Category Archives: Christ

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

On Maundy Thursday I like to remember and to pray for the dearly departed. Family members I have lost, friends who have died or been killed, even pets I miss.

To pray for their souls and that they thrive. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing. It’s a personal thing but it always seems appropriate to me on the Thursday of Mysteries and to commemorate the Last Supper.

Also, I’m gonna take Communion later today. With my family.

Have a Holy and productive Thursday of Mysteries folks!

HELL IF IT IS – THE COWARDLY CHRISTIANS OF THE WEST

HELL IF IT IS – THE COWARDLY CHRISTIANS OF THE WEST

I’m willing to bet good money that if most Muslims around the world were allowed to live one week freely as a Christian, without fear of being forced to reconvert back to Islam, without fear of their families being physically and economically punished, and without fear of themselves being tortured, murdered, and crucified then 2/3rds would convert immediately and on the spot, and never look back.

I say this not only to those tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims seeking a far better way, but to those hundreds of millions of apathetic and lazy and cowardly Christians in the West who would not even dare to say such a thing out loud.

A lot of the responsibility for those Christians and those Muslims who live and suffer in the Middle East and elsewhere in this world lies with the abject cowardice of the Christians of the West.

And I might very well say the same thing about those Christians and Muslims living in China and other parts of Asia, and in and throughout Africa.

The cowardly West is no real example of the Courage of Christ.

It should be, but hell if it is…

A NEW RITUAL (FOR A VERY OLD PURPOSE)

I started a new ritual for the New Year which I have found to be most satisfying and edifying.

I built a new shrine (replacing my old) which now includes candles to Christ and the Paraclete, a basin of Holy Water, a plate for the Communion Bread (a paten), a goblet for the Communion Wine, a glass container for salt,  an incense container, and it sits near my stereo so that as I use it I can listen to sacred music by Bach, Mozart, and others.

Then, after my personal prayers and meditations, but before my work prayers I take communion for myself. I bless all of the elements, ignite the incense and candles, put on the music, and then take communion before saying my work prayers and beginning my day. Afterwards I sprinkle myself with the salt and the Holy Water and then sit for a space listening to the sacred music, thinking about what I should be doing for the day, and contemplating the condition of my own soul.

This is extremely invigorating to me, while simultaneously being relaxing and edifying, and I suspect it will be extremely good practice for when I eventually become a priest.

Anyway, this has been going so well for me that I have decided that once a week I shall conduct the same ritual for and with my entire family.

Eventually I intend to add more elements to my shrine like some Holy Icons I have designed and devised (and if I become good enough at it, will paint myself) and some other relics I think will be helpful and useful. I am thoroughly enjoying this.

Have a good day folks. And a very productive one.

MAN AND WOMAN

A husband and a father should be the Christ and the priest of his own household. A wife and a mother should be the Holy Spirit and the wise woman of her own household.

  *   *   *

A Woman wants a Friend for a Mate; a Man wants a Mate who is a Friend. Figure this out and your marriage will flourish.

  *   *   *

When and where men and women willing sacrifice for the good of the other Love increases and grows great.

  *   *   *

If more people would let God impregnate their hearts then surely far fewer would abort their own offspring. Or their own souls.

from On Man and Woman

 

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

 

A friend of mine asked my opinion on psychic phenomenon and magic and miracles. Well, not just my opinion, but the opinion of all of her friends on such matters. I made my reply to her post which I copied and pasted to this post as it is my true opinion on such matters. Given the time of year, and the celebration of the Birth of Christ (though I have no doubt Christ was likely born closer to Easter than to Christmas, and crucified and resurrected much closer to Passover and Christmas than to Easter, this is nevertheless our cultural celebration of Christmas) I think this the perfect time to address such things. For one of the often overlooked things Christ came to do, other than to redeem the souls of men, is to integrate the various parts of Man, his Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit, to their Rightful Nature and to their Natural Capabilities, and to their Proper Relationship to existence, and to God. A Man (or Woman) so Redeemed, and so set to their Rightful and Proper Self and Nature is indeed Immortal and is Man and God always intended Man to be. That too is my opinion, though I think it a correct one. Christ then does not merely save us, he also corrects us and purifies us and remakes us into our True Selves.

And if you ask me that is Truly Magical and one Truly Superb Miracle.

MERRY CHRISTMAS GUYS

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In my opinion, and from years of experimentation conducted on my own and with others, I think that so called psychic abilities, and magical abilities (though I no doubt have a different definition of “magic,” tan most, that is I consider magic to be Divine Work or Divine Action) and miraculous abilities (Thaumaturgy, or Wonder-Working or Miracle, and all Miracles arise first from God though people may easily be conduits of miracles) are all separate things. Related perhaps, from time to time in apparent effect, and yet separate in cause and operation and methodology and origins.

That is to say that I think so called psychic abilities arise from the mind(s) of men, and possibly from the soul as part of our inborn capabilities (though they might be improved with practice), magic (Magi – or Knowing or Great Wisdom) arise from our souls and is probably the result of experience and training (intentional or unintentional) or practice combined with inborn capabilities, and that Miracles always arise first from God and then descend to man.

That is to say Psychic, despite the misnomer, arises primarily from integrated mental (mind) and possibly psychological (soul) capabilities. Theurgy or Magic arises from the Divine Image of God within us expressed outwards as Divine and Good) Action, and Thaumaturgy (or as we say Miracle) from God and is the example or model for both theurgy and psychic abilities.

Both psychic abilities and theurgy can be misused however, and for nefarious and malignant purposes, but such things I call witchcraft and sorcery, though others might use other terms. Thaumaturgy, a True Miracle, cannot be misused or corrupted because it originates in and from God. Though fake miracles or false miracles can be misused, and are.

But I would also say that in the lives of people there are time periods when certain of these things thrive in a person’s experience, or maybe several of them thrive simultaneously in a person’s life.

As for control, I think your guess is as good as mine.

I am of the opinion, based on my own experiences, that perhaps certain aspects of these various things can be controlled, or certain probabilities of success enhanced by training or by technique (such as fasting, going without sleep, prayer, mediation, etc.) but I have never found a way to reliably control such things to any real degree. But maybe that is just a weakness or incapacity on my own part. I really don’t know.

So I certainly don’t discourage the attempt to do so and I wish you well.

Just use whatever you discover as Wisely as you can and remember that indirect and uncertain information is still indirect and uncertain. That does not make it wrong, it just means that being mortal and limited in our own knowledge we may either easily or in some small or great detail misunderstand what is being communicated to us. So we must both discern and discriminate as well as human abilities allow us to do so exactly what is being implied or exposed to us.

If I am confused or uncertain about such things I always try praying to God and asking the help of others who are wise to see if there is something I am misunderstanding or overlooking.

For instance I will certainly accept and consider and take an omen, or a vision, or a dream, but I would not use an omen, or a vision, or a dream as the only basis for making an important decision. It would be just one factor I consider.

At the very least I would try my best to seek to understand, “do I really know what is occurring or being communicated to me?” And sometimes I have thought I well understood some omen or vision only later to discover I was either wrong or only partially right, and sometimes I should have trusted my initial assumptions or my gut and failed to do so and so harm ensued or I gained no benefit from what should have been an obvious advantage. That’s only human I guess, we only know what we know or will allow ourselves to know, but with time and experience you can, I suspect, get better.

So, good luck and Godspeed to you.

I think people should have such experiences. They deepen our lives, expand our understanding, and enrich our experiences of both the world and of God.

Use them well and they should serve you well. Just always try to use them wisely and well, and for your own best benefit and for the most possible benefit of others.

That’s all you can really do that is worthwhile with anything in life.

Know your limits, but try to constantly exercise and exceed them, listen to God and to what others are trying to tell you and then use those things as well as you can.

Merry Christmas then my friends.

May it be Soulful, Magical, and Miraculous to you and yours.

NOT FOR YOUR SAKE ALONE

Uninterrupted time with God is far better spent discussing not your own problems, but rather the miracle of the way he has ordered everything. For in the ordering of the Universe lies not only the solution to your own small problems, but the Clue and the Key to His Own Nature, which is the way everything works when it works as it should.

Seek God as He truly is and you will also discover everything else as it was meant to be. Seek only to discuss yourself with God and that is all you will learn of. And in such a huge universe of such infinite potential that is a very small subject indeed.

It is far wiser most of the time to put yourself aside and ask God what He can teach you about everything else. In this way not only will you learn of Him, but also you will learn what you are, and more importantly, you will learn why you are.

On the other hand, it is not truly possible to understand God’s Nature by concentrating upon your own. The man who seeks God will find both God and himself, and everything else for that matter, whereas the man who seeks himself alone will find himself alone. Seek not yourself but those Frontiers well beyond you where God dwells. In this way you will have a home and a Guide no matter where you wander.

Therefore, ask not what God can do for you, ask rather what God is, and what He has made you capable of discovering, and doing. Then for God’s sake, and especially for your own, do it.

THE BEST THING

The best thing about my Lord (Jesus Christ) is that within himself He skillfully unites what is best in mortal Man, with the Perfection of Immortal God, that he patiently and favorably expects the same of me, despite being acutely aware of my many limitations, and yet He will not blithely excuse my faults, but rather demands of me that I conquer them without pretense or procrastination.

I instinctively understand a Man of exacting and energetic expectations, and I well appreciate a God of grace and gentle forbearance. It is a combination of Extreme Wisdom and Divine Consideration.

THE DNA OF GOD?

This article interested me for the ideas presented. For I have long believed that human DNA is simply an expression of Divine DNA in an imperfect form that could be rearranged and made as God originally intended, through both the agency of Christ and through human effort (for it also requires the effort and desire of the individual so involved).

I am still unresolved on the issue of whether this Divine DNA pattern already exists within us and must simply be recombined into a pattern and form that matches that of Christ, or if Christ’s DNA (pattern), for lack of a better term, must replace ours because ours has become so corrupted or mutated that at least some bad strands must be excised and thereafter entirely replaced (a sort of genetic “transplant” – again for lack of a better term).

A divine fusion takes place when Holy Spirit meets your human spirit.
A divine fusion takes place when Holy Spirit meets your human spirit. (Flickr )

Understanding the new creation reality is so vital to an overcoming Christian life. If you don’t know who you really are, you can never experience the fullness of abundant life in Christ.

We’ve heard it preached our entire Christian lives, “You are a new creation! Old things have passed away and all things have become new!” But do we really understand what this means? When we come to Christ, does God just make us better versions of ourselves? Or does something much more profound happen?

A Divine Fusion Takes Place

Recently God gave me a vision of what happens to us at salvation and it radically altered the way I see myself. I saw the moment God encountered Mary in Luke 1:31-35 telling her she would bear the Christ Child. I saw the person of the Holy Spirit overshadow her. I saw Mary’s DNA and the Holy Spirit’s DNA. I saw them intertwine and become one, creating Jesus in her womb, fully God and fully man.

Then the vision shifted to me. I saw myself at salvation. I saw the Holy Spirit overshadow me and fill me. My body became the temple of the Holy Spirit. I also saw my spirit man’s DNA and the Holy Spirit’s DNA. I saw them intertwine and become one.

I saw the Holy Spirit wrap around my human spirit like two DNA strands coming together as one, just like when the DNA from a father and mother mix together to form a new baby. It looked like the Double Helix. As the Holy Spirit wrapped around my human spirit, they fused together, becoming one and forming a brand new creation. This fusion of Holy Spirit and my human spirit formed Christ in me!

Heavenly DNA—Divine Nature

1 Corinthians 6:17 declares, “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him” (MEV). This revelation was in Scripture the whole time! I became one spirit with the Holy Spirit and I now have a new holy, divine nature.

This is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col 1:27, 2 Pet 1:4). Divine DNA from God was fused into my human spirit causing me to become a partaker of God’s divine nature! I was truly a brand new creation. As Holy Spirit became one with my human spirit, I was “born again” and Christ was formed inside of me. I was much more than a better version of myself. I was something brand new!

When you receive Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of you, He actually fuses Himself together with your spirit. You become one with God! You have His divine nature inside of you. You are a brand new creation, with new desires and a new life. Your core identity is completely transformed. Christ’s very nature and identity is now completely formed in your spirit. It’s a glorious transformation! This is why you are holy, righteous and clean!

I have so much more to teach you on this amazing subject. I have just put together a teaching series called Divine DNA—New Creation Reality. I think it’s one of the most important teachings I have ever done. Having divine DNA in your spirit has so many effects on your life as you become transformed in your spirit, soul and body.

I encourage you with all my heart to sow this teaching into your mind and heart today and learn who you really are! Once you know who you are, the devil will never be able to lie to you again and you will walk in power, victory and freedom.

PRAYERS ARE SWEET AND ALL BUT ARE NOTHING COMPARED TO… GETTING OFF YOUR KNEES AND YOUR ASS

Prayers are sweet and all but prayers as a lead in and/or follow up to actual repentance (if you are doing wrong), or to rendering real aid (if your intention is to do any real good) are far, far superior to just praying.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for praying. I do it every day.

But if you are involved in actual wrong then get off your damned knees immediately and try actually repenting (the very best kind of prayer when you’re doing wrong), and if you see others in trouble then get off your damned ass and act as well. Because that is the very most effective kind of prayer when it comes to doing good.

A passive and ineffectual Christian is of no damned use to anyone.

Including God.

I sicken to my bowels of the passive,  prayer alone and prayer obsessed modern Christian of the West. So when you’re finished with your prayers then stand the hell up like a real man or woman and do something. Something good. Something solid. Something helpful. Something measurable. By God.

Instead of just begging endlessly that God fix you or fix the world for you.

You’re aswim in your no-effort, bullshit, self-created theologies and ideologies and have forgotten your duties, commandments and actual obligations. The ones to yourself, to God, and to your neighbor and fellow-man.

You wanna do some actual good then pray for the energy and the balls and the brains to get off your damned knees and ass and do something. That’s what you should be praying for.

Pray that you stop being so damned cowardly and passive.

HOMELAND

All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth.  

People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland.

 

If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it.  But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a habitation for them.

STILL TO COME

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?

But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

POWER OVER THE WORLD OF DEATH

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, 
“Fear not; I am the First and the Last,  and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the Keys of Death and power over the World of Death.
 Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter…”

THE LAW IS HOLY AND GOOD

Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if the Torah had not said, “Thou shalt not covet.”
 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, worked in me all kinds of evil desires — for apart from Torah, sin is dead.  I was once alive outside the framework of Torah. But when the commandment really encountered me, sin sprang to life,  and I died. The commandment that was intended to bring me life was found to be bringing me death!  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me; and through the commandment, sin killed me.
 So the Torah is holy; that is, the Commandment and the Law is holy, just and good.

THE OLD MAN AND THE NEW

Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self—  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, [nor between nations whether barbarian or Scythian, nor in status whether slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction.

 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy set apart, sanctified for His purpose and well-beloved by God Himself, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper;  bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.  Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in unselfish love, which is the perfect bond of unity for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others.

AND THERE YA GO…

I’ve been saying the same thing practically my whole life.

WITHOUT GOD from DIVINE SOPHIA

Without God man is a complete cipher, endless in his ambitions, but with only one aim –

himself.

“OH FOOLISH MEN, AND SLOW OF HEART…”

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?”

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them, “What things?”

And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread…

 

HAPPY EASTER FOLKS IT IS THE MORN OF OUR GREAT RESURRECTION

THE BYZANTINE PILGRIMAGE

I would have very much liked to have made such a  Pilgrimage at such a period of time.

Pilgrims’ Progress to Byzantine Jerusalem

Ancient pilgrimages to the Holy Land

helena

Jerusalem has been revered as a holy city for millennia—with pilgrims a staple feature in its bustling streets. Egeria’s Travels and the journals of the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim demonstrate that this was as true in the Byzantine period as it is today.In the September/October 2014 issue of BAR, “After Hadrian’s Banishment: Jews in Christian Jerusalem” examines the diverse population of Byzantine Jerusalem. Despite being banned from living in Jerusalem after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–135 A.D.), Jews were once again living in the city by the Byzantine period.

The Roman emperor Hadrian, who was responsible for expelling the Jews from Jerusalem, renamed the city Aelia Capitolina in the second century and left it to an overwhelmingly pagan population—Roman soldiers and citizens and the Hellenized residents of Palestine. When Constantine made Christianity a lawful religion in 325 A.D., Jerusalem became a Christian city. However, far from being transformed overnight, the population of Byzantine Jerusalem remained diverse with minorities, such as Jews, living in the city.

An interesting facet of this population was pilgrims—both Christian and Jewish. Traveling from distant lands, pilgrims came to worship in the Holy Land. Their accounts—from Egeria’s Travels and the journals of the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim to the better-known writings about Helena, mother of Constantine, and Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II—offer valuable insight into life in Byzantine Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Egeria’s Travels even included a map.

While some pilgrims are known to us by name, such as Egeria the nun (author of Egeria’s Travels), others remain anonymous, like the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim.

The Bordeaux Pilgrim is the earliest known Christian pilgrim who left an account of his journey to the Holy Land. Chronicling his travels in 333–334, the pilgrim began in Burdigala—modern-day Bordeaux in France, hence the name the Bordeaux Pilgrim—and passed through northern Italy, the Danube Valley, Constantinople, Asia Minor and Syria on his way to Byzantine Jerusalem. The journal kept by the Bordeaux Pilgrim is known as the Itinerarium Burdigalense. While the original copy of his journal is lost, the Itinerarium Burdigalense was transmitted over several centuries and survived in four early manuscripts written between the eighth and tenth centuries.


How can we reconstruct and visualize ancient and medieval pilgrimage routes? Find out in “Map Quests: Geography, Digital Humanities and the Ancient World” by Sarah E. Bond in Bible History Daily.


In his journal, the Bordeaux Pilgrim describes how Jews visited the Temple Mount and mourned upon “a pierced stone” (lapis pertusus).Egeria was a pious woman from Galicia, Spain, who traveled around the Holy Land in the years 381 to 384 A.D. Writing in Latin, she chronicled her travels in a devout letter—the Itinerarium Egeriae or Egeria’s Travels. Many believe that she was a nun because she addressed her letter to her “beloved sisters.”

christian-ampulla jewish-ampulla

Only fragments of Egeria’s Travels have survived, the original letter long since lost. The middle section of Egeria’s Travels, documenting about four months of her pilgrimage, was preserved in the 11th-century manuscript Codex Aretinus. This medieval manuscript also went missing for several centuries, but it was rediscovered in 1884 at the monastic library in S. Maria in Arezzo, Italy, by Italian scholar Gian Francesco Gamurrini.Egeria described holy sites in Byzantine Jerusalem, detailing religious processions and rituals among Christians. Her account provides useful information about liturgical worship in the fourth century, when the church calendar was still developing. For instance, Egeria visited Byzantine Jerusalem before December 25 was fixed and recognized as Jesus’ birthday. However, at this time she documented that there was already a procession from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to Mount Zion that took place on the Sunday of Pentecost.

The anonymous Piacenza Pilgrim journeyed to the Holy Land in the 570s from the city of Piacenza in northern Italy. Itinerarium Antonini Placentini, his journal, overflows with wondrous tales from his travels. It recounts traditions about holy sites and relics and includes interesting anecdotes—some which seem nothing short of miraculous. When witnessing a baptism in the Jordan River on the Feast of Epiphany, the pilgrim describes how the waters stood still: “At dawn … the priest goes down to the river. The moment he starts blessing the water the Jordan turns back on itself with a roar, and the water stays still till the baptism is finished.”1 By the time the Piacenza Pilgrim visited Byzantine Jerusalem, Christmas was celebrated on December 25.

Perhaps the most famous Byzantine pilgrim was Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who came to Jerusalem in 326–327 when she was 80 years old. Eusebius of Caesarea notes that she contributed to the construction of both the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives.

Jerusalem lies at the heart of Biblical archaeology. In the free eBook Jerusalem Archaeology: Exposing the Biblical City, learn about the latest finds in the Biblical world’s most vibrant city.

Helena is best-known for discovering Jesus’ tomb and the True Cross. Appended to his translation of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, Tyrannius Rufinus relates the legend of how the empress found the True Cross: Three crosses were uncovered at a site that Helena had begun excavating, and a test was performed to determine which cross had been used to crucify Jesus. A very sick woman was brought to the crosses. Nothing happened when she touched the first two. Upon touching the third cross, however, she was miraculously healed. This proved to everyone present that Helena had found the True Cross, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over the site of discovery.More than a hundred years after Helena, another empress took a pilgrimage to Byzantine Jerusalem. Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II, journeyed to the holy city in 439. Later, after separating from her husband the emperor, Eudocia made Jerusalem her home. The empress funded numerous construction projects, including the building of St. Stephen’s Church and monastery and the rebuilding of the wall around Mount Zion and the Siloam Pool. A skilled poet, she also wrote literature, including the epic poem Martyrdom of St. Cyprian.

Pilgrims visiting Byzantine Jerusalem—both royal and common—often purchased eulogia, implements thought to ward off evil. One type of eulogia manufactured in Byzantine Jerusalem were ampullae, hexagonal glass bottles likely used to hold holy water or oil. Ampullae with both Christian and Jewish symbols have been unearthed. These artifacts demonstrate that there were enough Christian and Jewish pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem to warrant the making of eulogia for them.

More information about the population of Byzantine Jerusalem—and about the Christian and Jewish pilgrims who visited the Holy Land—can be found in the article “After Hadrian’s Banishment: Jews in Christian Jerusalem” in the September/October 2014 issue of BAR.

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SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN

“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began…”

WE MUST CAST OUR LOTS

My New Testament scripture readings this past week have been from the Book of Acts (of the Apostles).

Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.

And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

 

NOT BY BREAD ALONE: I AM ALONE AND I STAND ALONE AND FEARLESS

As part of my scripture readings for this week I read this from the Book of Deuteronomy then made a word by word translation into ancient Hebrew of some parts of this chapter.

After reading this (indeed I recommend reading the entire chapter and the entire section of the book for even meaning) in context it adds a huge new dimension to me of exactly what Jesus said several times in the New Testament on these very subjects, but also especially what he said to Satan. This is rich, very rich indeed in metaphor and meaning.

Also a lotta people think that Jesus basically introduced the idea of God as Father, God as Abba, that he introduced a new idea into Judaism and that what happened in the Old Testament is not only a precursor but a different set of principles to what he did.  An old, antique, but now superseded Covenant.

I see no evidence of that at all (either in what Jesus said or did, indeed he said the very opposite on numerous occasions) , it is the very bad theology of modern and in some cases Medieval Man. Actually Christ saw himself as the fulfillment of the groundwork of the Old Testament, not an Old Covenant replacement or substitute, but a real fulfillment of the Old Testament,  and he took the idea of God as Father, God as Abba, and God as Parent directly from the Old Testament, where it was often espoused in both the Torah and by the Prophets.

I understand far more fully now exactly why Jesus chose to echo these very passages when  he stood alone.

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you…

FAR THE LESSER THING

This morning, while getting ready for church we were discussing the past when my wife mentioned an old spiritual (song) that was her grandfather’s favorite hymn. I knew it of course and immediately began to sing the first few stanzas (even though I’m not much of a singer).

Then something occurred to me and I said out loud to my wife,

“You know, despite all of the problems between blacks and whites at that period of time my grandfather would have immediately recognized the same hymn and they would have known the same lyrics. Especially what that hymn implied about the future. There was, despite all other things back then, a recognizable Christian and religious sub-culture that most everyone knew and was a part of, regardless of anything else. And that was true for a lot of the entire nation back then too, not just the South.

I’ll bet though that you could sing those lyrics to most people nowadays and they wouldn’t understand them, know the source, or even understand that it was a hymn or what it ever implied. There is so little common between us anymore. And we are not richer because we have nothing between us, we are far the poorer for it.”

And we are...

 

WHAT CAN STAND IN THE WAY…

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,  and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.  The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[

 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”  Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.  Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

THE WORLD ITSELF COULD NOT CONTAIN

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe′ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.  Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan′a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb′edee, and two others of his disciples were together.  Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.”  He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.  That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.  But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

IS HEAVEN PROGRESSIVE?

Is Heaven static (is everything to be done or enjoyed predetermined or fixed by God), or is it progressive (is it open to being added to and improved upon, etc.)?

(I am not speaking of progressive in the political sense of course, but in the sense of actual and real progress.)

For instance as more and more human souls are added to Heaven (and God only knows what other kinds of creatures and beings) does Heaven expand, and does God allow or even encourage those dwelling there to explore, to discover, to conduct scientific experiments, to create, to do art, to invent and design things, and so forth given the parameters under which Heaven operates? (Which I assume will involve different technologies and physics and biological and operating principles, if those are even the proper terms, than in our world.)

I cannot say for certain but it seems to me, and this is something I have long pondered, that if this world, as imperfect as it is, is open to invention and creation (or at least sub-creation) and experimentation and discovery and exploration and expansion and progress then I can only imagine how open to good and noble progress Heaven will and ought to be.

WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN…

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol′gotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.

The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”

Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the scripture,
“They parted my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did this.

TRIAL AND SENTENCING

Possible Site Of Trial Of Jesus Uncovered By Archaeologists

Posted: 01/05/2015 2:53 pm EST Updated: 4 hours ago

JERUSALEM (RNS) The site where Jesus may have been tried, prior to his crucifixion, is now open to the public for the very first time.

Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the spot is within easy walking distance of the Christian Quarter and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition holds Jesus was buried.

jesus trial
Entrance to Kishle excavation following renovations.

Discovered under an abandoned prison building that is part of the Tower of David Museum grounds, the trial site is one piece of a vast excavation undertaken by archaeologists from 1999 to 2000 but sealed off for the past 14 years largely due to lack of funding.

The excavations include what may be the foundations of the palace of King Herod. It was here, many scholars and archaeologists believe, that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate put Jesus on trial.

jesus trial
View of the middle of three walls that are part of the foundations of King Herod’s Palace.

Archaeologist Amit Re’em of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the palace was built at the end of the first century B.C., according to Josephus, the Jewish historian and Roman citizen of the era.

“It was enormous, with a lot of gold and silver and running water and guest quarters,” he said.

The ruins uncovered by the Antiquities Authority were discovered in the area described by Josephus and included a complex sewage system.

While there is as yet no concrete evidence that the trial took place in the palace, Re’em noted that “from early Christianity until Crusader times the Via Dolorosa” — the route Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion — “passed by Herod’s palace. Only since medieval times did the route change.”

herod
Herodian steps leading down into Kishle.

herod
Herodian steps leading up from Kishle.

THE STUDIES

For some time now I have been making a comparative study of both the Old and New Testaments, sometimes making my own line by line, or even word by word, translations of the Hebrew and Greek.

I have done this progressively, reading one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament each night before bed (or occasionally during the day if I find passages interesting enough I wish to translate them for myself).

Every Sunday morning I used to post particularly interesting sections of scriptures I had read during the week onto my Facebook Page.

But now that the Missal is up and running, and since it is linked to my Facebook page, I’ll do it here:

OLD TESTAMENT

When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them,

“Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

“But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

“But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

“But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

“The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

 

NEW TESTAMENT

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

“For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

KEEPING SCORE from DIVINE SOPHIA

It is neither the desire nor the duty of God to condemn man, but to elevate man, and to save man from himself. Man does an excellent job of self-condemnation and needs no help from God on that score.