Saturday, December 28, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #242* The Catholic Defender: The Holy Innocents

December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. These are the male children who were murdered by King Herod in an attempt to kill the Christ Child.

There was an ancient prophecy going back to the time of the Patriarch Jacob.

His beloved wife Rachael died right out side of where Bethlehem would be built. She died having Benjamin, her second son.

Genesis 35:16-20 states, "Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go on the way to Ephrath, Rachel began to be in labor and to suffer great distress. When her pangs were most severe, her midwife said to her, 'Have no fear! This time, too, you have a son'. With her last breath--for she was at the point of death--she called him Benoni; his father, however, named him Benjamin. This Rachel dies; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath that is, Bethlehem. Jacob set up a memorial stone on her grave, and the same monument marks Rachel's grave to this day".

Jeremiah 31:15 states, "Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more".

This is a prophecy of the end of Rachel's mourning, we read the fulfillment of this prophecy Matthew 2:16-18 says, "When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more".

What brings an end to Rachel's mourning is the Christ who lives to free all those in captivity.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, "Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have it's reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy's land".

Jeremiah is prophesying that the children of Israel would return from the Babylonian Captivity, but even more than that!

During the time of Jeremiah, Ramah became the staging area where the Babylonians began rounding up the Jews in 587 B.C. The word "Ramah" would be understood in Jeremiah's time, like the "Twin Towers" would be understood in our time.

As the Jewish people were being deported to Babylon, the Mothers and family members could not be consoled as they wailed aloud because their children were deported with no hope of return.

Jeremiah's description of what King Herod would do at Bethlehem would be as terrible as the memory of what happened in Ramah.
The scene at Ramah certainly reminds me what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II. This was so terrible that the Nation of Israel was recreated and recognized by the United Nations in May of 1948.

I want to come back to the fourth oracle of Balaam. Enemies of Israel were trying to get the Prophet of God to curse Israel so they could overcome Israel.

Do we not see and understand how secularism today is working to curse the People of God today?

Revelation 21:3-4 says, "I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or morning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away".

We are living in a New Testament, a new Covenant, a new age. Rachel's children are in heaven with Rachel.

We are reminded of the massacre of Herod because what we see today with abortion heaven hears the cry of the silent scream.

Heaven intervened with the plight of the Indian's in Mexico in 1531 putting an end to the human sacrifices conducted there, heaven again responds to the atrocities committed against humanity today.

Jesus institutes the Ministry of the Divine Mercy.

The more we spread the message of His Divine Mercy, the more children will be saved from the Herod's of our time.

Now is the day of Salvation, now is the time!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Catholics Hold Fast

Christmas Day was full of great joy and peace for many people, my own family had a great Christmas celebration.

However, there are those who seek to carry on more attacks against the Catholic Faith.

The Catholic Church will always be the brunt of attacks by every conceivable enemy. 

For many this is a great sign that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ.

It will be hated around the world because they first hated the founder of the Church, Jesus Christ.

In Dallas, there is a Protestant Church that took the attack at a different level this year.

Here is an example coming from Facebook:

"The Gospel to Catholics
On Christmas Eve nine members of Grace Life Church of Dallas went to St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Plano to share the good news of Jesus Christ. The evangelism went well as our sovereign Lord directed us into several lengthy conversations. We witnessed from 4:45 until 6:15. One of our members preached the Gospel while Catholics were leaving the sacrifice of the Eucharist. The head priest came out, shook my wife's hand and asked her to leave. Jane tried to show him that we were giving away the Greatest News anyone could ever hear about the Greatest Gift they could ever receive according to Scripture alone. He said, I’ve seen it. Please stop. She said, Oh good, you already have one of our Gospel tracts, so you’ll read it? He turned and walked away. I went inside to talk to the assistant priest. After 15 minutes he was unable to reconcile God’s Word with his Catholic traditions so he asked me to call him next week for a meeting.

One man took a tract from me and asked "What are you doing here proselytizing members of our church?” I told him I was an ambassador of Jesus Christ delivering His true message of salvation. He said he was a Protestant who turned Catholic because of the early church fathers. I gave him a tract and asked him to call next week to get together for coffee. One guy wanted to know why we were doing this to people who already believe in Jesus. We told him the "Jesus" Catholics worship is another Christ and then spent 15 minutes explaining the differences. All in all, it was a successful outing with several challenging conversations. May God bring forth eternal life from the seed
s of HIs imperishable word that were sown in many hearts."

Here are some of the comments made by supporters:

Donna Ron Hessler Dear Mike Gendron I have RC family members, thank you! I went out with a friend on Christmas Eve & shared your tracts with many!
Leslie Sneddon Praise the Lord! Thank you faithful servants for your witness to the Lord of Heaven and earth. May the Truth of Christ prevail. RC's leave your religion and come to Jesus!
Ahava Araya Mike, That is really courageous of that assistant priest! ...........Not to mention you and your wife. He sounds like he might be ready to hear the real Gospel. Wow!

Tami Lohman What a blessing to those folks even if they may not yet realize it! Keep up the good fight Mike & Jane! God bless you!

Mike Gendron It seems every Catholic who responds on this page defends their position with the ongoing lie that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. According to Scripture, He founded one church made up of born-again Christians whose names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20, Eph. 4:5, Heb. 12:23). The Roman Catholic Church officially and dogmatically went apostate at the Council of Trent and now condemns born-again Christians with its "infallible" dogmas.

What Mike Gendron does not share here is how quiet they became after Catholics like Paul Mathers, Craig Pryor, John J. Breslin and others  who quickly responded to this unprovoked attack.  

It was like the Protestants quickly left the building.

Interestingly, about the same time that Grace Life Church in Dallas was making their attack on Catholics, another attack was taking place a half a world away.  A young woman went running up through the crowd and jumped on the Altar of the Lord.

She had taken off her clothes and on her chest she had wrote in English that "I Am God".  She was quickly taken away, but her intent was to bring confusion and disruption.  Grace Life Church and this Feminist group interestingly joined together in spreading misleading information and cast attacks on the people of God.  They were not spreading Christmas cheer or good will but to go on a rant.

That is not the end of it but the beginning.  On Christmas Eve in the Middle East, several Catholic Churches were attacked and several parishioners were killed.

I spent a lot of time in Iraq (Middle East) and among the people.  How tragic this is to see this taking place throughout the Middle East. 

I served in the Republic of Korea beginning January 1998 and I chose the song "Be Not Afraid" as my anthem while I was deployed.  That song has always meant a great deal to me in times of stress and danger.

Here are the words to the song:

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst. You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way. You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you through it all.

Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you!

 What a beautiful song that inspires us to hold fast to the teaching of Christ as we bear his image to the world.  Jesus said, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18).

St, Jude wrote,  "Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones". 

There is something that the bible states that ties the Grace Life Church, the radical Feminist, and the Muslim Terrorist together.  John 16:2 states, They shall put you out of the synagogues; but the hour is coming that every one who kills you will think to render service to God."

The vast majority of those who attack the Church will refuse to debate us on Blog Talk Radio to answer for their tracts and misrepresentations.  If they would debate they would be made responsible for their statements.


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The Catholic Defender: The Apostle John, the Narrow Way To Heaven

December 27 this year is the feast of St. John the Apostle.

St. John was one of the original followers Christ called as he was fishing with his Brother James.

They were the sons of Zebedee. After the first miracle of the catch of fish, "they left everything and followed him".

Jesus chose 12 Apostles, but Peter, James and John were the Lord's leaders.

They were present at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1) and in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37).

St. John was the youngest and probably the fastest among the Apostles (John 20:4).

It is interesting that he beat St. Peter to the tomb, yet he waited for St. Peter to inspect the tomb first. St. John was refereed to as the one "whom Jesus loved".

Of the Apostles, only St. John is mentioned to be present at the crucifixion scene.

The Lord from the cross gave his Mother to St. John to stay and care for her in his house.

Like St. John, we too have been given our Lady as a gift, as our Mother.

St. Peter asked our Lord about St. John, how he would die.

Jesus had told St. Peter how he would glorify God with his death, so Jesus responds to him saying, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me. So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die".

St. John witnessed all the miracles and teachings of Jesus personally.

He would be significant in spreading the gospel, ordaining men to the priesthood such as St. Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.

He would take Mary with him to Ephesus where he cared for her and the Church.

St. John would write the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and the book of Revelation (The Apocalypse).

He had been imprisoned on the Greek Island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.

Many Scholars place the writing of the book of Revelation near the end of the first century. Others think it could be somewhat earlier (A.D. 81-96).

The Gospel of John is filled with signs (seven), the wonders of Jesus: The changing of water into wine, the cure of the royal officials son, the cure of the paralytic at the pool, the woman at the well in Samaria, the multiplication of loaves, the walking on the water, the Eucharist.

All these signs signify the changing of life through water offering new life, Jesus life giving word.

Scholars believe St. John wrote this book while in Ephesus but that is not universally held.

What is important is that the Catholic Church at the Council of Hippo recognized the Gospel of John through Sacred Tradition was inspired of God. St.John's Gospel is different from the three "synoptic" gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Something very interesting to me about St.John is the fact that after witnessing the events of Jesus, his teaching, his death and resurrection.

After his own ministry of the Apostolic witness being the last of the Apostles who knew Jesus personally, he writes in Revelation 22:8: "It is I John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said to me, 'Don't! I am a fellow servant of yours and your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book, Worship God".

First, the angel said he was a servant of St. John and the brothers of St. John, the prophets, and the Church. The angel is recognizing the authority of the successors of the Apostles. By this time, St. John was the last of the Apostles. Who are the brothers, the prophets, and "those keeping the message of this book" that the angel was referring to?

The Pope at this time was probably St. Clement (A.D. 88-97), St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp most certainly.

I believe this is significant. The Catholic Church maintains the authority that the angel recognized way back then.

The other point I wanted to make about this passage is that St. John was about to worship this angel? With his scope, that is incredible.

That is a lesson that all of us are capable of sin and falling short. Like St. John, we too need to be reminded from time to time to "Worship God"!

By contrast, consider the Archangel Gabriel appearing to a lowly virgin. We are celebrating the events that the angel foretold to Mary because this affects all of mankind.

There is much that St. John presents in his witness that is important to the Church.

The Trinity, the Eucharist, Mary as Mother, the Sacraments and signs of Jesus, the unity of the Church, the Holy Spirit. Let us "Worship God" who is the "Narrow way to Heaven".

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Catholic Defender: My Christmas Season Hypothosis

I find it interesting that people on both sides of the line, Catholic and Protestant, seem to resist the notion that Jesus was born on December 25, 2 B.C.?

I have really enjoyed the research and discussion because it is very confirming what Catholics have always maintained from the beginning.

This has been a great Christmas study from several different perspectives.

Listening to the Anti-Catholics debating this, it really sounds like they can't handle the idea that they are wrong about the foundations of the Catholic Faith.

For them, the Catholic Church has to be born from Paganism. Jesus can't really be the founder of the Catholic Faith so for them, Dec 25th can't be true.

Like the Wise men who followed a star, we too embark on a journey in search of the new born King.

Listening to good Catholics who hear this for the first time, it sounds to dogmatic, maybe to mean to shake family traditions.

It's a wonderful tradition and the Church is celebrating Christmas to counter Paganism.

To them it doesn't matter what day we celebrate Christmas. It has been interesting to be caught in the middle between faithful Catholics and anti-Catholics.

Of course we will always side with the faithful Catholics on this, but I think it is great that we can go deeper into the truth of Christmas. Recent scientific data, tradition, the scripture all point to the validity of Dec 25.

This is the basis on which the rest of this article will be based.

I want to try and place all the pieces together for the Christmas Story. December 25, Joseph brought Jesus and Mary into Bethlehem, but as they arrived, Luke 2:6 says, "While they were there, the time came for her to have her child".

Maybe Joseph was attempting to report to the census, maybe because of Mary's labor, it was an emergency that they find a place to deliver the child.

Luke 2:7 indicates Joseph attempted to find an inn but there was no room because of all the travelers coming to file in to the census. The manger or cave appears to have been a hasty place provided because of Mary's quick labor.

Luke 2:7 says that Mary gave birth to Jesus where "she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger".

Another possibility is that it was dark when Joseph and his family arrived in Bethlehem, as they quickly found a manger, the angels began praising God saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14).

The Shepherds were out in the pastures watching over their sheep when all this began to take place.

Meanwhile, the star had led the Wise men to Israel and by this time, they are going through Jerusalem asking "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage".

This ruckus grabbed the attention of King Herod and he summoned the Wise men to ascertain the time of the stars appearance.

Herod intended to deceive them so he could identify this threat to his throne and kill the Christ Child.

From the birth until the wise men arrived bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, St. Joseph moved from the cave or stable to perhaps a relatives house.

Since Bethlehem was the City of Joseph's heritage (David), it's possible that Joseph had relatives present in Bethlehem so he was able to make this move.

The star continued to shine over Bethlehem for another 5 more days. At any rate, Matthew 2:11 indicates that when the wise men did arrive, they entered the house where Mary and the Child was.

When did the wise men actually arrive at the place where Jesus and Mary were resting? There is a short window following this star for five days.

I think this event had to occur between 25 December and very early 1 January. I tend to think it would have been later than sooner because what happens next. Matthew states that the Wise men (magi) camped for the night and beheld a dream.

God warns the magi not to return to Herod, but to go another route out of the Country. This dream had to be important because as the magi were leaving Joseph received a dream from an angel saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herold is going to search for the child to destroy him" (Matthew 2:13).

I do not see St. Joseph waiting around to see what happens, they leave Bethlehem immediately. I think that the Magi's visit and Joseph's departure would be the same evening. This probably would be the night of 31 December or very early 1 January.

Luke's next hard time line should be 1 January as Jesus is in Jerusalem (7 miles away from Bethlehem) and he is presented to the temple for circumcision.

This happened on the eighth day from his birth. The Child was named Jesus. Simeon foretells that Jesus would be "the fall and rise of many in Israel".

That Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword. Also, there was an older lady who began to speak "about this child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem".

Now this presents a problem for Joseph, after receiving a vision from an angel to get out of dodge and here they are in Jerusalem where surely if Herod knew Jesus was there, he would have called back all the Soldiers to Jerusalem?

What a story! Joseph sees Simeon prophecy concerning Jesus.  This is becoming a suspense novel! 

Just as Jesus walked through an angry hostile crowd who had wanted to throw him off a mountain, Jesus escapes to Egypt with no apparent problems.

Luke only records that from this scene, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Luke mentions nothing about Egypt and the haste leaving Bethlehem.

Remember, St. Luke was a Gentile and he writes what God wanted him to say. It makes sense that Joseph would take the Holy Family to Nazareth and from there flee to Egypt through a major route that Herod would not suspect.

The good news is that Jesus did not get caught by Herod's thugs, but the bad news is that the magi could not have been in Bethlehem visiting Jesus on 6 January.

Jesus was on his way to Nazareth getting far away from Bethlehem. But the gold and gifts the magi gave to the Holy Family helped to pay for the trip to Egypt.

Science, scripture, and tradition along with personal perspective on my part, this is the most I can tell from the evidence given.

For more information concerning Dec 25 as the birth of Christ, please click here:

Video used by permission:

About the Author of the presentation video/DVD of the Star of Bethlehem project:

When you watch this video, you will see a picture given me from Iraqi friends of a baby being baptized. If you take a good look, you can see the water rolling off the head of the child in the form of a Rosary!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #136* The Catholic Defender comments on Homosexuality

In light of the recent news of a young man after having a homosexual relationship, killed himself after his roommate videoed him in a sex scandal.

Unfortunately, the 19 year old College student jumped off the George Washington Bridge and took his own life.

From "Religious" they report: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated 3 that "as many as 30% of completed youth suicides each year" are performed by gays and lesbians. Unfortunately, many information sources have quoted the 30% as if it is an absolute figure. The Department indicates that it is 30% or fewer. If we assume that the 30% figure is valid and that it is constant across the age range of 15 to 24 years, then approximately 1,488 suicides per year are committed by homosexual youth. If we assume that gays comprise 5% of the total number of youth, then the 1,488 suicides represent an excess of 1240 suicides related to their sexual orientation.

This source is obvously a pro-homosexual site, but the above information is alarming.  How tragic this is over total nonsense. I grieve for the soul of this young man. All we can do is pray the Lord have mercy on his soul. I'm afraid that the pro-homosexual crowd will politicize this most unfortunate death.

With all the events scheduled by the College to remember the young man, would they have done so to this extent if it had been a heteros Sexual encounter?

In the 1960's and 70's, the Gay Agenda was to 'shock and awe' as groups like 'Queer Nation' and other radical Gay groups would go to Churches and desecrate them. The Group 'Queen' were known to support the Gay agenda, their song, "We are the Champions" was used as a Gay Liberation Anthem.

In the 1980's these groups put on suits and ties and became a political force. I know that the Homosexual agenda has been embraced by the Democratic Party since 1984 with the Mondale/Ferraro Presidential ticket.

Because America has been center right in our politics, the liberals have been whittling away at the fabric of society. They are pushing to promote the gay lifestyle even to kindergartners.

There is a major difference in opposing the 'Gay Agenda' from opposing the individual. Politically, I oppose 'Gay Marriage', marriage is strictly between a man and a woman.

I will go so far to say that marriage should be done through the Catholic Church. I know that in our society, that is not reality.

I oppose the secularism of our Country. I do not believe that Homosexuals should be able to adopt children.

Our society has drastically changed on this since 1993. I do not believe we should teach Homosexuality in public schools, that too, society has become more tolerant. I certainly oppose Homosexuals in the Military.

That would not be good for unit cohesion among other things. In saying all this, how do we respond when faced with someone who is a homosexual? I have two examples I will give that I have participated that I think was positive.

In 1979, after more than three years in College, my roommate began to open up to me for the first time that he was a homosexual. I had people ask me about it before, but I never knew, nor did I judge him with it.

He had feared me because he knew I was a jock and that I was openly against this lifestyle. He began to explain to me how he had been sexually assaulted by one of his Uncle's when he was twelve years old. I did not condemn him, but actually felt compassion for him.

He was raised a Protestant and was interested in the Catholic Church out of curiosity from the debates. I told him that we all need forgiveness, and he could find it also. I also told him he needed to forgive his Uncle.

We would continue to study Christianity together and I was there to see him Baptized into the Catholic Church. Thus, the birth of the Catholic Defender!"

In Iraq (2006-2008), we had many people who were baptized and received into the Catholic Church.  What a blessing this was!

On Christmas Eve, 1997, after Midnight Mass (Soldiers Chapel at Ft. Campbell KY), I was up near the front of the church talking with some of my friends.

I began to feel eyes drilling holes in my back as I felt someone was watching me.

It was a strong feeling and I noticed two men looking on from the back pew at the back of the church. I ignored them as if they were not there as I continued to talk with friends.

After a few minutes, some of us began to walk down the isle to leave when one of the two men stopped me and asked if I would speak with them. I didn’t know them nor had I ever seen them before, but I sat down in the pew in front of them to speak with them.

They began asking me questions about the Church. They were asking me about the Bible, church history, values and moral. I began to answer their questions.

After about an hour the Chaplains Assistants wanted to kick us out so they can go home. It was nearly 2:00 in the morning. They wanted to continue so we met in the parking lot. This went on until 6:00 in the morning.

I told them that I needed to get home because my children will be getting up and ready for our family gift exchange. The two men asked if we could meet later in the day. I said, yes, but when I was able to do so.

I met with them again for another 5 hours that afternoon. I ended up speaking with them five days in a row for 4-5 hours at a time. Finally, they had to catch a bus back to Atlanta Georgia.

I don’t know how or why they picked me out of a crowd nor why they were so interested in what I had to say. They asked me hundreds of questions! I later learned that they had been homosexual lovers and that they decided to go straight.

I was informed that they had decided to return to the Church! I also was informed that one of them had been diagnosed with AIDS and was accepting responsibility for his actions.

I was further informed that this same individual went to a Catholic Charismatic prayer service and members laid hands on him. He explained that he received warmth throughout his body. He has since, tested negative on his HIV test. That’s after having a positive test and a confirmation test!

The Catholic Church has no power to change or alter the Natural Law of God. We use to say, "Love the sinner, but hate the sin" but now we are moving towards a direction that will ultimately clash as Christian values continue to be swept under the rug.

By January 2010, I learned from our Brigade Chaplain that the Homosexual-Gay Activist had already approached the Military Chaplaincy.  They were telling them that they will have to modify what they preach from the pulpit. 

This was exactly the plan of the Democratic Party once they held all the power in Washington.  The Progressives had affectively eroded American values low enough that people didn't care.

That does not abode well with me. Our liberty is being threatened and people continue to roll with the tide, and I do not mean Alabama!

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My Christmas Letter to You

Dear and Precious One,

God loves you with a deep and everlasting love. His is the only perfect love you will experience here on earth. All other loves, as beautiful as they can be, are only pale imitations of His true and abiding Love. He resides in your heart, caring for each precious beat of it, whispering to the inmost part of you His words of True Love.

Like all good loves, He listens, too. He waits for your word, longs to hear you utter the smallest of prayers so that He can hear your desire for Him, for change, for perfection. He wants you to love Him in return. He will never force Himself upon you. He will wait for you and love you from afar for as long as you demand it.

He knows how you breathe, how you feel, how you wonder. He also knows your struggles. He meets you with Mercy when you fail to live in the way that He knows is best for you. He asks you to wait for something much better than you can imagine. He sighs with your impatience and anger at Him and loves you anyway.

Your life is so much more than you can even imagine. His plans for you are so far above your ideas as the Heavens are above the Earth. Allow Him, the author of your very soul, to whisper the first parts of His desire
s for you in the silence of your expectant heart.

I will pray each day for you, my brother, my sister in Christ,
Christie Martin

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*BEST OF DTB #240* The Catholic Defender: Christmas Timeline

The Promise:

Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heal."

1250 B.C., Deuteronomy 18:15, "A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you among your own kinsmen; to him shall you listen."

742 B.C., Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

742 B.C., Micah (Contemporary of Isaiah) 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from old, from ancient times."

538 B.C., Daniel 9:24, "Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your holy city: Then transgression will stop and sin will end, guilt will be expiated, Everlasting justice will be introduced, vision and prophecy ratified, and a most holy will be anointed.

The Preparation:

9th of Av 586 B.C. (Tish'a B' Av) The destruction of the Temple (2 Kgs 24:18-25). This broke cycle of the priestly duties which would resume in 538 when the Hebrews returned from exile. This would set the stage for an important event. Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah, was conducting his duties about October 2nd-9th, Yom Kippur (Luke 1:10). The prophecy of John the Baptist through an Angel of the Lord.

63 B.C. Pompey abominations spoken of by the Jewish Historian, Josephus said it was 27 years from this date to when Herod captures Jerusalem.

36 B.C. a Sabbatical year, During the Jewish High Festival, Yom Kippur, Jerusalem fell to Herod whose reign begins on the first of Nissan, 35 B.C. This is important because Herods death takes place soon after an eclipse on Jan 10, 1 B.C. (King Herod would be the ruling authority in Judea-a puppet of Rome, at the time of Christs birth, December 25, 2 B.C.)

October 3 B.C. The Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur, the busiest Temple day of the Temple year (Luke 1:10) sometime late March early April. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah and announced the coming of John the Baptist.

September 3 B.C. The planet Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo-Leo the Lion. This would be the star the wise men would follow leading them to Bethlehem. They followed the star for about 16 months until the Star rested over Bethlehem for six days beginning on Dec 25, 2 B.C.

February 2 B.C. Caesar Augustus received the title "Pater Patriae on Feb 2 B.C. calling for his presence in Rome beginning early fall of 3 B.C. Quirinius, the Governor of Syria (Luke 2:2), acted as Governor of Palestine through 2 B.C. This is important because of the decree for the whole world to be enrolled which is what leads Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. This fulfills Micah 5:2.

March-April 2 B.C. "In the sixth month (since the announcement of John the Baptist-October 2 B.C.), the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end."
(Luke 1:26-22)

March-April 2:B.C. Mary hastens to visit Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy.

June (25) 2 B.C. Birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Christmas Story

December 25 2 B.C. The Birth of Jesus "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David's throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever." (Isaiah 9:5-6).

"Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:18-21)

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was Governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
(Luke 2:1-7)

December 25, 2 B.C. The angels announcement of the good news and the visitation of the Shepherds.

December 31, 2 B.C. The Visitation of the Wise men following the Star of Bethlehem and the vision of the angels to travel another route from King Herod.

December 31, 2 B.C. St. Joseph receives the vision to flee with Mary and Jesus from King Herod's massacre of the Holy Infants trying to kill the Christ Child.

The Presentation

January 1, 1 B.C. In Jerusalem, about 5 miles away from Bethlehem, Jesus is brought to the Temple for Circumcision in accordance to the Law of Moses. Then continues to Nazareth where St. Joseph leads the Holy Family to Egypt until the death of King Herod and the end of the danger.

January 10, 1 B.C. The Eclipse spoken of by the Jewish Historian, Josephus who then identifies King Herod's death soon after. This would have been in his 37th year of his reign as shown by Josephus.

April 33, 3 A.D. Jesus dies on the cross and rises from the dead three days later. the Ascension of Jesus would be 40 days later and the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles in Jerusalem takes place 50 days later. This marks the birthday of the Church founded by Christ, the Catholic Faith.

The Celebration:

December 25, 125 A.D. Pope Telephorus, 7th successor of St. Peter, established the custom of Midnight Mass.

During this time, we also read the following words of Theophilus (A.D. 115-181), Catholic bishop of Caesarea in Palestine: “We ought to celebrate the birthday of Our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen.”

December 25, 127 A.D. Pope Telephorus began the custom of Midnight Mass singing in honor of the Christmas Story, the angels announcing the good news.

In the 2nd century, a massacre in the catacombs on December 25th was recorded as having occurred on the date of the Nativity.

Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic Jew, wrote, "There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds which seem to me historically untenable."

Shortly thereafter in the second century, Saint Hippolytus (A.D. 170-240) wrote in passing that the birth of Christ occurred on December 25:

"The First Advent of our Lord in the flesh occurred when He was born in Bethlehem, was December 25th, a Wednesday, while Augustus was in his forty-second year, which is five thousand and five hundred years from Adam. He suffered in the thirty-third year, March 25th, Friday, the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, while Rufus and Roubellion were Consuls."

313 A.D. The Early Christians built a Church over the site of where Jesus was born, Constantine was by this time a Christian.

379 A.D. The preaching of Saints such as St. Gregory Nazianzus.

Saint Augustine confirms the tradition of March 25 as the Messianic conception and December 25 as His birth:

For Christ is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th

397 A.D. The hymns of St Ambrose began to inspire many.

567 A.D. The Council of Tours establishing the Seasons of Advent and Christmas into the Church calender.

The Christmas Season runs from December 25th through 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Wise men.

12th Century, St. Francis of Assisi inspires plays and caroling through the Nativity scene

We here at Deepertruth want to wish you all a Merry Christmas (which is really taken from the root Christ Mass) and a Happy New Year.

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The Catholic Defender: The History of the Yule Log

I remember watching a movie that had a scene during Christmas time in Africa or Australia that was very hot.

They were so strong on keeping tradition that despite the temp was 100 degrees, they still wanted to burn a Yule log.

What some people will do to keep alive something of home.

My family has never burned such a log that I am aware of so I thought this was a good opportunity to investigate the roots of this tradition.

The following is taken from
The custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to, and before, medieval times. It was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, such as Germany.

The Yule Log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas.
It was considered important that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands. Nowadays, of course, most people have central heating so it is very difficult to burn a tree!
In Provence (in France), it is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night.
If any of the log is left after 12th night, it is kept safe in the house until the next Christmas to protect against lightning! In some parts of Holland, this was also done, but the log had to be stored under a bed! In some eastern European countries, the log was cut down on Christmas Eve morning and lit that evening.
In Cornwall (in the U.K.), the log is called 'The Mock'. The log is dried out and then the bark is taken off it before it comes into the house to be burnt. Also in the UK, barrel makers (or Coopers as barrel makers were traditionally called) gave their customers old logs that they could not use for making barrels for Yule logs. (My surname is Cooper, but I don't make barrels! My Great Grandfather did own a walking stick factory though!)

(Notice how our Cat, Sylvester, loves to sit in front of our Christmas yule log and watch the flames popping in the fire place)

The custom of the Yule Log spread all over Europe and different kids of wood are used in different countries. In England, Oak is traditional; in Scotland, it is Birch; while in France, it's Cherry. Also, in France, the log is sprinkled with wine, before it is burnt, so that it smells nice when it is lit.
In Devon and Somerset in the UK, some people have a very large bunch of Ash twigs instead of the log. This comes from a local legend that Joseph, Mary and Jesus were very cold when the shepherds found them on Christmas Night. So the shepherds got some bunches of twigs to burn to keep them warm.
In some parts of Ireland, people have a large candle instead of a log and this is only lit on New Years eve and 12th night.
Different chemicals can be sprinkled on the log like wine to make the log burn with different coloured flames!
  • Potassium Nitrate = Violet
  • Barium Nitrate = Apple Green
  • Borax = Vivid Green
  • Copper Sulphate = Blue
  • Table Salt = Bright Yellow
This sounds very dangerous, so please only try this out with some adult supervision!!
A brilliant chocolate Yule log made by Meg Hourihan: http://www.megnut.comThe ashes of Yule logs were meant to be very good for plants, this is sometimes called 'potash'. But if you throw the ashes out on Christmas day it was supposedly very unlucky!

A Chocolate Yule Log or 'bûche de Noël' is now a popular Christmas desert or pudding. It's traditionally eaten in France and Belgium, where they are known as 'Kerststronk' in Flemish.
They are made of a chocolate sponge roll layered with cream. The outside is covered with chocolate or chocolate icing and decorated to look like a bark-covered log. Some people like to add extra decorations such as marzipan mushrooms!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

The Catholic Defender: The History of the Mistletoe

Do you have anyone you would like to find under a mistletoe?

I have always wondered where the tradition of the mistletoe had derived from. I have seen it on television during the Christmas season and I was just curious to where this tradition comes from.

This particular custom is one that I have not experienced as I never have walked under the mistletoe.

Though I am so thankful for my wife, I am glad that I do not have to depend on a mistletoe. So, if you happen to go to one of those office parties at work or someplace, you better be careful for those looking to capture you under a mistletoe. You never know these days who might be looking for the opportunity to kiss you!

The following is from

Mistletoe Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable for growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant.

There are two types of mistletoe. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration (Phoradendron flavescens) is native to North America and grows as a parasite on trees in the west as also in those growing in a line down the east from New Jersey to Florida. The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin.

The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous.

It commonly seen on apple but only rarely on oak trees. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans.

The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.

The Plant : Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients.

But mistletoe is also capable for growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant. There are two types of mistletoe. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration (Phoradendron flavescens) is native to North America and grows as a parasite on trees from New Jersey to Florida.

The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin. The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous. It commonly seen on apple but only rarely on oak trees. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans.

The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.
The Mistletoe Magic : From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore.

It was considered to bestow life and fertility; a protection against poison; and an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the ancient Celtic Druids. On the sixth night of the moon white-robed Druid priests would cut the oak mistletoe with a golden sickle. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the mistletoe would prosper.

Later, the ritual of cutting the mistletoe from the oak came to symbolize the emasculation of the old King by his successor. Mistletoe was long regarded as both a sexual symbol and the "soul" of the oak. It was gathered at both mid-summer and winter solstices, and the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is a survival of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions.

The Greeks also thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs. In the Middle Ages and later, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits. In Europe they were placed over house and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches.

It was also believed that the oak mistletoe could extinguish fire. This was associated with an earlier belief that the mistletoe itself could come to the tree during a flash of lightning. The traditions which began with the European mistletoe were transferred to the similar American plant with the process of immigration and settlement.
Kissing under the mistletoe : Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites.

They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess "life-giving" power.

In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball.

At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill.

If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry.

Whether we believe it or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations. Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries as well as in Canada.

Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day
: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year).

Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.
The Legend : For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore.

One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun.

Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son.

Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead.

The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew.

The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love.

What could be more natural than to translate the spirit of this old myth into a Christian way of thinking and accept the mistletoe as the emblem of that Love which conquers Death? Its medicinal properties, whether real or imaginary, make it a just emblematic of that Tree of Life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations thus paralleling it to the Virgin Birth of Christ.

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