acceptable." 
So today I searched it out again and for MLA it says, "Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation mark, unless your instructor prefers two spaces" (2016). 

For APA it explicitly states, “one space after periods” (2010, p. 87) then on the next page states, “Spacing twice after punctuation marks at the end of a sentence aids readers of draft manuscripts” (2010, p. 88). So, for a final draft it should be a single space after a period ending a sentence, if I am reading the manual correctly. For the type of work we are doing for these modules, is it left up to the judgment of the professor? Perhaps there is another reference in the APA manual I have not seen yet? I am still a bit confused by this debate. At the risk of using a little colloquialism, is this a hill we/I need to die on?
Scott Windsor<<<
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. (2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
The MLA Style Center. (2016, July 27). Retrieved from

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Yes!  Merry Christmas!  Tonight is Twelfth Night!  
Tomorrow is Epiphany Sunday, January 6th.

 When Does Christmas End?
The Christmas Season, traditionally, has at least a couple different ending dates. One thing is clear, Christmas is NOT over on December 26th! It was actually considered "bad luck" to take down ones Christmas decorations before the season actually ended. So when DOES the Christmas Season end?

January 5th - Twelfth Night

January 6th is Epiphany, which comes from the Greek "to reveal." It is the day celebrated as when the Three Wise Men (or Three Kings) arrived to see the newborn King, Jesus Christ. This is the more recent ending of the Christmas Season as January 6th begins the Season of Epiphany. Epiphany lasts until "Fat Tuesday" for the following day is Ash Wednesday, and Lent officially begins.

February 2nd - Candlemas 

It is at Candlemas (The Feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple) in the lectionary where the Nativity is mentioned for the last time in the liturgical year. This is the last day of Christmastide. Our priest, last Sunday, made a distinction between Christmas Season, which ends with Twelfth Night, and Christmastide, which ends with Candlemas.

Poet, Robert Herrick (1591-1674) wrote the following poem commemorating the day to take down the Christmas decorations entitled Candlemas Eve:

Candlemas Eve

Down with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the misletoe;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box, for show.   
The holly hitherto did sway;
Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
Or Easter’s eve appear.   
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crispèd yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
To honour Whitsuntide.   

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.

Thus times do shift; 
Each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed,
As former things grow old.

The poem takes us from Christmastide, taking down our Christmas decorations, to Easter and then Pentecost (Whitsunday) and into summertime - and back to when "cooler oaken boughs..." and it is time again to re-adorn the house for the next Christ Mass celebration.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Eating Meat on a Friday

Why are you eating meat today?  It's Friday!

Well, it is Friday - but we're also within the Octave of Christmas!  The first eight days of Christmas is called the "Octave of Christmas." Christmas is one of the greatest solemnities of the Church/liturgical year, second only to Easter, and like Easter - there is an octave of solemnity days attached to it. Therefore today, Friday IS a solemnity (and so are the other seven days)!

Below is what the United States Council of Catholic Bishops states:

Christmas Season

Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter itself. It is the feast of the incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh (the Latin "in carne" means "enfleshment"). It is a uniquely Christian teaching, the Divine choosing to become one of us. Because of this belief,God is not only Transcendent, but also wholly Immanent, Emmanuel (God-with-us). While remaining Transcendent (meaning we must rise above our present condition to reach Him), He is at the same time Immanent (meaning He is with us as we rise toward Him). Every Eucharist is like Christmas where the bread and wine are transformed into His flesh, His Body and Blood, and, in a sense, He is born anew on the altar. 

The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us.

The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father's gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.


Chapter 1, Title 1, Section III
12. The celebration of the two greatest Solemnities, Easter and the Nativity, is extended over eight days. Each Octave is governed by its own rules.

So, that's right - you CAN have that cheeseburger today for it is a...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today is the Fourth (and last) Sunday in Advent!  The Christ Mass is right around the corner!

Today also marks the final day of the O Antiphons for the year.  See our article marking this day as well. 

Here's hoping you had a blessed Advent season as well as looking forward to the Christ Mass season, which just BEGINS on Christmas Day.  Christmas lasts from Christmas Day through at least Epiphany (January 6th) which are the Twelve Days of Christmas, or in older traditions Christmas lasts through Candlemas (February 2nd).

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

The wait is nearly over!  Advent is drawing to a close and tomorrow is the eve of the Christ Mass, or was we more commonly call it, "Christmas."

Pray with your family: 

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Read to or with your family:
Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel".
Isaiah 33:22: "Indeed the Lord will be there with us,  majestic.  Yes, the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save

Sing with your family:

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Have yourself a merry and blessed Christ Mass.

Advent is drawing to a close, and this is our last day of the O Antiphons.  O come, o come, Emmanuel - and ransom captive Israel.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst...Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Jn. 6:35, 49-51

God has always been with us, but the Incarnation radically changed His manner of being "with us." The most sacred item for the people of the Old Testament was the Ark of the Covenant, which contained several holy objects: the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, God's word inscribed by God Himself; a jar of the manna with which God fed them in the desert; and Aaron's rod, the symbol of his priesthood (Heb. 9:4). From the moment of the Incarnation, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called the Ark of the New Covenant, she held within her womb the Word of God in the flesh, who is the true manna in the Most Holy Eucharist, and who is the Eternal High Priest. Emmanuel, "God with us," loves us with an intensity that is beyond our human comprehension, but we can begin to grasp it when we approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and receive Him into ourselves. Wherever the sanctuary light burns, He is there with us, but He is even closer to us when we receive Him, so that He can begin to transform us in Himself. He is not a God who remains distant, but one who enters into our lives, and into our very beings, bringing His infinite mercy and forgiveness. We long to be loved, and He longs for our love. As we approach the great mystery of Christmas, may He grant us the grace of deep, unwavering devotion to His presence in the Eucharist. O come, o come Emmanuel!
In Closing:
I hope this journey through "The Golden Nights" or the "Great O Antiphons" has blessed you and a piece of it remains with you throughout the entire year.  Every Mass we participate in, we celebrate the coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  During Advent we focus on this anticipation, but let us be eagerly anticipating receiving Him at every Mass we attend.  If we are in the state of mortal sin, this anticipation should make us all the more motivated to reconcile through the Sacrament of Penance, just as we're called to do penance in the season of Advent - to prepare our hearts and mind for the coming and reception of our Lord.  If you're not in the state of grace, go talk with your confessor!  Do not fear the confessional - it is a place of renewal, a new and fresh start.  We all falter and fall short of the Glory of God, but pick yourself up and get yourself right with God.  Be constantly reminded of Advent and O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom our captive souls.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Dec 22 O Antiphon - O King of Nations

We pray:


O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.
See Haggai 2:8: Et movebo omnes gentes,et veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus. Compare the Greek πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
  • "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
We sing:

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dec 21 - O Oriens - O Morning Star

O Oriens

We Pray:


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
(Note: A literal translation of the Latin yields "O Rising Sun", but the poetic "O Morning Star" or "O Dayspring" is often preferred.)
The phrase 'O Oriens' comes from Zach. 3:8 : τὸν δοῦλόν μου Ἀνατολήν and servum meum Orientem. This should be compared with the Hebrew tzemach. Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

And we sing:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


And a special shout-out to my little brother!  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dec 20 - O Key of David

O Key of David



O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
  • "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7
  • "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ember Days

Today is an Ember Day...

EMBER: a small piece of burning or glowing coal or wood in a dying fire.
EMBER DAYS: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday before Christmas. Pray & Fast to IGNITE 🔥the tiny embers in our souls.
"Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient." (Romans 12:11-13)