Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Lit a Candle Today.....

Twenty eight years ago today, the 13 December 1986, you left us and life has  never been quite the same.  It was unexpected and I was very, very  angry.  Angry with God that He had taken you home.  Angry because my daughter was only six months old and would not know you.  Angry because my eight year old son who idolized you was devastated. Angry because your wife, my mother had no idea of how to cope without you.  Angry because my husband lost who he considered, was his best friend.  Angry because you went two weeks short of of my fortieth birthday.  Angry because you were so full of life, had a sparkle that so few possessed and  had a love for life that was all consuming. We were not ready.

I now understand why thirty years after your mother's untimely death, you would cry.  

I lit a candle for you today and prayed that you are at peace, reunited with  with your wife, my Mummy and that next year the emptiness for me, will have eased slightly.

I wrote the following post last
year and even now, so many years on, every year seems like it was only yesterday.

Twenty seven years ago today Daddy went home. It was unexpected and a tremendous shock to us as a family and all who knew him.  The pain never really goes away.  Today I raise my glass to a great man -a no nonsense man who had amazing charisma, a great sense of humour, did not suffer fools gladly, who under a strict tutelage helped make me the person I am today and who was a mentor to many.

This photo was taken in the early 60s  in Germany when his regiment was on exercise  (playing war games), probably with the thought that taking over Berlin was not beyond the realms of possibility at the time!  Here he is having a drink with those he commanded.  He looks terribly relaxed but anyone who knew him, knew that he was so sharp, nothing would escape him.  He could talk with Queens and the men under him, inspire from afar and indeed there are still people  around today, who say they are where they are today because of him. He left us far too soon.  

And because this photo was taken in Germany, I say "Prost!  -ein Toast!" .  To you my darling Daddy. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mein Namenstag - Fourth December

Being of European origin on my mother's side (Austrian) as a child my Namenstag (Name Day) was celebrated with happiness and much vigour!  I began to wonder if it was more important than my birthday which falls between Christmas and New Year.  As a child my Christmas and birthday presents seemed to meld into one!   Tomorrow, the 4 December is in Austrian, Mein Namenstag - in other words, my Name Day.

There is a  great deal of speculation attached to St Barbara  but whatever there is, the lady was removed from the Liturgical Calendar of the Roman Rite in 1969. In other words, made redundant!  She was removed by Pope Paul VI apparently because there was no reference to her in early Christian writings.  Strange then that one can actually find quite a great deal written about her.  St Barbara seems to be quite a popular saint even now in modern times.  She is known as the Patron Saint of artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her legendary association with lightening and mathematicians. Here is where our association could well end as my interaction with mathematics was a disaster throughout my school career. Never mind that a great deal of my working life has had to do with figures!!  It is also said that she is the Patron Saints of Masons which may have more to do with her being banished to the back benches than the supposed little reference to her works in early Christian writings!!

Barbara was the daughter of a rich pagan, Dioscorus who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. (What, no Rapunzel!?)  Unknown to her father she became a Christian after which she rejected the man her father had chosen to be her husband.  Legend has it that her father before leaving on a long journey had a bath house built for her.  (The first bathroom???)   During his absence, Barbara had three windows installed as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.    I am not sure why this is relevant but historians and theologians obviously thought it significant as originally only two were proposed.

When Barbara's father returned from wherever he had been, she revealed to him that she was now a Christian which made him pull out his sword - either to frighten or kill her. Who knows?  She prayed and miraculously the walls of the tower opened and she was apparently transported to a mountain gorge where two shepherds were minding their flocks. Dioscorus, following his daughter was rebuffed by the first shepherd but  the second betrayed her after which he was turned to stone and his flock, to locusts. Taken by her father to the Prefect of the Province,  Martinianius Barbara was cruelly tortured. (Nice father!) During the nights, the dark prison was bathed in lights and miracles occurred.   Every morning it was seen that her wounds from the torturing had healed.   Torches that were lighted to burn her immediately went out when they were put near her so finally she was condemned to death by beheading.  Her father carried out the evil deed.  On his way home after the beheading, the man was struck by lightening and in flames, burned to death.  Barbara was buried by a Christian named Valentinus and her tomb became the site of many miracles.

In the 12th century Barbara's relics were taken from Constantinople to St Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kiev where they were kept until sometime in the 1930s.   They were then transferred to St Vladinimir's Cathedral, also in Kiev.  

Orthodox Christians including Anglicans have never stopped venerating St Barbara and I think it's sad that she was removed from the 'official list'!!  Artillery regiments throughout the world celebrate their Patron Saint on the 4 December.  The US Artillery Associations both army and air defence maintain the Order of St Barbara and in the mining town of Kalgoorlie in Australia, she is venerated in the annual St Barbara'd Day Parade.  (They know a good thing when they see it!).  "Mein Namenstag" is also celebrated throughout Latin America.

I'm not sure I look a great deal like her and I'm not sure that I'd have had her courage!

Patron Saint of Miners

Postscript:  The beauty (or irony?)  is that my father, after realizing that a Michael John had not come into this world, wanted to name his daughter Josephine.  My mother disliked the name and promptly set about convincing her husband that 'Barbara' was a great name.  He finally agreed not knowing that that was the name of the heroine in a book my mother had just finished reading!! Having done a recent research on my paternal grandmother on I learned that her middle name was Josephine!  I never knew that before!  I am so glad that my mother was reading that book because I think 'Barbara' has a better story to tell than 'Josephine' who was not admitted to the scrolls until the 1800s.

Four Burners, One Light htpp://

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Advent - A Time of Waiting

The Advent Wreath in Christ Church Cathedral, Photograph  Patrick Comerford 2010

(This was taken in part from my blog Advent and the New Roman Missal, 27 November 2011)

Tomorrow, Sunday 30 November 2014 marks the First Sunday of Advent in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican calendars. Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30 (the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle) and ends on Christmas Eve, 24 December.  If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent.

The word 'advent' is Latin for 'a coming or arrival' so Christians look on Advent as a season of preparation.  It is a time to get ready for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Practicing Christians do special things to mark the holy purposes of the Advent season and many churches have weekly services with a lot of praise, joy and song.During the Advent season many families start making their own creche or manger scene. It has been said that St Francis of Assisi popularized the creche. 

The Advent wreath is part of the long-standing tradition but the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth. 

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection ( Thanks to Fr  William Saunders - The History of the Advent Wreath - Arlington Catholic Herald).

The four candles that decorate the wreath represent the four weeks of Advent. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken during this season and the rose candle is lit on the third Sunday marking the the midpoint of Advent. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world.
The light signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles which will be lit throughout Christmas season. 

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide Christians with a way to augment the special preparation for Christmas.  The tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. 

For those of you celebrating this wonderful time of 'waiting' I wish you a joyful Advent season.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

For all my American friends, it's that time of year again.  Thanksgiving.  So to each and everyone of you in my life, either on line or in touching distance, I wish each of you,  a very Happy Thanksgiving.   May your lives continue to be filled with blessings and an abundance of all good things.    May your day and your holiday weekend be filled with joy as you give thanks and may you all be surrounded by love, peace and fulfillment at this special time.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bleak Winter


Snowstorm, Maurice Vlaminck
Courtesy Tess Kinkaid :

Winding country roads
In so many places
When cold, stark winter 
 Takes over 
Northern hemisphere

The story's the same
Blizzards and muddy sludge
In New York  State
North Europe 
Yorkshire moors 

Motorists carefully steering
Over treacherous black ice
That cannot be seen
Transparent beneath
Churning slush

Dark dreary afternoons
All around is dim
But distant lights shine
Welcoming home
Loved one

Barbara M Lake  ©
Trinidad WI
November 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Without A Song

Magpie 246

Photograph courtesy  of Tess Kinkaid
Magpie Tales on Blogspot:

So many songs
Have been sung
About highways
And those

Long Ninety Nine 
Miles to LA
Will you 
Be There?

You drove all
Night to be 
With me
You should've

This is not
A country road
Taking me 
Home but famous
Route 66

So many songs
Too Many memories
Better you
Hit the Road

Barbara M Lake ©
Trinidad WI
November 2014

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...