Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I've never made New Year's Resolutions before. I want to put them in writing somewhere. I'm not sure why this has taken me 30 years but here goes ( in no particular order):

  • Finally reach 1,000 posts on this blog (a little over a hundred to go)
  • Read the books I have that I have never gotten around to reading
  • Go to confession more regularly
  • Go to Vespers more regularly
  • Find a way to become less angry

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feast of Stephen

I find it interesting that the day after we celebrate Jesus' birth, we commemorate the protomartyr St Stephen. I don't think its a coincidence. The day after we celebrate the divine baby, Jesus, coming into the world we remember and celebrate St Stephen's birth into Heaven.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nativity of Our Lord

An auto-post set back in January:

Wouldst that Thou should condescend
Born to bear all my sins upon the cross
Born that my separation from You should mend

A Baby Boy born to a carpenter and his wife
No visible sign that He is both God and man
No sign that this Child's flesh and blood are life

He was born to preach forgiveness and repentance to our race
He was born to die upon the cross, our sins' propitiation
He gave the fruit of the Tree of Life, that mystery of great grace

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes 21DEC2012

1.Woo hoo! Christmas is just a few days away!

2. The sign of the cross explained in OT and NT


4.I LOVE the Divine Liturgy for Christmas! Too bad its a vigil liturgy and Princess will be very cranky by the time its over.

5. If you are reading this the world is apparently still here.

6. Princess is sick with a cold. Its not a big deal, but her mom is one that worries about every little scratch and ailment that afflicts her little one. She seems about ready to take her to the doctor. Its rather tedious.

7. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Monday, December 17, 2012


Snowflake glistening in the sun
Herald that winter has come
Sparkling speck falling from afar
Up close a beautiful, unique star

Brilliant white falling on a world still green
The first each year is unlike any before seen
Each year's first falling snowflake
Fleeting beauty of His make

Snowflake glittering in the moonlight
Frosty beauty of this night
Once this falling star lands aground
The lacy spark is never found

The winter's first snowflake
First this year of God's make
Its wondrous beauty does reflect
The glory of His creative effect

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East Gate

Jacob's ladder in human form
A crown of stars, her head adorns
The burning bush prefigured her
She gave her flesh to the Savior
More honorable than the Seraphim
And more glorious beyond compare than the Cherubim,
She is truly Theotokos
We magnify her who magnifies Him

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Work in progress

Many can see no good beyond this life
Unable to see beyond their current strife
Politics quickly become their creed
A faith based on worldly deed

To political ideals have many become a slave
Trust not in princes, who have no power to save
Dulce et decorum est pro Deo mori
Worse to live as a slave than to die for His glory

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes 14DEC2012

1. I have a job interview today. Please say a prayer for me.

2. Hands down, my favorite Christmas song of all time is O Come O Come Emmanuel.

3. This post makes 884 on this blog. I had a goal of 1,000 posts on this blog by the end of the year, but that appears to have fallen through. I just don't seem to have the time/inspiration of other people to post 3 or 4 times a day.

4. Somehow I still need to get presents for my parents and brother and get them sent across the country before Christmas. It'll work out somehow.

5. My favorite image thus far from Catholic Memes.
Devil Went Down To Georgia

6. "O God and Lord of the Powers, and Maker of all creation, Who, because of Thy clemency and incomparable mercy, didst send Thine Only-Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and with His venerable Cross didst tear asunder the record of our sins, and thereby didst conquer the rulers and powers of darkness; receive from us sinful people, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication, and deliver us from every destructive and gloomy transgression, and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure us. Nail down our flesh with fear of Thee, and let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but pierce our souls with Thy love, that ever contemplating Thee, being enlightened by Thee, and discerning Thee, the unapproachable and everlasting Light, we may unceasingly render confession and gratitude to Thee: The eternal Father, with Thine Only-Begotten Son, and with Thine All-Holy, Gracious, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen." -- prayer from Saint Basil the Great

7. "And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints." -- Romans 8:28

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Ordinariate Deanery in Canada

The Holy See has approved the establishment of a deanery in Canada that will minister to groups of Anglicans and Anglican clergy in Canada who come into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the Ordinary, or head, of the Ordinariate, which is based in Houston, TX, and Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, the ecclesiastical delegate for the Ordinariate in Canada, jointly announced the news on Friday. 
read more

There are apparently only three Anglican Ordinariate communities in all of Canada. I wonder what's different in Canada that more Anglicans didn't choose to join the Ordinariate?

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7 Quick Takes 07DEC2012

1. Catholic Memes is going strong, but I can't remember the last time LOLSaints had a new post. Its too bad LOLSaints was my favorite Catholic humor blog for quite a while. I also like that they didn't just post the meme, they also explained it and taught about the faith.

2. My neighbors across the street have set up their Christmas lights again. Its quite festive and the nativity scene is very prominent. I feel lazy since I haven't even gotten a Christmas tree or done any of my Christmas shopping. Heck, I even forgot to get an Advent calendar for my daughter.

3. Christmas is my second favorite holiday (Easter is my favorite) and it brings great joy to my heart that God deigned to become one of us and dwell among us. Not only that but He offers His human flesh and blood to us in the Eucharist, that most precious gift and intimate union of the faithful and God. Also, Christmas began the wonders that led to Easter! The Resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith and if not for Christmas there would be no body to resurrect.

4. Other reasons I like Christmas: Dr Who Christmas episodes, cooler weather, presents.

5. Life needs more guacamole.

6. Finals week next week. I can't wait for it to be over and go on Christmas break.

7. I had a random quote from Coneheads stuck in my head for the longest time: Narfle the garthok!

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Keep the Mass in Christmas

I think its important not just to keep a focus on Christ as the reason for the Christmas celebration, but to keep that celebration and worship of the incarnate God in its proper context, the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass/Divine Liturgy. After all, the "mas" in Christmas is a shortening of Mass. I've posted on this subject a twice before (2008, 2010), but it deserves repeating.
To keep from saying the same things again though I Googled "Keep the Mass in Christmas. The first result was a very poignant essay by a priest on the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit website. It was all very well written, but I think the following passage really got to the central point:
Christmas is not first of all a day, but a doing: it is the Eucharistic worship that Christians offer in honor of the birth of their Savior. For those who have linguistic curiosity, Christmas is not the only -mas in the English language: there is also Marymas (August 15), Candlemas (February 2), Michaelmas (September 29), Martinmas (November 11), and Allhallowmas (November 1).
But if we say “Keep the Mass in Christmas,” the point is this. Christmas isn't really Christ-mas without the Mass, without the Divine Liturgy. Christmas isn't Christmas if we don't make a point of coming together on the appointed day, with all the people of God, to observe the commandment that He gave, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Christmas isn't Christmas if we don't share the Eucharistic meal of His Body and Blood with one another in the Church. How is Christmas complete without receiving your most important gift?
Christ came to earth, not simply to be born in a lowly stable in Palestine, but to be born into the humble stable of the soul of each one of us. Through the sacraments He enters into our persons so that, as the Apostle Paul says, Christ is formed in you; and with Christ in you, you have the hope of glory.
Keep the Mass in your Christmas! Of course you should get together with family and friends. Of course you should open your presents around the tree. Of course you should enjoy your eggnog and mulled wine and ham and turkey and roast beast.
But don't forget the Mass! Don't skip the Liturgy! Don't leave out Holy Communion. If you do so, you are missing the real Christmas altogether. Come to church and worship the newborn King in the way that he Himself commands, by eating His Body and drinking His Blood. Keep the “Mass” in Christmas, and you will never lose “Christ” from your Christmas either.
Without the Eucharist the Christian celebration and worship fall short. I feel sad for our Protestant brothers and sisters who do not have this most precious Gift for the nourishment and salvation of our souls.
How much more of a personal relationship can you have with God than to receive Him, the Lover of mankind, physically and spiritually into your body and soul in the Eucharist? You are what you eat after all. We unite ourselves to Christ Jesus in the Eucharist and all the faithful through him.
Song of Songs describes our Creator seeking after us like a lover and in the Flesh and Blood He offers to us in the Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood that came into the world on Christmas Day, He consummates that love for mankind.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Nativity prefigures the Mass/Divine Liturgy?

I saw this picture and it got my mind going about connections between the Mass/Divine Liturgy and the Nativity of Christ:
Wake Up and Smell the Incense

I thought about incense brought to the Christ Child and that made a connection in my mind with the fact that a manger is where you place animal feed, which made me remember that Jesus in the manger prefigures the Eucharist. I thought about it, incense and Eucharist, and then it came to me that in the Mass and the Divine Liturgy one worships with the angels in Heaven. The shepherds worshiped alongside the angels as they adored God made flesh in the manger.
I know the first Divine Liturgy was on the road to Emmaus. It couldn't be the Nativity after all because there was no Eucharist before the sacrifice on the cross. However, it seems to me that the Nativity is a prefiguring of the Mass and the Divine Liturgy.

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Sunday Snippets 02DEC2012

I only had two posts this week:
Saints and Scripture Christ the King
7 Quick Takes

Check out the other Sunday Snippets at This That and the Other Thing

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes 30NOV12

1. Today is the commemoration of St Andrew the Apostle.

2. So far I've posted 40 reasons I like our local Melkite parish (1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40). I think I'll post another ten and leave it be.

3. Going to see Beauty and the Beast play tomorrow with Princess. I'm not sure how well she'll sit through it.

4. I found out about Ora et Labora et Zombies. I'm ordering the first few parts of the series and I'll let everyone know how that goes.

5. Go on and prosper! You are renowned throughout the whole world; Catholics revere and look up to you as the restorer of the ancient faith, and— which is a token of yet more illustrious glory — all heretics abhor you. (St Jerome in a letter to St. Augustine) source

6. It's an Orthodox vocations poster, but it's still awesome.

 7. O Jesus, our Good Shepherd, bless all our parishes with numerous priests, deacons, monks and nuns according to the needs of the entire world which You love and wish to save.
We especially entrust our Melkite Church to You. Grant us the spirit of the first Christian faithful so that we may be a cenacle of prayer in loving acceptance of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.
Guide the steps of those who have responded generously to Your call and are preparing to receive holy orders or to profess the evangelical counsels.
Look with love on so many well-disposed young people and call them to follow You. Help them to understand that in You alone can they attain complete fulfillment.
To this end, we call on the intercession of the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, mother and model of all vocations. We beseech You to sustain our faith with the certainty that the Father will grant what You have commanded us to ask. Amen.
Borrowed from here

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saints and Scripture Christ the King

"But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.  The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.  Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this
day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also."
1Samuel 8:6-8

Today is the feast of Christ the King. Jesus Christ is king not only due to His divinity but He chose to become the stepson of Joseph a descendant of David, the ancient King of Israel.

As Zacharias so eloquently put it:
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—" Luke 1:68-69 (emphasis mine)

He chose to become a descendant of David and in so doing God again became King of Israel. Jesus Christ is our Heavenly King and the King of His Chosen People again.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, November 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes 23NOV12

1. Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone! Has anyone ever wondered why summer sausages are only sold in the winter?

2. Its been a great week. My princess had the week off from school, her Mom had to work most of the week, and I had the week off from college so I got to spend every day this week except Wednesday and Thursday with her.

3. Maybe tomorrow I can get caught up on my readings for grad school.

4. I really like the troparion for the entrance of the Theotokos into the temple: Today is the prelude of the benevolence of God, and the announcement of the salvation of men. In the Temple of God the Virgin is seen openly, foretelling to all the coming of Christ. Wherefore let us cry to her in a loud voice, "Hail! O fulfillment of the Creator's plan!"

5. Our parish will have a new priest in January. We've been without our own priest for about a year and a half. Thankfully, our parish priest only moved as far as Atlanta and there is a Ukrainian Catholic priest in town and one of them has been around most Sundays to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

6. This video is one of my favorite Christmas stories:

7.A thanksgiving prayer from St Basil:
We bless Thee, O most high God and Lord of mercy, Who art ever doing numberless great and inscrutable things for us––glorious and wonderful; Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities, and repose from the burdens of or much toiling flesh.  We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our sins, but hast loved us forever; and though we are sunk in despair, Thou hast raised us up to glorify thy power.  Therefore, we implore Thine incomparable goodness: enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our mid from the heavy sleep of indolence; open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise, that we may be able––without distraction––to sing and confess Thee, Who are God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, with Thine Only-begotten Son, and thine All-Holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so much to thank God for!
I hope this day finds all of you well and safe.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Here's an interesting thought...

I was looking though my news feed and saw an article from EWTN called Family is the First Seminary.
From the article:
"...Archbishop Gomez encouraged his parishioners to use daily family prayer to pray for priests and seminarians, thus teaching their children the beauty and value of the ordained priesthood...
'We need to help our children develop habits of prayer and meditation. And this begins by simply getting them to be comfortable without distractions, so they can listen to the silent voice of God in their hearts.'
'So maybe in this Year of Faith, we can ask our children to make some time each day to turn off their smart phones and their electronic games and devices. To just be quiet with God.'"

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Things I like about our local Melkite parish 4

 31. Children receive the Eucharist from the time of their baptism. As it was explained to me, we feed our children before they can understand nutrition so in the same way we nourish our children body and soul with the Eucharist before they can understand it.
32. Melkite Patriarchate is Petrine. Patriarch of the Melkites is the Patriarch of Antioch and the first Bishop of Antioch was St Peter before he went on to Rome.
33. A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise. I'm not sure exactly what this means, but I really like hearing it every Sunday.
34. Magnificat. Mary's canticle after the Annunciation is sung every Sunday during Orthros right before the Divine Liturgy. The cantor sings two or three lines of it at a time and the people sing the refrain in between: "More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, you, who without stain, did bear God the Word. You are truly Theotokos. We magnify you." I like that last sentence since the beginning of the Magnificat is Mary declaring that her soul magnifies the Lord. We magnify her who in turn magnifies the Lord.
35. Womb more spacious than the heavens. Mary's womb is sung as more spacious than the heavens because unlike the heavens it contained God within. I forget exactly when we sang this hymn but it is so amazing how much there is to reflect upon in its words (As compared to songs in Latin Rite churches like King of Glory, et al.). The emphasis is mine.
All of Creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
the angels in heaven and the race of men,
O sanctified temple and noetic paradise,
the glory of virgins, of whom God was incarnate
and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made thy body into a throne,
and thy womb more spacious than the heavens.

All of creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
Glory be to thee.
36. No holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. I'm not really sure why I don't like the holding of hands during this prayer, I just know that I don't like it and I much prefer that we hold our hands in the orans position.
37. Celebrating the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. I love this celebration of Mary going to the Temple. From the kontakion:
The most pure Temple of our holy Savior, and the most precious and bright bridal chamber, the Virgin, sacred treasury of the glory of God, openly appears today in the Temple of the Lord, bringing with her the grace of the Most Holy Spirit. Wherefore, the angels are singing: This is the heavenly Tabernacle!
38. Advent is a time of fasting. I've been told that Advent used to be a time of fasting in the Latin Church. I wonder why it still isn't? All the other major feast days have fasts leading up to them.
39. Troparions and Kontakions. We sing these songs which are specific to the feast, commemoration, and/or liturgical season instead of the same 10-15 songs that the choir chooses to sing from. It adds so much to the comtemplative nature of the Divine Liturgy and the catechesis of the people when the songs are all about the same thing as the readings, instead of just the same songs that the choir likes to sing from.
40. John the Forerunner. John, commonly referred to as John the Baptist, is called John the Forerunner. I like this change of perspective.

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Today is the entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Today is the day that we commemorate Joachim and Anne taking Mary to the Temple in Jerusalem. I love the idea that the Theotokos as a little girl went to the Temple. After all, the Temple held the Holy of Holies where God dwelled on Earth and she would in short order become the tabernacle that would hold the Godhead within her.
Unfortunately, we didn't have a priest in town to celebrate the Divine Liturgy but we had Great Vespers and a potluck dinner.
I really like the readings last night:
Exodus 40:1-5, 9, 16, 34-35
I Kings 8:1, 3-7, 9-11
Ezekiel 43:27-44:4 (I wrote a post about this prophecy before)
I found a great post about this great event here.
Here are a couple of icons depicting the event:


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Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes 16NOV

1. No one got that Saint Quiz XVIII was St John Chrysostom. Saint Quiz XIX is now up. Can anyone guess this great musical saint?

2. I'm picking up my daughter today from Pre-K. I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time with her these next several days. Her mom is working and as a grad student I have this time off to spend with my princess. This is the two of us from a few years ago:

3. I found out Thursday night that my university offers a gifted endorsement for my Masters of Arts in Teaching program. That would be spectacular to put on a resume. It could sure use the boost. I don't have any background in teaching before the beginning of this semester.

4. Maybe this coming week I can take Princess to Georgia Southern's museum. She LOVES dinosaur fossils and they have some. She went into overload when I took her to the Smithsonian Natural Science Museum!

5. I'm also looking forward to an opportunity sometime this week (probably Thanksgiving Day) to finally see Skyfall, the new James Bond movie.

6. I saw this passage and reflected on how important it is to pray for the cities and governments where we live: "And seek the peace of the city, to which I have caused you to be carried away captives; and pray to the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall be your peace." Jeremiah 29:7

7. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man!

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Saint Quiz XIX

Who can name this musical saint?

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, November 02, 2012

7 Quick Takes 02NOV2012

1. Today is All Souls Day. I found out recently that the equivalent in the Byzantine Churches is Saturday of the Dead.

2. No one has figured out my latest Saint Quiz yet. Hint: He's one of the Eastern Doctors of the Church.

3. I used to go to a Young Adult Ministry in town. I'm thinking about going again. Is 30 too old for that?

4.The eparchy told me that to change my rite of ascription I had to be in a Melkite parish for 3 years. Its now been 2 1/2 this month.

5. My daughter is 4 and when she asked why we go to church on Sunday instead of some other day I explained that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. I don't think she really understands, but she parrots that idea every Sunday.

6. I forgot where I found this ridiculous image but its so amusing! Reagan was old...
Although honestly I think Teddy Roosevelt would have been a much better velociraptor rider.

7. My favorite of the Resurrection Troparia: “Let us, O Faithful, praise and worship the Word coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For He has willed to be lifted in the flesh upon the Cross, and to endure death, and to raised the dead by his glorious Resurrection.”

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We're all tired of hearing about the election, Abby

I don't normally like posting anything political, but this video is to great to pass up.
Abby is crying because she's tired of "Bronco Bama" and Mitt Romney.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saints and Scripture Rider and Two Youths

"But the spirit of the almighty God gave a great evidence of his presence, so that all that had presumed to obey him, falling down by the power of God, were struck with fainting and dread.
For there appeared to them a horse with a terrible rider upon him, adorned with a very rich covering: and he ran fiercely and struck Heliodorus with his fore feet, and he that sat upon him seemed to have armour of gold. Moreover there appeared two other young men beautiful and strong, bright and glorious, and in comely apparel: who stood by him, on either side, and scourged him without ceasing with many stripes.
Arid Heliodorus suddenly fell to the ground, and they took him up covered with great darkness, and having put him into a litter they carried him out."
I have nothing insightful this week, just that this passage from 2 Maccabees is an OT revelation of the Holy Trinity and a fascinating story. Heliodorus had come to take away the treasures of the temple and for his trouble the Rider and Two Young Men appeared and beat him to within an inch of his life. The only thing that saved him was the prayers of the Jewish high priest.

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Sunday Snippets 28OCT12

Its been a while since I've done Sunday Snippets. Life has been hectic. Hopefully, that will change soon but I doubt it. I didn't post much this week, but I am trying to do about 140 more posts by the end of the years so I'll have 1,000 total posts.
This week I took part in 7 Quick Takes, asked a silly question, and posted Saint Quiz XVIII.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saint Quiz XVIII

Who can guess the name of this enthroned saint? 

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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