Saint Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael”

Today is the Feast Day of the Holy Venerable St. Brigid of Kildare, Ireland so I thought I’d post some background information and some of her hagiography I have found along with a variety of icons I’ve collected in my photos.

I enjoyed reading the following quote that came in one of my email newsletters/blogs I subscribe to mentioning her feast day.

“Brigid’s feast day is February 1st which in the Celtic calendar is also the feast of Imbolc and the very beginning of springtime….She is the first sign of life after the long dark nights of winter. She breathes into the landscape so that it begins to awaken. Snowdrops, the first flowers of spring are one of her symbols.” ~ Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year – A Self-Study Online Retreat

Her Feast Day is most commonly celebrated around the world on February 1st. However in some Eastern Orthodox Churches which follow the Old Julian Calendar, her Feast Day is celebrated on February 14th.

The tradition of making Saint Brigid’s crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is still strong. (More on St. Brigid’s Cross is below).

She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales.

St. Brigid is the Patron Saint of: Ireland, poets, brewers, blacksmiths, dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, fugitives, and newborn babies.

She was born in 451 a.d., and died in 525 a.d.

Saint Brigid’s likeness is often depicted holding a reed cross, a crozier, or a lamp.


The following hagiography is from the Orthodox Church of America’s website: Venerable Brigid (Bridget) of Ireland – Orthodox Church in America

Saint Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk in County Louth. According to Tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa (Broiseach), one of his slaves.

Even as a child, she was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions to the poor. One day he took Brigid to the king’s court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter from him, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive for him to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father’s sword to a beggar. This sword had been presented to Dubthach by the king, who said, “I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap.”

Saint Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of Saint Mael of Ardagh (February 6). Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.” This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

The miracles performed by Saint Brigid are too numerous to relate here, but perhaps one story will suffice. One evening the holy abbess was sitting with the blind nun Dara. From sunset to sunrise they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. Saint Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara’s eyes. All at once, the blind nun’s eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkling with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to Saint Brigid and said, “Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul.” Saint Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.

Saint Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in the year 523 after receiving Holy Communion from Saint Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (January 18). She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with Saint Patrick (March 17) and Saint Columba of Iona (June 9).

Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church of Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church of Saint Brigid in Dublin.

The relics of Saint Brigid in Ireland were destroyed in the sixteenth century by Lord Grey during the reign of Henry VIII.


The following is from the Catholic Online website: St. Brigid of Ireland – Saints & Angels – Catholic Online

Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated.

There is much debate over her birthparents, but it is widely believed her mother was Brocca, a Christian baptized by Saint Patrick, and her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. Brocca was a slave, therefore Brigid was born into slavery.

When Dubthach’s wife discovered Brocca was pregnant, she was sold to a Druid landowner. It is not clear if Brocca was unable to produce milk or was not present to care for Brigid, but legend states Brigid vomited any food the druid attempted to feed her, as he was impure, so a white cow with red ears sustained her instead.

Many stories of Brigid’s purity followed her childhood. She was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.

One story says Brigid once gave her mother’s entire store of butter, that was later replenished after Brigid prayed.

When she was about ten-years-old, Brigid was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal master. Her charity did not end when she left her mother, and she donated his possessions to anyone who asked.

Eventually, Dubthach became tired of her charitably nature and took her to the king of Leinster, with the intention of selling her. As he spoke to the king, Brigid gave his jeweled sword to a beggar so he could barter it for food for his family. When the king, who was a Christian, saw this, he recognized her heart and convinced Dubthach to grant her freedom by saying, “Her merit before God is greater than ours.”

After being freed, Brigid returned to the Druid and her mother, who was in charge of the Druid’s dairy. Brigid took over and often gave away milk, but the dairy prospered despite the charitable practice, and the Druid eventually freed Brocca.

Brigid then returned to Dubthach, who had arranged for her to marry a bard. She refused and made a vow to always be chaste.

Legend has it Brigid prayed that her beauty be taken so no one would want to marry her, and the prayer was granted. It was not until after she made her final vows that her beauty was restored.

Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he accidentally used the form for ordaining priests. When the error was brought to his attention, he simply replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”

Little is known about Saint Brigid’s life after she entered the Church, but in 480 she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak. It was built above a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, which was beneath a large oak tree.

Brigid and seven friends organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland and she founded two monastic institutions, one for men and one for women. Brigid invited a hermit called Conleth to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor.

Her biographer reported that Brigid chose Saint Conleth “to govern the church along with herself.”

She later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which Conleth led as well. It was at this school that the Book of Kildare, which the Gerald of Wales praised as “the work of angelic, and not human skill,” was beautifully illuminated, but was lost three centuries ago.

There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick’s and that the Trias Thaumaturga claimed, “Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works.”

Saint Brigid helped many people in her lifetime, but on February 1, 525, she passed away of natural causes. Her body was initially kept to the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, with a tomb “adorned with gems and precious stones and crowns of gold and silver,” but in 878, during the Scandinavian raids, her relics were moved to the tomb of Patrick and Columba.

In 1185, John de Courcy had her remains relocated in Down Cathedral. Today, Saint Brigid’s skull can be found in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Lumiar, Portugal. The tomb in which it is kept bears the inscription, “Here in these three tombs lie the three Irish knights who brought the head of St. Brigid, Virgin, a native of Ireland, whose relic is preserved in this chapel. In memory of which, the officials of the Altar of the same Saint caused this to be done in January AD 1283.”

A portion of the skull was relocated to St. Bridget’s Church and another was sent to the Bishop of Lisbon in St. Brigid’s church in Killester.


Troparions and Kontakions chanted in Eastern Orthodox Churches:

Troparion, Tone 1:

O holy Brigid, thou didst become sublime through thy humility, and didst fly on the wings of thy longing for God. When thou didst arrive in the Eternal City and appear before thy Divine Spouse, wearing the crown of virginity, thou didst keep thy promise to remember those who have recourse to thee. Thou dost shower grace upon the world, and dost multiply miracles. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Another Troparion, Tone 4:

Instructed by the words of Holy Pádraig, thou didst journey far to the west, proclaiming the Orient which has visited us from on high. Wherefore we bless thee, Venerable Mother Brigid, and we cry out to thee: Pray in behalf of our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 6:

Rejecting thy noble rank, and loving the godly monastic life, from the wood of the oak didst thou raise up a convent, the first in thy land and having there united a multitude of nuns to God, thou didst teach the surrounding lands to cry to the Lord: Have mercy on us!

Another Kontakion, Tone 4:

The holy virgin Brigid full of divine wisdom, went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood, and with the grace of God attained in this way the summit of virtue. Wherefore she now bestoweth blessings upon those who come to her with faith. O holy Virgin, intercede with Christ our God that He may have mercy on our souls.


From the Old Sarum Rite Missal (c) 1998 St. Hilarion Press, Austin, Texas

Collect for the Feast of St. Brigid of Ireland:

O Creator and Governor of the heavens and the earthly regions, Almighty God, in Thy fatherly love help Thy people praying to Thee: and grant that we who carry out the solemn feast of this day in honour of the holy Brigid may by her interceding prayers inherit the glory which hath no end. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God through all the ages of ages. Amen.


Courtesy of the website: Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Faith Community Society of Calgary, Alberta Canada

Saint Brigid Hearth Keeper Prayer

Brigid of the Mantle, encompass us,

Lady of the Lambs, protect us,

Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.

Beneath your mantle, gather us,

And restore us to memory.

Mothers of our mother, Foremothers strong.

Guide our hands in yours,

Remind us how to kindle the hearth.

To keep it bright, to preserve the flame.

Your hands upon ours, Our hands within yours,

To kindle the light, Both day and night.

The Mantle of Brigid about us,

The Memory of Brigid within us,

The Protection of Brigid keeping us

From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness.

This day and night,

From dawn till dark, From dark till dawn.


Other interesting websites about St. Brigid of Kildare, Ireland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare?wprov=sfti1

St. Brigid of Ireland | Britannica.com


St. Bridget’s Cross

A Christian symbol, usually made from rushes or, less often, straw. It comprises a woven square in the centre and four radials tied at the ends. Bridget’s crosses are traditionally made on February 1st, which in the Irish language is called Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St Bridget’s feast day), the day of her liturgical celebration. Many rituals are associated with the making of the crosses. It was traditionally believed that a Bridget’s Cross protects the house from fire and evil. It is hung in many Irish and Irish-American kitchens for this purpose.

St. Bridget and her cross are linked together by a story about her weaving this form of cross at the death-bed of either her father or a pagan lord, who upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptized. One version goes as follows:

A pagan chieftain from the neighbourhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Bridget to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived, the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Bridget sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Bridget stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked, his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptized at the point of death. Since then, the cross of rushes has existed in Ireland.


What’s That You’re Worshipping?

WHAT’S THAT YOU’RE WORSHIPPING?
© DECEMBER 10, 1984

What’s that you’re worshipping is it a person or car?
What is on your pedestal? Is it the best by far?

What about your diamond dreams, the riches, the fantasies
We hold on to things that fade… things we hold so precious it seems.

Well, the storms will come and the winds will blow.
The things that you worship will crumble and go.
And when the fire comes what will you have?
The things of the world will just burn in your hand.

And ashes to ashes, and dust to dust… What doesn’t burn is sure to rust.
And the only thing that’s left to stand, is what we build on the Rock and not sand.

You can have all that money can buy.
You can be an intellect if you try.
You can win your friends and be so wise.
But like the fool you too will die.

You’re friends with the world and enemies of Him.
Lay down your arms and be His friend.
Open your heart, cast down your things.
Give room for Him and worship the King.

Then the storms will come and the winds will blow.
Keep your eyes on Him, He won’t let you go.
And when the fire comes will melt I’m told.
But from these rocks we’ll turn into gold.

And ashes to ashes, and dust to dust… What doesn’t burn is a crown for us.
And the only thing that’s left to stand, is what we build on the Rock and not sand.

The Blessing of Babel and Pentecost

Pentecost, the birth of the Church (unknown artist, Catholic Icon/Painting)


On Sunday (June 18th, 2019), was Pentecost according to the Eastern Orthodox Church. (It was Pentecost the previous Sunday in the Catholic & Protestant Churches). Pentecost was the day the Church was born; the day the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire & empowered the followers of Jesus to preach & spread the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus and His healing, redemptive work. (Acts 2:1-11)

As this special Sunday came closer in the days that had followed Easter/Pascha, I began to remember and reflect on a message I had heard at a conference a few years ago, (October 4th, 2015) by speaker/preacher Micah Bournes.

In this message, Micah addresses racism, cultural diversity, and unity in a very thoughtful and compelling manner full of respect, humility, humor and sensitivity. It is also a message that is very challenging and from a perspective unlike others I had heard before.

So I emailed Micah and inquired if there was any video or audio recordings of this message, based on the Biblical text of the story of the building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

Hendrik van Cleve III, Tower of Babel, 16th century
Micah Bournes, Fight Evil with Poetry


I felt as I did then, this message is desperately needed and necessary even more so than just a few years ago.

Please take the time to listen to this message and ask God what He might say to you personally.

Here is the link to the audio recording The Blessing of Babel that was presented at a conference in Redding, California at The Stirring Church.

Micah Bournes is from Long Beach California.He is also a graduate of The Moody BibleInstitute. Ever since I encountered Micah’s unique talents, I have followed and enjoyed his unique methods of sharing what God has placed in his heart to offer to others.

Micah is a creative man of faith. In addition to performing poetry, the “Spoken Word” and music, he often speaks and teaches on creative writing, pursuing justice, and the way of Jesus. Micah has been able to share his passions and gifts all over the world.

His website can be found at: MicahBournes.com.

His YouTube channelis: https://www.youtube.com/user/micahbournes.

He can alsobe found on BandCamp at: https://micahbournes.bandcamp.com/

and finally his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MicahBournes/

Grief, Understanding, Hope…

I’ve been overwhelmed with grief this week & especially yesterday. Now that decisions were made & death is “done”… a sense of relief has come. But… the depths and cycles and seasons of grief continue. My dearest friend lost her father on Wednesday, September 19th. Then we put to sleep our dear sweet cat, Misty Rose on Saturday, September 22nd.

I remember after losing my brother (he was 26yrs. old) suddenly from a drunk driver in August 1995 and going to church between his death and funeral, a friend not knowing what occurred made an innocent comment, “why do you look so down, it’s not as if someone has died.” I was cut to the core by the insensitive statement. Later, she apologized profusely.

I once went to a conference just a few weeks after the death of my mother after a prolonged time in hospice care from cancer in September 1999. I attended one of the many workshops offered between the main sessions. It was entitled something along the lines of “Dealing with Death, Grief & Loss”. Granted, my emotions were raw, and why I chose this over others were mixed. However, I was completely unprepared for the opening remarks of the speaker, “I don’t know which is worse, the sudden death of a loved one or the gradual dying and death of a loved one. Having not experienced either one, I can only imagine what that might be like.” I remember promptly standing up in the middle of approximately 50-100 people and saying something like, “then what qualifies you to speak at all.” Then not waiting for an answer I walked out, sat down in an isolated corner and wept. Some friends came and silently comforted me.

I had experienced both kinds of deaths. Sudden unexpected ones, prolonged ones, and ones of elderly family members.

I had before and after that time lost others close to me, friends, family and my dear pets.

Recently, during this week of “death”, a friend mentioned “they would call and nothing would get in the way short of someone dying”. Unknown to them my dear friend’s dad was on death’s door and our cat was very ill.

I only bring these three examples to our attention because we often say things jokingly, sarcastically, or as “just a phrase or manner of speaking”. But often are “innocent” comments hurt deeply.

We should choose our words wisely and only speak truth in love. In the case of deep sorrow, even the words, “I understand” or “I know how you feel ” followed by “because I’ve been there.” Can cause intense pain and/or anger.

To be truthfully honest we truly do NOT understand nor do we know how another feels. Each death is uniquely different from every other one or other person’s perception of it.

Each person is uniquely different and each relationship with the loss of the loved one was uniquely different – this is true within families, this is true with each pet. The loss of a person or pet is felt differently and because we all process death in our own way, no two deaths will ever be the same.

Having said this, there are behavioral and psychological studies that show similarities about death – mainly that there are cycles of grief and loss that we can identify: Shock, Anger, Relief, Depression, Denial, Acceptance, etc. AND it’s not like it goes through “steps”, rather each phase can jump from one to another and then back again and then on to another.

Because grief is a process we need to be patient, kind, caring and compassionate providing comfort, a listening ear, even if memories or details are repeated. The same can be said of ourselves going through the grief: be kind, caring, compassionate and patient with ourself.

So as I grieve, I am doing one thing, giving myself permission to grieve and not “have it all together”.

I do grieve as one who has hope… my hope is in the Lord! He is the One, who truly understands ALL things, sees things so entirely clear, and can give comfort, healing and catch every tear in a bottle of remembrance. I look forward to that day, where there will be no more sorrow, death is destroyed, and every tear will be wiped away.

When You’re Facing a Strange Time In Your Life – Julie Sunne

God is trustworthy. But in this strange time of confusion and uncertainty will I surrender my concerns and trust Him? Yes, Lord, may it be so!
— Read on www.juliesunne.com/strange-time/

A Mother’s Love – Faith Encouraged

A Mother’s Love – Faith Encouraged
— Read on blogs.ancientfaith.com/faithencouraged/2018/08/a-mothers-love-2/

Immigration-Stop the Blame Game! Have a Heart!

A good deed done in silence is more valuable - St. Nicolai Velimirovich

A good deed done in silence is more valuable – St. Nicolai Velimirovich

We have spent decades trying to deal with this immigration issue. Whether or not you like Trump or his administration this problem has been around since the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and the Obama administration and has been exacerbated by numerous elected officials on both sides of the aisle.

It was Obama (who also said all he could do was enforce the law & never signed an executive order to fix this), who militarized the border and opened the way for kids to come from the south. He created secret detention centers that housed around 4,000 kids until they age out at 18. Where was the outrage and protests then?

Here’s an investigative report by the Washington Post from BEFORE Trump took office:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-administration-placed-children-with-human-traffickers-report-says/2016/01/28/39465050-c542-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html

I am thankful we are finally seeing the injustice and the failure of our immigration system.

We process asylum seekers from Middle Eastern, European or Asian areas of the world much differently than how we treat our neighbors south of the border.

Or do we simply leave it to the Christian Missionary to carry on the often thankless work (but rewarded by God) in these places where they’ve even endangered their own lives and families for the sake of others. But after all, Christian Missionaries are horrible with their ideas of right & wrong and morality. Never mind that they build homes, drinking wells, schools, teach literacy, help with clothes, food, farming & medical care — all through donations and volunteers.

Wouldn’t our millionaires & billionaires, politicians, sports heroes, music stars & acting artists of Hollywood consider putting their money where there mouth is? Shouldn’t these “talking media heads”, go to these countries and try to implement creative solutions to help these people be able to stay in their home country instead of just taking pictures and interviewing these people in their pain? How can someone film this stuff and NOT give, do, act… give up even 1/4 of their salary and contribute to a solution. It’s so easy to gripe, so hard to labor in the fields.

Now that Trump signed an executive order, people are still griping because the situation still exists. Do these people really expect a massive re-unification of families to happen over night? Many are critical that Trump changed his mind… who cares? At least he saw the problem, the protests and the outrage and he changed his mind and DID at least something. It takes guts to change a position to attempt to make things better.

People are just letting their feelings run wild without knowing the facts and the complexities, pointing fingers and pontificating, including religious leaders and politicians spouting Bible verses to justify their various positions.

Unfortunately we have officials trying to follow the law and congress has yet to fix our broken immigration system.

Did you know that thousands of children have been sent to the US borders by themselves, with no parent? What are we to do with these children, just release them into the packs of ravenous sex slave traffickers & work slave traffickers just waiting to snatch them up. It’s going to take time to pair up parents with children. Yes, it shouldn’t have happened but it did, and it will not be an overnight solution.

This recent video from ABC News talks about how big the complexities of this problem have become.

https://youtu.be/nmKhrd1GYS8

I hope we will look at ALL the facts before we begin to protest and judge others so harshly and publically shaming them. You may not agree with what you read but it all comes down to enforcing our laws. There is no justification here at all for what’s going on. So our elected officials continue to kick the can down the road or play dodge ball, or catch me if you can, or “oh no, not me, it’s not my fault.”.

As in politics and religion everyone has an opinion and everyone feels theirs is the “right” of it. I do agree that the system is broken. I do believe in enforcing our laws. I however also believe in COMPASSION. I personally don’t see anything wrong with children staying with parents until they are deported. Many refugee camps allow families to stay together. Must our detention centers look like prison?

I am not looking at it from a political stand point, I am looking at it as a compassionate, Christian, human being. I want us as a country to do the right thing but still have heart. Is that so hard? Why can’t there still be compassion? Remove politics & religious rhetoric and imagine the trauma of children missing their parents. Imagine the trauma of you not knowing where your child is and barely getting any answers? Yes, it’s risky & terrifying traveling from a war torn, or crime riddled, or leave your home because of persecution for whatever reason. As a parent it is a huge undertaking to uproot one’s family from a home often from roots that go back generations, to SAVE your family from starvation, kidnapping, rape, drug lords, murder, & other atrocities. To entrust your family & pay a smuggler who promises help & freedom. Some come in cargo boxes or trucks. If they make it here alive, they hope they’re not left to die, crammed, suffocating in 100 degree weather, packed like human sardines.

Then to finally arrive to America, land of the free, home of the brave, land of endless opportunities, and then they face what we now know as a horrifying situation… separation of families, parents deported without their children, and the children left in squalor conditions that resemble cages.

I don’t care which party is to blame. Let us truly treat others as we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. Once again, let’s remove politics out of this situation and let’s have a heart. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Blessings on you.

Immigration Crisis-A Call for Compassion & Change.

A good deed done in silence is more valuable - St. Nicolai Velimirovich

A good deed done in silence is more valuable – St. Nicolai Velimirovich


We have spent decades trying to deal with this immigration issue. Whether or not you like Trump or his administration this problem has been around since the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and the Obama administration and has been exacerbated by numerous elected officials on both sides of the aisle.
It was Obama (who also said all he could do was enforce the law & never signed an executive order to fix this), who militarized the border and opened the way for kids to come from the south. He created secret detention centers that housed around 4,000 kids until they age out at 18. Where was the outrage and protests then?
Here’s an investigative report by the Washington Post from BEFORE Trump took office:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-administration-placed-children-with-human-traffickers-report-says/2016/01/28/39465050-c542-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html

I am thankful we are finally seeing the injustice and the failure of our immigration system.
We process asylum seekers from Middle Eastern, European or Asian areas of the world much differently than how we treat our neighbors south of the border.
Or do we simply leave it to the Christian Missionary to carry on the often thankless work (but rewarded by God) in these places where they’ve even endangered their own lives and families for the sake of others. But after all, Christian Missionaries are horrible with their ideas of right & wrong and morality. Never mind that they build homes, drinking wells, schools, teach literacy, help with clothes, food, farming & medical care — all through donations and volunteers.
Wouldn’t our millionaires & billionaires, politicians, sports heroes, music stars & acting artists of Hollywood consider putting their money where there mouth is? Shouldn’t these “talking media heads”, go to these countries and try to implement creative solutions to help these people be able to stay in their home country instead of just taking pictures and interviewing these people in their pain? How can someone film this stuff and NOT give, do, act… give up even 1/4 of their salary and contribute to a solution. It’s so easy to gripe, so hard to labor in the fields.
Now that Trump signed an executive order, people are still griping because the situation still exists. Do these people really expect a massive re-unification of families to happen over night? Many are critical that Trump changed his mind… who cares? At least he saw the problem, the protests and the outrage and he changed his mind and DID at least something. It takes guts to change a position to attempt to make things better.
People are just letting their feelings run wild without knowing the facts and the complexities, pointing fingers and pontificating, including religious leaders and politicians spouting Bible verses to justify their various positions.
Unfortunately we have officials trying to follow the law and congress has yet to fix our broken immigration system.
Did you know that thousands of children have been sent to the US borders by themselves, with no parent? What are we to do with these children, just release them into the packs of ravenous sex slave traffickers & work slave traffickers just waiting to snatch them up. It’s going to take time to pair up parents with children. Yes, it shouldn’t have happened but it did, and it will not be an overnight solution.
This recent video from ABC News talks about how big the complexities of this problem have become.
https://youtu.be/nmKhrd1GYS8

I hope we will look at ALL the facts before we begin to protest and judge others so harshly and publically shaming them. You may not agree with what you read but it all comes down to enforcing our laws. There is no justification here at all for what’s going on. So our elected officials continue to kick the can down the road or play dodge ball, or catch me if you can, or “oh no, not me, it’s not my fault.”.
As in politics and religion everyone has an opinion and everyone feels theirs is the “right” of it. I do agree that the system is broken. I do believe in enforcing our laws. I however also believe in COMPASSION. I personally don’t see anything wrong with children staying with parents until they are deported. Many refugee camps allow families to stay together. Must our detention centers look like prison?
I am not looking at it from a political stand point, I am looking at it as a compassionate, Christian, human being. I want us as a country to do the right thing but still have heart. Is that so hard? Why can’t there still be compassion? Remove politics & religious rhetoric and imagine the trauma of children missing their parents. Imagine the trauma of you not knowing where your child is and barely getting any answers? Yes, it’s risky & terrifying traveling from a war torn, or crime riddled, or leave your home because of persecution for whatever reason. As a parent it is a huge undertaking to uproot one’s family from a home often from roots that go back generations, to SAVE your family from starvation, kidnapping, rape, drug lords, murder, & other atrocities. To entrust your family & pay a smuggler who promises help & freedom. Some come in cargo boxes or trucks. If they make it here alive, they hope they’re not left to die, crammed, suffocating in 100 degree weather, packed like human sardines.
Then to finally arrive to America, land of the free, home of the brave, land of endless opportunities, and then they face what we now know as a horrifying situation… separation of families, parents deported without their children, and the children left in squalor conditions that resemble cages.
I don’t care which party is to blame. Let us truly treat others as we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. Once again, let’s remove politics out of this situation and let’s have a heart. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Blessings on you.

ANOTHER VOICE HEARD AT CHRISTMAS

C73B3BBC-3A16-42B0-A99B-6399F178FE3F(This is a revised version of an article first  published in a monthly newsletter of CareNet Pregnancy Center and Medical Clinic © December 1995)

In the Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, the first verse stars out with a positive note, but as the verses progress, the author grows discouraged with the condition of the world. However, the final words are ones of triumph and rejoicing. This Christmas carol reminds me of a book in the Old Testament of the Bible called Habakkuk, which starts with the current gloom and destruction surrounding the prophet but later ends with words of comfort and hope.

This article is one that goes along the same line of thought. Bear with me, for it too will end with: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep… the wrong shall fail, the right prevail…”

The more I know about abortion, the more my heart grieves not only for unborn babies but the women and mothers burdened by situations with seemingly no way out. Bruised, wounded, broken women. Life snuffed out. Life killed — both women and babies!

I had trouble sometimes sleeping at night during the times I taught crisis intervention counselor training or when I discussed the various types of abortion procedures. I have vivid pictures in my mind of pieces of aborted babies from D & C’s and suction abortions. I have vivid pictures in my mind of burned babies from Saline abortions, I have a very vivid picture in my mind of the Partial Birth (D & X) abortions and scissors puncturing a baby’s head and brains being sucked out, and the skull collapsing. The unheard cries of terror, fear and pain of the unborn child. The unseen scars and wounds that women carry in the deepest recesses of their heart.

A woman, who was a former abortion clinic worker and had routinely examined the fetal tissue, one day while waiting for her pregnant daughter in our office who was receiving a free ultrasound, said to me, “I know for a fact that it is just tissue up to about 12 weeks.” She said, “there is nothing there but tissues, maybe a hand or foot but it’s just tissue. It’s not a baby yet, after 12 weeks it becomes a baby.”
“A hand… a foot… just tissue???” I thought, “how could she be so blind?” I thought about the conversation for the next several days. My thoughts kept going back to my brother, who died in a car accident.

I went to identify the body. Looking at the dead body, in a very real sense, it was no longer my brother. It was not the brother who I loved and adored. It was an empty shell, it was a dead body, it was just tissue.

I then understood. Looking at aborted babies is truly just tissue, by then death has occurred, the baby has gone on, thankfully, to be with the Lord. Of course it would look like just tissue after it was in pieces.

Death has a way of making us blind to reality. Corruption has a way of pulling a veil over our eyes. Evil has a way of making death seem so normal, so ordinary, “that’s life, that’s the way it goes.”

Satan and his pawns have been trying for centuries to pull the death veil over our eyes. Satan tried to kill the newborns and prevent Moses from being the deliverer of the people of Israel.

Satan tried to kill the infant Jesus, and hundreds of babies died as Herod went on his killing rampage.

Hitler killed thousands of Jews, elderly, handicapped and babies. Not to mention all the ethnic cleansing and other atrocities committed against another human being. Once upon a time, in the USA, people of color were not counted as a “whole” person.

Today, the killing continues. In many other countries in our current world, where humans can be “rated” as”less than” because of religion, class, caste, gender, race, or whatever the “powerful” declare as less than themselves or a threat to their ideas or status.

The death veil is now upon our elderly, our handicapped, the unwanted, the unlovable.

Society calls it just tissue.

The question comes back to me, “What is life?” Is it material things we can see or feel or touch? “What is life?” Jesus posed this question, “is not life more than the body, what we shall eat, drink or wear?”

What is so heinous about killing a person more than pulling a tooth, or removing our tonsils, isn’t it just tissue? We know that killing people already born is not just killing tissue. Words like “freedom of choice”, “right to privacy”, “my body, my rights”, are the death veil being pulled over our eyes, and we buy into the politically correct way of thinking that “this is life”.

NO!!! Life is not like that! Life is breathing, moving, loving, caring, touching, reaching. Life is reality. Life is living. Life is not just of flesh and blood.

Science tells us that when sperm meets egg, a human being has begun it’s journey of growing, changing and ultimately ends at death.

Science, however, cannot tell us when that mass of cells becomes a living soul, when it can think, when that mass of tissue has “life” with personality, character and compassion.

Our hearts would tell us when “life” begins if we would only listen. More than our hearts — the Bible tells us that God is the author of life and God has said that “life” begins at conception. Man becomes truly a living being at that miraculous moment… when sperm unites with egg…when the two become one… a new life is created in the image of our Creator.

3B33B61B-FFAB-4E3F-BFC9-3B9915D4475F.jpegChristmas is a time to remember the awesomeness of the miracle called conception.

The miracle of Christmas is the incarnation when God, Himself, became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word became flesh, in all ways, all of God, became fully human — the incarnate Christ, Jesus, fully God and fully man.

If he was not fully man at conception then, exactly who was John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb responding to when Mary entered their home. Was John, a 6 month old fetus, truly human or “just tissue”? Did John truly herald the arrival of his Lord and King? Elizabeth acknowledged the Lord’s presence, was she acknowledging only “tissue” or was this “tissue” the living Messiah?

The miracle of the incarnation is that Jesus was present in that room in the fullness of God and in the fullness of humanity. John a six-month old baby in the womb, not just tissue, was leaping for joy at the arrival of Jesus the Messiah.

Life was rejoicing over LIFE… NOT just tissue.

As you hear the bells this Christmas day, remember the incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, remember that His human life began before his birthday, it began in the womb at conception.

Remember that before the angels announced his birth, John the Baptist, still in his mother’s womb was announcing the arrival of Immanuel, God with us.

Then, may you also think about the millions of unborn babies yet to be born. The millions of women who need a support system of others reaching out in compassionate, active care. Millions of people in poverty, prejudice, and persecution needing to be recognized as human beings made in the image of God, worthy of “Life”.

Even as the shepherds were sharing the good news of Jesus’ birth and the wise men offered gifts, Satan tried to snuff out the life of the baby Jesus. Remember how Satan continues to try and snuff out lives today.

Our Lord is looking for this generation of shepherds to share the good news of Life, and God wants to use this generation of wise men to offer gifts and protection to those who have been given life.

Life is more than just tissue, more than just flesh and blood, more than the body. For this little baby, grew to be a man and poured out His blood and allowed His flesh to be crucified, killed and buried.

Then this man, Jesus, proved that He, alone, is the One who is worthy and has the power and the keys to life and death, because He conquered death and openly displayed that life is more than what we can see or touch.

Let us join with the angels, the shepherds, the wise men in sharing the good news that the Author of Life has come, Immanuel, God is with us, has dwelt among us, the Prince of peace, wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God is come to offer LIFE, LIFE ABUNDANT, LIFE ETERNAL.

Tell Me the Story…

Christmas… the celebration of the birth of the Christ child.

An enchanted season caught up in a winter magic moment that “heaven and nature sings” “peace on earth, good will towards men”, repeated with “sounding joy”.

There has been so much said about various facets on the birth of Jesus, what could I possibly add. I prayed, “God, give me fresh insight, something new to say, a revelation I haven’t seen before in the Christmas story.” It was almost like I heard the Lord reply, “repeat the sounding joy”.

“…I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body…” (II Peter 1:12-13)

I love the Christmas story, it fills my mind with wondrous questions; it fills my heart with an abiding peace; it overwhelms my soul with a revelation of His abundant love.

To think that God in all His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His omniscience, would be confined and contained in the form of a newborn baby.

To think that God would humble Himself, take on the form of a human being is too incredible for my mind or heart to comprehend.

To think that God, Ruler of the universe, King of kings and Lord of lords, Master and Creator of all things, would become a servant, to be served but to serve is almost incomprehensible for me to understand.

To be reminded of the obedience of Joseph and the yielded pureness of Mary in the face of accusations, assault of character, and the accepted cultural norms… all this encourages me to walk in integrity, faithfulness, and a willingness to be obedient.

To be reminded of the wisemen, the diligent, patient, pursuit of worshipping in spirit and truth… no matter how long the search, how far the miles; how instead of returning to one who is a destroyer and usurper, they chose a path of integrity and avoided betrayal… all of this inspires me to continuously pursue and seek the Lord, worship, give things that are precious, and to not give up.

To be reminded of the shepherds, being faithful to the menial task of minding sheep, and be blessed with a glorious and wondrous revelation of good news, to not be content with just seeing angels or messengers of heaven but then to actually follow through and seek out the meaning and source of the visitation, to not only bow, worship and be filled with wonder, but then to spread the Word… challenges me to not be content with revelation, or just sit forever in contemplation, but to go and share the Good News.

So, I will tell the story over and over and over again… the wonder of a virgin conceiving a child, the wonder of God becoming man, the wonder of the angels, the wonder of the star, the wonder of the wisemen and shepherds, the wonder of His salvation, the “wonders of His love”.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

“…and He shall be called Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.. and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’.” (Matthew 1:21,23)

Perhaps in sharing the Christmas story, someone might really hear with their heart and come to know the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Perhaps someone will be set free from the bondages and wages of sin. Perhaps someone in the midst of struggles and hopelessness will come to know Immanuel, that God is with them. Perhaps those walking in darkness and shadows will have the Light of the world bring light to theirs.

Speaking of lights, Jesus told us to “let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16) This is our time of year to ring out the message of hope, peace, and love. This is our time to “repeat the sounding joy” and for all to “receive our King”. This is our time to “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere that Jesus Christ is born” so that others might become born again.

Join with me, as “I’ll tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”

(This is a revised version of an article originally previously published in the Christian Quarterly approximately the winter of 1997)