Category Archives: Saints

Sunday Devotional: Sing joyfully to the Lord!

Psalms 145:1-7, 20-21

I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you;
I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.
One generation praises your deeds to the next
and proclaims your mighty works.
They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory,
tell of your wonderful deeds.
They speak of the power of your awesome acts
and recount your great deeds.
They celebrate your abounding goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice….
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he destroys.
My mouth will speak the praises of the LORD;
all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

St. Augustine said to sing is to pray twice.

As in Psalms 145:7, the Bible contains myriads of exhortations to “sing to the Lord”.

Not just sing, but sing joyfully, as if your heart is bursting with radiance.

But in the name of a “second wave” of COVID-19 (but no one would say the spike is due to the #BLM protests and riots), some tyrannical states and counties, such as California, now forbid singing in churches.

So please join me here in singing two of my favorite songs: “Holy, holy, holy” and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”!

And may the peace, joy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Mystery of Three Persons in One God

Matthew 3:1, 13, 16-17

In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea….
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John,
to be baptized of him….
And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water:
and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Holy Trinity — the mystery of Three Persons in One God.

That there is but one God and three Persons — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — is not only found in the above passage from Matthew 3, but also in other places in Holy Scripture:

Genesis 1:26

And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness

John 5:7

For there are three
that bear record in Heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

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

~Eowyn

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Why does Melinda Gates wear an upside-down cross?

Melinda Gates, 55, is the wife of Microsoft co-founder and its former chairman, CEO, and president Bill Gates, 64. A former general manager herself at Microsoft, Melinda and Bill in 2000 co-founded the powerful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable organization as of 2015. Melinda has consistently been ranked as one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes.

The Gates are Democrats. Both were suggested as possible vice-presidential picks in the 2016 presidential election, according to an email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, which was obtained and published by WikiLeaks. (Time)

Melinda Gates is also a Roman Catholic. In 2014, Bill told Rolling Stone magazine that he and Melinda raised their three children as Catholics, the family goes to a Catholic church, and that religious morality inspires a lot of his charity work.

Melinda Gates’ Catholicism goes against the Gates Foundation’s funding, until 2013, of abortion by donating $71 million to Planned Parenthood and affiliated organizations. In 2014, she said that the foundation “has decided not to fund abortion”, focusing instead on family planning and contraception in order to avoid conflation of abortion and family planning. (Wikipedia)

Then there is the matter of Melinda’s jewelry.

Longtime FOTM reader/commenter Lola sent me this pic of Melinda Gates wearing a necklace with a pendant that’s an upside-down cross.

The pic is a screenshot taken from a video of Melinda’s appearance on an NBC “Today” show on May 8, 2020:

The upside-down or inverted cross is a symbol that stems from the martyrdom of St. Peter the Apsotle. Catholic tradition is that when the Romans sentenced Peter to death by crucifixion, he requested that his cross be upside down, as he felt unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as his Lord and savior Jesus Christ. That is why there are images of the Pope wearing the inverted or Petrine Cross because the Pope is the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome.

However, in our times, the upside-down cross has been co-opted by satanists to mock Christ’s crucifixion, just as the Black Mass is an inverted mockery of the Catholic Mass.

So the question is: Given the upside-down cross having become a satanic symbol, why would Melinda Gates, a self-professed Catholic, wear that as jewelry? Why not a regular, rightside-up cross instead?

There’s also something else that’s disturbing about Melinda’s appearance.

Twitterer @Inevitable_ET posted comparison pics of Bill and Melinda, past and present, which show Melinda looking very different from what she was before. She now has a bigger and fatter nose, which can’t be from weight gain. She also looks like a man in drag.

See also:

~Eowyn

Drudge Report has gone to the dark side. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by a military veteran!

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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

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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

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Sunday Devotional: The eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-8

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

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.”

Today, the universal Church celebrates and remembers a particular event about which the Apostles were percipient witnesses — the Transfiguration.

2 Peter 1:16-18

Beloved:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.

Do you doubt these percipient witnesses?

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.

Below is an account of the Apostles’ martyrdom by Dean Jones in the stunning one-man play St. John in Exile. Though filmed in 1986, I had never heard of or seen it until I discovered it two years ago.

I urge you to watch St John in Exile, which reduced me to weeping, in its entirety.

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

~Eowyn

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Valentine’s Day and the meaning of true love

Today is Valentine’s Day — the day when TV commercials nag men to buy roses, candy, and jewelry for their wives or girl friends.

But did you know that the day is named after a real person, St. Valentine?

At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14th. But the man for whom Valentine’s Day is named most likely was a priest at Rome who, in the second half of the 3rd century, was arrested and killed by the Emperor Claudius for secretly marrying Christian couples during a time of persecution in the Church. Legend has it that while he was imprisoned and waiting for his martyrdom, he sent letters to his fellow Christians signing them, “From Your Valentine.” (See joandarc’s post, “St. Valentine“)

The popular customs associated with Valentine’s Day probably came from a conventional belief in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. [Source: Catholic Encyclopedia]

So what is love?

I can find no better definition and description of true love than the words of St. Paul:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
It is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

And here’s the true meaning of Valentine’s Day:

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul, and with all your strength; and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Simeon and Anna recognized the child Jesus as Christ

Malachi 3:1

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

Luke 2:22, 25-38

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord….
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“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 the 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.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

The above passage from Malachi 3 is only one of many foretellings of the coming of Jesus Christ in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), the textual source for the Christian Old Testament.

Some of the other foretellings are:

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Jeremiah 23:5

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Numbers 24:17

there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Psalm 22:1, 16, 18

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

they pierced my hands and my feet.

Zechariah 9:9

behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 11:12

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

All of which raises the question of why most Jews, then and now, refuse to believe that Jesus is Messiah, unlike, as Luke 2 recounted, Simeon and Anna the prophetess in the Temple who immediately recognized the child Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Among the reasons why they don’t, according to the article “Why Don’t Jews Believe In Jesus?,” are:

  • The Jewish Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David, but Jesus was not because Christians say he was the product of a virgin birth and therefore had no father, which would mean Jesus was not descended from David.
  • Jews don’t believe in miracles: “Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles [as Jesus did], there is still no verification that he is a genuine prophet. Miracles do not prove anything. All they show—assuming they are genuine—is that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy. Judaism, unique among all of the world’s major religions, does not rely on ‘claims of miracles’ as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of ‘miracles’ to charlatans….”

Now you see why the Talmud, the collection of the sayings and writings of rabbis regarded as superior even to the Torah — the first five books (Pentateuch or five books of Moses) of the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible– calls Jesus a “bastard,” “fool” and “charlatan”; His mother Mary a “whore”; and Christians “idolators” and less than human. (See Rev. I. B. Pranaitis, The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians; and “Truth About the Talmud“.)

Zechariah 7:12

They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prohpets

In his 1991 essay in First Things, “When Jews Are Christians,” David Novak, a Jew, explains that there are three types of Jewish converts to Christianity:

  1. Fake converts: “Secret Jews” who converted to Christianity not out of a genuine belief, but for self-interested opportunistic reasons — to escape persecution (as during the Inquisition), or for social and/or economic gain.
  2. Genuine converts: Jews who sincerely believe Christianity is the true faith, and no longer think of themselves as Jews.
  3. Jewish Christians, aka Messianic Jews: Novak identifies this group as a new kind of Jewish converts to Christianity who believe in Christ but claim to be Jews and practice Judaism, insisting they are practicing the true Judaism. The State of Israel rejects these Jewish Christians or Messianic Jews as Jews. In 1989, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against two Jewish Christians, Jerry and Shirley Beresford, who petitioned for Israeli citizenship as Jews under the Law of Return, which guarantees immediate Israeli citizenship to every Jew. The Court rejected their petition on the grounds that the Law of Return specifically precludes any Jew who has affiliated with another, non-Jewish, religious community, never mind the fact that the Law of Return is applied to Jewish atheists although atheism, arguably, is a form of religion.

Novak takes a different position than the Israeli Supreme Court. Claiming to speak for “normative Judaism,” Novak maintains Jewish Christians are still Jews because:

“Jewish status is defined by the divine election of Israel and his descendants. One does not become a Jew by one’s own volition. Even in the case of converts to Judaism . . . [a] gentile’s choice to become a Jew is a necessary but not sufficient condition of conversion . . . the convert’s choice is not sufficient to make him or her a Jew: it only makes one a candidate for conversion. The actual conversion itself is the act of an authoritative Jewish Tribunal who . . . [l]ike God . . . is under no compulsion to elect, which is to say convert, anyone. Since Jews are elected by God, there is absolutely nothing any Jew can do to remove himself or herself from the Covenant.”

All of that only works if the Jews of today are actually biological descendants of the ancient Hebrews with whom God had made His covenant. The problem is there is compelling DNA evidence that Ashkenazi Jews, who comprise 90% of the world’s (and U.S.) Jews, are biological descendants of the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and converted to Judaism in the 8th century. See:

Revelation 2:9

I know the blasphemy of them
which say they are Jews, and are not,
but are the synagogue of Satan.

Remember to tell the Triune Godhead you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength, and may the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Importance of the Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The account of Jesus’ baptism is significant for at least two reasons:

(1) The Baptism of our Lord by St. John the Baptist is one of several instances in the Old and New Testaments  — see also Genesis 1:26, John 5:7, and Matthew 28 — when the nature of the Triune Godhead is revealed as the vexing mystery of three Persons in one God.

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

(2) Matthew 3’s account also speaks to the importance that Jesus holds for Baptism. Though a sacrament meant for sinful humanity, the sinless Son of God chose to be baptized before He began His public ministry.

These are the words on Baptism of His apostle St. Paul:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” -Romans 6:3-4

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:11

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:27

Baptism purifies and sanctifies (makes holy) the person, making him/her a dwelling of the Holy Spirit. That means that without Baptism, a person is without the Holy Spirit and rendered defenseless against the Evil One.

I don’t know what other Christian denominations believe about baptism, but in the Catholic Church — notwithstanding its many flaws, including the terrible sins committed by its clergy — the sacrament of Baptism is an act of exorcism:

Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. (#1237 of Catechism of the Catholic Church)

In this manner, through the exorcizing sacrament of Baptism, “all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.”

Moreover, through Baptism we receive the gift of grace from the Holy Trinity — to believe in God, to love Him, and to grow in goodness. “Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.”

So if you are a Christian, don’t make the mistake of postponing the baptism of your child(ren) like a friend of mine (see “Without Baptism, we are abandoned to the wolves“). Baptism — clothing your child “with Christ” — is the most important thing you can and will ever do for your child.

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Are you the one who is to come?

Today is the third Sunday of Advent — a season observed by Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation and birth of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. And so, this season of Advent is also about a second advent or second coming — His return at the end of all things.

And how do we know that He is the One?

Having created us with the ability to reason, God fully expects us to use our minds — to good purpose.

Did you know that even John the Baptist did not believe blindly, but used his rational faculty to sift through the available empirical evidence and determined that Jesus indeed was whom he was awaiting — “the one who is to come”.

Matthew 11:2-6

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
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.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

So, on this third Sunday of Advent, do not be disheartened by the darkness of our culture, polity and society, but take comfort in these words from the Epistle of James.

James 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

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

~Eowyn

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