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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pentecost...... What did the word mean to the Jews? What does it mean for me?

Pondering the third mystery of the Glorious mystery of the rosary in prayer today, the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. My mind drifted to the meaning of Pentecost for a Jew, I knew "Pentecost" was a Jewish feast day.. What does the word mean? We've given it a new description in many Christian circles. We have folks who call themselves Pentecostal, we have Pentecostal Churches and we know the Holy Spirit fell on the Church on Pentecost... So, while pondering the word Pentecost, I began wondering what did the Apostles, Mother Mary and all the men and women (120) in the upper room who were Jewish, how did they relate to the feast of Pentecost as a Jew and what was its meaning? What did this mean or did it mean anything for the Holy Spirit to fall on the Early Church on the Feast of Pentecost? Wow! What I discovered! 
PENTECOST ("fiftieth")
The traditional festival of Pentecost as the birthday of the Torah = "the time our Law was given", when Israel became a constitutional body and "a distinguished people," remained the sole celebration after the Exile.
Also, Pentecost has a connection to the grain harvest, which lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. v. 24; Deut. xvi. 9; Isa. ix. 2). It began with the harvesting of the barley (Men. 65-66) during the Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Pentecost, the wheat being the last cereal to ripen. Pentecost was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest.
The grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. v. 24; Deut. xvi. 9; Isa. ix. 2). It began with the harvesting of the barley (Men. 65-66) during the Passover and lasted 50 days...ending on Pentecost.
Pentecost was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest, just as the eighth day of Tabernacles was the concluding festival of the fruit harvest
Okay... We celebrate Easter for 50 days in the Church...The Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil, which is celebrated after night falls on the evening before Easter Sunday. Then counting 40 days and we celebrate Jesus Ascension into heaven, Acts1:3: after his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
10 more days and the promise of the Holy Spirit falls on the Church. Acts 2:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Is God not awesome and a God of bringing His Word to life... The symbolism of the Old Testament feast days have a new meaning.. Was it an accident or coincidence that God the Father took 50 days after the resurrection to pour out the Holy Spirit upon the Church on the day of Pentecost?
The Feast day of barley begins around PASSOVER ... The Sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb
The Feast day of Wheat ends on Pentecost... The Eucharist
Pentecost the time the Law was given", when Israel became a constitutional body and "a distinguished people," remained the sole celebration after the Exile. 
Pentecost the Body of Christ His Church became a constitutional body and a "distinguished people."
And 120 in the upper room were ready for the harvest.
Pentecost: remained the sole celebration after the Exile. Yes...indeed we celebrate ...we are no longer in bondage... Christ paid the price and we are set free... Amen!
The traditional festival of Pentecost as the birthday of the Torah
The festival of Pentecost begins the Birth of the New Testament.
As we are getting closer to the season of Lent and understanding:
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts until the final Saturday before Easter, Holy Saturday. Lent is a penitential season. It recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, and the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert. Lent focuses on the events leading up to Christ’s passion, and finally on the Passion itself.
Easter: Easter Vigil though Pentecost
The Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil, which is celebrated after night falls on the evening before Easter Sunday. The season of Easter is a joyous, celebratory season. It begins with celebrating Christ’s resurrection and ends by celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. Christ’s ascension into Heaven is celebrated just prior to Pentecost. The Easter season last 50 days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost.
My question......was this a coincidence the Church has these days all planned out as they fall? Amazing....
Getting excited .... Season of Lent about to begin.. Feb.18th Ash Wednesday ...  the Liturgical Seasons of the Church... The seasons bring the Old Testament and the New....to Truth and Life..

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scared Art Can Speak to the Heart

A few years ago while visiting our son in Tampa, FL., he offered to take us to the Ringling Museum in Saratoga, Fl.. A fascinating museum about the history of the circus and the; "behind the scenes" workings of how one gets a circus from town to town. The museum is mostly about the "worlds largest circus".... Ringlings and Barnum Bailey Circus.
Before TV and the radio, the circus was what every town in America looked forward to. The circus came to entertain a town for a day, or several weeks. It was a BIG money maker and can be compared to what Hollywood and the movies are to us today, when it comes to BIG money, the circus many moons ago was the entertainment industry on the rails traveling from town to town.
The museum is located on the bay in Saratoga and also was the home and property (many acres) to John and Mable Ringling. We toured the Circus museum and the beautiful mansion in which the Ringlings lived in, which was over looking the waters of the bay. We really recommend you visit this museum, if you are ever in Florida.
Toward the end of tour (long day) we finally arrived at the, John and Mable Art Museum. Wow! We learned Mr. Ringling was a Big collector of art.
The museum's art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world. The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th-20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. Other famous artists represented include Benjamin West, Marcel Duchamp, Diego Velázquez, Paolo Veronese, Rosa Bonheur, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Giuliano Finelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Frans Hals, Nicolas Poussin, Joseph Wright of Derby, Thomas Gainsborough, Eugène Boudin, and Benedetto Pagni. A big treasure chest many folks, including us never knew was there.
One of my favorite things I discovered in the Art Museum was the works of Peter Paul Ruben (1577-1640) 
John Ringling purchased in 1926, some of Ruben's works, from the collection of the Duke of Westminster at Grosvenor House, London the great works of a prestigious series, painted on huge tapestries, called: "The Triumph of the Eucharist." This is the only original paintings outside of Europe of Rubens.
My favorite three of the series were: The Defenders of the Eucharist, The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek .... and The Gathering of the Manna. Looking at these beautiful pieces of art...what do you think the artist is trying to show us? Who is in the painting and what do you think inspire Ruben to paint them? Can we learn a precious mystery from above ...that points us to the Truth of God in his art-work called; The Triumph of the Eucharist, The Gathering of Manna, The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek? 
To be honest with you, these pieces of art were the finally icing on the cake that spoke to my  that I was ready to follow my Lord into the Catholic faith. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but my Lord knew what He was doing, even when I did not understand..
Just think.. a painter who lived 450 years ago planted seeds in my ... ️Wonder if he knew his works would have an impact on someone's life who lives in the 21st century?
Shows me how sometimes in this life our works can have eternal blessings for future generations, even if we have doubts. It doesn't have to be big like Ruben's works... It can be as small as living your life everyday for Christ in the small ways.. and being the mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, wife or husband that plants Christ seeds......so your kids, loved ones, strangers, friends and family see Christ seeds. It's up to he Holy Spirit to water them and grow them.. We have a choice in what we "paint" in this life.. What painting do you want to leave your children and the ones you love after you are gone? Something to ponder.. 
Want to know about the Ringling Museum click:

Painting Below
The Book of Genesis in the Old Testament recounts the story of the patriarch Abraham meeting with the king and priest Melchizedek. In a battle between some kings of the day, Abraham's nephew Lot had been captured by the victors and taken away captive. When Abraham heard what had happened he raised an army, pursued the captors of Lot and rescued him along with rich treasure. Upon returning home Abraham was welcomed by the Melchizedek who blessed him and gave bread and wine to the victorious army. Abraham in return gave a gift of a tithe (10%) of his booty to Melchizedek. This was seen as recognition of Melchizedek's position as a priest of the God of Israel.
Rubens’s 17th century tapestry is a representational portrayal from the Old Testament foreshadowing the coming of Christ and the bread that comes from heaven..the Eucharist.


Painting Below.....This painting depicts the story told in the Old Testament ( Exodus 16: 14-35) of the Israelites receiving food from heaven as they wandered in the desert. God spoke to Moses and promised that he would send bread to the starving Israelites. One morning, manna - small round loaves of bread - dropped from heaven and the Israelites were saved from starvation. They continued to be supplied with manna from heaven for the next forty years until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan. God is still feeding His children with the manna from heaven... called the Eucharist...

Painting to the Above

This painting shows seven saints, all of whom were considered to be defenders of the doctrine of Transubstantiation an integral tenet of the Catholic Church. From the right the figures represent - (1) St. Jerome, noted for his translation of the bible from Hebrew into Latin; (2) St. Norbert, a German archbishop and saint, who preached against dissenters who attacked the Christian sacraments and official clergy; (3) Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian of the Dominican order, who is a Doctor of the Church. (4) Ste. Clare, the founder of the Poor Clares, was a Franciscan heroine who repulsed the Saracens at Assisi by confronting them holding the Host in her hands; (5) Gregory the Great, who established, as Pope, the form of the Roman liturgy; (6) St.Ambrose, renowned as both theologian and statesman of the Church, who in an age of controversy, was instrumental in crushing Arianism, a doctrine concerning the relationship of God the Father to Christ which was considered heresy and in direct opposition to orthodox teaching about the Trinity; and (7) St Augustine, perhaps the Church's most celebrated and influential theologian.
Seven Saints, including the four Latin Doctors of the Church, progress with great dignity from right to left, their heads seen in different views in a fashion similar to the heads of the Four Evangelists. The Dove of the Holy Ghost hovers protectively over the saints in the very center of the composition emitting golden light that illuminates the procession. Above the dove, a putto holds two trumpets to herald the message of the Church Fathers.
Leading the procession are Sts. Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory the Great, all wearing elaborate gold copes. The first two are crowned with boishop's mitres, while the third wears the papal tiara. In the center of the procession, St. Clare carries a monstrance and looks directly out at the viewer. Rubens has shown his patroness, the Archduchess Isabella as St. Clare garbed in the black and white habit of the Discalced Carmalites, clothes she wore at the Convent of the Discalzas Reales in Madrid when she was a girl and later as a widow after her husband the Archduke Albert had died in 1621.
St. Thomas Aquinas follows, a large book under his arm wearing a gold chain from which is hung a blazing sun. Behind Aquinas is a monk in a white habit who is probably St. Norbert. Last in line is St. Jerome the fourth Doctor of the Church dressed in red as a cardinal, intensely reading from a large book. In the center of the bottom of the composition, below the apron of the "stage" is a burning lamp (the lamp of truth), open books and writing supplies of ink pots and quill pens, all in reference to the writings of the Church Fathers.
All seven saints were known as defenders of the Eucharist, particularly the Four Doctors of the Church who developed the doctrine of transubstantiation and defended it against heretics.
Historical Context:
The cycle of eleven paintings of The Triumph of the Eucharist was commissioned by the Archduchess Isabella who was the daughter of Philip II of Spain and the Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. It was planned as a gift for the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1625 where it still hangs today. This Franciscan Order of Poor Clares was one with which Isabella was closely associated.
The series is a mixture of allegory and religious propaganda intended to promote the worship of the Eucharist (ie the bread and wine consecrated as the body and blood of Christ and distributed at communion) which had been strengthened recently by the Council of Trent and which constituted an important element in Counter Reformation Catholicism.
This was a time of great concern on the part of the Catholic church as it attempted to correct not only the abuses of the clergy but also to reaffirm its tenets / dogma in the face.

Prayer is CPR

While praying at Church this past Sunday, the Lord put a "word" in my spirit about prayer and Tuesday, while praying the "Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary" the Lord continued to teach me and build on what He showed me Sunday, concerning prayer.
He spoke to my heart Sunday and said;
"Prayer is like CPR, it gives breath and life to the heart of those who are dying." Wow!
Pondering this I'm reminded of my CPR training and watching others administer it to a dying victim. It can become very, very, tiring and stressful physical and mentally administering the chest compressions and breathing breaths for someone, until help arrives. I've personally never had to use my training, and have thought if I ever did... Would I have the strength and would I remember everything I was taught to save a life? The key to CPR and saving ones life is to not stop administering it, until help arrives. Even if you think it is hopeless. And if it takes awhile for the help to get there... Those administering it to the dying, it becomes a battle, a tough hellish battle to keep going, and to not give up. I remember as a child, my dad was a witness to a little African American boy, who was struck by a car. It was in the middle of nowhere and it took over an hour for help to arrive. He immediately went to the child and started CPR and he was the only one on the scene who knew how to perform CPR. He never gave up, on this little boy. But, sad to say, the child did not make it. My daddy came home exhausted and felt so defeated he did not survive. It must of been a nightmare for him.
Prayer is like CPR my Lord planted in my heart.. Oh, how I sometimes give up and think it's not working. My Lord, says CPR is like prayer....do not give up until the help comes, even when you are tired and it's been a loooonnnngg time, and you just don't think another breath would help. TRUE Prayer is like CPR, because it is work for those who are dying. You must not stop.. The best way to give CPR is if you have a team of others to help.. When you get tired...pass it on to the another person. Rotate and never give up. CPR is like prayer..prayer needs to be teamwork.
Tuesday, while praying the "Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary" and mediating on the 1st mystery.... Jesus praying in the Garden, before they came and arrested Him.. What did He do? He asked His Apostles to keep watch and pray for themself and Him . What did the Apostles do? They were tired, they could not stay awake. Jesus went to them three times, and woke them up..."Please pray the hour is almost here." 
Here in the Garden of Gethsemane: (1st Sorrowful Mystery) we have Jesus, (God in the Flesh) who is asking for prayer. Why?
Wasn't it good enough that He, King of Kings, Lord of Lord who healed the sick, rose folks from the dead, open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf to hear? Why would Jesus need His Apostles to pray? The scene in Gethsemane (Luke 22: 39-48) in many ways had become a CPR experience.. They just could not compress and breath another breathe of prayer.. They were tired... Makes one wonder if things could of been different had they prayed?
We know He had to go to the cross and we know the events surrounding His passion and death on the cross had to unfold.
We know this was the Father's plan.
We know Jesus asked the Father in the Garden to take this cup away, but, only if it was the will of the Father..
Jesus knew it was not the Father's will. He sweated blood..
Do you think if His Apostles had prayed as Christ had asked them, maybe Christ's human nature would not have been in so mush distress? The CPR of prayer could have helped our Lord not feel alone and abandoned, as He was scourged at the pillar; (Mark 15:15: 2nd Sorrowful Mystery), crowned with thorns; (Mark: 15:16-17: 3rd Sorrowful Mystery), Jesus carrying His Cross (John: 19:16-17: 4th Sorrowful Mystery), and Jesus dies on the Cross; (Mark: 15;21: 5th Sorrowful Mystery)...
Luke 23:34: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Romans 12:4-5
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1 Corinthian 12:26-27
Many Members, One Body
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.
John 17:20-21
Prayer for all Believers
"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;… Jesus
Jesus is our mediator to the Father, but just like He asked His Apostles to pray for Him, He needs us to pray for each other...we are connected to His Body.
You, me, and those who are in heavenly place... We are connected to Him (His Body) here and for eternity.. I can ask you for prayer, I can even ask Mother Mary or any Saint in heaven to pray for me.. We are all connected and we should never, ever give up the CPR of praying for each other.
Those in Heavenly place are alive, they are not dead and I believe they are now great prayer warriors...more than ever.
It's a great mystery to understand how we are all connected to the Body of Christ.
Many will say... How can those in heaven hear our prayer request? They are dead.. Really? I thought they were alive...now and for eternity.. That's what the word of God teaches. We have eternal life..those who put their heart and trust as Jesus Christ their Lord as Savior.. They died to this world and are born into eternal life....forever!
Well, to be honest it's a mystery.. All, I know is I've been woken from my sleep to pray for someone.. They did not call me or send me a text.. It was the mystery of being connected to the Body of Christ that woke me from my sleep.
Why me? Who am I to have any power to pray for someone? I am nothing. Jesus is the mediator... Why doesn't He just pray for them? Why does He use us?
A friend shared with me an example, in helping me understand the "mystery" and need for the "Communion of Saints".. Those who are in heavenly place praying for us....why? Jesus is the mediator.
Yes, He is...but we are apart of a great family.. We are apart of the family of "The Kingdom of God" and we are all connected and there is power and strength in numbers.
Let's say, you need to put a fence up around 3 acres of property. You need to first dig holes and place post in the ground to hold the fence. You can choose to put up this fence all by yourself or you can ask others to help you.
If you do it by yourself, it's going to be a long, hard process ...but you will in time get it done.. It might kill you doing it..but, hey, you choose to do it alone.
If you do get others to help, you take turns digging the holes for the post, someone goes and gets food and drink when you are hot and hungry, someone holds the post as another shovels the dirt back into the hole... There is power in numbers and strenght and our Father did not create us to be alone.. He desires we work together..in prayer and love...all of us.
Prayer is the CPR that gives life to a world that is dying.. Don't stop, help is coming.
We need to never give up, and if we get tired and don't think we can keep up the breathing and compressions, we can use the buddy system. We can pass our prayer on to others and even those in heavenly places.. We are the Body of Christ and nothing can separate us...not even death..
Romans 8:37-39
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
CPR is like prayer and when we are tired, we need to pass the prayer to someone else.
And when renewed ... start where you left off.
Since I have come to understand the Communion of Saints.
I trust them.. They will not forget, they will not get tired, they will not use my request for prayer as gossip.. They will continue praying until the prayer is answered..
Revelation: 5:7-9
He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne.
When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones (Saints) They sang a new hymn.
If Jesus needed the prayers of His Apostles... So we need the prayers of the Body of Christ.

Also, prayer is like CPR for us. We need to find the time to use prayer for us, to talk to Jesus, get to know Him. Forget about the needs and wants.... in time the CPR gives our hearts, minds and bodies a relationship in the quite of the storms of life and He breathes breath in areas we need and compresses our heart to truly understand what love really means. It's not about us anymore. It's about how MUCH He loves us and how he desires to spend time with us.