40 Days of Advent Meditations
According to the Byzantine Catholic Rite
Why is it called Philip’s Fast
Byzantine Advent Traditions
Mediations and readings for the 40 days of Advent
Appendix A, B, C and D
In western liturgical tradition, the word advent, the coming of
The origin of advent traces its roots in both the western and
eastern churches in the 4th century. It begins the same time
every year, November 15th and is called in the Eastern Rite Catholic Church Philip’s fast,
since it begins on the feast of St. Philip. It is also known as the Nativity
Fast, Winter Fast, and
Advent as we know it in the Western culture began in the 4th century when Pope St. Gregory I
shortened the length of the fast and the advent season to the first four
Later the Roman Catholic or
The celebration of the birth of our Lord was celebrated in middle
of the fourth century. The Church at
According to the sermons of St. Gregory of Nazianzus,
the Eastern Church celebrated
The present advent season was established at the Council of Constantinople (1166). The Council decreed that the fast would begin on November 15 and last until December 24. This established another 40 day fast.
The advent fast is often called "Phillip's Fast" because
it begins on the day after the feast of St. Phillip. The Church introduced this
fast to prepare the faithful to celebrate the birth of
This ancient fast not only prepares us for the birth of
There are several ways to prepare ourselves for the Birth of Jesus during this Advent season. This is by prayer, fasting, almsgiving and love.
1. Prayer - During Advent, whether you follow the Eastern Rite tradition or the Western Rite tradition, try spending at least 15 minutes in the morning and evening in prayer each day. Your morning prayer can be scripture readings and meditations. You may use the readings and meditations in this book. The evening prayer can be the family rosary.
In the Eastern tradition, we pray the Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus
2. Fasting: The fasting guidelines for the Eastern Rite Catholics for Advent are in appendix
B. During advent you can abstain from meat and dairy products on Monday,
Wednesday and Friday. Dairy is allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays but still no meat. Again, women who are pregnant or nursing and children are exempt from fasting. Small sacrifices though, can be made, such as substituting fish for meat, and abstaining from certain foods/drinks like soda, alcoholic beverages, candy and desserts. You can also eat enough at each meal that is sufficient to meet your nutritional needs, without feeling full. Fasting can also take other forms, such as refraining from entertainment –television, movies, radio, internet, and reading novels. This is also a time to practice virtues and eliminate your vices. You can do this by refraining from gossiping and other uncharitable habits.
3. Almsgiving: You can give your time, talent and gifts to your parish or a special charity.
Clean your house and give any excessive items or possessions and
give them to poor and needy, for example your local
4. Love: Meditate on the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes and try to practice one or two each week. Examine your conscience every night before bedtime, asking for God’s forgiveness and the graces you need to improve yourself. Find opportunities to share your faith with others.
Byzantine Advent Traditions
Some of the Byzantine Advent Traditions are in appendix B- the oplatky and the
The time before
And in the 6th month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of
And Mary said to the angel: “How shall this be done because I know not man?” And the angel said to her: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you and therefore also the holy shall be born of thee and shall be called the Son of God.”
Meditation: It is at this point in salvation history that God intervenes and our salvation begins. It is fitting that the first day of advent’s meditations begins with this scripture reading. All of heaven held their breath in anticipation of Mary’s ‘fiat’, for with her ‘yes’ we are saved. I cannot conceive of what would have happened if Mary had said “no” to God’s request. God would never have imposed His Will upon Mary’s will. This “yes” had to come freely from her lips. Just as Eve’s refusal to obey God’s command brought sin into the world. So too Mary’s (the second Eve) fiat brought salvation into the world. A lovely, unknown and humble maiden would now crush the proud head of Satan. God loves the humble of heart and it is the humble ones He uses to accomplish great things. Something to ponder upon is: There will never be anyone who will ever surpass Mary’s humility.
Pray today for a humble spirit – so that at
“Nothing is difficult for the humble” St. Faustina
“The holy fathers teach that there are two kinds of humility: to regard oneself as lower than everyone else, and to ascribe all one’s achievement to God. The first is the beginning, the second the consummation.” St. Gregory of Sinai, The Philokalia
Matthew 1: 18-24
Now the generation of
‘Behold a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.’ And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took unto him his wife.
Meditation: This particular scripture passage has many points to ponder and meditate upon.
1. What the term ‘just man’ means according to Jewish understanding. The Jewish term for just is righteousness and it means: righteous, integrity, equity, justice, straightness, upright, just, straight, innocent, true, and sincere. It is best understood as the product of upright, moral action in accordance with some form of divine plan.
2. What the word espousal means according to Jewish customs - Betrothed, or engaged to be married. There was commonly an interval of ten or twelve months, among the Jews, between the contract of marriage and the celebration of the nuptials (see Genesis
24:55; Judges 14:8; Deuteronomy 20:7), yet such was the nature of this engagement, that unfaithfulness to each other was deemed adultery. See Deuteronomy 22:25,
3. Mary’s trust in God and her grief over Joseph’s dilemma was that we must always trust God, in good times and especially the bad times.
Pray today for the grace to always trust in God.
“Be trustful, firmly believing that God always provides for souls
who trust in him. Then the devil is powerless, because the power of the trust
in Him.” St.
Genesis 12: 1-2
And the Lord said to Abram: “Go forth out of your country and from your family and out of your father’s house and come into the land which I shall show you and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and magnify our name and you shall be blessed.”
Meditation: Aside from God’s initial promise of a Messiah to Adam and Eve to save us from sin, we see here God initiating this promise through Abram. Again as with Mary, God did not force Abram, but waited on his free will to respond to God’s call. How often do we hear God’s call in our everyday lives and sadly, how often do we turn our backs on God’s call? How often do we say, ‘no’ to God’s call? God calls everyone to the greatness of sanctity. We may never be called to the great calling of founding a new nation like Abraham, but we are never the less called to be holy. This call comes to us at every moment of our lives,but we only have to be quiet to hear it and like Mary and Abraham, to say “yes” to this call.
St. Padre Pio to the Ventrella Sisters , March 8, 1918 wrote: God wants to speak to you through the thorns, the burning bushy, the clouds, the lightening, as He did with Moses, but we prefer Him to speak to us through a sweet, gentle breeze as He did with Elijah. But what do you fear, daughters? Listen to Our Lord as He speaks to Abraham as well as to us: “Fear not,…I am your shield’. (Genesis 15:1)
Today ponder on using your free will to say yes to God’s call to holiness.
“Do not forget that holiness consists not in extraordinary actions, but in performing your duties towards God, yourself and others well.” St. Maximilian Kolbe
“What happens will be what God desires. We are in the power of God, not in our own power.”
St. Perpetua, The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity
Genesis 17: 5-6
Neither shall your name be called Abram, but you shall be called Abraham: because I have made of you a father of many nations. And I shall make you increase exceedingly and I will make nations of you and kings shall come out of you.
Meditation: The change of Abraham’s name
is very symbolic of an inner conversion – a metanoia –
changing of oneself. Just as Abram’s name change initiated his new chosen path
by God, so too our inner conversion is a change from a life of sin to walking
the narrow path of holiness to God. This change is never easy, for the evil one
never sleeps and is ever vigilant in his efforts to drag us back into the
darkness of sin.
Ask yourself often today, “Am I willing to change – so that I no longer walk in the darkness of sin but in the grace and light of God?”
“When you are in the state of grace, you are free.” St Ignatius of Loyola
“He would never come and knock at the door unless he wished to enter; if he does not always enter, it is we who are to blame.” St. Ambrose
Genesis 17: 15-16
And God said to Abraham: “Sarai, your wife, shall not be called Sarai, but Sarah. And I will bless her and of her I will give you a son whom I will bless and he shall become nations and kings and people shall spring from him.”
Meditation: God’s way is indeed a mystery; Abraham and Sarah are proof of this. From this aged, childless couple, God promises that nations shall spring forth. This was the mystery – how could this be accomplished? Trusting in God’s word is never easy. This is verified in this scripture reading. Abraham and Sarah both doubted that this great promise would ever happen. Yet it did, because we can never completely see the fabric of God’s will as it unfolds.
Many times we have trouble seeing the string that is woven into the fabric. In our limited finite minds, we often think we know the answers, when in reality we know nothing. When I was young, I use to play a game with my friends. One person would put on a blind fold and then was turned around many times. The other person would then guide the blind folded person around outside. Eventually they would stop and asked the question, “Where are you?” Before this happened, the blind folded person would have to be willingly lead by his friend, trusting that he would keep him safe. Many times when I was being led around, I would resist following because in my darkened mind, I was sure I was going to be pulled into a wall or step into a ditch. The guide would have to say, “Come on it’s safe, I’m not going to hurt you.” In the end, I always guessed wrong about where I thought I was headed. This game correlates with our relationship with God. We must blindly place our trust in Him and let Him gently guide us on our road to Heaven so that when the angel of death gently removes the blind fold from our eyes, to our surprise will be revealed the joy and beauty of heaven.
Ponder today on the trust we need to follow God blindly, like
Abraham and Sarah did. “Cast yourself often into His arms or into His divine
Heart, and abandon yourself to all His designs upon you.”
“When mind and heart are united in prayer and the soul is wholly
concentrated in a single desire for God, then the heart grows warm and the
-St. Seraphim of Sarov
Genesis 21: 1-3
And the lord visited Sarah as he had promised and fulfilled what he had spoken. And she conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had foretold her. And Abraham called the name of his son, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
Meditation: The imagery in this scripture reading is beautiful to meditate upon. Sarah in her old age bore the son promised her, who would go on to father many nations. Mary, a young maiden, gave birth to a Son who would save all nations. One would be the father of nations, while the other would save those nations from their sins.
Sarah’s old age at the birth of Isaac represented the long hold
that Satan had on mankind before the birth of
Ponder today on God’s immense love for us, that in the fullness of time He sent His Only begotten Son to save us from our sins.
“God loves, He desires nothing else than to be loved; for He loves only that He may be loved.”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“Whoever loves God, loves his neighbor.” St. Basil the Great
November 21 – Presentation of Mary in the
TROPARION - Today is the prelude of the benevolence of God and the
herald of the salvation of man, for the Virgin plainly appears in the
KONTAKION - The most pure
Genesis 26: 1-5
And when a famine came into the land, after the barrenness which had happened in the days of Abraham; Isaac went to Abemelich, king of the Palestines to Garara (2200 B.C.)
And the Lord appeared to him and said: “Go not down into
Meditation: God’s unfolding plan for our
salvation continued with Isaac. Again it was contingent upon Isaac’s free will
in doing what God asked of him. Like his father, Abraham, Isaac obeyed God’s
commands. Like his father, he could not see or understand the complete picture,
but with faith he believed.
Pray today for an increase in your faith.
“If you are armed with the armor of faith, nothing can harm you.”
St. Francis de Sales “Faith gives wings to prayer, and without it no one can
fly upward to heaven.” St.
Genesis 28: 1-4
And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him saying: “Take
not a wife of the stock of
Meditation: Again we read of God’s promise to Jacob, given to Abraham his grandfather, God’s plan for our redemption – begins to unfold. Many times in our lives we want and desire things from God and we want it now. But God’s time table does not always fit into our plans. We do not always see the whole picture as God does. Isaac is telling his son Jacob, that from him shall spring forth nations. He must up root himself to walk the path laid out before him. Jacob is willing and obedient to his father’s command.
Pray today for this blind obedience to do God’s will.
“Happy are those who are obedient, for God will not suffer them to go astray.” St. Francis de Sales
“In the first Adam, we offended God by not performing his command; in the second Adam we have been reconciled, becoming ‘obedient unto death.’” St. Irenaeus
Genesis 28: 10-17
But Jacob departed Bersabee and went to
Meditation: This incident in Jacob’s life shows how God interacts in our lives and His deep love for us. He is not a God who is distant from us. He is guiding, directing and loving us. The angels in Jacob’s dream are the messengers of God’s will. The word angel means messenger. These angelic spirits are constantly ascending and descending from heaven to earth. They love us very much and want to help us reach heaven. We are but travelers’ on this earthly journey to heaven.
Ponder today upon how often we get caught up in our earthly affairs, and forget our one and only goal which is heaven.
“In heaven you have all you desire.”
God appeared again to Jacob, after he returned from Mesopotamia
Meditation: We read that God’s promise is
a living promise, that He continually renews to Jacob, now called
Pray today for the virtue of gratitude and thankfulness for the graces and blessings God has bestowed upon us.
“We should not accept in silence the benefactions of God, but return thanks for them.” St. Basil
Genesis 46: 2-4
answered him: “Lord, here I am.” God said to him: “I am the most almighty God of your father;
fear not, go down into
you there and will bring you back again. Joseph also shall put his hands upon your eyes.”
to return to the land promised him by God. In all of his important
consulted with God first. This is so important to remember. How often do we talk to God in
prayer about the important decisions we must make? Our Lady and
Always remember this very important lesson- pray and then react.
Pray today for the grace to be faithful in my prayers.
“If we are calm and persevering, we shall find not only ourselves, but our souls, and with that, God Himself.” St. Padre Pio
“The essence of prayer is therefore the spiritual lifting of the heart toward God.” St. Theophan
Genesis 48: 1-5
After these things, it was told to Joseph that his father was sick; and he set out to go to him, taking his two sons, Manasses and Ephraim.
Meditation: We read here of God’s
promises being made to
Pray today for the gift of hope.
“Hope is the power behind love…When hope fails, so does love.” St.
Genesis 48: 15-16
And Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph and said: “God in whose sight my fathers, Abraham and Isaac walked, God that feeds me from youth until this day. The angel that delivered me from all evils, bless these boys. And let my name be called upon them, and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they grow into a multitude upon the earth.”
Meditation: Jacob’s blessing is a
precedent of the great blessing of the birth of Jesus, Our Savior. Just as
Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons that they would multiply and fill the earth, so to,
Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection would be the cause of a multitude of
souls being saved. Through Jesus, many would come into the fold of
Pray today for the grace of the conversion and salvation of souls
through the world. “Pray, pray especially for souls who have no one to pray for
them.” Our Lady of
Genesis 49: 1-2, 8, 10
And Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Gather yourselves
together that I may tell you the things that shall befall you in the last days.
Gather yourselves together and hear O’ ye sons of Jacob, hearken to
Juda, you shall your brethren praise. Your hands shall be on the necks of your enemies. The sons of thy father shall bow down to thee. The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he comes that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations.”
Meditation: Jacob is foretelling the
events that will occur with the birth of Jesus. Juda’s
tribe would be the strength of
Pray today for the grace of perseverance.
“The crown will be given neither to beginners, nor to the
advanced, but to the victorious, to those who persevere to end.”
“Whatever good is to be attained, struggle is necessary. So do not fear temptations, but rejoice in them, for they lead to achievement. God helps and protects you.” St. Barsanuphius
Genesis 49: 28-32
All these are the twelve tribes of
Meditation: Jacob’s final blessing of his twelve sons, that is the twelve tribes, is finished. He instructs his sons to bury him with his father and his wives. During this Advent season, our longing should only be for Our Savior, Jesus, for His coming and birth. While Jacob shared with his sons his desire of the physical coming of the Messiah we too should diligently prepare ourselves spiritually for the commemoration of His Holy Birth.
Pray today for the grace to be immersed in the spiritual preparation for the Advent season.
“Through the study of books one seeks God: by meditation one finds him.” St. Padre Pio
Genesis 50: 22-25
Joseph dwelt in
Meditation: God’s blessing (through Jacob) to Joseph was great. He lived a hundred and ten years and lived to see the children of Ephraim to the third generation. What a blessing! He foretold that like his father Jacob, he too would be buried in the land of his fathers. A greater blessing is now given to all of us with the birth of Jesus,
Pray today for the grace to be aware of God’s great blessings God has given us.
“Render thanks to God. O great and good Creator, how much do I owe to thee, since out of my nothingness you have made me what I am. How can I ever worthily bless your holy name and thank your infinite goodness.” St. Francis de Sales
1 Samuel 16: 1, 11-13
And the Lord said to Samuel; How long will you mourn for Saul,
whom I have rejected from reigning over
And the Lord said: Arise, and anoint him, for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward; and Samuel rose up and went to Ramatha.
Meditation: With the anointing of the shepherd boy, David is made king. The Lord did not choose the oldest and strongest of David’s brothers, but instead chose David. David was the youngest and at that time, the weakest due to the birth order. It is from the royal house of David that the Messiah would be born. The unfolding of God’s plan is many times mysterious and unknown to us, but it is always a great wonder to meditate upon. In turn let us meditate how in the weak God finds strength, so that no flesh may glory in His sight.
Ponder today on how God always chooses the lowly and the humble to accomplish his great works.
“I know nothing. I was nothing. For this reason God picked me out.”
“The more one is humbled, the more one is exalted.”
2 Samuel 2: 1-4a
And after these things David consulted the Lord saying: Shall I go up into one of the cities of Juda? And the Lord said to him: Go up. And David said: Whither shall I go up? And he answered him: Into Hebron.
So David went up, and his two wives, Achinoam
the Jezrahelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal of Carmel. And the men also that were with him, David
brought up every man with his household: and they abode in the town of
Meditation: After the death of King Saul, David is anointed King. Our Lord spoke to David and instructed him where to go. Just God as spoke and directed David, He too speaks and guides us today. Like David we must be prayerful and open to hearing God’s voice. We can only do this in the silence of our hearts. God’s direction is not always as obvious as it was with David, but if we are quiet within ourselves, we will hear the gentle breeze of His voice guiding and directing us. Just as Mary accepted obediently the Will of God, so too we must model ourselves after her.
Ponder today upon how we must silence the external and internal
noises that distract and pull us away from God. Advent is a time of preparation,
and we cannot properly prepare our hearts for
“In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one’s soul and to keep silence; no a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. One can speak a great deal without breaking silence, and, on the contrary, one can speak very little and be constantly breaking silence.” St. Faustina
“The lover of silence draws close to God. He talks to him in
secret and God enlightens him.” St.
2 Samuel 5: 1-5
Then all the tribes of
Meditation: David reigned as King for a long time. This is symbolic of Our Divine King whose reign shall be forever. The messiah’s arrival was anxiously awaited for thousands of years.
Every generation prayed to blest to witness the Messiah’s reign of peace. Many women prayed that she would be the chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. Only one lowly and humble maiden prayed to be the handmaiden of the mother of the messiah. It was this lowly maiden; pure and immaculate, that God chose for His mother. In her humility, Mary’s acceptance of God’s Will became our redemption and salvation. Our heavenly mother’s “yes” should resound daily in our hearts during this advent season. Never let a day go by without thanking her.
Pray today for the grace of a deep and profound thankfulness for our salvation obtained by Mary’s fiat.
“She is so beautiful that to see her again one would be willing to die.” St. Bernadette
“The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God" -Saint Irenaeus, Father of the Church
1 Chronicles 13: 1-4
And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds and with all the commanders. And he said to all the assembly of Israel: If it please you; and if the words which I speak come from the Lord our God, let us send to the rest of our brethren into all the countries of Israel, and to the priests and the Levites, that dwell in the suburbs of the cities, to gather themselves to us. And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we sought it not in the days of Saul. And all the multitude answered that it should be so: for the word pleased all the people.
Meditation: At David’s request the Ark of
the Covenant, is returned to
Ponder today upon Adam and Eve’s original state of grace and their fall from grace and what Jesus and Mary paid to return man back to this state of grace.
“Oh what tenderness does God embrace a sinner that returns to him.” St. Alphonsus Liguori
“The law detects, grace alone conquers sin.” -
1 Chronicles 16: 7-36
In that day David made Asaph the chief to give praise to the Lord with his brethren. Praise ye the Lord, and call upon his name: make known his doings among the nations. Sing to Him, yes, sing to Him: and relate all his wondrous deeds.
Praise you his holy name, let the heart of them rejoice, that seek the Lord. Seek you the Lord and his power, seek you his face evermore.
Remember his wonderful works, which he hath done, his signs and
the judgments of his mouth. Oh you seed of
Saying,To thee will I give the
Touch not my anointed, and do no evil to my prophets. Sing you to the Lord, all the earth, show forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the gentiles, his wonders among all people.
For the Lord is great and exceedingly to be praised, for he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Praise and magnificence are before him, strength and joy in his place.
Bring you to the Lord, O you families of the nations, bring you to the Lord glory and empire. Give to the Lord glory to his name, bring up sacrifice and come you in his sight; and adore the Lord in holy becomingness.
Let all the earth be moved at his presence, for he hath founded the world immoveable. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations; the Lord hath reigned.
Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; let the fields rejoice and all things that are in them.
Then shall the trees of the wood give praise before the Lord; because he is come to judge the earth.
Give you glory to the lord, for h is good; for his mercy endures forever. And say you: Save us, O God our savior, and gather us together and deliver us from the nations that we may give glory to thy holy name and may rejoice in singing thy praises.
Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel from eternity to eternity; and let all the people say amen, and a hymn to God.
Meditation: This passage is the psalm of praise written by David when the ark was placed in the tabernacle. During the middle of our advent journey it is good to be joyful and to sing the praises of God – reflecting, as David, on all the wonderful things God has done for us in His mercy, love and goodness. This advent is a time to reflect on this great mystery and to continue to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus.
Pray today that you will always remember to thank God everyday for His great compassion and mercy for us.
“His mercy is so great that He has forbidden none to strive to
come and drink of this fountain of life. Blessed be he forever.” St. Teresa of
“We should not accept in silence the benefactions of God, but return thanks for them.’ St. Basil
1 Kings 2: 1-5
When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave these
instructions to his son Solomon: “I am going the way of all mankind. Take
courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the Lord your God, following his ways
and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances and decrees as they are
written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do wherever
you turn, and the Lord may fulfill the promise he made on my behalf when he
said, “If your sons so conduct themselves that they remain faithful to me with
their whole heart and with their whole soul, you shall always have someone of
your line on the throne of Israel. You yourself know what Joab,
son of Zeruiah, did to me when he slew the two
Meditation: David, prior to his is death, puts his house in order. He gave his son, Solomon, a blessing and the same promise God made to him that was contingent on his faithfulness and obedience to God. We are given this same advice, and are expected to be faithful and obedient to all God’s commands. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus, but it is also a time to reflect on our faithfulness and obedience to God.
Pray to today for the grace to be faithful and obedient to all God asks of us.
“Obedience is more pleasing to God than all the sacrifices of penitential works, or of alms deeds, which we can offer to him. St. Alphonsus Liguori
“In obedience our own will is sacrifice.” St. Gregory I, the Great
1 Chronicles 22: 1, 6-11
Then David said: “This is the house of God, and this altar for the
And David said to Solomon: “My son, it was my desire to have built
a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word came of the Lord came to
me, saying: ‘Thou has shed much blood, and fought many battles, so thou canst
not build a house to my name, after shedding so much blood before. The son that
shall be born to thee shall be a most quiet man: for I will make him rest from
all his enemies round about him and therefore he shall be called Peaceable and
I will give peace and quietness to
Meditation: David’s desire to build a temple for God is denied him. Solomon is given duty.
How many times have we wished to do something and could not do it or accomplish it? Did we accept this disappointment gracefully or did we pray on the matter to discern God’s will or did we balk, whine and complain? We all desire great things, yet what good is this, if they are not of God? Seek first His Divine will, and then obey. Jesus always sought the Will of the Father before acting. What a beautiful example we have to imitate.
Pray today for the grace to always seek out the will of God in our lives.
“The demon has only one door by which to enter into our soul: the will; there are no secret doors.” St. Padre Pio
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
TROPARION - Today the bonds of barrenness are loosed: God has heard the prayers of Joachim and Anne, and has promised against all hope the birth of the Maiden of God; from whom the Infinite Himself is to be born as a man, He who had ordered the Angel to cry out to her, "Hail! O full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
KONTAKION - Today the universe rejoices, for Anne has conceived the Mother of God in a manner provided by God Himself: for Anne has borne the one who will bear the Word in a manner beyond all telling.
1 Chronicles 29: 23-30
Then for the second time they proclaimed David’s son Solomon king,
and they anointed him as the Lord’s prince, and Zadok
as priest. Thereafter Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of
his father David: he prospered and all
Now the deeds of King David, first and last, can be found written in the history of Samuel the seer, the history of Nathan the prophet, and the history of Gad the seer, together with the particulars of his reign and valor, and of the events that affected the kingdoms of the surrounding lands.
Meditation: Solomon is anointed king of
Pray today for the grace to grow in wisdom and grace before God.
“Wisdom is God himself – such is his glorious origin.” St. Louis de Montfort
“If any man be wise, let him show his wisdom to good deeds, not by words.” St Clement of
Psalm 132: 11-18
The Lord swore to David a firm promise from which he will not
withdrew: “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne; If your sons keep my
covenant and the decrees which I shall reach them, their sons, too forever
shall sit upon your throne.” For the Lord has chosen
Meditation: Advent is a time of waiting
and praying, but it is also a time of rejoicing – for our salvation is nigh.
This psalm reflects this great joy of the anticipation of
Pray today and ponder on the love and mercy of God.
“God loves, he desires nothing else than to be loved; for he loves only that he may be loved.”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“He who is loved receives not harshness but mercy.” St. Ambrose
Isaiah 2: 1-5
The word that Isaiah, son of Amos saw, concerning Juda and
And many people shall go, and say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall come forth from Sion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised anymore to war.
O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Meditation: The book of Isaiah will be
utilized until December 21st. How beautiful is this scripture passage from Isaiah? In the
bible, the time of the new law before the coming of
Ponder today on the fact that it is so beautiful to meditate upon the fact that we are living in the times longer for by the Old Testament prophets.
“May the perfect love of God reign in our hearts.” St. Louis de Montfort
Isaiah 7: 3, 10-15
Then the Lord said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field. Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: Ask for a sign from the lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky. But Ahaz answered: “I will not ask. I will not tempt the Lord.” Then he said, Listen, O house of David. Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also wary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel. He shall be living on curds and honey by the time he learns to reject the bad and choose the good.
Meditation: This is probably one of
Isaiah’s most famous prophecies. We hear it read in church: “A virgin shall
conceive and bear a son.” It would take centuries for this to come to pass. Our
Lady was a virgin before, during and after the birth of
Spend time today meditating and thinking about his great mystery.
“Love, serve and honor Mary with all your heart, and you will gain
and possess entirely the heart of the Heavenly Father. He will love you and
bless you abundantly, and she will repeat, after her Divine Son: “For the
Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me.” St.
“He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be
lost.” St. Ignatius of
December 12 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Isaiah 9: 2-3, 6-7
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: to them that dwell in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Thou has multiplied the nation and has not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before you as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.
For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.
His empire shall be multiplied and there shall be no end of peace: He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and forever; the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Meditation: Today if a person is in the darkness of sin, it is because they freely have chosen it. Yet before the birth of Jesus, all nations, walked in this darkness, not out of choice, but because of the sin of Adam. With the birth of Jesus, a great light was seen- the light of our redemption.
How many times have you personally sinned against the law of God? How many times have you been forgetful of God’s mercy?
Pray today for the grace to be ever mindful of God’s greatest gift to us – His Son.
Isaiah 11: 1-5, 11
And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.
But he shall judge the poor with justice and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand the second time to possess the remnant of his people, which shall be left from the Assyrians and from Egypt and from Phetros, and from Ethiopia and from Elam and from Sennaar, and from Emath and from the islands of the seas.
Meditation: As we approach the birth of
Pray today for this peace, the grace to recognize it and embrace it.
“So you want peace of heart? Then do not seek health, nor wealth,
not power, or luxury. Seek wisdom in God’s sight, stick to the virtues and
nothing will be able to make you sad.”
Isaiah 40: 1-2
Be comforted, be comforted, my people, says your God. Speak you to
the heart of
Meditation: Have you ever waited for something wonderful to happen, not knowing when it would happen, but only knowing that it would happen? Initially you are excited and joyful, but as time goes on you might become anxious and even worried about when the event would take place. As time passes you might even become despondent. Your waiting feels like an eternity.
This the way it was for the Jewish people of the Old Testament. Isaiah in this scripture reading comforts the people and gives them new hope and joy; encouraging them by telling them that which they are waiting for is their redemption and salvation. He reassures them of the coming but they must wait patiently. We too must learn to cultivate patient when we are praying for God’s help.
Pray today for the grace of perseverance and patience.
“Pray, hope and don’t worry.” St. Padre Pio
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
Isaiah 42: 1, 6-9
Behold my servant, I will uphold him: my elect, my soul delights in him: I have given my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. I the lord have called thee in justice, and taken thee by the hand, and preserved thee. And I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles
That thou might open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I the Lord, this is my name: I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven things. The things that were first, behold they are come and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I will make you hear them.
He will never be out done in generosity.
Pray today for the courage to give your all to Jesus.
The following is a quote from “The Way of Divine Love” dictated by Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez. “I shall be your reward, exceedingly great and you will never regret any sacrifice you have made for Me during your life.”
Isaiah 49: 5-7
And now says the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his
servant, that I may bring back Jacob unto him, and
Thus said the Lord the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of the rulers - Kings shall see, and prices shall rise up and adore for the Lord’s sake, because he is faithful and for the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.
Meditation: The theme of the servant is again written about in this scripture passage; the servant being Jesus. He will bring salvation to the Gentiles, and to the very ends of the earth.
Remember God’s love for His Church is perpetual, unending and
forever. We are the Church, and the living body of
Pray today to never forget how much God loves you.
“Divine love brings with it every good and banishes every evil.”
Isaiah 56: 1-2, 7
Thus says the Lord: Keep your judgments and do justice; for my salvation is near to come and my justice to be revealed. Blessed is the man that does this and the son of man that shall lay hold on to this: that keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, that keeps his hands from doing any evil.
I will bring them into my holy mount, and will them joyful in my house of prayer; their holocausts, and their victims shall please me upon my altar; for my house shall be called the house of prayer, for all nations.
Meditation: God is asking all of us to keep His commandments. This invitation is for everyone.
God is calling everyone to do this because salvation is near at hand. With the birth of Jesus, our redemption is close. Creation, as it was before the fall of Adam, will be restored and renewed.
Grace will enter the world once again and everything shall be made holy in the eyes of God. His Church is holy therefore His house will be called a house of prayer. This meditation during the advent season is beautiful to ponder upon.
Prayerfully ponder on how awesome it is to enter in to God’s house and sit in His presence and offer Him all your prayers, concerns, joys and sorrows.
“To love God is the true object of our heart.” St. Ignatius of
Loyola “It can happen that when we are at prayer some brothers come to see us.
Then we have to choose either to interrupt our prayer or to sadden our brother
by refusing to answer him. But love is greater than prayer. Prayer is one
virtue among others, whereas love contains them all. “ - St.
Isaiah 60: 1-6
Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people; but the Lord shall arise kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up the eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side.
Then shall you see and abound and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of the sea shall be converted to you, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to you.
The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from
Meditation: Isaiah’s prophecies
concerning the Messiah are filled with joy and anticipation of
Finally we read in verse 6 the prophecy of the three Magi and visitation to give their homage and adoration and gifts to the new born king.
Pray today for the grace to strive to become the saint that God has called you to be.
“It is possible to be a saint anywhere and everywhere when one really wishes to become one.”
St. Claude de la Colombiere
“One cannot possible understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life.” St. Ambrose
Isaiah 60: 19-22
Thou shall no more have the sun for thy light by day, neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light and thy God for thy glory.
The sun shall go down no more, and thy moon shall not decrease; for the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
And thy people shall be all just, they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand to glorify me. The least shall become a thousand, and a little one a most strong nation; I the Lord will suddenly do this thing in its time.
Meditation: In this scripture reading,
Isaiah is writing about the glory of the Church Triumphant in heaven. In the
earlier part of chapter 60, the prophet writes of the illustrious promises made
by God to the church Militant on earth. I recommend reading it. All these promises
will be made possible by the birth of Jesus in
Pray today to be thankful that you live in the time of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam and Eve.
Micah 5: 2-4
And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands
of Juda: out of you shall he come forth unto me that
is to be the ruler of
Meditation: The writings of the prophet
Micah bring us closer to the desired day of the nations, and the birth of the
Messiah. Micah designates
Pray today for the grace of quiet and solitude, so that the hustle and noise of the holidays will not overwhelm you.
“Each day try to find a few minutes of that blessed solitude which you so much need to keep your interior life going.” St. Josemaria Eschriva
Isaiah 66: 22-23
For the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make to stand before me says the Lord, so shall your seed stand and your name. And there shall be month after month, and Sabbath after Sabbath; and all flesh shall come to adore before my face, says the Lord.
Meditation: This is the final time Isaiah
is used during Philip’s fast. If you read chapter 60 in Isaiah, you will note
that Jesus came not only for the Jews but for the Gentiles too. The call of the
Gentiles into the Church is throughout the book of Isaiah. Jesus came to save
everyone not just a select few. On
Ponder today on this thought: the value of one soul and God’s
immense love for us. Our Lady’s request at
Zephaniah 3: 14-20
Give praise, O daughter of
The triflers that were departed from the law, I will gather together, because they were of thee: that you may no more suffer reproach for them. Behold I will cut off all that have afflicted thee at that time: and I will save her that halts, and will gather her that was cast out: and I will get them praise and a name, in all the land where they had been put to confusion. At that time, when I will bring you; and at the time that I will gather you: among all the people of the earth, when I shall have brought back your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord.
Pray today for the grace of love to enter our hearts during this time of waiting.
“For love is repaid with love alone.” St. Francis de Sales
“Love binds us fast to God.” St. Clement of
Luke 1: 39-56
And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with
haste into the city of
And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices
in God my Savior. Because he has regarded the humility of his handmaid; for
behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he who is
might, has done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from
generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He has shown might in his
arm: he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down
the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry
with good things; and the rich he has sent away empty. He has received
Meditation: This reading from St. Luke’s gospel reflects on Mary. Mary’s faith was perfect; her will and God’s will are one. Her magnificat is a prayer of faith, thanksgiving and joy. That which God promised repeatedly throughout the Old Testament was accomplished in Mary. Yet Mary never thinks about herself. In her great humility she goes to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth.
It is interesting that on Blessed
This advent season Our heavenly Mother is saying this to all of us her children.
Pray today for the gift of faith and a childlike love for Our Heavenly Mother – who loves us so much.
“He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be
lost.” St. Ignatius of
Matthew 1: 1-17, 2: 1-12
Roll of the genealogy of Jesus
After Jesus had been born at
We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.' When
King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of
We read today about the genealogy of Jesus, his birth, and the visit of the Magi. These things all had been foretold many times through the prophets. Joseph and Mary were privileged to witness the fulfillment of God’s promise to man. This is the day that brought forth the promise of peace – the angels sang of this peace to the shepherds on the hillside: “Peace on earth to men of good will.” This peace is in the hearts of all who seek out the will of God and then do His will.
Pray today for the gift of peace.
“True peace is born of doing the will of God and bearing with
patience the sufferings of this life.” Blessed Pope
“So you want peace of heart? Then do not seek health, nor wealth,
nor fame, nor power, nor luxury. Seek wisdom in God’s sight, stick to the
virtues and nothing will be able to make you sad.”
http://www.byzcath.org copyright 1997 and written by Rev. Msgr. Russell A. Duker,
Hebrews 11: 1-35
Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not. For by the ancients obtained a testimony. By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God; that from the invisible things visible things might be made.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testimony to his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaks.
By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.
By faith Noah, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.
By faith he that is called Abraham, obeyed to go out in to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he abode in the land, dwelling in cottages, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise.
For he looked for a city that hath foundations; whose builder and maker is God.
By faith also Sarah herself, being barren, received strength to conceive seed, even past the time of age; because she believed that he was faithful who had promised.
For which cause there sprung even from one (and him as good as dead) as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off, and saluting them, and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.
For they that say things, do signify that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless time to return. But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac: and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son; (to whom it was said: “In Isaac shall they seed be called”)
Accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Whereupon also he received him for a parable.
By faith also of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and adored the top of his rod.
By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the going out
of the children if
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, denied himself to be the son
of Pharaoh’s daughter; rather choosing to be afflicted with the people of God,
than to have the pleasure of sin for a time, esteeming the reproach of
By faith he left
By faith they passed through the
By faith the walls of
And what shall I yet say? For the time would fail me to tell of Geodon, Barac, Samson, Jepthe, David, Samuel, and the prophets.
Who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, because valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners.
Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection.
Fasting guidelines for Advent according to the Byzantine Catholic Rite
The Holy Canons specify the following guidelines:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays to December 12:
• Abstinence of: Meat & Meat Products, Dairy Products
• No abstinence of: Fish, Shellfish, Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Olive Oil; Fruit, wine
On these days there is no regulation of the number of meals or quantity of food taken:
Wednesdays & Fridays, and all weekdays
• Abstinence of: Meat & Meat Products, Dairy Products, fish, Olive Oil, Wine
• No abstinence of: Shellfish, Vegetables & Vegetable Products, Fruits
On Wednesdays and Fridays, food should not be eaten between meals, and meals themselves
should be moderate in quantity. It is often customary to eat only one meal a day. During the
olive oil and wine are permitted only on Saturdays and Sundays. Fish is not permitted from the
13th to the 24th.
SVIATA VECHERA OR "HOLY SUPPER" is the central tradition
of the beautiful celebrations in Ukrainian homes. The dinner table sometimes
has a few wisps of hay on the embroidered table cloth as a reminder of the
When the children see the first Star in the eastern evening sky,
which symbolizes the trek of the Three Wise Men, the Sviata
Vechera may begin. In farming communities the head of
the household now brings in a sheaf of wheat called the didukh
whi the ancient and rich wheat crops of
A prayer is said and the father says the traditional
• Kutia – whole wheat dish
• Kolach (recipe) – special
Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!) In AT THE END OF THE SVIATA
VECHERA the family often sings Kolyadky, Ukrainian
In many communities the old Ukrainian tradition of caroling is carried on by groups of young people and members of organizations and churches calling at homes and collecting donations.
The favorite Ukrainian carol is Boh predvichny (God Eternal) which has a very beautiful melody and
Iyrics. Some Ukrainian carols are because they
(Taken from www.infoukes.com) of cooking going on bread(resembling babka), which is served l ch unusual ead(
• Borscht with vushka – Red Beet soup with mushrooms filled dumplings
• Kapusniak – Sour kraut soup
• Holubki – meatless stuffed cabbage
• Varenyky (Pierogies) filled with various fillings (potato and cheese, cabbage, fruit,
• Several fish dishes
• Pickled herrings are a must
• Fresh Mushroom Sauce
• Pickled mushrooms
• Baked Beans with flax oil
• Kompot – mixed fruit tea type hot drink
• Large assortment of cookies, sheet cakes, torts, angel wings cookies (khrusty), and home made donuts
The following are recipes for the
Taken from: http://www.infoukes.com/culture/traditions/christmas/sviat_vechir.html
• 1. Kutya
2 cups cleaned wheat 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3-4 quarts water 1/3 cup honey, dissolved in
1 cup cleaned poppy seed 1/2 cup hot water
2/3 cup sugar
• Wash wheat in cold water and soak overnight in the 3 to 4 quarts of water. The next day, bring the water to a boil then simmer for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The wheat is ready when the kernals burst open and the fluid is thick and creamy. Chop the poppy seed in a food processor and set aside. Mix honey, sugar and hot water. Before serving mix the honey mixture, poppy seeds, chopped nuts and wheat.
More honey can be added to taste.
• 2. Borshch
1 cup fresh or dried mushrooms 3 cups shredded cabbage
1 large onion - chopped 1/2 cup tomato juice
3 tbsp. vegetable oil 3 peppercorns
2 cups beets, sliced into strips 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup diced carrots lemon juice (to taste:tart, not sour)
1 potato, diced salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. dill (fresh or frozen) 8-9 cups water
1 tsp. parsley (fresh)
• Saute onion in oil until transparent. Add mushrooms- saute slightly and set aside. Cover beets, carrots, potato, parsley/dill with water and cook until barely tender. Add cabbage and cook until slightly tender. Add onions, mushrooms, tomato juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice with caution since you want the borshch tart, not sour. Bring to boil and serve.
• 3. Baked/Fried Fish
• - any variety of fish baked or fried, but if frying use only vegetable/olive/hemp oil (in keeping with the meatless nature of the meal)
• 4. Osyletsi (Pickled Fish)
2 filleted Whitefish (preferably caught while ice fishing) or 4 salt herrings
2 large onions (sliced)
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp pickling spices
Additional sugar if desired
1 glass of dry white wine
• 5 & 6. Holubtsi (Cabbage Rolls)
• - buckwheat and rice filled
• To prepare the cabbage:
Place one large head of cored cabbage in a deep pot of boiling water to which salt has been added. Remove the leaves as they become soft. Cool and drain the leaves and remove any remaining core. Cut the leaves to the desired size (personally I cut them about 3" wide). Grease a casserole dish and place a few leaves of cabbage to line it. Put a tablespoon full of filling (filling recipe follows) into each leaf and roll it up tucking in the edges of the leaves as you roll. Arrange the holubtsi in layers, adding some fried onions and garlic (to taste, sautéed in olive oil) between the layers. When the dish is filled place extra prepared cabbage leaves over the top to prevent scorching. Cover and place in 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs or until both the cabbage and filling are tender. For a nice variation you could also use grape or beet leaves. Also, you could pour some tomato juice over the top to add flavor.
• 1. Rice Filling
2 cups rice
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion (chopped)
4 tbsp olive oil
• Wash rice well. Add water and stir in salt. Bring to boil and cook for one minute. Stir and cover. Turn down heat and simmer until rice starts to get tender. Take off of heat and let stand covered until the rest of the water is absorbed. The rice at this stage will only be partly cooked. Saute chopped onion in olive oil and add to the rice. Season to taste. Cool and roll into cabbage.
• 2. Buckwheat Filling
2 cups buckwheat groats
2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion (chopped)
4-5 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups water
• Brown groats very lightly in the oven. Place in pot with boiling salted water. Add 4 tbsp olive oil. Cook until water is absorbed. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After baking allow the buckwheat to cool. Saute chopped onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sautéed onions to the cooked buckwheat. Cool and fill the holubtsi.
• 7 & 8. Varenyky (pyrogies)
4 cups flour 1. Combine flour and salt
2 tsp salt 2. Add rest of ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil 3. Knead until smooth and elastic
2 eggs well beaten 4. Cover and let stand at least 15 min.
1 cup water 5. Roll out thin on a floured board
6. Cut out rounds with a glass or beer mug
• i. Potato
2 cups mashed potatoes 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. vegetable oil salt and pepper to taste
• - saute onions in oil, season, add potatoes and mix well.
• ii. Kapusta (sauerkraut)
2 cups sauerkraut 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped pepper to taste
• - bring sauerkraut to boil in some water. Rinse, cool, drain and squeeze out water. Chop
finer if you want. Saute onions in oil and add to sauerkraut, season to taste.
• iii. Prune filling
1 cup prunes honey to taste
1/2 cup water
• -bring prunes and water to a boil, let cool and drain. Chop prunes very fine and add honey to taste.
• To make:
Add 1 tbsp of filling to each round of dough , fold over and pinch the dough together well. When boiling add a little salt and oil to the water so they don't stick together. When they come to the surface, they're ready.
• 8. Cooked beans
2 cups white beans 2 cloves garlic
7 cups water 1 onion, diced
1/8 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. salt
• Boil beans in water and add baking soda and salt when almost done. Continue simmering until beans are tender. Drain if necessary and set liquid aside for later. Mash beans well, adding bean liquid a little at a time until it is of a thick consistency. Crush garlic and stir into beans. Saute onions in oil and put on top of beans before serving.
• 9. Kapusta and peas
2 cups sauerkraut 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water salt and pepper
1/2 cup dried peas 1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped 2 tbsp. flour
• Soak peas overnight. Rinse and drain. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender.
Drain. Rinse sauerkraut in cold water and drain. Add the water and cook for 15 minutes.
Combine peas and sauerkraut. Save the liquid. Saute onion in oil. Sprinkle flour over onions and brown lightly. Pour liquid from cooked sauerkraut and peas; add crushed garlic and stir until sauce thickens. Add sauce to sauerkraut and peas, stir and add salt and pepper to taste, simmer for 30 minutes and serve.
• 10. Beets with Mushrooms
3 cups chopped beets 1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, chopped finely salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tsps. oil 1/2 tsp.lemon juice
1 cup mushrooms (fresh or canned)
• Chop the raw beets finely and then boil in a bit of water until tender yet firm. Add lemon juice to beets. Simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse mushrooms in hot water. Drain. Saute onion in oil, then add mushrooms and crushed garlic and simmer for a half hour. Combine with beets and simmer a further 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
• 11. Compote
• Get an assortment of dried fruits such as apples, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, figs or raisins and soak the fruit overnight in water. Next day, simmer until tender and add honey to sweeten to taste.
• 12. Pompushky
• For the dough, it's easiest if you have a bread machine with a manual setting. In that case all you do is make up a batch of sweet dough, letting the machine take care of the kneading then following the directions after the (*). If not here is the longer, more traditional method.
8 cups flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp. salt
• Dissolve yeast as instructed on package. Let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl, put in part of the flour (about 6 cups), making a well in the middle. Beat the eggs lightly, add melted butter, milk, sugar and salt. Add this mixture to the flour along with the yeast. Mix well and knead until dough is soft and not sticky adding the remaining flour only as necessary.
Knead about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in bulk. Punch down and knead lightly. Let rise again. (*) Take a small amount of dough, roll on a lightly floured table. It must be fairly thick. Cut out rounds, coffee mugs work well. Place a small amount of filling in the centre bringing the edges together and pinch well to seal tightly. Place pompushky seam side down on lightly floured surface, cover and let rise a while, about 15 minutes. Do not let over rise. Deep fry in Canola Oil, about 375F for about 3minutes turning them to brown on both sides. When removing try to have most of the oil back into the pan, then leave the pompushky on paper towel for more oil to come off.
• Poppy Seed (Maky)-
1 cup poppy seed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup raisins (opt)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
• Grind the clean dry poppy seed in a coffee grinder and add to the moistened raisins. Add honey, nuts, vegetable oil well and then fold into the poppy seed- raisin mixture. Ready to be used.
1 lb. apricots
Sugar to taste
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
Dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. of lemon juice
• Boil apricots until soft. Drain thoroughly. Put through food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Ready to be used.
• the same recipe as for apricots but with 1 lb. of pitted prunes.
The table is set with the family's finest and covered with a white
cloth to symbolize
The first food of the meal is OPLATKY (the
Traditional foods served at the
Often, an extra place setting is filled with a serving of each item on the table. This plate is left outside for family members who had passed away but are not forgotten.
Troparions and Kontakions for
The word troparion refers to a short, poetic hymn. It is also known as the apolytikion or "dismissal hymn," which is the main troparion of the day. "Troparia" is the plural of "troparion," and "apolytikia" is the plural of "apolytikion."
On Sundays, the troparion apolytikia have as their themes the Resurrection of the
Each day of the week has a unique commemoration, as reflected in
the daily apolytikia or troparia.
Monday commemorates the incorporeal powers, that is, the angels. Tuesday
Since every day of the year has some type of saint (martyr,
hierarch, righteous, apostle, etc.) or a feast-event (the Nativity of
The kontakion was originally a long poem of like-metered strophes which are considered to have homiletic origin [that is, based on sermons]. It received its name, it is thought, from the 'kontarion' [or, scroll] from which the hymn was read in Church. The most famous composer of kontakia [i.e., the plural of 'kontakion'] was the 6th-century saint Romanos the Melodos
[Romanus the Melodist; XYZ[\Y]; born ca
Romanus was the greatest of all Byzantine hymn-wrights, and his narrative-odes, or religious ballads, have a fervor, simplicity, and power, of which later Greek hymnody shows little trace.
After the iconoclastic strife in the early seventh century, the
liturgical books were altered by St.
Today, only the 'koukoulion' and first 'oikos' are used, except for rare circumstances and in the much-beloved Akathist Hymn (which is used in the period of the Great Fast). For this reason the 'koukoulion' is now normally referred to as the kontakion hymn.
(Taken from: http://www.scribeserver.com/NEUMES/help/orthodox-chant_help.htm )
The following is http://byzantinecatholicpriest.com/7-31-2011.htm and a bit easier to read and understand.
The preparation rites, the Litany of Peace, the antiphons, the Little Entrance.... We seem to be moving right along; which is deceptive; because, if we keep moving at this pace we’ll still never finish by the end of the summer. But push on we must. Which pushes us right into another one of those parts of the Divine
Liturgy which is so familiar to us even though what we know of it’s origins or meaning is incomplete: in this case, the Troparia and Kontakia. In pigeon Slavonic we often call them simply Tropars and Kondaks.
They are, of course, hymns; and—like most early
From the days of the Apostles themselves, the Psalms of David were
used as hymns by the early
Now, when you look at a Troparion or Kontakion today, you might very well ask, “Well, where is
the Psalm?” Good question. You see, in the early Church, they weren’t concerned
with how long the service was. They weren’t anxious to get home to watch a ball
game or pile in the car to drive to grandma’s or run out to the Old Country
Buffet for lunch; if they were ever concerned with getting out of the Liturgy
quickly it would have been because they were running away from people who
wanted to cut their heads off or feed them to lions. In the early days of the
The first Troparia and Kontakia composed seem to be traceable to a saint whose
minor feast we celebrate every year: St. Ephraem the
Syrian, who’s work first appears in the second century; but many believe he may
have been a personal disciple of St.
Whether we are adept at singing the Troparia
and Kontakia or not, we need to resist the temptation
to simply let them roll by without paying attention to them. We need to somehow
focus on their words. Our ancestors did not sing them just for the sake of
singing songs; it wasn’t like it is today in the Western Church, where you open
up the hymnal and just choose one whenever the Missal calls for a hymn. Our
Liturgy doesn't allow us to choose these hymns for ourselves; they are
specified for each Sunday and Holy Day of the year. These hymns contain, over the course of the year, an entire
compendium of the
That’s why it doesn’t matter whether we sing them well; what matters is that we sing them. When I celebrate the Liturgy on a weekday and have no cantor to help me and no congregation present, I still sing the Troparia and Kontakia. I don’t always sing them well, but I still sing them. When I scold you for not singing, it’s not because I’m some kind of maniacal music lover; it’s because it’s the singing of these texts which enables us—as it did for our ancestors—to preserve our faith and pass it on to our children. That’s why the page numbers for them are up on the hymn board: they’re not supposed to be sung by the cantor doing a solo with you sitting there listening; you’re supposed to sing them. The cantor’s just there to help you.
Troparion of the Feast of the Nativity of
Bio of the author
Family: Husband David + 5 Children
Education: Bachelor of Science in General Studies (Major:
Biology, Chemistry, and Speech) Degree from Kent State University
Master of Science in Education from
Doctor of Philosophy in Education from
Certified Irlen Screener – Irlen Institute,
Certificate in Teaching -
* 20 + years of Home Schooling her five children.
* Teaches undergraduate and graduate online courses.
* Registrar for
* Private Tutor since 1997
* Speaker at conferences in
* Home Schooling Consultant since 1996
* Board member –
* Chief Academic Officer –
* Board member – Northern Ohio Adoption Services 1999-2005
* Guest speaker on the History Channel – November 2009.
* Board member – IHM Conferences – 2006 to present.
* Secretary/Treasurer of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima- Byzantine
Associations and Memberships:
• President of the
• Member of the Round Table, a national organization of Catholic Home Schooling
• Founder and past leader of the Ohio Educators' Catholic Home Schooling Network
• Secretary/ Treasurer for the
Byzantine Blue Army Chapter for
• Secular Franciscan since 1978 and served as prefect of her fraternity for three years.
• Author of the following books: “Doorway to Heaven” , “The Unique Learner –
Homeschooling Children with Learning Disabilities” and “Philip’s Fast – 40 Days
of Advent Meditations According to the Byzantine Rite”.
• Instrumental in founding and organizing a national homeschooling organization.
• Founded and organized a state wide networking homeschooling organization.
• Founded and organized a nationwide networking homeschooling organization.
• Co-chaired from 1984-1987 and 1991-1995 local conferences for the World Apostolate of Fatima.
• Co-chaired in 1983 and 1986 local month long visitation program for the World
• Member of CHSNA delegation that
went to Rome, Italy to dialogue with Pope
• National Speaker at homeschooling
conferences in the
• Five children – 2 adopted from
• Home schooling in general with emphasis on teaching those with learning disabilities.
graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor psychology and computer
science August of 2003. Her daughter has auditory processing disorder, dyslexia and ADD.
• Boredom – Trivial nuisance or the Mother of all Problems.
How many times have we heard our children say to us: “Mom! I’m Bored!” This very statement by our children is telling us something. What we do not want is this problem to carry over into the educational aspect of our children’s day –to-day lives. This presentation will cover the problem along with along with motivational helps in teaching our children whose major complaint is boredom.
• The 21stCcentury Syndrome – Stress! Understanding & Coping with Stress in Our Daily Lives.
Stress is a major part of everyday lives. How do we recognize it much less deal with it? This presentation covers the causes of stress and how to handle it. With a little bit of knowledge and God on your side, you should be able to alleviate much of the stress in your daily life.
• Heaven’s Weapons for the Spiritually Disabled
Whether we realize it or not we are all spiritually disabled. This presentation discusses these heavenly weapons and how we are to use them to defeat the world, the flesh and the devil. In the 13th century, Our Lady told St. Dominic that one day she would use these weapons to save the world.
• Help! My Child is not Learning: Developing Learning Skills
This presentation will identify and explain vital learning skills needed for your child to be a successful student. Areas discussed will be memorization, task completion, essay/report writing, math skills and time management – to name a few.
• "Tips on Teaching the Academics" gives many helpful suggestions on not only recognizing the many problems that can surface while teaching your children, but includes tips and suggestions from the many years of home schooling her children.
• Homeschooling 101: The Basics of Getting Started. Excellent talk on the “how to’s” of starting to home school your children. This is a must for beginning parents and parents considering home schooling their children.
• Discovering and Implementing Your Child’s Learning Style. How does your child learn? What is the best method of teaching your children? Tips on how to teach your children.
• Controlling and Eliminating Stress in Home Schooling. There are many factors that cause unnecessary stress in home schooling. Some stress can be avoided, others minimized by pre-planning and making arrangements beforehand, while others require simple planning on a day- to-day basis. Excellent talk on this important subject for home schooling families.
Obstacles to Your Child’s Learning Style Using Different Methods of Teaching. What do you do when your child just can’t seem to continue with
his lessons? Dr. Moran will address the different approaches available that may
work for you and your child. Once the parent recognizes the child’s learning
style, Dr. Moran will present alternative teaching methods and techniques to
help motivate your child in the 4 R's (
• Motivating the High School Student. Are you having trouble keeping your teenager motivated and in your home school? This talk gives helpful ideas and suggestions on keeping your high school student motivated and staying focused.
Modesty for your Sons and Daughters: This
presentation covers the lost virtues of Chastity and Modesty. Included
in the presentation are the teachings of the Church, quotes from Pope Pius XII
on Modesty, and examples from the lives of the saints. All parents and teens
need to hear this presentation. Jacinta, the little seer of
• Myths and Solutions for ADD/ADHD - This presentation covers the many myths we hear about ADD/ADHD along with natural solutions to help home schooling parents of children with ADD/ADHD. It also covers some of the "causes" of this problem. With so much talk about ADD/ADHD today, it is very important to have this information
• Teaching the Unique Learner: This talk covers how to recognize learning disabilities, resources to help the home schooling parents and tips and ways to teach a child with learning disabilities.
• The 3 Last Things: Parties, Prom and Football - Mrs. Moran not only has successfully home schooled two of 5 children through high school, but knows first hand how to survive the pressures of the high school years. This talk was given at a home schooling conference. She covers how to survive the pressure parents are put through by their teens to go to High School with their friends.
• Saintly Virtues for Saintly Children, This presentation explains why it so important for our children to have the many virtues instilled in them while they are young, so that they grow up to be saintly men and women. Examples are taken from the lives of the saints and the teaching of the Church.
• Teaching and Living the Beatitudes in the 21st Century. The Emphasis in the presentation is how to live the beatitudes today. Examples taken from the saints and the period of time they lived and then it is applied to our times is emphasized. Mrs. Moran has given this talk to many High School students and youth groups.
• Spiritual and Educational Priorities for Large and not so Large Home Schooling Families. This talk stresses the spiritual aspect of home schooling and why it so important and how to make it number the #1 priority in your home schooling family. A definite must for all home schooling parents to hear and know.
I Not Here?” This wonderful talk is centered on
fostering Marian devotion in our children and of course adults too. This covers
Our Lady's most famous apparitions starting with
• Our Lady of Sorrows – Refuge for the Overworked and under- appreciated Home Schooling Mom. The core of this presentation is the 7 sorrows of Our Lady and how they apply to home schooling families, especially the mother. It is in her sorrows that we draw the strength we need to home school our children in this world today. The seven sorrows are presented as a guide for home schooling mothers. The many points presented make excellent material to meditate and think upon. Mrs. Moran’s material is taken from the writings of the saints and also from the writings of the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.
Power: Help for the Home Schooling Family – Mrs.
Moran in this talk addresses the power of Our Heavenly
Mother. The following points are presented: Her power in general; utilizing the
writings of the saints and the Church, her power through her holy name,
Teach Us to Pray. This presentation delves into
prayer, its importance, the types of prayer, especially mental prayer and the
sacraments in our daily lives. It has often been called the
• The 4 Dimensions of Sin - Deceive, Defile, Desensitize and Deaden - This presentation covers what sin does to a person's whole being. How sin desensitizes one's reaction to the sins of today. This goes hand in hand with the impact sin has had on the virtues of Chastity and Modesty, along with other virtues. Mrs. Moran covers how to protect yourself from having this devastating effect happen to you and your family.
• The Culture of Death and the Loss of the Sense of the Sacred. This presentation was given several years ago. It basically covers how the loss of the sense of the sacred has established in our culture today a culture of death. This is because when society loses the sense of the sacred, there is nothing left but this culture of death. This loss did not happen overnight. Mrs. Moran explains its inception and progression and how it has affected all of society today.
• The Holy Angels: Our Forgotten Companions. This presentation if desired has slides that can be given with or without the talk. It addresses Angels in Church teaching, Scripture, oral and written tradition and in the writings and lives of the saints. Mrs. Moran stresses the importance of loving your guardian angels and knowing what they can do for you. An excellent talk to instill devotion to the Holy Angels in family.
• The Two Hearts are One: This presentation was give at the IHM conference in 2004. This talk covers the origins and Church teachings on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It includes private revelations from the saints and their writings. Through her research, Mrs. Moran shows that the Two Hearts are indeed one and a great gift of grace from God to this sinful generation. A must for lovers of the two hearts of Jesus and Mary to hear.
• Heaven's Weapon: This talk is on the holy rosary, the origin of the rosary, the power of the rosary, along with many examples in history showing how the praying of the rosary has saved the world during various times in history. Mrs. Moran has given this talk many times in the past and at conferences. It is a very important talk, because people can become lukewarm and negligent about praying the rosary. The devil attacks the hardest here. He does not want the rosary prayed. Everyone needs to realize the importance and the power of this pray. Mrs. Moran includes the apparitions of Our Lady on the Rosary and what Our Heavenly Mother has asked of her children concerning this very powerful prayer.
• Our Lady's Mantle: This presentation is on the Brown Scapular. Along with the rosary, these are the two weapons Our Heavenly Mother gave us to defeat the world, the flesh and the devil. She told this to St. Dominic in the 13th century. Mrs. Moran includes how this great gift from heaven was given to us along with the many examples from the lives of the saints on the power of this great sacramental. These two talks, Heaven's Weapon and Our Lady's Mantle cover what Our Lady has given to us to defeat the evil one. The rosary and the brown scapular are the two greatest sacramentals of our time, given to us by Our Heavenly Mother, who wants to protect and save her children.
All of Mrs. Moran’s spiritual talks are taken from her book, "The Doorway to Heaven". The book has approval from her bishop that the contents are free from doctrinal error. The "Holy Angels" presentation also has a nihil obstat and imprimatur.
Additional topics by request
Her book, "The Doorway to Heaven" contains the many lectures she has given over the
past 20 years on the various aspects of our rich and beautiful Catholic Faith.
Her latest book, “The Unique Learner – Home Schooling Children with Learning
Disabilities” is now available.
Just finished is “Philip’s Fast – 40 days of Advent Meditations According to the Byzantine
Many of her lectures on home schooling are taken from her latest book still in the editing
and writing stage: “Home Schooling for Heaven, not Harvard.”
She has been homeschooling her 5 children for the past 20+ years and speaking at
homeschooling conferences around the country. She is president of the Catholic Homes School
Network of America. She is a member of the delegation that went to Rome, Italy in 1995, 1997
and 2007 that spoke about Catholic Home Schooling in America with the various congregations
and curia in Rome. The delegation was privileged to have an audience with the Holy Father
and to receive Holy Communion from Pope
the Ohio Educators' Catholic Home Schooling Network. She has spoken about Catholic
Homeschooling to many groups and at many conferences with the emphasis on the challenge
of teaching a child with learning disabilities. She has successfully home schooled her second
son who is a dyslexic and had ADHD. He is a graduate of YSU: majoring in Criminal Justice
with a minor psychology and computer science. Her "Tips on Teaching the Academics" gives
many helpful suggestions on not only recognizing the many problems that can surface while
teaching your children, but includes tips and suggestions from the many years of
homeschooling her children.
Other topics include: Marian Modesty in dress and deportment, Saintly Virtues for saintly
children, Teaching and living the Beatitudes in Modern Times (emphasis on examples from the
saints and their times and how to apply it to today), St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and role
model for today's fathers, Spiritual and Educational Priorities for (large) homeschooling families.
Other topics by request.
She became a Secular Franciscan in 1978 and served as prefect of
her fraternity for three years. She is presently Secretary-Treasurer of the
Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima - Byzantine Chapter of Warren, OH and also the
speaker for the chapter. She has presented the Fatima message to over 20,000 +
children and adults in the
1. First Friday Eucharist Vigils
2. The International Rosary March on the first Sundays of May and October in her
3. She has twice co-chaired the visit of the International Pilgrim
Virgin Statue of Our Lady o
Her book, "The Doorway to Heaven" contains the many lectures she has given over the past 20 years on the various aspects of our rich and beautiful Catholic Faith. Excellent resource book for Homeschooling moms.