Saturday Saints- #130

Today marks the Nativity of the Forerunner of Christ St. John the Baptist. I don’t believe I have done a post dedicated to him yet, and even if I have, a new one seems appropriate. Here is the account of his birth:

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari′ah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zechari′ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, 74 to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

 

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

(Luke 1:57-80)

More can be found at his wiki, located here.

 

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It Could Be Worse

I have had some dark times in my life. I’ve written about a few of them on my blog here. But whenever I stop and begin to brood overmuch, I try to recall that my life could be worse. A lot worse.

For example, I have a buddy who is currently trying to get custody of his son. He didn’t know he had a son until recently- his ex-girlfriend of many years ago lied to him when she broke up. And in the meantime she has turned out to be crazy and also a criminal. So he is fighting not just for visitation rights but custody to try and get his son away from mom and into a healthy environment.

I don’t have the concerns of a desperate parent right now- so it could be worse.

Then there is a co-worker of mine who made a huge mistake and is now facing criminal charges. He will probably lose his job no matter what. And his life is a mess now.

I am not facing criminal charges- so it could be worse.

An old example is a former co-worker of mine. He has been married and divorced several times. He is basically consigned to poverty for the rest of his life because of child support and alimony payments. There is no escape for him (besides maybe leaving the country).

I am not a financial slave to the family law system- so it could be worse.

It is important to count your blessings. While a small step, it is an important step to avoid falling into the pit trap that is despair.

[And no, I am not in a bad place now- I am appreciative of the fact that I am not, having looked around at some people around me]

 

 

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A Note On Comments Policy

I tend to be fairly lenient when it comes to comments. Probably too lenient at points, especially when people bring stuff from other blogs over here. However, I do have some limits. I posted earlier in the year about this subject. Here is what I said was not permitted:

  1. Obscenity or excess profanity. The latter is sometimes appropriate, but most of the time is unnecessary. Keep it clean, or keep it elsewhere.
  2. Link dumping to your own blog. If you have your own blog, that is great. Feel free to link it on occasion,  or when you have a post worth reading. But linking to your homepage every comment is irksome and will get you banned.
  3. A lack of civility. One can challenge the ideas of another while still keeping it civil. If anything, this is easier with the internet, because you don’t have the other person right in front of you getting in your face. Take the time to be respectful, even if you think the other person doesn’t deserve it.
  4. Sock Puppets. Just don’t do it. Use one ID, and keep at it. If you need to switch, e-mail me to let me know. You can find my e-mail in the About page.
  5. Linking to harmful or obscene websites. Nothing more need be said.
  6. Lying about what I or other commenters have said. Feel free to critique myself or the other readers all you want. Just don’t misrepresent what folks are actually saying. This is a pet peeve of mine, and will get you banned.
  7. Extreme or excessive off-topic comments. Posts are meant to discuss specific topics, and just those topics. If you want to talk about something else, use another blog (such as your own), or petition for a post on that/those subject(s).

I am going to add or modify this a bit, with a new addition:

8. No troll names. It doesn’t have to be creative, but using your name to troll me, or my readers, and you will be banned. Use John or Jane Doe if you want.

I mention this because I got several comments recently from someone who hadn’t shown up before. And the name used was basically a troll name- “Provide logical supporting evidence for your conclusions, please.” If that commenter wants to try again with a different name, he or she is free to do so. But please folks, nothing like that.

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Saturday Saints- #129

We come again to the letter “U”. Our saint for today is Pope Urban I:

Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.

Much of Urban’s life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many myths and misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first Pope whose reign can be definitely dated. Two prominent sources do exist for Urban’s pontificate: Eusebius’ history of the early Church and also an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope

Urban ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter in the year of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus’ assassination and served during the reign of Alexander Severus. It is believed that Urban’s pontificate was during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity.

(Source)

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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #131

It has been over a month since I’ve written any of these posts. Not sure where the time went. Anyways, time to correct that- especially since today is Pentecost. Lately I have been going through the Letter to the Romans. This section caught my interest earlier today:

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Romans 5:15-21)

Given how much terrible darkness came about as a result of the fall, it is always reassuring to be reminded that even greater things have come about from the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. God saved the best for last. In the spirit of which (sorry, couldn’t help it), I thought this passage was appropriate:

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

(John 2:1-11)

One of the areas where I am weak is in hope. It is something which I sometimes (too often, really) lose sight of. I need passages like these to remind myself that greater things are to come, especially at the end of the Age.

And of course, since today is Pentecost, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Par′thians and Medes and E′lamites and residents of Mesopota′mia, Judea and Cappado′cia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phryg′ia and Pamphyl′ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre′ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

(Acts 2:1-11)

I will leave with this Byzantine prayer which speaks far better than I ever could:

O Holy Spirit
Mighty Defender
To all who love You
Comfort You give.
Everywhere present
Fountain of Virtues
Without Your kindness
No one could live.

O Holy Spirit
Treasury of Blessings
Come, as was promised
Live-giving Flame
Come, dwell within us
Quicken our cool hearts
Strengthen our purpose
To praise Your Name.

 

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Brief Update

I have found myself pretty busy lately, and posting has suffered as a result. This will continue for at least the next week, if not two. So during that time period don’t be surprised if I only write a weekend post or two.

in the meantime, while this is going on I am going to start to finally write my final “Market Analysis” post. The subject will be “parental malpractice,” one that I’ve meant to write for a very long time. Hopefully it will prove worth the wait.

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Prayers For The Fallen

Unfortunately, I ran out of time yesterday to do a scripture post. Since today is Memorial Day here in the US, I think it would fit to do a post that tries to cover both bases. Here is a reading from Second Maccabees which is relevant:

38 Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adul′lam. As the seventh day was coming on, they purified themselves according to the custom, and they kept the sabbath there.

39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jam′nia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

(2 Maccabees 12:38-45)

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