Monday, July 16, 2018. Have a blessed day on this Feast of Our Lady!
Bible, bless, blessing, Christ, Christian, Church, Colossians 3:14-15, enemies, enemy, Family, forgive, forgiveness, God, grateful, gratitude, Hate, Home, Love, Luke 6:28, Luke 6:35, obligation, pray, Prayer, providence, Psalms 139:23-24, Romans 5:8, thankful, Thanksgiving
By Brad Russell
Original Publication date: November 16, 2015
3 Prayers to Pray for Those Whom You are Not Thankful
When I was a teenager, my mother decided to try to start a new tradition at Thanksgiving. She made us all take kernels of corn and she passed around a bowl. We each placed the kernels in the bowl while telling “something or someone we were thankful for.”
Needless to say, as a brat of a teenager, I thought this was cheesy. Now, as a parent of two young girls, my wife and I constantly struggle to find ways to draw our children to moments of thankfulness when we find them constantly whining or complaining. We have to remind them of all the blessings of the Lord: our family, our church family, our home, God’s provision.
We struggle to remember even the most obvious of blessings in our lives. But I wonder… are we strategically and sufficiently teaching our children (and ourselves) to thank God for the difficulties, and even more so, the difficult people in our lives?
You know the type of people I mean: the ungrateful; the users; the selfish; the annoying; the complainers; the people who have hurt you; the people who have hurt those you love; the ones that are difficult to forgive; the people who never have a positive thing to say. They are the people about whom we complain, the people we often avoid, and definitely the people with whom we wouldn’t want to share a Thanksgiving meal. We all have those people in our lives that we are not thankful for. (By the way, if you don’t have a person like that in your life, it could be that you are that person for other people…just a thought.)
How should you pray for these people? How can you show gratefulness to God for His grace shown through these people? How can you be obedient to Jesus’ words in Luke 6:28 and “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”?
How can you pray for those for whom you are not thankful this Thanksgiving?
Here are three prayers you can pray this Thanksgiving and every day:
1. But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8
Thank God that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you. Remind yourself of the good news of the Gospel this Thanksgiving. The mercy that was shown to you is the mercy you are called to show to your enemies.
As Jesus said in Luke 6:35, when you love your enemies, you “will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
Praise God for loving you when you were (and are) ungrateful. Praise God that when you were evil, He set His love on you. Praise God that those people for whom you are not thankful are a perfect reminder of the mercy shown to you by an infinitely loving God.
2. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! –Psalms 139:23-24
Thank God that only He can change the hearts of difficult people. And then pray that He would start with your heart. The truth is, we can all be a difficult, selfish, complaining wretch. What often annoys you about others is a vice you struggle with. How often do you find yourself complaining? How often are you quick to speak and slow to listen? How often do you have to be “right” as opposed to loving? Praise God for difficult people who often expose your own sin and weakness. And praise God that He is faithful to forgive and transform those who trust Him and submit to Him.
Now that you have examined your own heart and exposed your heart to the cutting and healing work of the Holy Spirit, you are ready to pray for God to expose the hearts and motives of those difficult people. You are now ready to pray for the supernatural work of God to change them.
3. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. -Colossians 3:14-15
Thank God that these people are being used to make you more and more like Jesus.
Difficult people are used by God to produce patience. Difficult people are used by God to take you to the end of your own strength; to take you to your need for supernatural love, patience, and forbearance.
And, according to Colossians 3, the supernatural patience, love, and forbearance that comes from the Holy Spirit can and will produce peace, joy, and thankfulness.
The more God uses people to produce patience, love, joy, and peace in you, the more grace you will experience as He makes you more and more like Jesus. Praise God that these difficult people are part of God’s plan to bring you peace and joy.
This Thanksgiving consider starting a new tradition. Bring the most difficult people in your life before the Father. You and your family will always have to deal with difficult people. Embrace the work of God being done in your own hearts through them. And then, by God’s love, mercy, and grace produced in you, find ways to embrace them in prayer and service. Those difficult people may just be the greatest hidden blessings of God in your life.
Brad Russell is the husband of Jo Anny, father to Chesed and Charisa, and is Lead Pastor of Old Powhatan Baptist Church in Powhatan, VA. He has served in rural, suburban, urban, and overseas ministry settings for over two decades. He blogs at pastorbradrussell.com. You can also find him on Twitter @pastorbradopbc.
9 November 2016 – 13:59 GRAHAM PHILLIPS
On October 25th this year, the Vatican released a document that had remained in its secret archives for seven hundred years. It is the report of the official Church investigation into the activities of the Knights Templar in the early fourteenth century.
In October 1306, these crusader knights were found guilty of idolatry, blasphemy, and heresy, and their order was dissolved. Some were burned at the stake, others imprisoned, and most were stripped of their assets.
Astonishingly, this extraordinary document reveals how the Vatican enquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing. It was the Pope himself, Clement V, who directly intervened and declared the Templars heretics. The report appears to show that the pontiff was after their wealth, said to include priceless treasures once housed in the temple of Jerusalem and lost when the city was sacked in ancient times.
But despite the arrest and torture of leading Templars, and the wholesale seizure of their lands, nothing of this fabled hoard was ever found. Most historians doubt the existence of the Templar treasure.
However, my research suggests that one of the ancient relics they are said to have possessed may have been hidden in central Britain.
In the heart of England, close to Stratford-upon-Avon, famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is the village of Temple Herdewyke, named after the Templars who once resided there. After the Third Crusade in the late twelfth century, these Templars returned from the Holy Land to build a chapel to house certain holy relics they claimed to have found. Many crusaders came home with items purportedly associated with early Judaism and Christianity, and with characters and events in the Bible, but the Temple Herdewyke knights are said to have discovered the most famous biblical artifact of all: the Ark of the Covenant. At least, according to local legend!
They certainly claimed to have found what appear to have been considered hallowed relics at the time.
Contemporary records of land and property holdings reveal that in 1192 the chapel housed certain objets sacrés – “sacred objects” – which the Templars had acquired in the Holy Land, including a large golden chest. This is exactly what the Ark of the Covenant was said to be.
According to the Old Testament, it was a large golden box, made to contain the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, lost when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 587 BC.
Although the Templars were rounded up in 1306, some evaded capture. Six hundred years later, a British historian suggested that they managed to survive in secret at Temple Herdewyke until 1350, when they were wiped out by the Black Death.
Jacob Cove-Jones, who lived in the area, not only believed they possessed the lost Ark, he also claimed to have discovered its secret hiding place. Having fallen out with fellow scholars for ridiculing his work, Cove-Jones refused to reveal his findings.
He intended to carry out an excavation of his own, but sadly it never transpired. In 1906 he contracted tuberculosis and decided to take his secret to the grave. Well, almost! Knowing he had only a short time to live, the eccentric historian left behind a bizarre epitaph. He designed a stained-glass window that he commissioned to be made and installed in a new church that was being built close to his home in the village of Langley.
Astonishingly, on his deathbed he announced that the window contained a series of clues to lead to where he was sure the Ark was hidden.
Most dismissed him as a crank, while others who attempted to crack the code gave up without success. I personally remain to be convinced that this Victorian scholar really did know where the Ark was hidden or, for that matter, whether the Templars ever discovered the Ark at all.
Nevertheless, Jacob Cove-Jones certainly seems to have believed it, and went to a great deal of trouble to leave his cryptic message. It was, I decided, likely that the window did hold clues to lead to something; if that was actually the lost Ark remains to be seen. It was certainly worth investigating this century-old Edwardian mystery.
Clues in the Epiphany Window
Completed in 1906, the year Cove Jones’s died, Langley chapel is one of the smallest churches in England, and the window in question is set into a side wall. Called the Epiphany Window, it depicts the three Wise Men visiting the baby Jesus on Epiphany, the twelfth night of Christmas between January 5 and 6. Matthew’s Gospel relates how three mystics from the East followed a miraculous star that led them to Bethlehem where Christ was born. According to Christian tradition, the Wise Men ultimately found Jesus when a rooster uncharacteristically crowed at midnight on top of the building where the child slept. The window scene shows the Wise Men holding their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, praising the baby held in his mother’s arms, while above them is the crowing rooster and the wondrous star.
Strangely, the stained-glass window did not depict the Ark. Why the Nativity, I wondered? The Wise Men were said to have found the baby Jesus by following a star. Might a star be Jacob Cove-Jones’s vital clue? Was the seeker being told to follow a star?
The Ark of the Covenant is indeed associated with stars: two of them, to be precise. The Bible describes the Ark as having figurines of two angels on its lid. They were said to depict the archangels Michael and Gabriel that, according to Hebrew tradition, were represented in the sky by the stars Benetnash and Mizar, the tail stars of what we now called the Big Dipper.
The stained-glass window did in fact appear to show two stars, one overlaid on the other, and right next to this design were the letters B and M, the very initials of these stars. If these celestial bodies were to somehow indicate the location of the hidden Ark, I needed to know both when and from where to observe them.
Does the Pheonix Point the Way?
The specific day, I decided, was revealed by the event portrayed in the window: Epiphany, on the twelfth night of Christmas. And the precise time was revealed by the rooster next to the star. It is said to have crowed at midnight. The location, it seemed, was indicated by two pertinent images in the scene. Between the letters B and M was depicted the fire bird, the phoenix, rising from the flames, and on top of a hill overlooking Temple Herdewyke there is a peculiar round tower called the Phoenix Beacon.
The central image in the Epiphany Window and the Phoenix Beacon it appears to represent. (Photography © by Graham Phillips)
In fact, the central image in the stained-glass window bears a striking resemblance to the tower, with its distinctive conical roof and castellated walls. It is represented as a container held by one of the figures, and upon it was another depiction of the phoenix, and the Latin words, “come and adore.” I was certain that Cove-Jones intended his seeker to observe the stars at 12 p.m. on Epiphany night, from the position of the tower. At that exact time, the two stars are low in the sky and, when viewed from the Phoenix Beacon, are pointing almost directly downwards to the foot of a hill on the horizon, specifically to a little village called Chapel Green.
Chapel Green is named after a medieval chapel that once stood there, but all that remains today is a Victorian drinking fountain standing beside the road. Dating from Cove-Jones’s time, it is a red-brick, rectangular structure, inlaid with an arched niche. It closely resembles a red-brick arch depicted in the window scene, right below the star design.
Convinced that this was exactly where the clues in the Epiphany Window were intended to lead, I organized a geophysics survey of the area, but although we discovered evidence of the original chapel, nothing made of gold or resembling the Ark appeared to be there.
Tragically, in 1949 the lane was widened and the ruins of the centuries-old chapel were destroyed. Perhaps the workmen involved had dug up whatever was there to be found. If it was the lost Ark, they kept it quiet.
At present, I am trying to discover who the workmen were, so I can trace their living relatives. Maybe – just maybe – someone in central England still knows the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. The vessel famously described by Indiana Jones as “a radio for talking to God.”
A fuller account of this investigation can be found on Graham Phillips’ website: http://www.grahamphillips.net/ark/ark1.html
And in his book The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant.
Top Image: The Ark of the Covenant, as described in the Bible. (Picture from the cover of The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant by Graham Phillips, published by Inner Traditions • Bear & Company)
By Graham Phillips
* David Willey, 2007. “Vatican archive yields Templar secrets” BBC.co.uk [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7044741.stm
* David Van Biema, 2007. “The Vatican and the Knights Templar” TIME.com [Online] Available at: http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1674980,00.html
* Peter Popham, 2007. “How the Vatican destroyed the Knights Templar” Independent.co.uk [Online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/how-the-vatican-destroyed-the-knights-templar-395360.html
* Malcolm Moore, 2007. “Vatican paper set to clear Knights Templar” Telegraph.co.uk [Online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1565252/Vatican-paper-set-to-clear-Knights-Templar.html
Aleppo, Angel, Annunciation, Aramaic, Bethlehem, Bible, c. 1500s, carol, cherry, Christ, Christianity, Christmas, Church, Crusades, England, English Midlands, faith, Family, God, Gospel, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, History, Holy Land, hymn, Infancy Gospel of James, Jerusalem, Jesus, Joseph, literature, liturgy, Luke 2:4–5:, Mary, Matthew 1:20, Medieval, Middle East, Mystery Plays, Nativity, Sura 19.22–25, Syriac, tree
Mary Joan Winn Leith • 10/11/2016
JOSEPH was an old man,
And an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary
In the land of Galilee.
Joseph and Mary walk’d
Through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries
So red as any blood.
O then bespoke Mary,
So meek and so mild,
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
For I am with child.’
O then bespoke Joseph
With words so unkind,
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
That brought thee with child.’
Then bow’d down the highest tree
Unto our Lady’s hand:
Then she said, ‘See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command!’
‘O eat your cherries, Mary,
O eat your cherries now;
O eat your cherries, Mary,
That grow upon the bough.’
—The Cherry Tree Carol (c. 1500)
Ever since I first discovered it in college, the “Cherry Tree Carol” has been one of my favorites. Its surprisingly risqué story line shines an unexpected light on the familiar Christmas Journey to Bethlehem from Luke 2:4–5: Joseph walking alongside the donkey and Mary, very pregnant, perched on its back. Creatively building on gospel narrative, the song fills in the gaps of the brief Nativity stories in Matthew and Luke. How endearing and wholly human, that Joseph might have had trouble fully coming to terms with his wife’s mysterious pregnancy despite the angel’s reassurances (“…do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”) in Matthew 1:20! Mary and Joseph in the cherry orchard recalls, of course, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There, trouble with fruit led to big trouble for humanity, trouble that the baby in Mary’s womb will set right. In this somewhat feminist counter-story, a man is put in his place by a woman—with God’s full cooperation!
Mosaic of the Journey to Bethlehem from the Chora Church in Istanbul.
A visit to YouTube will yield an assortment of lovely performances, including a version discovered in Appalachia. While the Cherry Tree Carol blooms in cyberspace, however, its roots go deep and wide: from medieval England back to the 12th-century Crusader kingdoms and ultimately to early Christian communities of the Middle East who worshipped in Syriac, a liturgical (religious) form of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Adherents of Syriac Christianity include a range of different denominations, but they have lived in the Middle East for 2,000 years. Today, facing the twin threats of ISIS and the Syrian civil war, the future of these ancient communities is in doubt. The beleaguered Syrian city of Aleppo in particular (see the Google city map) is home to many churches, from Syriac-speaking to Evangelical, whose congregations may never recover. Syriac Christianity, in particular, has generally flown under the radar of mainstream scholarship, although this is beginning to change. It now appears that the Cherry Tree Carol’s distinctive take on Joseph’s outspokenness at Mary’s pregnancy can be traced back to a unique feature of Syriac liturgy, one still operative in churches (if they survive) today, the dialogue hymn.
Churches in Aleppo, Syria
Like many carols, the “original” version of the Cherry Tree Carol comes from the Middle Ages. It appears in a set of Bible-based “Mystery Plays,” known today as the “N-Town Plays,” that were performed in the English Midlands around 1500. The Middle Ages may be the quintessential Christmas setting (yule logs, holly and ivy, wassailing!), but the inspiration for the magical fruit tree and Joseph’s bitterness is even older. Scholars generally identify the carol’s prototype in a ninth-century bestseller, the “Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew,” in which a date palm bows to Mary. This story, however, is set after Jesus is born, during the Flight to Egypt, and it is the infant Jesus who commands the tree to “bend thy branches and refresh my mother with thy fruit” when Mary grows faint. Variations on the miraculous fruit tree motif appear in a wide variety of sources, from Greek mythology to the Qur’an’s account of Mary and the birth of Jesus in Sura 19.22–25. On the other hand, nowhere in “Pseudo-Matthew” does Joseph utter a harsh word to Mary, not even when he finds Mary pregnant; Mary’s virgin companions, not Mary, face Joseph’s interrogation until the angel shows up to calm him down.
The most striking aspect of the Cherry Tree Carol is that Joseph is so disrespectful to the Virgin Mary. In the N-Town “Nativity” play, Joseph is quick to apologize, and the play passes on to its main subject, the birth of Jesus. Joseph’s bad attitude, however, is the sole topic of another N-Town play, “Joseph’s Doubt,” that was performed right after the “Annunciation” and before the “Nativity.” The play seems to have been popular; the two other leading medieval mystery play cycles, the York Mystery plays and the Wakefield Plays, also include versions. “Joseph’s Doubt” devotes 135 astonishing lines to back-and-forth between a distressed and angry Joseph and his increasingly anguished wife. Joseph’s scorn is unrelenting: “God’s child? You lie! God never played thus with a maiden! … All men will despise me and say, ‘Old cuckold,’ thy bow is bent.” Hearing of the angel’s visit to Mary, Joseph scoffs, “An angel? Alas for shame. You sin by blaming it on an angel … it was some boy began this game.” Helpless, Mary prays to God and the angel appears to set Joseph straight, at which point he apologizes abjectly, “I realize now I have acted amiss; I know I was never worthy to be your husband. I shall amend my ways and follow your example from now on, and serve you hand and foot.”
In the Bible, faced with Mary’s interesting condition, “Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). No histrionics here. Joseph is rather more upset in the second-century apocryphal “Infancy Gospel of James”: “[H]e smote his face, and cast himself down upon the ground on sackcloth and wept bitterly,” demanding of Mary, “‘Why have you done this? … Why have you humbled your soul?’ But she wept bitterly, saying, ‘I am pure and I know not a man.’”Around the fifth century, however, this story line expanded into a full-fledged drama in the form of a Syriac Christian dialogue hymn sung in church by twin choirs—one singing the part of Joseph; the other, Mary—as part of the Christmas liturgy. One published version runs to well over 100 lines of dialogue. Joseph’s words often recall the later medieval “Joseph’s Doubt” plays, but in this Syriac drama, Mary holds her own and does not falter. She even proves herself an adept Biblical scholar: “You have gone astray, Joseph; take and read for yourself in Isaiah it is written all about me, how a virgin shall bear fruit.”1
How did a Syriac drama find its way to the medieval English Midlands? The likely answer is with Crusaders returning from the Holy Land in the 12th and 13th centuries. During the Crusades, relations between Western (“Latin”) Christians and Middle Eastern Christians began badly. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, the Crusaders (the “Latins”) considered the indigenous Christians (Syriac and Orthodox) to be citizens of secondary status—no better in their eyes than Muslims or Jews. This view evolved as the Latins came to know the various indigenous Christian groups, particularly those from northern Syria whose leaders took care to make their interests known to the new rulers. Much productive interaction occurred between Latin, Orthodox (“Greek”) and Syriac Christians (with Muslims, too, but that is another story). Art historian Lucy-Ann Hunt has described the Crusaders’ growing “concern with language, rites, and customs” of the indigenous Christians and “sympathetic reception and transmission of eastern works of art.”2
How appropriate, since this is a Christmas blog, that some of the best evidence for cooperation between Crusaders and local Christians comes from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem! The Church was famously founded in the fourth century by Constantine and his mother Helena, but the existing wall mosaics and some of the barely visible column frescoes date to the 12th century. This is when the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenos forged an alliance with King Amalric of Jerusalem and sponsored a new decorative program in the Church of the Nativity. Interestingly, trilingual (Latin, Greek, Syriac) inscriptions in the church attest to both Byzantine-trained and local Christian artists. Furthermore, as Hunt notes, “While the Orthodox and Latin were the predominant communities, the ‘Monophysites’ [i.e., local Christians] were also represented at the Church of the Nativity.”3These days, Crusaders have a deservedly clouded reputation, but perhaps for one brief shining moment at Christmas in the Church of the Nativity they acquitted themselves as one would wish with open ears and hearts. I like to imagine “Latin” Crusaders hearing the Syriac Joseph and Mary dialogue performed at Christmas in the Church of the Nativity. Captivated by the hymn, they adopted and adapted it to become part of the developing English Mystery play tradition, a tradition we can thank for the Cherry Tree Carol.
Mary Joan Winn Leith is chair of the department of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. At Stonehill, she teaches courses on the Bible and the religion, history and culture of the Ancient Near East and Greece. In addition, she offers a popular course on the Virgin Mary. Leith is a regular Biblical Views columnist for Biblical Archaeology Review.
1. Sebastian Brock, “A Dialogue Between Joseph and Mary From the Christian Orient,” Logos: Cylchgrawn Diwinyddol Cymru (The Welsh Theological Review) 1.3 (1992), pp. 4–11.
2. Lucy-Ann Hunt, “Art and Colonialism: The Mosaics of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (1169) and the Problem of ‘Crusader Art,’” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 45 (1991), p. 72.
3. Hunt, “Art and Colonialism,” p. 77.
Sura 19, “Maryam”: Lines 22–34 include the palm tree episode.
What Does the Parable of the Talents Mean?
Looking at Matthew 25:14–30 with ancient eyes
Biblical Archaeology Society Staff • 09/26/2016
What does the Parable of the Talents mean? This woodcut from Historiae Celebriores Veteris Testamenti Iconibus Representatae—dated to 1712—depicts the Talents’ parable (Matthew 25:14–30). Two men bring the money that was entrusted to them back to their master, while a third man searches for his money outside.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents (or the Talents’ parable) to his disciples. It appears in Matthew 25:14–30, and another version of the parable can be found in Luke 19:11–27. The story in Matthew 25:14–30 unfolds as such: A man goes away on a trip. Before he leaves, he entrusts money to his slaves. To one he gives five talents, to the second he gives two talents, and to the third he gives a single talent. The first two slaves double their money; they give the original investment and their profit to their master when he returns. The third slave, however, buries his talent out in a field instead of trying to make a profit; he returns only this when his master comes back. The master is pleased with the first two slaves, but he is dissatisfied with the third’s actions. He reprimands this slave and casts him out into the darkness.
Richard L. Rohrbaugh examines the Parable of the Talents’ meaning in his Biblical Views column “Reading the Bible Through Ancient Eyes” in the September/October 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although the story itself is fairly straightforward, Rohrbaugh argues that the Parable of the Talents’ meaning is less clear. An ancient audience would have interpreted it differently than a modern one.
The Talents’ parable has typically been interpreted by the Western church as being about proper investment: Jesus’ disciples are urged to use their abilities and gifts to serve God—without reservation and without fear of taking risks. Rohrbaugh, however, argues that the Talents’ parable is all about exploitation. Whereas a modern, Western audience would applaud the first two slaves for trading and investing well, an ancient audience would have approved of the third slave’s behavior and condemned that of the first two slaves because they profited at the expense of others. Rohrbaugh explains:
[G]iven the “limited good” outlook of ancient Mediterranean cultures, seeking “more” was considered morally wrong. Because the pie was “limited” and already all distributed, anyone getting “more” meant someone else got less. Thus honorable people did not try to get more, and those who did were automatically considered thieves: To have gained, to have accumulated more than one started with, is to have taken the share of someone else. This interpretation of the Parable of the Talents’ meaning casts the actions of the first two slaves as shameful and that of the third slave as honorable.
The scenario played out in the Talents’ parable (Matthew 25:14–30)—of a master leaving his property in control of his slaves—was not uncommon. In the ancient world, greedy people who did not want to get accused of profiting at someone else’s expense, which was considered shameful, would delegate their business to slaves, who were held to a different standard. Rohrbaugh explains the ancients’ reasoning: “Shameful, even greedy, behavior could be condoned in slaves because slaves had no honor nor any expectation of it.”
Accordingly, in the Talents’ parable, the master leaves his money with his slaves in the hope that they will exploit the system and increase his riches. The first two slaves do just this, but the third “honorably refrains from taking anything that belongs to the share of another.”
This slave also does not invest his money at the bank, through which he would have earned interest. The master further reprimands the slave for not doing this, but Rohrbaugh points out: “[S]eeking interest from another Israelite was forbidden by the Torah (Deuteronomy 23:19–20), and, elsewhere in Luke, Jesus says that we should lend ‘expecting nothing in return’ (Luke 6:35).”
Should then the actions of the third slave be condemned or lauded? According to Rohrbaugh, reading Matthew 25:14–30 with ancient eyes suggests that the third slave is the only one who behaved honorably in the Talents’ parable.
Learn more about the Parable of the Talents’ meaning by reading Richard L. Rohrbaugh’s full Biblical Views column “Reading the Bible Through Ancient Eyes” in the September/October 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Go to the full Biblical Views column “Reading the Bible Through Ancient Eyes” by Richard L. Rohrbaugh in the September/October 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review: URL: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/what-does-the-parable-of-the-talents-mean/?mqsc=E3850875&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDDaily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=E6B926
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Mysterious Light That Shone from Priest’s Home Chapel Where Blessed Sacrament Was Kept | August 31, 2016 By Gretchen Filz
Was this photo a Eucharistic Miracle? There is good reason to believe so, because that strangely large, bright light was shining from inside the private chapel of a priest’s residence where the Blessed Sacrament was reposed.
This photo and the story behind it was originally written by Fr. Robert Lange, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, in 2007 and posted on his personal blog. Fr. Lange went to be with the Lord in May of 2015. His website is now offline so we are unable to link to the original source of the article, although it has been republished on multiple Catholic websites in the years since he wrote it. Fr. Lange’s original article is reposted below.
Respect for Christ in the Eucharist – One Priest’s Perspective
By Rev. Robert Lange
The picture above is of my home in Fort Valley, Virginia, and the light is coming from my chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. There is not light in the window and there is no sun out on the day of the picture. (More about the picture is at end of the article.)
Americans have the option of receiving the Holy Eucharist on the tongue or in the hand. The Vatican granted us the option of receiving on the hand in 1977. This was accomplished by an indult, a lifting of the law, so we may receive either way, on the tongue or in the hand. The indult was granted because the American bishops told the Vatican that their parishioners were clamoring for it. “We can feed ourselves” was one of the specious arguments put forward.
After Apostolic times, the Church gradually adopted Communion on the tongue as the universal practice. In the early fourth century the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ, revived the practice of receiving Communion in the hand specifically to show a lesser respect for Christ, believing that He is not “equal to the Father.”
The universal Church law, which requires Holy Eucharist to be distributed to the faithful on their tongues, remains in force; it remains the law. However the indult has the effect of making the law inapplicable where in force.
Foreseeing the demand for the indult coming, the Sacred Office for Divine Worship sent a letter to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences to advise them how they may implement this option if granted. The letter spoke about reverence for the Holy Eucharist being the number one priority.
With this in mind, the letter went into great detail trying to explain this crucial concern. The letter contained the following specifics: Communion on the hand is an option; it is not the primary way of receiving. Catholics must be catechized to understand this important point. No one is to be forced to receive on the hand. When receiving the Body of Christ on the hand, the faithful must be aware of the fact that each and every particle, no matter how small, is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Therefore no particle should ever be discarded or treated with less than total respect due to the Body of Christ.
The faithful must also be reminded that their hands must be clean to receive our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When ordained in 1986, I was a proponent of receiving Communion in the hand, but time has changed my thinking on this issue. Seeing so many abuses and forming a deeper respect for Jesus’ true Presence in the Holy Eucharist were the factors which forced me to rethink my position.
On March 28, 1965, when the Catholic college I was attending opened their newly renovated chapel, we students were told how to receive the Holy Eucharist: standing and in the hand. There was no option given. May I add that this was fully 12 years before any American diocese received the indult, which allowed for that option.
Why did those priests, abbots and bishops disobey the authority of Rome? Communion in the hand became the norm for American Catholics in the 1960s. In many cases the practice was not presented to us as optional, but as the way to receive.
In my 24 years as a priest, I have served in many parishes and witnessed many Eucharistic abuses caused by receiving in the hand. I have picked Jesus off the floor from under pews and picked Him out of hymnals. I have followed people back to their seats and asked if they would give me the Host back (they bring it out of a clinched hand or out of their pockets) and have witnessed many other sacrilegious desecrations of the most Blessed Sacrament, far too many and varied to mention, some so shocking most people would simply not believe my words.
As I began to see these desecrations of the Holy Eucharist, I began to understand how very sickening, disheartening and avoidable all of this actually has been. Many religious education programs teach the children how to receive on the hand, with at most a cursory mention of the traditional way of receiving on the tongue. Why? The Church documents do not support such teaching. It was the same with many American dioceses in the 1960s when the faithful were being coerced into receiving on the hand a decade before being granted the indult.
Father Benedict Groeschel, a familiar face to EWTN viewers and an accomplished author, announced on his “Sunday Night Live With Fr. Groeschel” program that he considered Communion in the hand to be an abomination. That is strong language!
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was asked what was the worst thing that has happened to the Church in her lifetime. She replied without hesitation, “Communion in the hand.” Again powerful language!
Why would these two great figures of our time be so fervent in their opinions regarding this issue if it did not affect their whole being? Somehow I think they would agree that Communion in the hand is a true American tragedy.
Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, leads by example. Since becoming Pope, anyone receiving the Holy Eucharist from him must receive on the tongue and kneeling. He is not requiring a change throughout the world, but is giving us a profound message by example.
Proper respect shown to the Holy Eucharist is primary. Please consider these thoughts before receiving Holy Communion this Sunday. Thank you.
Further note on picture: In May of this year Bishop Loverde gave me permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in my chapel – The chapel is on the second floor of my home. The Eucharist had been reserved in the chapel less than a week when this picture was taken from the front porch of a neighbor’s home.
The person taking the picture was enamored by the beauty of the valley and decided to take a picture for her collection. When she aimed the camera towards the valley and tried to focus for the picture, she says the light coming from my house was so bright she said it was difficult trying to look into camera to view the picture to be taken (It was a cloudy day and I did not have a light on in the room/chapel where the light is coming from.) She took the picture and the image – the Star of David – is what came out on her digital camera. She did not know what to make of it. Not being Catholic, she had no understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion).
My opinion is that our Lord wanted to give us a beautiful reminder of His true presence in the Holy Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! It is a reminder that He is with us always, that we are never alone, that He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. It is a vivid reminder that He truly suffered and died on the cross and that He is present in this world – until His Second Coming – in this most special manner – the Eucharist.
Just as the Star appeared over the stable in Bethlehem when the Christ Child was born, so the Star of David has appeared through the window of my Chapel on St. David’s Church Road, Fort Valley, Virginia, to remind us of His care, love, protection, and presence in our lives today and always.
By Rev. Robert Lange
(June 13, 1944 – May 4, 2015)
Source URL: https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/mysterious-light-priests-home-chapel/
30 APRIL, 2016 – 00:49 DHWTY
St. George is perhaps one of Christianity’s most famous saints, and is best-known as the patron saint of England. Apart from this well-known fact, St. George is also the patron saint of a number of other countries, including Portugal, Georgia, Lithuania, and Greece. The most popular tale regarding this saint is the one in which he slays a dragon. Thus, St. George is most commonly depicted as a knight mounted on a horse and in the process of spearing a dragon. This image has inspired many artists over the years, and has been portrayed on various coats of arms.
St. George’s Early Life
St. George is believed to have lived during the latter part of the 3rd century AD and served as a soldier in the Roman army. Most sources agree that this saint was born in Cappadocia, an area which is located in modern day Turkey. The parents of St. George are said to have been Christians, and he inherited this faith from them. It has been claimed that after the death of St. George’s father, his mother returned to her hometown in Palestine, taking the saint with her. St. George then joined the Roman army, and eventually obtained the rank of Tribune.
Portrait of St. George by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510. (Public Domain)
The persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century AD was objected to by St. George, who resigned from his military office as a sign of protest. When the emperor’s order against the Christians was torn up by St. George, Diocletian was furious. In an attempt to force St. George to renounce his Christian faith, he was imprisoned and tortured by the emperor’s men. The saint, however, refused to reject his faith. Seeing that their efforts were of no use, St. George’s jailers had him dragged through the streets of Diospolis (known also as Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded.
Saint George dragged through the streets of Diospolis, by Bernat Martorell, 15th century. (Public Domain)
The story of St. George’s life would have been quite similar to that of his many contemporary martyrs, i.e. refusing to give up their Christian faith in the face of a persecuting pagan emperor, and paying for it with their lives, if it had not been for one particular tale.
It was St. George’s combat with a dragon that set him apart from most of his fellow martyrs. The best known form of this legend is said to be found in the Legenda Aurea (translated as ‘Golden Legend’), which was written during the 13th century by Jacobus de Voragine, an Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa.
In the account of the Legenda Aurea, St. George is said to have passed by a city called Silene, which is in the province of Libya. Beside this city was a pond, and in this pond lived a “dragon which envenomed all the country”. The people of the city decided to feed the beast with two sheep each day so that it would not harm them. When the dragon’s appetite was not satiated, the people of the city began sacrificing human beings to it,
“Then was an ordinance made in the town that there should be taken the children and young people of them of the town by lot, and every each one as it fell, were he gentle or poor, should be delivered when the lot fell on him or her.”
Saint George and the Dragon by Gustave Moreau, 1889/1890. (Public Domain)
One day, the lot fell on the king’s daughter, who was prepared to be offered to the dragon. It was during this time that St. George passed by the city, and saw the princess. When he enquired as to what going on, St. George was told about the dragon, and he decided to slay the beast. The battle with the dragon, as described by de Voragine, is as follows:
“Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair.”
St. George brought the dragon to Silene, converted the king and his people to the Christian faith, and then slayed the dragon.
St. George on Horseback, Meister des Döbelner Hochaltars, 1511/13, Hamburger Kunsthalle. (Public Domain)
It has been said that St. George’s military prowess made him popular amongst the knights of Medieval Europe, especially following the crusades. During the First Crusade, for example, an apparition of St. George is said to have aided the crusaders during their successful siege of Antioch in 1098.
Another popular myth was that the English king Richard the Lionheart saw a vision of St. George during his siege of Acre, which lasted from 1189 to 1191. The king then rebuilt a church in honor of the saint in Lydda, and adopted his emblem (a red cross on a white background) as England’s arms. This myth, however, was disproved during the 1990s.
Featured image: Paolo Uccello’s Saint George and the Dragon. Photo source: Public domain.
By Wu Mingren
Campbell, J., 2015. St George’s Day: When is it, who is England’s patron saint – and why isn’t it a bank holiday??. [Online]
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/st-georges-day-when-is-it-who-is-englands-patron-saint-and-why-isnt-it-a-bank-holiday-10187608.html
Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend [Online]
[Caxton, W. (trans.), 1483. Jacobus de Voragine’s The Golden Legend.]
Morris, M., 2009. Slaying Myths: St George and the Dragon. [Online]
Available at: http://www.historytoday.com/marc-morris/slaying-myths-st-george-and-dragon
The BBC, 2009. Saint George. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/saints/george_1.shtml
The Royal Mint Limited, 2016. St George the Dragon Slayer: the legend. [Online]
Available at: http://www.royalmint.com/discover/sovereigns/st-george-the-dragon-slayer
Thurston, H., 1909. St. George. [Online]
Available at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06453a.htm See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/exploring-famous-legend-st-george-and-dragon-005794?nopaging=1#sthash.SlSbwoes.dpuf
By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
Tue, 12 Apr 2016, 08:05 AM
Inscriptions dating to 600 BCE suggest widespread literacy at the time of Kingdom of Judah, say Tel Aviv University researchers.
Photo by: MICHAEL CORDONSKY
Scholars have long debated how much of the Bible was composed before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah, in 586 BCE.
While experts agree that key biblical texts were written starting in the 7th century BCE, the exact date of the compilation of these books remains in question.
Now, a groundbreaking new study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) published in theProceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences this week, sheds important new light on the debate.
“There’s a heated discussion regarding the timing of the composition of a critical mass of biblical texts,” said Prof.
Israel Finkelstein of TAU’s Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, who led the research with Prof. Eliezer Piasetzky, of the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
“But to answer this, one must ask a broader question: What were the literacy rates in Judah at the end of the First Temple period? And what were the literacy rates later on, under Persian rule?” According to the study, the researchers determined that widespread literacy was required for the massive undertaking, and it provides empirical evidence of that literacy in the final days of the Kingdom of Judah.
A profusion of literate individuals in Judah may have set the stage for the compilation of biblical works that constitute the basis of Judahite history and theology, such as the early version of the books of Deuteronomy to Second Kings, according to the researchers.
Using cutting-edge computerized image processing and machine learning tools, the TAU team analyzed 16 inscriptions unearthed at an excavation in the remote fort of Arad, and deduced that the texts had been written by at least six authors.
The content of the inscriptions disclosed that reading and writing abilities existed throughout the military chain of command, from the highest echelon, all the way down to the deputy quartermaster of the fort.
From the Catholic Exchange
JANUARY 27, 2016
God’s Special Weapon Against Evil: Spiritual Mothers
There is a most beautiful, vital vocation within a vocation that is “largely unknown, scarcely understood and, consequently, rarely lived, not withstanding its fundamental importance”: spiritual motherhood for priests. “It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life.”(Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests & Spiritual Motherhood, 2013, p 12,13).Cardinal Piacenza further explains the reason why now is the time to emphasize this vocation for the broader Church, “The present situation of the Church in a secularized world and the subsequent crisis of faith has the pope, bishops, priests and faithful looking for a way forward. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that the real solution lies in the interior renewal of priests, and in this context the so-called “spiritual maternity for priests” assumes a special role. Through being “spiritual mothers”, women and mothers participate in the universal motherhood of Mary, who as mother of the Supreme and Eternal High Priest, is also the mother of all priests of all times.”
From the heart of the Church comes a call to imitate Mary in transmitting spiritual life to souls. A trumpet sounds, a need arises, and the role of Catholic womanhood is called forth. Where are the “other Mary’s”? I’ve often reflected on why the Lord Jesus, when He ascended to the Father, left behind His holy Mother at the start of the Church? Her presence, prayer, encouragement, wisdom, and exhortation; her feminine lovemust have strengthened the Apostles. Her maternal holiness and prayer helped to form the first clergy.In the words of Fr. John Cihak, “The Blessed Virgin Mary’s role is to call out of the priest this celibate “agape” to help him become a husband to the Church and a spiritual father—a strong father, even in his weakness. She does this at the foot of the Cross by drawing the priest out of his own pain to offer pure masculine love in the midst of her own feminine love. This scene becomes the icon of the relationship between the priest and the Church.” (Fr. John Cihak article, “The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Role in the Celibate Priest’s Spousal and Paternal Love”, quoted by Beckman, Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization, p 54, 55.) The lesson for spiritual mothers: the more we reflect the heart of Mary, the more God can use us to spiritually call forth from men the masculine ideal of Christ-like spiritual fatherhood.The role of a Catholic woman might be summed up in a word: MARY. Motherhood (physical and spiritual) Adoration (first duty to God) Resourceful (wise, creative) Yes to God (serving the divine will). Some women will transmit life physically, but all women of faith can be life bearers: Christ-bearers. What does Catholic womanhood have to do with the clergy? We can learn from several female saints whose lives bear witness to the beauty of spiritual maternity for priests.
“Woman: God’s special weapon in His fight against evil”
St. Edith Stein helps us to understand the unique role of woman in God’s plan. Always the role of woman is best revealed in the life of the Virgin Mary. Her singular dignity to be the Mother of Christ reveals the thought of God regarding the dignity of women. He chose women to be cooperators in creating new life. In light of how much the fallen angels despise and fear the Virgin Mary, we better understand the teaching of St. Edith Stein: The intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul. For an understanding of our unique feminine nature, let us look to the pure love and spiritual maternity of Mary. This spiritual maternity is the core of a woman’s soul. Wherever a woman functions authentically in this spirit of maternal love, Mary collaborates with her. This holds true whether the woman is married or single, professional or domestic or both, a Religious in the world or in the convent. Through this love, a woman is God’s special weapon in His fight against evil. Her intrinsic value is that she is able to do so because she has a special susceptibility for the works of God in souls—her own and others. She relates to others in His spirit of love. Here, a great woman and saint of the Church broadens spiritual motherhood beyond the walls of the cloister or convent where for centuries beloved women Religious Sisters interceded for priests; and thankfully, continue to this present time. More recently, Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa addresses the movement of the Holy Spirit: “God calls some souls to the even higher task of atoning for priests…only men can be priests, but the wisdom of God has kept aside a task for women, and even a higher task in a certain sense, which the world does not understand and thus rejects with distain: that of forming priests and of contributing to raising the quality, not quantity, of Catholic priesthood. The Lord is calling the faithful in ever growing numbers to pray, to offer sacrifices, in order to have holy priests. A concern, a passion, for holy priests has spread as a sign of the times though today’s Church” (Fr. Cantalamessa, OFM, Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Part Two quoted by Beckman, Praying for Priests, p 18-19). We turn to Mary to understand how women of faith who are called to be spiritual mothers become God’s special weapon in His fight against evil. We’ll consider the ten evangelical virtues of Mary that form a powerful arsenal of spiritual arrows to mortally wound the fallen angels; those demons who “prowl the earth like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The ten evangelical virtues of Mary:
* Most Pure (Mt 1:18, 20, 23, Lk 1:24,34)
* Most Prudent (Lk 2:19; 51)
* Most Humble (Lk 1:48)
* Most Faithful ( Lk 1:45; Jn 2:5)
* Most Devout (Lk 1:46-47; Acts 1:14)
* Most Obedient (Lk 1:38; 2:21-22; 27)
* Most Poor (Lk 2:7)
* Most Patient (Jn 19:25)
* Most Merciful (Lk 1:39, 56)
* Most Sorrowful (Lk 2:35)
Marian virtues perpetuate the victory of her Son Jesus Christ and can render Satan’s corrupting vices impotent. Satan fears Mary. Why? He knows God is omnipotent. But Mary is a lowly creature favored by God, raised to such a level of dignity and influence that her little heel can crush Satan’s head. He can’t get over this! In many rites of major exorcism in which I have participated on the team assisting the exorcist priest, Mary responds to the plea of the priest to help him cast out demons. Frequently, the Virgin Mary’s presence is the finishing touch to evict the evil one. A woman who identifies with Mary is His special weapon in His fight against evil. The humble Mother of the Eternal High Priest is gathering a little army of daughters who attain to her virtues. God uses Mary’s daughters as righteous arrows against the malice of the devil.
The example of an ordinary wife and mother
Here’s a practical example in the ordinary life of a Catholic wife and mother of five young sons. She has answered the call to spiritual maternity for priests. Recently, in an interview we did for the Foundation of Prayer for Priests, she shared that when she is making her children’s lunches, desiring to feed them the most nutritious food, she also considers the priest who desires to feed God’s flock the imperishable food of the Eucharist. Then she offers up her tiredness for him. I asked her how praying for priests has impacted her life as wife and mother. She shared that, at first, she did not fully understand the priest. He was set apart for God and a bit mysterious. When she realized that the Holy Spirit was quickening her heart to pray for her parish priest, the Holy Spirit began to teach her how to pray for him. She came to understand that the priest is a spiritual father of the Catholic family entrusted to him. He is charged with the care of parishioner’s souls but is subject to weariness and spiritual warfare also. During the Mass she observed more carefully the reverent gestures of the priest and began to see more of Jesus on the altar. Also, in recognizing the priest’s spiritual paternity, her appreciation of her husband’s role as spiritual father for the family grew. When we pray for the priests, the Sanctifier pours graces of wisdom, knowledge and understanding upon us. Thus, we become more like Mary—attuned to the things of God. Priests and laity have a mutual need to mirror holiness for one another. Often this takes place in a silent, hidden, real and transformative way.
“The priest is the target of the devil’s malice”
“The priest is a marked man, the target of the devil’s malice. Don’t pray for priests superficially. Pray fervently. We priests need your prayers and sacrifices” – these words of Fr. William Casey are confirmed by Fr. John Hardon, “…No words I can use would be too strong to state that the Catholic priesthood needs prayer as sacrifice as never before since Calvary. Priests experience pressures with a violence and a virulence such as no one else, but a priest can understand. One saint after another has declared that the devil’s principle target on earth is the Catholic priest. Priests need special graces from God. We ask why pray for priests? We should pray for priests and bishops, because this has been the practice of the Church since apostolic times. It’s a matter of truth. It is a divine mandate.” (Fr. John Hardon, The Value of Prayer and Sacrifice for Priests,The Real Presence Association, quoted by Beckman, Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization, p 21). Priests are the spiritual head of the Body of Christ and therefore; Satan aims to spiritually decapitate the Body of Christ in mockery of the Eternal High Priest. Some spiritual writers refer to Mary as the spiritual neck of the Church connecting the members of Christ’s body with the head, the priests in “persona Christi”—a beautiful analogy. Spiritual motherhood of priests is our response of love for Jesus Christ. This Year of Mercy is an opportune time to practice a vital spiritual work of mercy: spiritual adoption of priests. May the Lord help you to discover this beautiful vocation within your vocation to His glory.
Visit http://www.foundationforpriests.org for more information on spiritual motherhood, fatherhood and spiritual warfare. This article contains excerpts from Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization.image: Praying for Priests. Tagged as: Edith Stein, Mary, praying for priests, spiritual motherhood138
The Author: Kathleen Beckman
Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S. President and co-founder of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests (www.foundationforpriests.org), has served the Church for the past 25 years as a Catholic evangelist, author, radio host, Ignatian trained retreat director and speaker. Over the past 15 years she has served with priests in the Church’s healing, deliverance and exorcism ministry. She has leadership roles for Catholic apostolates including the Pope Leo XII Institute for Priests, Magnificat, a Ministry to Catholic Women, and Radio Maria’s “Living Eucharist & Mercy” program. She’s often featured on EWTN radio and TV programs related to her books on healing and holiness through sacramental life. A writer for Catholic Exchange, Sophia Institute Press published her last two books, (2014) Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization and (2015) God’s Healing Mercy. A wife, mother and grandmother, Kathleen lives in Southern CA where she and her husband are business owners.www.kathleenbeckman.com.