Advent Day 20 ~ O Rising Dawn!

MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

“O Rising Dawn, splendor of eternal Light and Sun of Justice:

come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

                                                                                                                       ~ O AntiphonsIMG_0303

Here’s my prayer for today . . . .

O John, In your humility,

you knew there was One to come ~

that you were only to prepare the way for Him.  

      Help me ~ help us to prepare my heart ~ our hearts for Him this Christmas.

Help us to prepare a way for Him in our world today.

COME LORD JESUS!

Now before you go, here’s a terrific music video of Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone” from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, composed and sung Andrea Bocelli. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

And here are today’s Mass readings. if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here.

With Love,

Bob Traupman,

contemplative writer

Advent Day 20 ~ O Rising Dawn!

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

“O Rising Dawn, splendor of eternal Light and Sun of Justice:

come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

                                                                                                                       ~ O Antiphons

Here’s my prayer for today . . . .

O John, in your humility, 

you knew there was One to come ~

that you were only to prepare the way for Him.  

      Help us to prepare our hearts for Him this Christmas.

Help us to prepare a way for Him in our world today.

COME LORD JESUS!

Now before you go, here’s a terrific music video of Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone” from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, composed and sung by Andrea Bocelli. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

And here are today’s Mass readings. if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here.

With Love,

Bob Traupman,

contemplative writer

Advent Day 2 ~ The lesson of the shadows (Hanukkah Day 2)

                       image bob traupman 2007 / St. Augustine Beach, Florida

MONDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT

I have learned to be intrigued by the shadows of my life, Lord.
The stronger the light, the deeper the shadow.
I have come to realize there will always be shadows.

I must accept the shadows of my life as well as the light; they will just always be there.

And so I now  pause for a moment when a shadow greets me;
and take in its beauty.

Teach me to  stop and be confronted, to be changed,  by them.

This day, Lord, help me to realize what the shadows of my life can teach me
about You and Your great love for me.

Editors note:  This was my very first blog post on December 5, 2007.                                                                                                           

I had two priests write back and say: “Thank you, Bob.                                                                                                                                     I wonder what they were saying?  

I pay a lot of attention to shadows in my photography.

It’s “both ~ and.” That’s the way life is.

Carl Jung in psychology got us to pay attention to the Shadow side of life.

If we deny they are there, we’re in trouble.

If we embrace our Shadow, make friends with it, we become whole. 

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them: Click here. 

But since our Jewish sisters and brothers are already beginning their eight-day holiday celebration of Hanukkah, if you don’t know about the origins of that feast in Maccabees or the customs around it for their children you might want to take a peak at one of the following videos  . . .

The Miracle of Chanukah click here.

Hanukkah, Traditions Click here.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

                                         

Advent Day 16 ~ The Lesson of the Shadows (and day 5 of Hanukkah)

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Advent Day 16 ~ Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

I have learned to be intrigued by the shadows of my life, Lord.
The stronger the light, the deeper the shadow.
I have come to realize there will always be shadows.

I must accept the shadows of my life as well as the light; they will just always be there.

And so I now  pause for a moment when a shadow greets me;
and take in its beauty.

Teach me to  stop and be confronted, to be changed,  by them.

This day, Lord, help me to realize what the shadows of my life can teach me about You and Your great love for me.

Editor’s note:  This was my very first blog post on December 5, 2007.                                                                                                                       

I had two priests write back and say: “Thank you, Bob.

I wonder what they were saying?

I pay a lot of attention to shadows in my photography.

It’s “both ~ and.” That’s the way life is.

Carl Jung in psychology got us to pay attention to the Shadow side of life.

And in one’s prayer life, the mystics like St. John of the Cross talk about the “dark night of the soul.”

If we deny the shadows are there, we’re in trouble.

If we embrace our Shadow, make friends with it,

we become whole.

And now before you go, here’s a selection from Handel’s Messiah to put you in an Advent mood

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

 

Advent Day 9 ~ Where are you going?

photo (c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reserved.

MONDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

“Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”  Isaiah 40:3

This image was taken on I-95 between Jacksonville and St. Augustine one misty December Sunday morning about 2 AM.  I was living in St. Augustine at the time.

On my way home from “Father Bob’s night out,” I was so taken by the magic of the vista before me I had to pull on the shoulder and capture it on my Canon Power Shot.

For me, even the interstate can be a place for reflection. . .

I was thinking of John the Baptist’s message that also appeared in the gospel for that Sunday:

“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.”

And this was what I wrote back then, inspired by that moment on the side of a highway at 2 AM on a magical ~ mystical Sunday morning.

Where are we going, Lord?

Every day we’re on a journey that will not be complete until we meet You.

In our daily commutes, stuck in traffic, are we making progress in our spiritual journey, Lord?

Are we making a straight highway in the spiritual wasteland that America is today, Lord?

John’s message was one of repentance.

When he said, “make straight His paths,” he meant  to clear a way for the coming of God into our hearts and souls.

Help us get rid of the roadblocks that stop us from making progress.  Our addictions.  Our resentments. Our selfishness, Lord. Our incivility toward one another.

If we don’t make an effort to do that, our Christmas will be hollow ~ empty.

In all of our pre-Christmas bustle and hustle are we preparing a straight path for You to come
into our hearts, our homes, our workplace, our land, our world this Christmas?

What are we doing, Lord?  Really doing with our lives?

Where is our life’s journey taking us?

What is life really  all about?

I-95 at 2 AM helped me ponder that question.

I realized that was a special moment for me, a moment I seized.

Or rather seized me.

Carpe diem.

Thank you, Lord.

On Monday morning there would be a return to frenzied /  furied  / hurried / unaware / unreflected lives of  many going to and fro and not knowing really where they were going.

Time for a change, dear friend?  Time for a change?

Here’s a video from Godspell: Where are You Going? Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d care to reflect on them. (The first reading from Isaiah is a very beautiful piece of poetry. Check it out). Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 18 ~ O Rising Dawn! ~ and the winter solstice

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

“O Rising Dawn, splendor of eternal Light and Sun of Justice:

come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

                                                                                                                       ~ O Antiphons

The Winter Solstice, will happen today at 11:28 am, EST, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and celebrated by our pagan brothers and sisters.  I do not use the term pejoratively; they are the peoples who are reverently close to the earth.

Actually the date of Christmas was taken from the winter solstice because it marks, in the northern hemisphere, the beginning of the ascendency of the sun.  It connotes the phrase from John 3:22-30 in which John the Baptist says “He must increase, I must decrease.”  And the Baptist’s feast, likewise is near the summer solstice on June 24th.  Thus, the church did not hesitate to borrow from the existing pagan customs.  Christmas trees, for example, came from Germany as well as evergreen wreathes that symbolized eternity.  Again, these were pagan customs.

And did you know that in the middle ages they lit real candles on their Christmas trees?  How ’bout that?

Some Christians today misunderstand our “cross-enculturation”  of things that once had a pagan origin and sometimes berate those of us who celebrate Christmas.

Here’s my prayer for today . . . .

O John, in your humility,

you knew there was One to come ~

that you were only to prepare the way for Him.  

      Help us to prepare our hearts for Him this Christmas.

Help us to prepare a way for Him in our world today.

COME LORD JESUS!

Now before you go, here’s a terrific music video of Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone” from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, composed and sung by Andrea Bocelli. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

And here are today’s Mass readings. if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here.

With Love,

Bob Traupman,

contemplative writer

Advent Day 12 ~ Soar like an eagle! (and Hanukkah Day 3)

The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Isaiah is so amazing.    He offers hope. He sees imminent possibilities for the human race.

At times, he also warns and sometimes chastises.

I’ve always loved this scripture that appear in the Advent Mass texts:

God gives strength to the fainting,

for the weak he makes vigor abound.

Though young men faint and grow weary,

and youth stagger and fall,

They that hope in the Lord

will renew their strength,

they will soar as with eagle’s wings;

They will run and not grow weary,

walk and not grow faint.

– Isaiah 40:30-31.

(This was the first reading of yesterday’s Mass) So many of us become discouraged by life. We may lose our job or are told that we no longer have the health benefits we once had for our family. And many of us are now worried how we’ll be affected by the Republican’s tax bill, if it becomes law.  We grow older and have more aches and pains and worry more. Some of us are couch potatoes and don’t exercise enough and get more depressed.  And are, indeed, in need of  an infusion of renewed strength.

In these latter days of Advent, think about the ways you can restore your vigor ~ or better ask the Lord to renew your strength! He will!  As he has done for me again and again and again! I’ve been down many times; but he never cease to raise me up again.

And you might note that the symbol for John the evangelist is the eagle, because he soars to the heights of mystical glory in his writings.

I praise you, Lord, because you’ve restored my vigor in marvelous ways. 

You have renewed my strength again and again.  

And I’d love to soar as if with eagle’s wings, 

if you would grant me that grace even now. 

Soar to the heights of the mountains,

and dive to the depths of the ocean of Your love, Lord.  

Yes, as I grow older, I’m ready to serve You, Lord

as long as you grant me the grace, the vigor and the strength.  

Whatever You will, Lord. Whatever you will.

Now, before you go, here is one of our great Catholic liturgical songs ~ “On Eagles’ Wings” Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen. Click here.  

Today is the Feast of St. John of the Cross, the great Carmelite mystic and reformer Here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

Advent Day 2 ~ Swords to plowshares ~ Guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peac
                                          The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

I’d like to call your attention to yesterday’s first reading  (Isaiah 2: 1-5 ) because it’s an important Advent theme:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4.

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was A defeat for humanity.

And Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

And now Pope Francis has gone even further. The Vatican had a conference recently about building a world free of nuclear weapons.  Pope Francis has inferred that the global political system has become irrational, describing his decision last month to shift papal teaching away from an acceptance of nuclear deterrence as partly due to the world’s instability.

In an hour-long press conference aboard the papal flight to Rome Dec. 2, the pontiff also said it is his “convinced opinion” that the world is “at the limit of licitly having and using nuclear weapons.”

Asked what about the world situation had changed that caused him to break with the church’s previous acceptance of nuclear deterrence, and if recent saber-rattling between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had played a role, the pope replied: “What has changed is the irrationality.”

 

Pope Francis pauses as he answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome Dec. 2.

Comparing his November 10th statement at the Vatican conference that the “very possession” of nuclear weapons is to be “firmly condemned” to Pope John Paul II’s determination in 1982 that deterrence was “morally acceptable,” Francis said: “Many years have passed since the time of John Paul II.”

“Today, we are at the limit,” the pontiff continued. “Why? Because with nuclear arsenals that are so sophisticated today, the destruction of humanity is at risk, or at least the great part of humanity.”

Francis then told journalists he wanted to ask a question “not as part of the papal magisterium, but as a question made by a pope.”

“Today, is it licit to maintain nuclear arsenals as they are?” he asked. “Or, today, to save creation, to save humanity, is it not necessary to go backwards?”  (National Catholic Reporter / Dec 2, 2017 online edition / Joshua J. McElwee)

And now, what about you and me?

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let’s “Practice peacefulness”, as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping, giving people a chance. Try  to be kinder to the folks you interact with today.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human person as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Before you go here’s a simple hymn about peace with a slideshow. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen.   And here are today’s Mass readings: Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! (and Happy Hanukkah too!)

dreamstime_l_35206565                                                    The Birthday of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

While all things were

      in quiet silence,

And when night was

      in the midst of

   her swift course,

Your Almighty Word,

           O Lord,

Leaped down out

of your royal throne,

                            Alleluia! 

     ~ And the Word became flesh and lived among us.  John 1:14

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Dear Friends,
Our waiting is over.
Christmas is here!

I am ready to receive whatever gift Jesus wants to give me this Christmas. You see, Christmas is not about giving. It’s about receiving. Receiving as Mary received.  
 
Open your heart, dear friend.  
Take some quiet time today and tomorrow and prepare yourself and be ready receive . . .
Try to be receptive to God as Mary was. She just said, a simple Yes!  to the angel.  

        ”I am the servant of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.” 
 
And I pray so very earnestly that you receive the special gift God wants to give you.
 
Cleanse your heart of resentments ~ of preoccupations of unnecessary things.
Ask yourself what is the real meaning of life ~ your life.
 
For me the answer is to love as best I can.
I also have some wisdom to share that arises out of the crosses I’ve carried over the years.
 
But it’s all gift!
So, I hope you have received something nourishing and sweet in the 25 posts I’ve been able to create this Advent.
They are my gift to you.
But I’ve already received a wonderful gift.
As I was writing these blogs over the past month, I found Jesus calling me closer to him. It was truly an ineffable experience that I hope enriches my priestly life and my way of relating to other people. I’m singing more and I’m happier, though my life circumstances are not so great.
 
May you have a wonderful Christmas with your family.
And if your Christmas is lonely with no one really special with whom to share,                                         know that you have someone here who understands and who reaches out to you
from my heart to yours.
And be sure to open yourself to the holiness—
the wholeness—the peace of Christmas.
It is there beneath all the craziness and hype. 
It is yours if you seek it and ask for it. 

 
Dearest Lord Jesus,
O how wonderful you are to me—to us.
I feel like a child again for you said
that we must be childlike before the Father
and you called him Abba—Daddy,
thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus,
for my priesthood, for my home
for the food on my table,
for my little furry friend Shoney, images
for my readers and so much more!
Please bless my friends and readers,
especially those who have lost a loved one this year,
or who are lonely or sick or in need in any way.
We ask you this, Jesus, always,
 in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

But you know what? We share this holy day with our Jewish friends! Christmas Eve as the evening star is noticed in the sky our Jewish boys and girls and Moms and Dads will light the first candle on their Menorah for the eight days of Hanukkah. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Now, before you go, here is a very special Christmas music video for you. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

If you would like the Scripture readings for any of the several Masses for Christmas. Click here. You’ll find a list of the Vigil, Mass at Night, at Dawn, etc.; click on the one(s) you want.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

What Wondrous Love is this?

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

img_2402O Come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

 (My Advent Wreath)

 IMG_0126Emmanuel, they tell us you are “God-with-us.”

Where are you, Emmanuel?

Are you here?

Are you here in the messiness of our lives?

Can you really ransom us from our captivities,

our slaveries to addictions, our hatreds and grudges and jealousies

that eat us up and spit us out?

Our guilts, our “coulda, shouldas, wouldas — our druthers and regrets?

Our lethargy, our hopelessness, our slumber, our rage?

O Israel!  O America!

Do You really want Emmanuel to come?

Do We want you to?  (Do I?)

Many languish in mourning, Emmanuel

in exiles made by Wall Street and homelessness and sickness

and loneliness and selfishness.

Many a young heart yearns ~ aches for direction and meaning and love.

Prisoners waste away.  Such a waste of young lives!

Will you ransom their hearts, and souls, Emmanuel?

~ our hearts and souls?

Will you change our justice system to be truly just?

Will you truly rain down justice as the psalmist says?

Yes, Emmanuel, come!

Be God-with-us!

Even though we can sometimes hardly be with ourselves.

Captivate us! Inhale us with Your love.

Dazzle us with hope and new life and possibility.

Yes, Emmanuel!  We believe you will come.

Maybe not today or tomorrow.

You will transform the secret yearnings of our souls.

We will dance and sing and embrace You and each other

because you came among us, Emmanuel.

You ARE with us, Emmanuel.

You are LOVE ITSELF!

Because of You our own being becomes “being-in-love!”

We rejoice! We give thanks! We believe!

Come, Lord Jesus!  Yes, Lord Jesus, come.

Brothers and sisters, this Christmas let each of us give thanks

— and receive again in a new way

                                such a precious, wondrous love,

 such a wonderful gift.

Here is a YouTube presentation of the powerful hymn sung by Steve Green  “What wondrous love is this? Be sure to  turn up your speakers and enter full screen,  

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them. Click here. 

We have two days remaining to prepare our heart to receive the new gift Jesus wishes to give us this year.  Be sure to take time to prepare. As for me, this Advent, as I’ve written these blogs and my new Reflection / Letter, in spite of the personal life difficulties I’m going through right now, the joy and happiness I feel as I approach Christmas is truly amazing. I live alone with my dog Shoney and my Lord as a companion as well. My hope, my prayer, my desire is that in some small way I am able to share that with you, my beloved readers. Tomorrow I will publish my blog for Christmas.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer