Fear and Fortitude

Pentecost is one of my favorite Holy Days. It is called the ‘birthday of the Church’. But the origins of Pentecost dates back to Moses and the giving of Torah (the first five books of the Bible) on Mt. Sinai. It was and is now celebrated fifty days after Passover by those of the Jewish faith at the time of the early harvest in Israel (May/June). As Passover coincides with Holy Week for Christians, Pentecost comes fifty days after Passover and also after Easter. Without Pentecost we would not have the Christian Church.

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus comes walking on the Sea of Galilee and says “Do not be afraid…” to His fearful disciples. After Jesus death and even after His resurrection and appearances to them, the apostles huddled in fear in the Upper Room. At Pentecost He sent the Holy Spirit that came as tongues of fire and those cowards in the Upper Room were baptized and received the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, one of which was fortitude.

“The gift of fortitude is bestowed upon us by God through the Holy Spirit at our confirmation; the moral virtue of fortitude is ‘acquired by human effort’ according the the Catechism of the Catholic church.”

In his Summa Theologica St. Thomas Aquinas says; In strictest interpretation of its meaning, the virtue of fortitude is bravely facing the danger of death. A man capable of meeting with fortitude this greatest of dangers is not daunted by lesser perils.

We are facing constant reinforcement of fear from the onset of the covid panic: fear of people giving us the virus, fear of nuclear war from our enemies, fear of inflation, fear of going to church, fear of speaking our views on abortion, masks, vaccines, BLM, gender confusion, fear of the “dark winter’ and the great reset.

Another of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is Fear of God, Holy fear in which we see ourselves as finite beings who were graciously given the greatest gift, eternal life. We need to constantly ask ourselves: “Whom shall I fear?” The Apostles went on to spread the Gospel in spite of the danger of death and the Church exists after more than 2000 years in spite of everything.

To be continued…

The Crucifixion: Excerpt from Daybreak

Ahead of Him stood a rocky hill. Three tall wooden posts set into the ground awaited the arrival of Yeshua and the other men to be crucified that afternoon. The two criminals were already near the site of the upright beams. Yeshua was struggling at the bottom of the hill. We saw Him collapse and fall a third time. How could He possibly ascend the slope to Golgotha?

The guards had no compassion for Him. One of them pulled Him to His feet. Simon of Cyrene assumed His position under the beam. Together they came to the summit. The others were already being nailed to their crossbeams. Several Roman soldiers took hold of Yeshua and stripped Him of His garments. Wounds inflicted from the flogging and crowning of thorns left no sound spot on Him.

“They are the cruelest of all Roman soldiers, chosen for their lack of sympathy and absence of conscience,” Columba said, suddenly appearing at my side. “They find pleasure in their grim job of crucifixion and are even despised by the other soldiers.”

“I am thankful for your presence, my friend,” I said.

The sound of the hammer and groans of Yeshua did not disturb most of the Jews who watched. Nicodemus and Joseph stood by themselves away from the rest.

“See, His mother is with John. He is the only one present of the twelve Apostles,” a woman next to us said. The woman was one of those Yeshua stopped to talk with on the way to this wretched place.

His mother leaned on John and her body shook with sobbing. Again I thought of my mother. She could not have borne seeing this, although she may have stood it better than my father. There were a number of women who stayed observing Yeshua even now. They understood His mother’s pain better than any of us.

The executioners raised His body attached to the crossbeam by nails through His hands and wrists. They lifted the beam with Yeshua, securing it to the vertical piece. With His feet placed to one side, they nailed them together onto the upright beam. I felt the pain in my own limbs and my head ached.

Holy Thursday: Excerpt from Daybreak

We sat quietly for a moment before Josephus spoke.“We should probably be on our way to the Temple. I am glad for our gathering tonight. It should be a blessed, joyful Passover,” he said, taking his cloak off a hook and the lantern from a shelf.

There were many people walking from all directions, as we came near the gate of the Temple. Some of them led lambs they had purchased on the way, but most knew how strict the inspection of the animals was, and how few lambs would be found without blemish if purchased outside the courts. We knew the ways of the Temple authorities and realized there was nothing to do but buy our lamb on the premises.

After the purchase, we waited in line for our lamb to be inspected and slaughtered. Next, we stood in another line waiting for the meat to be roasted in one of the ovens on the Mount. After several hours holding the prepared meat, the signal came at sunset allowing everyone to be on their way. At last we joined the others leaving the Mount.

“Josephus, this stream of Jews carrying their lambs and holding lighted lanterns, reminds me of the procession we made toward the Temple on the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover brought freedom to our people and all our feast days remind us, the Lord was and is with us,” I said as we walked.

“And His Son is physically with us on this Passover,” Josephus said. “I’ve heard people talking, wondering if He will come to the Temple. Perhaps one of His followers is among us tonight carrying a roasted lamb for the Messiah’s Passover meal.”

A Rainy Afternoon with Thomas Sollew

One raining Sunday in October 2020 as the Black lives matter was wreaking havoc in Seattle I sat at the computer amazed at the scenes before me. It Made no sense. At some point I came upon a video of an interview with Thomas Sowell and remembered reading about him a couple of years before.

In searching the internet I found he was born in 1930 in North Carolina when the Great Depression was in its early stages. His father died before he was born and his mother died a few years later. When he was eight, he went to live with his great aunt and her adult children in Harlem, NYC. They were not well educated but he credited them saying they cared about him and he was fortunate to live with them..

He had a friend named Eddie Mapp whose family was well educated and they encouraged Eddie to mentor Thomas. He brought Tommy to the public library and taught him how to use it. Sowell said of this friendship that, “If I had not encountered him the entire rest of the story would not have been the way it was.” Eddie also informed Thomas that he could choose to enter another better junior high than the one assigned to him.

You may wonder why I kept this post as a draft for so long after writing the short opening paragraph. It was because I devoured so many of his video interviews and articles written by him, it overwhelmed me. His approach as an intellectual was unhampered by going along with the general intelligentsia; his discernment of actual facts in all he did and the ability to explain his conclusions to the general public was just too much to include in a blog.

I have decided to introduce you to this prolific writer, economist, philosopher, historian, photographer, etc and let you explore, perhaps more about Thomas Sowell than I have. You may begin with the following interview and commentary, a 57 min. video about his life and work: Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World and also, a Naples Times article written by Sowell: Closing One Door Opening Another for Christian Conservatives.

Note: Sowell does not claim to be a Christian (but sounds like one) and he is black in color and belongs to the Human Race. He believes the greatest path for black people is educating them well not in public schools but in private, charter. religious schools of parental choice. He is entertaining, honest, unafraid to express his own deductions, and probably a genius!