Don’t talk, baby just move with me.

Last night/early this morning I wrote about the 3rd week of Advent.  It’s the 4th week, I can’t keep up.  Anywho, listening to the daily prayer and I was struck again by the text but I made that “WhachutalkinboutWillis” face. The scripture is Luke 1:26-38, another long, single reading.  I’m rather enjoying those.  It talks about the interaction between the Angel Gabriel and Mary.

The narrator invites you to set the scene with your imagination but I was more concerned with, what I perceived to be a double standard.  See, in the text, the reader notes that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, greeted her and she, being human “Pondered what sort of greeting this might be”. He told her of her favor with the L-rd and what would come to pass. Mary then said to the angel “How can this be since I am a virgin?”  Gabriel explains the Immaculate Conception and adds that her relative Elizabeth, Zachariah’s wife, in her old age has also conceived a son, to which Mary respond “Here am I, the servant of the L-rd. Let it be with me, according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Now, 6 months earlier, the Angel Gabriel visited Zachariah and gave him a message.  Him being human asked “How will I know that this is so for I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.”  Gabriel explains who he is and why he is there, then says “But nigh, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak until the day these things occur.”

Now is it me, or does there seem to be a double standard here?  “How will I know?”  “How can this be?” both seem like valid questions to me, particularly when someone out of the blue appears with news/a message that is going to significantly change your life.  You can’t help but wonder, so why then was Zachariah “punished” for his disbelief/doubt and Mary was not?  The reader nor the text offers any indication as to whether or not Zachariah followed up his comment with acknowledgment and affirmation the way Mary did but it also doesn’t offer any indication that he was given opportunity.  May Zachariah should have spoken faster.

A lot is made about questioning G-d but if Mary had questions/curiosity, it stands to reason that we would too.  I believe in questioning G-d.  I will never know what I need to know if I don’t ask questions.  Now if I ask a question and he tells me “don’t worry about it, let me do what I do” okay.  I’ll stay in my lane.  We are taught that we should give all our problems, troubles, cares, woes, etc. over to the L-rd and he will take care of it all.  Eh, I’m not so sure.  I listened to a live streaming of my cousin’s husband preaching and he said something that was so spot on, I literally said “That’s it!” out loud.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have my notes, wherever he was in life, whatever he’d achieved, it wasn’t all G-d.  G-d helped but he helped too.  It was a partnership.  I think that ties into that whole faith without works is dead thing.  If G-d sees you working, then he’ll work.  If you aren’t working, he’ll still work but maybe not as hard.  Isn’t there something about G-d helps those who help themselves?  Maybe that’s how faith works.  He starts you off, you have to take it and do something with it, once he sees you doing something with it, he’ll help a little bit more.  The more you do, the more he does.  Seems fair to me.  But I digress.  I’m still on this double standard thing.  Why the difference when both people responded in a similar manner?  Could it be that Zachariah was fearful and Mary was perplexed? Fearful, perplexed, isn’t that just semantics?

Wikipedia defines double standard as: the application of different sets of principles for similar situations.

Merriam Webster defines double standard as: 1) Bimetallism, 2) a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another; especially :  a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men.

This is why I love the Advent season. It allows me to go deeper and learn more.  Yeah, I’m always learning throughout the year, but the learning seems to be better around this time of year because of the expectation of something so great.  Much is made about Christmas, Jesus, Santa. It’s not really his birthday, there is no G-d, there is no Santa, etc. Not preaching, just making a written observation.  Why does it matter to someone else what another person believes?  Whatever a person believes, that is their truth and who are we (society) to tell them otherwise?  This includes all the crap that went on with this, I can’t even really call it an election but for the sake of being consistent, this election.  Some things are blatantly wrong but if the person perpetrating the wrong thinks they are right, do you really think you are going to convince them they aren’t?  This “election” has, IMHO, made us all Zachariahs and Marys: fearful, perplexed, dumbstruck.  And if ever a double standard were present, it is never more so than with the current POTUS and the POTUS-elect.  #whatailsya

Day 12 – Powerless to Save Ourselves

“I have to surrender, become passive in the presence of a power greater than I.” Fr. Robert Barron

I’m a fan of the 12 Step Program ideology. It is my belief that everyone in life is covering or needs to recover from something. Everyone needs to getmended. I won’t beat this rug til the fabric frays but a while ago I wrote about Step One, so scroll through and reacquaint yourself with that post.

I think passivity gets a bad rap. One of MW’s definitions states c-1 lacking energy or will. I think it takes a great deal of will and energy to surrender and/or not act. With all that is going on in the world, everyone feels that they HAVE to stand up for themselves or others and while that may be true, sometimes surrender is the greatest weapon. I cannot speak on what I would do in situations, my temperament tends to betray logic, reason and common sense but I recognize the Power of Passivity in that none were more passive than Jesus yet none is more powerful.

I surrender all

All to thee my blessed Savior

I, surrender all.

Day 11 – How can we fully enter Adent?

In his notes, Fr. Robert Barron notes that “Vatican II called for a revival in biblical studies, but I don’t think that’s happened yet, at least among average Catholics.” I believe this to be true, not only of Catholics but of many denominations simply because most people don’t know how to study the bible and those who do, don’t know how to teach it.

I participated in RCIA last year and I was amazed how some people who call themselves Christians really have no solid knowledge of Christ. I’m not judging because I’m no theologian scholar but I know what I know and IMHO every Christian should know or have some idea of the very basics. The director of the RCIA class even noted that people who convert to Catholicism are better Catholics than “cradle” Catholics and the “cradle” Catholics in the class were in 100% agreement. They spoke about the information presented in the class are things they never learned about; at home or at church. Turns out, they too learned under the “it’s always been this way” thumb of religious learning.

It is quite difficult to re-acquaint yourself with someone or something when you really may not have an idea of who or what it is you are trying to acquaint yourself with. Since Advent is the season of waiting, why not spend that time acquainting yourself with the reason for the wait. Once you understand that, then join the rest of us in the daily process of re-acquaintance. Christianity; The Original – Who’s on First.

Day 10 – The Highest Mountain

In his reflection, Fr. Robert Barron notes “ For when we give glory to G-d in the highest, we rightly order all our desires: we love G-d first and then all other things for the sake of G-d.” Since this is Christmas time, this is the only time when TV airs A Christmas Carol, I’m talking the original BW movie or even the one with G.C. Scott.

The scene that comes to mind in reference to Fr. Barron’s note is the scene where the Cratchit family is gathered round the table and about to make a toast when Bob proposes a toast to the founder of their feast, Mr. Scrooge. There is bemoaning and disgusted outcry at this request but it is Mrs. Cratchit who, in a round about way, gives glory to G-d in the highest. She says, “I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s”. Now I know, we’re supposed to “love thy neighbor” and in a twisted way, that is what she is doing. She’s “loving” Mr. Scrooge, not for his sake but for the sake of her husband and the Day’s and the day is Christmas, so, there you have it. Giving glory to G-d in the highest, at least that’s how I see it. Often we do this without realizing it. What you do or give someone may not be for their benefit or on their behalf but you may do it out of love – or a great deal of like – for someone else who is connected to that person.

Everything has a source, does it not? The food that was prepared, was bought from a store, paid for with money, money earned for work performed, money paid by employer, money obtained by employer through (insert means), (insert means) provided by (insert source) and it goes on and on. Whatever you have, whatever you have received, whatever you give away came from somewhere; it has a source. It’s no coincidence that the old dowsing rods were often Y shaped. You have to be open to be able to receive.

Why, why why

Can’t we get it right

Just can’t get it right…MJB

Day 9 – The Babe Who Throws Down Fire

“Jesus wants to cast a consuming fire on the earth to burn away all that is opposed to G-d’s desire for us.” Fr. Robert Barron

Luke 12:49 can be a bit off putting, after all, WE live here on earth. Everyone knows that fire is used to cleanse/sterilize. It took my own journey to really understand that is what the bible means by “Hearts on Fire” ohhh, my heart is dirty (sinful), ok I get it. Wait, wasn’t I born with a dirty heart, soo why not cleanse it before I get here? Huh, it’s too easy. If you do it then I won’t learn anything, but what is there for me to learn? I need to learn how to make choices but I thought you were in control, doesn’t that mean you make all the choices for me? — See how this can go on. I resigned myself that this is how free will came about. Life is the ultimate buffet; an endless amount of choices. Yeah, free will is overrated, IMHO. Life for me was much simpler when my grandparents were here telling me what to do. Of course I did my own thing at times, but the majority of the time I relied on them. Funny how I have such a hard time relying on the one they relied on. Yeah, yeah, it’s that whole faith, seeing, touching thing. Take a listen to Chaka Khan sing Through the Fire, those who are on a journey will understand and appreciate the lyrics (great writer BTW) and may want to ask themselves; when the fire rains down, will I walk through, becoming purified or will I be like Usher (let it burn, let it burn, let it burn)?