Thursday, 29 November 2012

Holy Prophet Isaiah

Icon, "Holy Prophet Isaiah", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

This coming Sunday is "new year's day" in the Church.  We will be celebrating the first Sunday of Advent -- the beginning of the Church year.  During the season of Advent, we will listen often to the words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah in the readings at Mass.  While the scholars tell us that the Book of Isaiah was probably written by at least two different authors, if not three, I still like to think of the prophet as one person -- the one whose story of the call from God to be a prophet is found in the sixth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

There are numerous passages in Isaiah which are considered to be prophecies about the coming Messiah -- passages fulfilled by the angel's message to Our Lady and the Virgin birth of our Saviour -- Jesus Christ.  One of the most frequently quoted is the one in the icon above from Isaiah 7:14.  Even though some of the modern translators prefer to use the word "maiden" or "young girl" rather than the traditionally used "virgin", I don't think it really matters.  As in that day and place if a maiden or young girl was not a virgin, she was quickly dispatched by a mob throwing rocks at her until she was dead!

So what does Advent mean anyway?  Let's see what a Church publishing house has to say:
"The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking and we have therefore been robbed of much of the true meaning of this season. 
During Advent we recall the history of God's people and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world."
 © Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent...

As the ancient hymn says:
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.



Braden celebrated his 5 month anniversary this week.  I cannot believe that he is almost 6 months old.  How quickly the time passes.  Too soon he will be walking and then he won't want to let his Aunt Sallie sit and hold him in her arms so that she can admire him and marvel in the beauty of his creation.  Below are two new photos which show how much he has grown.

"I am beginning to think there must be something special about me -- people are always taking my photo!"

"People say I look like my Papa.  What do you think?  Am I really that handsome?"



"Sorry, Suki, I guess I just can't see
the happiness shining through!"
This is how poor Suki looks these days after experiencing the 4th day of being on a diet.  If you should come to visit me, you will hear a tale of woe from her all about how badly she is being treated and how I am starving her to death!

Actually, so far, it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I had thought it might be.  The idea of feeding her the largest meal of the day at bedtime seems to make all the difference.  I also think it protects me from having "practical jokes" played on me by this cat during the nighttime hours.  Of course, she is not happy during the day when she only gets very small amounts of her wet food, but she is eating more of her dry food which is "diet" food for cats her age.  This is better for her, I think, and will hopefully encourage her to like her dry food more since it is, while being good quality, less expensive than the canned food.

So, Suki has been reasonably well behaved over these past four days.  Of course, I must admit that her behaviour does make me just a bit nervous as I keep waiting for her to do something extremely naughty like turning on the TV full blast while I am sound asleep!  Don't laugh.  I don't know if I told you about the time she practically scared the life out of me one night by turning on the sound for the TV -- but it wasn't at full volume.

Let me explain:  A few weeks ago, when I had first come home from the hospital, I slept very fitfully and so I tended to turn on the TV and watch it until I would fall asleep.  I subscribe to the two Catholic channels available here in Toronto so I know there will always be something on worth watching.  Anyway, this one night as I felt myself falling asleep, I pushed the mute button but the TV remained on. 

Sometime during the night, I was suddenly awakened by people having a conversation right near me.  It took me a couple of frightening minutes to realize that it was the television.  As I became fully awake, trying to figure out how this had happened, I realized that when Suki had climbed up into my lap, she had somehow stepped on the remote and one of the buttons she had pushed was the mute button.  I later asked her if she had done this on purpose, but she just looked at me as though she did not understand what I was talking about!  She is a pretty sneaky girl...

As for Sallie, well, I remain pretty much the same.  There has been some mild improvement in the amount of sensation returning to my right cheek and jaw, but the area is still not normal.  The left side has improved so that it is almost back to normal.  My eyes and my bottom lip both remain as problematic as ever.

Finally, however, I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon.  The first appointment they gave me was on the 14th, my birthday, and this was a disappointment to me.  However, I am suffering enough from my eyes so that I was willing to take the appointment on my birthday.  But, thankfully, the secretary telephoned me on Monday to ask if I could come in on the 21st instead.  Even though the appointment is for 8:30 a.m. I will gladly be there on time as I want to see about getting my eyelids back to "normal" as quickly as I can.

Otherwise, I just keep keeping on.  I find, as always, that working on the art helps me lose myself in some sort of contemplative space that enables me to be less aware of the pain and discomfort even though I am often weeping copiously as I try to see with my poor old eyes.  I am just grateful that I can still do anything at all on the computer.  Typing is fairly easy for me as I can do that with my eyes closed and then catch any mistakes with the Google spell checker later.

Well, my friends, here I am at the end of another posting.  I pray that all my regular readers are doing well and I also pray for all those who happen across this blog, asking that God will bless them.  May the holy prophet, Isaiah, pray for us, asking God to enable us to say as he did:  "here I am, Lord, send me." (chapter 6).

And may the peace of Almighty God surround us each and everyone and keep us in His care until we meet again.

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