CARNIVAL! When do you let yourself have some fun?

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Dear Friends,

Well, this week the Big Easy and Rio have one thing in common — one huge party! 

 And what is so interesting its very Catholic.  It’s a time to let your hair down before the strike of midnight Ash Wednesday morning when we Catholics used to abstain from meat during  the six-week Lenten season.

The root of the word “CARnival is the same as the word “inCARnation”~ a word that means the enfleshment of the Son of God.

Now here’s a bit of Carnival or Mardi Gras history for you.
A carnival is a celebration combining parades, pageantry, folk drama, and feasting, usually held in Catholic countries during the weeks before Lent. The term Carnival probably comes from the Latin word “carnelevarium”, meaning “to remove meat.”   Typically the Carnival season begins early in the new year, often on Epiphany, January 6, and ends in February on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French).

Probably originating in pagan spring fertility rites, the first recorded carnival was the Egyptian feast of Osiris, an event marking the receding of the Nile’s flood water.  Carnivals reached a peak of riotous dissipation with the Roman BACCHANALIA and Saturnalia.
In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church tried to suppress all pagan ideas, it failed when it came to this celebration. The Church incorporated the rite into its own calendar as a period of thanksgiving. Popes sometimes served as patrons.

The nations of Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal, gave thanks by throwing parties, wearing masks, and dancing in the streets. All three colonizing powers carried the tradition with them to the New World, but in Brazil it landed with a difference. Not only did the Portuguese have a taste for abandoned merriment, (they brought the “entrudo”, a prank where merry-makers throw water, flour, face powder, and many other things at each other’s faces), but the Negro slaves also took to the celebration. They would smear their faces with flour, borrow an old wig or frayed shirt of the master, and give themselves over to mad revelry for the three days. Many masters even let their slaves roam freely during the celebration. Since the slaves were grateful for the chance to enjoy themselves, they rarely used the occasion as a chance to run away.

Pre-Christian, medieval, and modern carnivals share important thematic features. They celebrate the death of winter and the rebirth of nature, ultimately re-committing the individual to the spiritual and social codes of the culture. Ancient fertility rites, with their sacrifices to the gods, exemplify this commitment, as do the Christian Shrovetide plays.  On the other hand, carnivals allow parody of, and offer temporary release from, social and religious constraints. For example, slaves were the equals of their masters during the Roman Saturnalia; the medieval feast of fools included a blasphemous mass; and during carnival masquerades sexual and social taboos are sometimes temporarily suspended

.
Tomorrow: Why Ashes on Ash Wednesday.

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May I suggest that by Wednesday morning to try  be ready to enter into a deeper journey into your inner depths to discover our Lord and at the same time your deepest Self.  Be ready to experience new life, new growth for your self and for our country.

Dear Lord,

Today we let our hair down a bit and when the fun is over,

may we be ready to enter the desert on Wednesday with you

and discover how desert experiences can cleanse and purify us and make us whole.

Let us enter the desert willingly and learn its lessons well.

We ask you, Lord, to lead the way.

Amen.

But, before you go, here’s a musical slide show of what a Carnival parade is like down in Rio.Click here.

Be sure to enter full screen.
(Ladies: Let your husbands have some fun – um ~ it’s not exactly R-rated.)

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

CARNIVAL! Time to let yourself have some fun before Lent!

CARNIVAL!

Dear Friends,

Well, this week the Big Easy and Rio have one thing in common — one huge party! And what is so interesting its very Catholic.  It’s a time to let your hair down before the strike of midnight Ash Wednesday when we  Catholics used to abstain from meat during  the six-week Lenten season.

The root of the word “CARnival is the same as the word “inCARnation”~ a word that means the enfleshment of the Son of God.  

Now here’s a bit of Carnival or Mardi Gras history for you.

A carnival is a celebration combining parades, pageantry, folk drama, and feasting, usually held in Catholic countries during the weeks before Lent. The term Carnival probably comes from the Latin word “carnelevarium”, meaning “to remove meat.”   Typically the Carnival season begins early in the new year, often on Epiphany, January 6, and ends in February (or early March this year) on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French).

Probably originating in pagan spring fertility rites, the first recorded carnival was the Egyptian feast of Osiris, an event marking the receding of the Nile’s flood water.  Carnivals reached a peak of riotous dissipation with the Roman BACCHANALIA and Saturnalia.

In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church tried to suppress all pagan ideas, it failed when it came to this celebration. The Church incorporated the rite into its own calendar as a period of thanksgiving. Popes sometimes served as patrons.

The nations of Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal, gave thanks by throwing parties, wearing masks, and dancing in the streets. All three colonizing powers carried the tradition with them to the New World, but in Brazil it landed with a difference. Not only did the Portuguese have a taste for abandoned merriment, (they brought the “entrudo”, a prank where merrymakers throw water, flour, face powder, and many other things at each other’s faces), but the Negro slaves also took to the celebration. They would smear their faces with flour, borrow an old wig or frayed shirt of the master, and give themselves over to mad revelry for the three days. Many masters even let their slaves roam freely during the celebration. Since the slaves were grateful for the chance to enjoy themselves, they rarely used the occasion as a chance to run away.

Pre-Christian, medieval, and modern carnivals share important thematic features. They celebrate the death of winter and the rebirth of nature, ultimately re-committing the individual to the spiritual and social codes of the culture. Ancient fertility rites, with their sacrifices to the gods, exemplify this commitment, as do the Christian Shrovetide plays.  On the other hand, carnivals allow parody of, and offer temporary release from, social and religious constraints. For example, slaves were the equals of their masters during the Roman Saturnalia; the medieval feast of fools included a blasphemous mass; and during carnival masquerades sexual and social taboos are sometimes temporarily suspended.

Tomorrow: Why Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

May I suggest that  by Wednesday morning to try  be ready to enter into a deeper journey to discover our Lord in a new way and at the same time your deepest Self.  Be ready to experience new life, new growth for yourself and for our country.

Dear Lord,

Today we let our hair down a bit and when the fun is over,

may we be ready to enter the desert on Wednesday with you

and discover how desert experiences can cleanse and purify us and make us whole.

Let us enter the desert willingly and learn its lessons well.

We ask you, Lord, to lead the way.

Amen. 

But, before you go, here’s a 14-minute video just taken of this year’s Carnival celebration on March 1st and 2nd in Rio!  Be sure to enter full screen. Click here.

(Ladies: Let your husbands have some fun – um ~ it’s not exactly R-rated.)  

With love, 

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 ~ Our God becomes flesh

100_100Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation ~ the Christmas portion of our faith. (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh.

He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are” (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one of us and with us. God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you, embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day because, if you’re like me, I really, really, really like being caught up in Love!  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a “Holiday” season.  Here’s a great Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

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

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 ~ Our God becomes flesh

100_100Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation ~ the Christmas portion of our faith. (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are” (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one one of us and with us. God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from S. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you, embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day because I really, really, really like being caught up in Love!  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a Holiday season.  Here’s a great new Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 – Our God becomes flesh

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here.to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation — the Christmas portion of our faith.  (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one one of us and with us. God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from S. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you,

embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day

because I really, really, really like being caught up in Love!  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a Holiday season.  Here’s a great new Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 – Our God becomes flesh

Wednesday 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 an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let us reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation — the Christmas portion of our faith.  (Again if you do not accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power; it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as manIncarnation. Carnal: meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh. He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one one of us and with us. God likes us the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting – pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from S. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin (unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you,

embrace you, heal your heart

and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day

because I really, really, really like being caught up in Love.  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a Holiday season.  Here’s a great new Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer