Category Archives: Inspirational

Sunday Devotional: I am going to prepare a place for you

John 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.
Thomas said to him,
Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”

“I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.”

In those words is the promise from our Lord that our bodily death is not the end of all things, and that if we follow Him (“the way”) we will transcend death and be with Him for all eternity.

Those of us who have lost a loved one, as I have last year, should take comfort in that promise, given eloquent expression by Henry Scott-Holland (1847-1918), a priest at St. Paul’s Cathedral of London who delivered the poem below as part of a sermon in 1910:

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Sunday Devotional: I am the gate

John 10:7-10

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

In John 10:7-10 and in John 14:6, Jesus made clear that He is “the gate” and “the way” to the Father:

“No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In so doing, Jesus made clear not only His divinity, but also drew a clear line of demarcation from Judaism — that the church He founded is the one true Church, whereas rabbis and leaders of other religions are false shepherds (“thief” and “robber”) who can only lead the people (“sheep”) astray.

As recounted in John 10:1-6, an astonishing passage in its boldness and implications:

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

And this is precisely why although Jesus, in the words of 1 Peter 2:22, “committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth,” and although Pontius Pilate had found Jesus not guilty, the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders insisted that Jesus be put to death by the Romans’ most extreme form of execution, reserved only for the worst criminals (John 19: 6-7):

“Crucify him! Crucify him!
…because he called himself the Son of God.”

1 Peter 2:23-25

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Sunday Devotional: God raised this Jesus, of this we are all witnesses

Luke 24:13-16, 19, 22-24, 30-31, 33-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him….
They said to him,
“…Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.” …
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight….
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Acts 2:14, 22-24, 32-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it….
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear.”

In law, there’s an important concept critical to the determination of truth.

The concept is “percipient witness”. According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, a percipient witness is “A witness who testifies about things she or he actually perceived. For example, an eyewitness.”

The apostles and disciples were the percipient witnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, but their testimonies are ignored by many to this day.

And yet we believe 100% there was a person named Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher revered as the founder of Western political philosophy, although the time and place of his birth are unknown, and there are varying accounts of when and how he died. Even the origin of his name is unknown. As the Wikipedia entry admits:

Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about Plato’s early life and education…. The exact time and place of Plato’s birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens…between 429 and 423 BC…. The traditional date of Plato’s birth…428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius….

Only the risen Christ could have so convinced sane, rational men such as the eleven apostles and the two disciples in Luke 24, as to completely, with assistance from the Holy Spirit, transform them into men they were not. Only by seeing the risen Christ — by speaking, walking, and eating with Him and in the case of doubting Thomas, by touching the wounds of the risen Christ — could the apostles have changed overnight from being frightened little rabbits into fearless outspoken men whom no one could silence and who went to a martyr’s death, willingly and joyfully, for their risen Lord.

This is how the Apostles — percipient witnesses of the transfigured and later resurrected Christ — died, testifying to the truth they’d witnessed until their last breath:

  • St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity, was stoned to death in Jerusalem, c. AD 34.
  • St. James, son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Apostle, was the first Apostle to be martyred. King Herod had St. James beheaded in 44 AD.
  • St. James, son of Alpheus, was reported by the Jewish historian Josephus to have been stoned and then clubbed to death in 62 AD.
  • St. Jude Thaddaeus was crucified in Syria, c. 65 AD.
  • St. Simon the Zealot ministered in Persia and was sawn in half, c. 65 AD after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
  • St. Peter and St. Paul were both martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. St. Paul was beheaded. St. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, because he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
  • St. Mark, a rope around his neck, was dragged to death in Alexandria, Egypt, in AD 68.
  • St. Thomas was pierced to death in India, 72 AD, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder.
  • St. Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas, was burned to death in Syria, c. 80 AD.
  • St. Bartholomew (identified as Nathaniel in the Gospel of John) is believed to have been skinned alive and crucified. He ministered in India with St. Thomas, in Armenia, Ethiopia and Southern Arabia.
  • St. Philip was crucified in Hierapolis, Asia Minor, 80 AD, for converting the wife of a Roman proconsul. He also ministered in North Africa.
  • St. Andrew was crucified in Patras, Greece. He also preached in Asia Minor and modern-day Turkey. Christians in the former Soviet Union say he was the first to bring the Gospel to their land.
  • St. Matthew was beheaded in Ethiopia. He had also ministered in Persia.
  • St. John was the only Apostle who died a natural death from old age, after surviving an ordeal of being thrown into boiling oil. He was the leader of the church in Ephesus and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. In mid-90s AD, he was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation.

1 Peter 1:20-21

He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.

Our Lord has risen! — and through His resurrection, we are promised and we know that we, too, will live beyond this mortal life, to be with Him, our Creator, forever.

See also “Easter Sunday: The science of the miracle of the Resurrection”.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Sunday Devotional: Although you have not seen Him you love Him

John 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him,
“We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side,
I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him,
“My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him,
“Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Led by Moses, the Israelites witnessed and experienced the following miracles:

  1. The ten plagues of Egypt:
    • Water turned to blood (Exodus 7:14-25).
    • A plague of frogs (Exodus 8:2-14).
    • A plague of lice (Exodus 8:17-18).
    • A plague of flies (God sent “grievous” swarms of flies upon all the people and houses of Egypt, covering even the ground, except in the land of Goshen where the Israelites dwelled fly-free. –Exodus 8:20-24).
    • Murrain, an infectious disease, killed all of Egypt’s cattle (Exodus 9:3-6).
    • A plague of boils with blisters (Exodus 9:8-12).
    • Thunderstorm of hail (Exodus 9:13–35).
    • A plague of locusts covering all of Egypt, so that the land was darkened with them (Exodus 10:12-15).
    • A plague of of darkness “which may be felt” so that “they saw not one another” covering all of Egypt, but not the land of Goshen (Exodus 10:21).
    • Death of all first-born in a single night, which spared Israelite first-borns (Exodus 11:1-8; 12:29-30).
  2. The burning bush that was not consumed (Exodus 3:3).
  3. The cloud resting on the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 13:21-22; 33:9-10; 40:36).
  4. God appeared in the cloud (Exodus 16:10).
  5. Aaron’s rod changed into a serpent (Exodus 7:10-12).
  6. The parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-31).
  7. The parting of the Jordan river near the city of Adam (Joshua 3:14-17).
  8. Manna (bread) from the sky (Exodus 16:14-18).
  9. Drinking water provided the Israelites:
    • Sweetening of the bitter waters of Marah (Exodus 15:23-25).
    • Water from the rock at Rephidim (Exodus 17:5-7).
    • Water from a rock in the desert (Numbers 20:7-11)
  10. Complainers consumed by fire at Taberah, which stopped in response to Moses’ prayer (Numbers 11:1-3).
  11. Enemies of Isralites consumed by fire, and swallowed by the earth (Numbers 16:35-45).
  12. Aaron’s rod “brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” at Kadesh (Numbers 17:1-11).
  13. The walls of Jericho fell down at God’s command (Joshua 6:6-20).
  14. The sun and moon stayed motionless (longer day) to enable the Israelites to win a crucial battle (Joshua 10:12-14).
  15. A mega hailstorm destroyed the Amorite army (Joshua 10:12-14).

Despite having personally seen and experienced the countless AMAZING miracles, not only did the Israelites constantly doubt God, with tiresome repetition they periodically rebelled from God to worship false idols, that is, demons.

But God repeatedly forgave the Israelites.

Imagine, then, how much He loves us — who believe in Him although we haven’t witnessed the Israelites’ miracles nor seen or touched His wounds like doubting St. Thomas, yet we love Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

So the next time you doubt or falter or despair, take heart.

He loves you very, very, very much.

So much that God Himself did this for you.

See also:

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Easter Sunday: The science of the miracle of the Resurrection

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

Below is a reconstruction of what happened from the book, The Truth About the Shroud of Turin (Regnery, 2010), pp. 189-191, by my friend Robert K. Wilcox. No matter how many times I read this, it never fails to move me to tears.

The tomb, a rocky chamber carved out of a hillside, a stone rolled against the door, is dark and silent. Lying on a slab is a long, rectangular cocoon, the hills and valleys of which are clearly the contours of a human body. The body of Jesus lies there, face up, a ribbon around the head and chin to keep the mouth closed, packed on all sides with bags of spices.

At some unknown moment in the dead of night, the air in the tomb becomes electric.

At first the vibrations are minute, the sort that could be detected by sensitive twentieth-century instruments; then they dramatically increase until they shake the ground and blow the boulder from the door.

A glow, faint at first, emanating from the shroud suddenly intensifies until rays of light shoot through the threads, star-filled golden rays filling the tomb and pouring out the door.

For thirty seconds — no more — the blinding, pulsating movement continues.

The source of the activity is the corpse, the body, somehow being revitalized, dematerialized, its mass being converted into energy, pure energy, which in the material world is radiant white light.

The body rises from the slab through the cloth, hovers for a moment in midair, then disappears.

The cocoon collapses. Darkness returns. Shouts of “Earthquake! Earthquake!” diminish as the guards run for their lives. And in the air, the distinct odor of scorched linen.

When dawn comes, the women in Jesus’ life draw tentatively toward the tomb, look in the opening, and see the shroud unopened, still wrapped, but definitely deflated. The body is gone. At sunrise the disciples come. John enters the tomb, puts his hand on the cloth, and presses it to the slab. Jesus is there no longer. The disciples and the women quickly gather up the burial garments — the chin band is still in the shroud — and the spice bags and leave before the Romans can return.

At another time, in another place, when they have a chance to gather their wits, they will discover the figure of their master imprinted on the inside of the shroud. The images would be faint, probably not as dark as the passage of time and exposure to air have made them; and the images would be negative ones, a phenomenon that would also become clearer with the passage of time. Regardless, they would view these images as holy — imprints of their precious Lord. The disciples would pay more attention to the images on the shroud if they weren’t already waiting, with the greatest anticipation, for Jesus himself, who, before his death, had promised to visit them after he rose from the dead.

Reconstruction of the face of the man in the Shroud

Scientists at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) conducted a five-year study of the Shroud of Turin and concluded that the Shroud is not a fake. Their report, in Italian, is here.

Reporting for La Stampa, Dec. 12, 2011, Marco Tosatti quotes from the ENEA report:

The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory, as discussed in numerous articles listed in the references. This inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.

In fact, today Science is still not able to explain how the body image was formed on the Shroud … the body image is not painted nor printed, nor obtained by heating….

The blood is human, and there is no image beneath the bloodstains; the gradient color contains three-dimensional information of the body; colored fibers (image) are more fragile than undyed fibers; surface staining of the fibrils of the image derive from an unknown process that caused oxidation, dehydration and conjugation in the structure of the cellulose of the linen….

[T]he origin of the Shroud image is still unknown…. [R]egardless of the age the Shroud, whether it is medieval (1260 – 1390) as shown by the controversial dating by radiocarbon, or older as indicated by other investigations…the most important question…remains the same: how did that body image appear on the Shroud?….

There is no image beneath the blood stains. This means that the traces of blood deposited before the image was. Therefore, the image was formed after the corpse was laid down…. There are no signs of putrefaction near the orifices, which usually occur around 40 hours after death. Consequently, the image is not the result of putrefaction gases….

[The results of ENEA] show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence….

[I]t should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts ).

Edicule encasing the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem occupies two of the holiest sites of Christianity:

  1. Where Jesus was crucified (“Calvary” or “Golgotha”).
  2. Jesus’s empty tomb, where His Body was placed and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by an 18th-century shrine called the Edicule.

In 1809, during a partial opening of the Edicule by the architect Nikolaos Komnenos, a “sweet aroma” emanated from the tomb, the same “scent of sanctity” that often accompanies Marian apparitions and the tombs of some saints.

Most recently, in October 2016, scientists undertaking restoration work in the Edicule also smelled a “sweet aroma” when they removed the marble slab that covers the tomb. There were also electromagnetic disturbances: some of the measuring instruments used by the scientists, when placed vertically on the stone in which Christ’s body rested, either malfunctioned or ceased to work entirely. (See “Tomb of Christ in Church of Holy Sepulchre surrounded by electromagnetic field“)

According to the ENEA report, the image on the Shroud was left by “a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation” — stronger than could be created by any technology currently available to man. VUV is vacuum ultra-violet, a type of electromagnetic radiation.

Imagine how powerful the radiation burst of the Resurrection must have been to leave electromagnetic traces after more than 2,000 years, which were detected by those scientists restoring the Edicule in 2016.

See also “New evidence dates Shroud of Turin to time of Christ” and “Yet more evidence dating Shroud of Turin to time of Christ“.

Colossians 3:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

And so, whatever our troubles, however heavy the burdens that weigh on us, be joyous this Easter Sunday, for our Lord is risen!

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Holy Saturday: Our Lord stormed the gates of Hell

“. . . was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead….” –Apostles’ Creed

The Saturday between Good Friday (when our Lord was crucified) and Easter Sunday (when He rose from the dead) is given little attention, although what Jesus did in that interregnum is no less significant.

On Holy Saturday, Jesus Christ our Lord undertook some of the most dramatic and important work of His salvific mission.

He went into the depths of “hell” — a realm of the dead called “the limbo of the patriarchs,” which was without the punishments of the damned and which no longer exists.

There, awaiting His coming, were the departed just. Among them were Adam and Eve (despite their terrible sin of grandiosity and disobedience, the lasting legacy of which is the Original Sin that stains every human), St. John the Baptist, and Jesus’ foster-father St. Joseph. To the souls of the just, Jesus proclaimed He had won their salvation and led them as the first entrants into Heaven.

What a magnificent sight that must have been!

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday:

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him, Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying:

“Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.

I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.

For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.

The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.”

Be Joyous!

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Good Friday: Remembering His Passion and Sacrificial Love

Good Friday, April 10, 2020.

Some years ago, a friend startled me with an out-of-context outburst. Though raised a Christian, Stephanie is a goddess cultist, wiccan witch, and rabidly anti-Christian because of its alleged anti-female misogyny, never mind my pointing out that none other than a woman — Mary, the mother of Jesus — is Christianity’s most revered human figure.

I still remember that day when we were sipping a drink in a shopping mall. Suddenly, in a fit of self-pity, my strong-as-an ox-friend blurted to me: “Don’t tell me how Jesus had suffered. I’ve suffered more than Jesus!”

This post on our Lord’s passion and sacrificial love is a reminder to us of His sacrificial love, and a rebuttal to my friend, the “artist” Michael D’Antuono who in 2009 painted a blasphemous portrait of Obama as the crucified Christ, and all malignant narcissists who cheapen His memory by having the boundless arrogance and gall to compare themselves to Him.

The account below is difficult for us to read.

You will weep, if you have a heart.

Imagine how many hundred times difficult it was for our Lord, who endured all of it.

He sweated blood.

After He and his disciples had observed the Passover meal in an upper room in a home in southwest Jerusalem, they traveled to the Mount of Olives, northeast of the city.
There, in the garden of Gethsemane, for 12 hours (from 9 PM Thursday to 9 AM Friday), He prayed. He saw all the sins of humanity — past, present, and future. The cumulative effect of what He saw was so horrific that He sweated bloodhematidrosis, or hemorrhage into the sweat glands. His skin became fragile and tender from the hematidrosis, and He felt chilled in the night air.

Then the Roman soldiers came to arrest Him and took Him away — He who had committed no crime and no wrong, but instead had fed the hungry, healed the sick and blind, and even raised the dead.

He was scourged at least 39 times.

Scourging or flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. The usual instrument was a short whip (flagellum) with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. Occasionally, staves also were used.

He was stripped of his clothing, His hands tied to an upright post. His back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers or by one who alternated positions. The scourging was intended to weaken Him to a state just short of collapse or death.

As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck His back with full force, the iron balls caused deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones cut into His skin and subcutaneous tissues.Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations tore into His underlying skeletal muscles and produced quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss set the stage for circulatory shock.

His scalp was pierced with thorns.

The Roman soldiers, amused that this weakened man had been acclaimed a king just days ago when He entered Jerusalem on a donkey, mocked Him by placing a robe on his shoulders, a crown of thorns on His head, and a wooden staff as a scepter in His right hand. Next, they spat on Him and struck Him on the head with the wooden staff.

The crown of thorns was not a crown at all. It was probably a bush roughly applied, and tied on with rope.

The thorns probably came from the Lote Tree, a wild bush that still grows freely all over the Holy Land. This bush had thorns between one to two inches long. There are over 70 scalp wounds visible on the man whose image is seared forever into the Shroud of Turin.
The soldiers’ beating with the rods to His head covered with this crown would have caused severe bleeding. It is probable that the clump of thorns was removed before His tunic was put back onto His body, and then reapplied during the Crucifixion. The blood trickling down from the newly opened head wounds suggest that the thorns were reapplied before the Crucifixion.

Imagine the pain you’d feel if just one thorn, measuring 1 to 2 inches long, were stuck into your scalp . . . .

He carried his own cross, weighing 125 lb.

The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Him in a pre-shock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to His generally weakened state.

Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, His physical condition was at least serious and probably critical.

It was customary for the condemned man to carry his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion outside the city walls.

Since the weight of the entire cross was probably well over 300 lb., “only” the crossbar or patibulum — weighing 75 to 125 lb. — was carried. The patibulum was placed across the nape of His neck and balanced along both shoulders, His outstretched arms tied to the crossbar. The processional to the site of crucifixion was led by a complete Roman military guard, headed by a centurion.

He was nailed to a cross to die.

The Romans did not invent crucifixions, but they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. It was one of the most disgraceful and cruelest methods of execution and usually was reserved only for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and the vilest of criminals.

At the site of execution, by law, He was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic. He was then thrown to the ground on his back, with his arms outstretched along the patibulum.

His hands were nailed to the crossbar at the wrists. The nails were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inches long with a square shaft 3/8 in. across.

After both arms were fixed to the crossbar, He and the patibulum, together, were lifted onto the stipes. Next, His feet were nailed to the front of the stipes.

Every breath He took was a struggle, seared with pain.

The weight of His body, pulling down on the outstretched arms and shoulders, fixed the intercostal muscles in an inhalation state and thereby hinder passive exhalation. Accordingly, exhalation was primarily diaphragmatic, and breathing was shallow. This form of respiration would not suffice and hypercarbia (abnormally-elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood) soon resulted. The onset of muscle cramps or tetanic contractions, due to fatigue and hypercarbia, further hindered His breathing.

Every breath He took was a struggle, shot with agonizing pain.

To exhale, He had to lift His body by pushing up on His feet, flexing His elbows and adducting His shoulders. However, this maneuver placed the entire weight of the body on His tarsals, producing searing pain. Furthermore, flexion of His elbows caused rotation of His wrists about the iron nails, causing fiery pain along the damaged median nerves. Lifting of the body also painfully scraped His scourged back against the rough wooden stipes. Muscle cramps and paresthesias (pins and needles) of the outstretched and uplifted arms added to the discomfort. As a result, each respiratory effort became agonizing and tiring and led eventually to asphyxia (depletion of oxygen to the body).

After “only” 3 to 6 hours hung on the cross, He breathed his last.

He suffered terribly, unto death, for each one of us. 

God loves us this much.

So many Christians in America and other countries, like Italy, cannot go to church this Easter season because governments have closed churches to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. But we can remember His Passion today by going online for the Stations of the Cross. Go here.

See also:

In memory of His love,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Palm Sunday: Beginning of the week that changed the world

Luke 19:28-30, 35-38

Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, “Go into the village opposite you,
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here….”
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt,
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the holiest week in Christianity.

It is the week that changed the world. The week in which the Son of God, who chose to become incarnate, sacrificed Himself, was tortured horribly, nailed to a cross and left to die — in atonement for the shattering, cataclysmic sin of our first parents and humanity’s subsequent sins.

For why it takes God to atone the sin of Adam and Eve, see “Lent and the Fall of Adam & Eve“.

For why God became man in order to save humanity, see “The parable of the farmer and the geese“.

Our sins are so horrific that, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He actually sweated blood, seeing every sin of humanity, from the first to the last.

That’s how much He loves us narcissistic, petty, selfish, ever-bickering, ever-warring, utterly wretched, and downright murderous humans.

For many Christians, this Palm Sunday — and Easter, too — is particularly difficult because many churches are closed because of local-state governments’  coronavirus “shelter-in-place” policy. But we can offer our distress and difficulties to our Lord, as a special Lent penance.

And if you so fortunate that your church isn’t closed today, you will receive a long piece of palm leaf. This video gives very easy-to-follow instructions on how you can make a cross from your palm.

And remember to tell Him “Thank you” and that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Sunday Devotional: Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live

John 11:1-2, 5-8, 11, 17, 25-27, 32-35, 38-44

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill….
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”….
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”….
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days….
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”….
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept….
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

We don’t need fanciful or elaborate prayers to talk to our Creator, as this humble factory worker named Ben shows. The video made me weep….

So, join me today in saying this simple prayer:

“I just came by to tell you, Lord,
how happy I have been,
since we found each other’s friendship,
and you took away my sin.
Don’t know much of how to pray,
but I think about you every day.
So, Jesus, this is (your name),
just checking in today.”

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
 

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love

Love Eternal

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

Comfort In A Time Of Shaking

Lord Jesus, you said heaven and earth will pass away, but your word will never pass away. Your word will also not fail to produce that for which it was sent. It will not return to you void.  Having believed the gospel, we base all our hope on on you, and commit to you our way, and our lives. ~ Amen

~TD

 

Please follow and like us:

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0