END OF YEAR REVIEW: 2015

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I just wanted to take a moment to let you all appreciate something… I see many here say “I have no one” during the holidays…yes…they ACTUALLY say that….

 

Let me lay some facts on the table for those who think they are ‘alone’ in my parish:

Did you know the proportion of churches (according to the Church of England Census)  per individuals is now one church to 1,340 people; the size of the average Sunday congregation, however, is 84….we are now 2,301 members in my parish…

Some actually listen to haters and say “But they say it is not a REAL church” and “Animals don’t have souls”….you know the routine…well.. I wish to refute.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:18-20

So…THAT is out of the window….

I am but ONE cleric, and yet I am there for any number of those who come to my simple office for them. I spend whatever amount of time is needed for them, I put no restrictions on ‘schedule’…

So…let me put this in a light you will understand: God works 24/7/365…. I am but human, and therefore must sleep, eat, etc…and yet I am always there when asked for or needed.

This means no matter what time zone you are in…what your home life is (alone, married, or in a committed relationship) and no matter WHAT your social function/malfunction is, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

So…let us put the old theory to the test, shall we?

I have already filled FOUR VOLUMES OF BOOKS with prayers of every sort..deaths, births, sickness, depression, you name it…this means that OBVIOUSLY I am doing SOMETHING for those who come to me..which means YOU have someone you can go to when you need it. ERGO: YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

The fact that we have a larger parish online than a rather LARGE chunk of other ‘organized’churches have in their pews, and that you have an almost 24 hour a day 7 day a week access to your cleric means that WE ARE NOT ALONE TOGETHER.

Face it…you have a family…one who cares enough to be there for you…is there when you need them to be…and always makes things better rather than worse…

So…the point is: You HAVE a family, ME (and 2300 OTHER family members)…so, why not see the brighter side and realize that even though you may not have friends who live nearby (even though MANY of you found out you DO, because Flat Friar’s journey connected A LOT of people who lived nearby but did not know lived THERE), or family nearby (but ONLINE family) you are NEVER alone unless you need to be.

I care for each and every one of you as if you were the ONLY one here.

So at this, the end of the year, I hereby renew my vows.

To help all who come to me for help.

To comfort those in Grief.

To help those seeking their faith (WHATEVER THEIR FAITH MAY BE) find their faith.

And finally…

To aid those of ANY faith regardless of what faith they are, should they just simply need a friend to talk to or to keep loneliness at bay.

I have the honour  to remain your faithful and loyal cleric, friend, and confidante:

Fra. J.L. Wallace.

 

READING OF THE DAY: 31 DECEMBER, 2015

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.

He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'”

From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God.

The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” – John 1:1-18.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 DECEMBER, 2015

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Beloved: The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.

This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live (just) as he lived.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.

The old commandment is the word that you have heard.

And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.

Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.

Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” – 1 John 2:3-11.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 DECEMBER, 2015

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“When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

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 had 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.” – Matthew 2:13-18.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 DECEMBER, 2015

The Holy Innocents

Martyrs at the time of the Nativity of Our Lord
(†1 A.D.)

The Holy Innocents

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews.

Herod’s superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled.

He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David.

He said to the strangers: When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him.

The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings.

God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route.

Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain.

These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour’s legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

(SOURCE: The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based onButler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

READING OF THE DAY: 27 DECEMBER, 2015

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“Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.

Yet so we are.

The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Beloved, if (our) hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.

Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.” – 1 John 3:1-2.21-24.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 DECEMBER, 2015

Saint John

Apostle, Evangelist, and Prophet
(† 103)

Saint John

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple.

He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper.

After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also.

He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop.

He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them.

He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: My dear children, love one another.

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

(SOURCE: The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Heavenly Friends, by Rosalie M. Levy (St. Paul: Boston, 1958).)

COMMENTARY FOR: 25 DECEMBER, 2015

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Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by:
Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390),

Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 38, on the Nativity of Christ

“Lord God, we praise you for creating man, and still more for restoring him in Christ” (Opening Prayer)

Christ is born, glorify him.

Christ from heaven, go out to meet him.

Christ on earth; exalt him: “Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice !” (Ps 96:1.11), for him who is of heaven and now of earth.

Christ has made his dwelling among the human race; rejoice with trembling and with joy: with trembling because of sin, with joy because of our hope…

Today the darkness is over and light is made anew; as in Egypt once plunged into darkness, today a pillar of fire enlightens Israel.

O people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, come and see the great light of full knowledge for “the old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”. (2 Co 5:17)

The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. (Rm 7:6)

The shadows flee away, the Truth comes in upon them. (Col 2:17)

The one who gives us our being today also gives us well-being, or rather restores us by his incarnation, for by wickedness we had fallen from wellbeing…

Such is this great feast: it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to humankind, that we might go forth, or rather that we might go back to God— so that putting off the old man, we might put on the New (Col 3:9); and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ (1 Co 15:22)…

Therefore let us keep this Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to him who is ours, our Master’s; not as of weakness, but of healing; not as of the old creation, but of our re-creation.

READING OF THE DAY: 25 DECEMBER, 2015

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.

He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'”

From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God.

The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” – John 1:1-18.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 25 DECEMBER, 2015

The Nativity of Our Lord

The Nativity of Our Lord

Noel! Noel! This was the cry of our fathers when the Faith prevailed, ardent and lively in the bosom of families, institutions, and all of society.

That cry has grown very weak in our day, for the naivete of simple faith has tended to disappear.

Nevertheless, of all the Christian feasts, Christmas is perhaps the most beloved and the most popular.

God used the most apparently indifferent events to reach His ends. Mary lived in Nazareth, and the prophets predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

But an edict of Caesar Augustus ordered all the inhabitants of Judea to go at a certain time to enroll in their native city.

Bethlehem was the birthplace of Joseph, so that is where the holy spouses went; and that is where, in conformity to the predictions of the prophets, Jesus was to come into the world.

What a birth for a God!

Joseph looked for an inn, but there was none for such poor people; rejected and scorned, they were obliged to seek refuge in an isolated stable.

And that is where, in the middle of the night, Mary miraculously gave birth to Jesus; that is where the most meek Saviour received the first adorations, where He received the first kisses and caresses, where He shed His first tears!

Mary took the Infant in Her arms, covered Him with poor swaddling clothes and laid Him softly in a cold manger.

O first moments which Mary and Joseph spent at the feet of Jesus, how precious you were for them, how full of charm!

We will taste a little of this joy and these charms on going to our church to pay a visit to the manger scene that represents such a great mystery.

Earthly joys are deceitful, but the joy of God’s service are lasting and true.

Jesus was born, and behold, the heavens rang out in hymns of joy as the Angels sang the canticle of triumph, Glory to God in the highest! and the canticle of peace, Peace on earth to men of good will!

Jesus was born, and at once the poor shepherds, informed by the Angels, came to adore the Redeemer of Israel in that little Infant.

Jesus was born, and soon the princes of the East, led by a Star, laid their homages at His feet.

Let us hail Christmas, the dawn of peace and salvation.

(SOURCE: Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, Mame: Tours, 1950)