Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
**May it be to me as you have said…**
The liturgical calendar moves very quickly from Easter now and the resurrection of Jesus, to the Annunciation of Jesus. Mary, is visited by the angel Gabriel, and he tells her that she is to bear a son and give him the name Jesus, that he will be great and called the Son of the Most High.
The overlap of [historical time], is not in [conjunction] with real time, as these reading coming so close together in the Gospel cycles. So we are heading towards Pentecost [in real time] and the giving of the Holy Spirit that falls fifty days after the celebration of Easter in the Christian liturgical calendar.
Imagine the thoughts going through Mary’s head, the fear that could have taken her over and the denial had she not seen the angel from the Lord and believed in his words of faith. In our study of faith, we know that not only Mary had been visited, but also Joseph, her betrothed. Joseph was a harder sell, as we know than Mary. She responds to Gabriel’s message with, “Let it be done to me according to the will of God!”
Joseph on the other hand, tried to flee from this – as his fear was greater than his faith. If we read further in the story, Joseph was visited upon twice and the angel in Matthews Gospel, the visits Joseph because he was a righteous man, he was going to dismiss Mary quietly.
(Mt.1:19-25) The angel tells Joseph “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit…”
At first, Joseph was besides himself. Why should he take this woman as his wife, as they had not had “relations” to produce such a child, and the fact that God himself would come upon her in the form of the Holy Spirit to bless her. Joseph didn’t want any of this – and so it is written that the angel appeared to him twice to convince him to have faith and that it was his calling to take Mary as his wife and to raise Jesus in the customs of the Hebrew faith.
Joseph is a man of faith, a man of respect and a man with silent dignity. That he stepped up and did these things speaks of a greater man than we may take notice of at first, from the simple mentions of the Gospel narratives. In reading other Christian writings, and even those fiction writings about the life of Jesus as a child, Joseph was a quiet man who did not draw attention to himself openly, but when needed he spoke with care and authority. He took Jesus as his son and raised him according to how he was taught.
We can imagine Joseph and Mary to a degree, having to question what they have just been told, to acquiesce to the will of God and they live through the process of Purgation, Illumination and finally, one in union with God Almighty. This process of facing the darkness to be healed wholly, the the reception of God’s light which then calls them to a deeper union with God.
There are many people and personalities in Biblical Scripture that we can source to observe just how tried and true they are in their faiths. Joseph and Mary faced such trials in that time, Mary receiving life within her, Joseph taking her as his wife, traveling to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem for the census, taking care of the family, and after the birth of Jesus, Herod went on his killing spree because of his fear of this new “king of David” his decree of each first born son was to be killed, Joseph had to flee with his wife, son and family into Egypt where they lived and where purported Jesus grew up.
(Mt. 2:13-23) “Now after they had left [Bethlehem] an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph [a third time] in a dream and said Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him…”
From this point of the Annunciation through the Incarnation of God, through Jesus Christ, and his life, death and resurrection, we take part in the three Christian Doctrines (a) the Trinity God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (b) the Incarnation, and (c) the Paschal Mystery, that Christians all over the world have since celebrated this past Holy Week.
Life was not easy on our little band of family. They faced so many things, the incarnation of God in Jesus, set in motion a series of events that shape, mold and impress upon us, the faith that we all share. That we should have the resolve to face our own lives and issues with the same faith and strength that the Holy Family did.
John 20: 19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
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.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed…”
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…
As you can see there is still a little snow here and there, but for the most part the sidewalks and streets are clear. Last night Montreal participated in the Earth Hour blackout – as some of the downtown buildings went dark for the hour, although not many people on this end, that you see before you went dark. This is the West view of downtown.
We got out of the house today and went for lunch at the Eaton Centre which is always a fun time. I wanted to spend some quality time with hubby, not commiserating like we have been as of late. Last night he went out with friends who seemed to know just what he needed and they told him things that he took to heart. So all is well.
We then set off for Indigo Book sellers, I wanted to find something new to read, as term is coming to an end and my night table is littered with old books that I have been rehashing over and over again! UGH!!
Books are expensive, do you know that? Canadians pay a fare share when it comes to books, it’s a good thing I have my “I Rewards” card, which at least shaves off some of the total on the book. I walked around the store looking for something good, and I walked over to the “R’s” looking to see if the Rice family had anything to offer up, and low and behold I find this:
Our young writer has grown up into a very good looking man. This is his latest book called “Blind Fall.” Get it here on Amazon.
“From three-time New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice – whose novels have been called “bold and ambitious” by the New York Times, “chillingly perverse” by USA Today, and “shocking, sexy… intricate: by Glamour – comes this startling psychological thriller about an Iraq War vet who seeks redemption and revenge when a fellow Marine he failed to protect during the war is brutally murdered.”
I once met Christopher many years ago, when I was living on Miami Beach, he came for a book signing at Books and Books on Lincoln Road Mall, when he published his first book called “A Density of Souls.” This should be a great read…
All in all it has been a very good day. Stay tuned for more later…
An old proverb says, “He that cannot ask cannot live”. If you want answers you have to ask questions. These are 75 questions you should ask yourself and try to answer. You can ask yourself these questions right now and over the course of your life.
1. Why not me?
Because it is not always about me…
2. Am I nice?
3. Am I doing what I really want to do?
4. What am I grateful for?
Life, Love, Health, Marriage, Friends
5. What’s missing in my life?
More Money, Financial Freedom
6. Am I honest?
7. Do I listen to others?
Yes I do
8. Do I work hard?
Yes, of course
9. Do I help others?
10. What do I need to change about myself?
I don’t know
11. Have I hurt others?
12. Do I complain?
13. What’s next for me?
I’m not sure
14. Do I have fun?
Yes I do
15. Have I seized opportunities?
For the most part yes
16. Do I care about others?
Of course I do
17. Do I spend enough time with my family?
No, they aren’t a part of my life today, their choice not mine
18. Am I open-minded?
19. Have I seen enough of the world?
20. Do I judge others?
21. Do I take risks?
Yes I do
22. What is my purpose?
To live my best life
23. What is my biggest fear?
24. How can I conquer that fear?
25. Do I thank people enough?
26. Am I successful?
In my own way, yes
27. What am I ashamed of?
Wasted time with addictions
28. Do I annoy others?
29. What are my dreams?
Big House, Lots of kids, money in the bank
30. Am I positive?
Yes, in more ways than one
31. Am I negative?
32. Is there an afterlife?
Yes there is
33. Does everything happen for a reason?
Yes it does
34. What can I do to change the world?
Start with myself
35. What is the most foolish thing I’ve ever done?
36. Am I cheap?
37. Am I greedy?
38. Who do I love?
Myself, myHusband, my friends
39. Who do I want to meet?
The Dalai Lama
40. Where do I want to go?
Explore the world
41. What am I most proud of?
I am still alive at 40
42. Do I care what others think about me?
Yes I do
43. What are my talents?
There are many
44. Do I utilize those talents?
No not all of them
45. What makes me happy?
Good food, good conversation, my husband smiling
46. What makes me sad?
My husband being sad
47. What makes me angry?
Stupidity and self righteousness
48. Am I satisfied with my appearance?
49. Am I healthy?
50. What was the toughest time in my life?
During my slip in recovery
51. What was the easiest time in my life?
I don’t think there has been an easy time
52. Am I selfish?
53. What was the craziest thing I did?
I backpacked Europe
54. What is the craziest thing I want to do?
Return to Europe
55. Do I procrastinate?
56. What is my greatest regret?
That I could not reconcile my family
57. What has had the greatest impact on my life?
58. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
59. Do I stand up for myself?
60. Have I settled for mediocrity?
61. Do I hold grudges?
62. Do I read enough?
Yes i think so
63. Do I listen to my heart?
Yes, probably too much
64. Do I donate enough to the less fortunate?
65. Do I pray only when I want something?
66. Do I constantly dwell on the past?
67. Do I let other people’s negativity affect me?
I try not to
68. Do I forgive myself?
69. When I help someone do I think “What’s in it for me”?
70. Am I aware that someone always has it worse than me?
71. Do I smile more than I frown?
72. Do I surround myself with good people?
Yes I do
73. Do I take time out for myself?
74. Do I ask enough questions?
75. What other questions do I have?
There are so many …
Mark 16: 9-15
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.
But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
“Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature!”
That is the order of the day today. I don’t know how much preaching I am going to do here, but here we go. I was looking for things to write about tonight, as I am home alone, hubby is out with his friends, they are trying to cheer him up after his big let down.
I’ve been trying to work on my final paper for Christian Spirituality, last night while I was reading in bed the phrase “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” came to mind since I am writing a paper on mortality.
This is a subject that not many people talk about until it comes to them by way of illness or a death in the family. During class, one of my classmates asked me how on earth she could write a paper, and I said to her simply, find your passion, write about it, the paper will then write itself. It’s really simple, yet I am sitting here wracking my brains trying to come up with some coherent thought. So I guess that I need to work harder at following my own advice.
I was on You Tube earlier and I found a few really interesting videos from Ed Young and Joel Osteen down in Texas. I am in the mood for looking for some really great teachings tonight so I did some listening. There is a lot of good material to watch from all over the world when it comes to Christian Spirituality. I can go to church every day and twice on Sunday, but yet I feel shortchanged when it comes to teaching. You Tube is a really great platform if you are looking for something to do with your spare time, like I need to tell you that!! Who doesn’t You Tube???
I guess we should talk about gratitude, and having that attitude of thankfulness.
“God is longing to be good to the people that are looking for his goodness…”
Things are as they should be
I have all that I need
All is well in my house
I can spend time with my God
and people have come to help us which is good
I have food in the fridge
a roof over my head and
a warm bed to sleep in…
On it’s axis…
Hubby’s application to get into McGill University was REFUSED. He is, at this moment, sobbing in the bedroom.
God help us…
It was a very sad day for us on our house today. It broke my heart into a million pieces to watch my husband sob for hours asking “Why?” and saying “They don’t want me…” It was one of the most difficult days I’ve seen my husband through. I stayed home today just so that he would not be by himself, because most of the day he was quiet, then tonight he went into the bedroom and cried. It is just very sad.
I had a sinking feeling that this was what was going to happen. But to see a man degraded like this was inhuman. The letter must be on its way, thank god for electronic posting, so now instead of waiting for the rejection letter – they put it up on the site: REJECTED!!!
What is this world coming to???
Time for plan B… He didn’t want to consider a plan B, because he was sure based on his entrance papers and his letters of recommendation that it was a positive guarantee, we were WRONG!!!
My inlaws are going to fall to pieces when they find out. My father in law had a bad fall and is nursing a concussion right now, so this would not be the time to tell them that their brilliant son was just rejected by McGill University. WTF???
God grant me serenity…
The weather is starting to warm up, albeit, very slowly, and my dreams as of late have involved some type of personal changes. As soon as the snow melts a bit more and the sidewalks clear up further, I will begin a new ritual of exercise and walking.
I thought about this over the last few nights, because this winter has not been kind to any of us, being shut up inside has had its drawbacks. This was the image that always has been on my mind as to what I want my body to look like. I need to loose some weight and start working out again.
If you read from my list, Yani, is one of my Aussie reads and he has quite a system for his daily walks, he frequently blogs about the walk and his photography of said walks, which is a big part of his blog. So stay tuned. We shall see what the Spring brings to this blog in the coming months.
I must add that – upon completion of a new core body I will be getting another set of piercings, for my 8th sober anniversary…
“It Takes many bags of Salt to make a friend…”
in historical times, salt was expensive and used sparingly, and sharing a meal with friends was an important community activity.
What a shocker… The Matron of our home group of 17 years, turned in her keys and said her goodbyes, the dynamic in our group has shifted in a monumental way. As much as we like to say easy come, easy go, the trouble makers at our business meeting – the women who have given me heartburn and made my blood pressure rise have also decided to leave the group.
What a shocker…
There is a God up there…
Monday, March 03, 2008
Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, says his team has identified a gene called TRIM22 that can block HIV infection in a cell culture by preventing the assembly of the virus.
“When we put this gene in cells, it prevents the assembly of the HIV virus,” said Barr, a postdoctoral fellow. “This means the virus cannot get out of the cells to infect other cells, thereby blocking the spread of the virus.”
Barr and his team also prevented cells from turning on the TRIM22 gene – provoking an interesting phenomenon: the normal response of interferon, a protein that co-ordinates attacks by genes like TRIM22 against viral infections, became useless at blocking HIV infection.
“This means that TRIM22 is an essential part of our body’s ability to fight off HIV. The results are very exciting because they show that our bodies have a gene that is capable of stopping the spread of HIV.”
One of the greatest challenges in battling HIV is the virus’ ability to mutate and evade medications. Antiretroviral drugs introduced during the late 1990s interfere with HIV’s ability to produce new copies of itself – and though beneficial, the drugs are unable to eradicate the virus. Barr and his team have discovered a gene that could potentially do the job naturally.
“There are always newly emerging drug-resistant strains of HIV so the push has been to develop more natural means of blocking the virus. The discovery of this gene, which is natural in our cells, might provide a different avenue,” said Barr. “The gene prevents the assembly of the virus so in the future the idea would be to develop drugs or vaccines that can mimic the effects of this gene.”
“We are currently trying to figure out why this gene does not work in people infected with HIV and if there is a way to turn this gene on in those individuals,” he added. “We hope that our research will lead to the design of new drugs, or vaccines that can halt the person-to-person transmission of HIV and the spread of the virus in the body, thereby blocking the onset of AIDS.”
The researchers are now investigating the gene’s ability to battle other viruses.
Barr’s research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. The findings are published in the Public Library of Science Pathogens.
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Guards’ Report
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
40 days has come and go, and what can we say about our time in the desert? What have we learned on our journey this year and what have we learned about ourselves? What did God change in us, and what was needing to be changed? And how did your life change over the last 40 days?
There wasn’t much that I needed to give up for Lent. I did spend a good deal of time each day praying and meditating, where ever and whenever. Taking set time out each day to sit and write for you was a kind of meditation. I attended services during this Lenten period. I asserted myself into my community. I became one of many. I worshiped with my community as was requested of me. If you are going to write about us, you need to be part of us so that you can have a fuller experience of Christian community.
I have spent this term reading my bible every day, something that has changed the way I pray every day. My Christian Spirituality class has helped my in ways I may not have mentioned before or even thought about until now.
We live in such an analytical world where we spend so much time decoding the codes, analyzing the situations, and trying to find the hidden meanings of things that we miss the real truth staring us right in the face. We spend too much time talking about what we want to do, what we should do, and how we should do it, that we never really get down to acting on what we speak of.
I worked on my amends list. I set an amends in motion to someone I thought I needed to reconnect with and that person has yet to reply to my letter so I don’t expect anything from it at this time. I am still working in my community as I have for the last seven years, we lost a few people in my home group over these last few weeks, and a loss is a loss no matter the reason. Our long term member ratio is falling.
Have you shared with your fellow on the road? Did you Give Big? Were you stingy with anything that you had when it came to offering assistance to anyone you came in contact with? Did you not speak when you should have? Did you do all that you could have to help fellow pilgrims on the road with you? Did you share your time, talent and treasure with everyone you had to opportunity to do so with? What did you learn about them, and what did you learn about yourself?
And now with Lent behind us, what are you going to do now???
“A few years ago God challenged me to be in prayer more than I talk about prayer. If you’re someone who talks about prayer a lot, I challenge you to the same thing. When you find yourself in a discussion about prayer, stop, and pray for a longer amount of time than you talked about it. When someone asks you to pray for them, do it there and then, rather than waiting until later and opening yourself up to the possibility of forgetting. If you struggle praying… start! If you can pray for 2 minutes today, and do the same thing for the week, chances are by the end of the week you will be able to pray for 4!
Prayer transforms our lives, and creates opportunities for us to see God at work. If you really love God as much as you say you do, you would take the time to talk with him as you do any of the other people in your life who you enjoy being around.”
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Mary Magdalene came back to Jesus’ tomb in the dark of early morning of the first day of the week. She is grief-stricken without the light of her life. Her heart searches for his presence. In Matthew the day arrives dramatically for her and the other women. As the earth quakes an angel rolls away the stone, sits on it, and from his radiance announces: “Do not be afraid!” [Jesus] is not here, for he has been raised just as he said” (Matt 25:5-6). Mary and the women believe and are sent to announce the good news to the others, meeting Jesus on the way.
Belief in Jesus risen and with is may have come to us in some dramatic episode pointing to a presence beyond the ordinary — an “earthquake or angel” moment in our lives. It may have come through an “empty tomb” realization — some letting go of a lost dream or love that made way for us to open to the transcendent mystery of the risen Christ’s Spirit within us. Or the good news of that presence may have been passed on to us by women and men who believed — our fathers and mothers, our Christian community.
Today we renew our baptismal commitment to believe in Jesus risen and with us, even though we do not see him. Christ is a hidden presence; our lives are “hidden with [him] in God” (Col 3:3)
Take time to remember how you came to believe. Rejoice in Christ’s hidden presence within you and pray for his Spirit to “clear out the old yeast” of sin and doubt, and make you and all into a “fresh batch of dough” (1Cor 5:7).
Jeff Buttle reacts after skating a personal-best program to take the men’s world title.
(Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)
Canada’s Jeff Buttle captured his first world title in style, blowing away the rest of
the men’s field Saturday at the world figure skating championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.The 25-year-old from Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., put on a personal-best performance in the final to beat out defending world champion Brian Joubert of
France by a whopping 14 points. American Johnny Weir was third.
“It’s always been my dream to be world champion,” said Buttle, a world silver
medallist in 2005 and an Olympic bronze medallist in 2006. “I can’t believe it’s
Buttle came into the free skate with the lead after placing first in Friday’s short
program. The three-time Canadian champion posted 163.07 points in the final to
give him an overall total of 245.17, also a personal best.
Toronto’s Patrick Chan dropped two positions to ninth, finishing his first world championship with 203.55 points.
Buttle is the first Canadian man to win the world title since Elvis Stojko in 1997.
He was slowed by a back injury last season, and just last month he finished second to Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi — Saturday’s fourth-place finisher — at the Four Continents championship.
But Buttle skated brilliantly Saturday. Though he didn’t do a quadruple jump, he did three clean combinations for a total of eight triple jumps. He had great speed, whimsical footwork and performed with an energy and lightness that reflected the confidence he’s carried during these championships.
Buttle was grinning when he came off the ice, telling his coach, “just like at home.” When the marks went up and showed he was the winner, Buttle’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped.
“It’s been such a great week for me,” Buttle said. “It doesn’t even feel real yet. It hasn’t sunk in.”
Joubert’s finish was impressive, considering he was sixth after the short program. The Frenchman has had a tough season, missing most of the Grand Prix series because of a strength-sapping virus. But he was mesmerizing Saturday. He opened with a quad and did seven triples, and showed he will be a force to be reckoned with next year.
With files from the Canadian Press