Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal Abstracts
Theme: Advent, Birth of John the Baptist, Patience
Volume 6 No. 387 December 2, 2016

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Mary, Jesus and John the Baptist by Botticelli
Mary, Baby Jesus and Toddler John the Baptist by Botticelli

Blood and Roses - a commentary on Botticelli's Painting by Fr. Mark

Look at this marvelous painting by Botticelli depicting the Mother of God, the Child Jesus and His little cousin, the Baptist. What I find most striking is that at the very center of the painting is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Virgin is holding her Child; he appears heavy in her arms. She bows low to allow the little Baptist to give her Jesus a hug and a kiss. The small boys appear to be about two years old. The Baptist has to stretch to reach the Face of Jesus; he is already dressed in his desert garb and carrying his little wooden staff. The top of the staff has the form of the Cross; the Cross thus appears directly over the head of the Infant Christ, a portent of His sacrifice. The Mother of God wears a blood red gown; something about her posture suggests an outpouring of blood, an effusion of the heart. Just behind the Virgin is a rose bush in full bloom: a symbol - yes, you guessed it - of spiritual joys.

Let Me Give Thy Son a Kiss

More than my words ever could, Botticelli's painting suggests that the mission of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is to introduce all of us, as she did the little Baptist, into a reverent and tender intimacy with her Son. The Mother of God bends over each of us, her garments dyed red in the Blood that flowed on Calvary, the very Blood that won for us every spiritual joy. Where the Mother of God is present, there charity is poured out and there spiritual joys abound. Put yourself today in the position of the child John the Baptist. Ask the Blessed Virgin to let you embrace her Son and offer Him a kiss. Her Immaculate Heart will not refuse you this.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Yeldho Lent: Dec 1-Dec 25 and Dec 15-25 for Syriac Orthodox

1. Significance of the Advent Season

That is the Plan for our Redemption in a nutshell. During the advent we reflect and meditate on all these things. Examining ourselves and asking repentance for our sins are the main things we can do. We do that as part of the Yeldo Lent. ...

I. This Sunday in Church

2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (December 4)

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_birth-of-john-the-baptist.htm

3. Sermons for This Sunday (December 4)

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_birth-of-John-the-Baptist.htm

4. From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals Featuring: John The Baptist

Volume 5 No 317: December 4 2015
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJA_317.htm

Volume 5 No 258: January 9 2015
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_258.htm

Volume 4 No 251: December 5, 2014
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_251.htm

Volume 2 No 112: Dec 6 2012
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_112.htm

Volume 5 No 292: June 26 2015
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_292.htm

Volume 3 No 181: December 5, 2013
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_181.htm

Volume 3 No 119: Jan 10 2013
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_119.htm

II. Lectionary Reflections

5. The Birth of the Forerunner…Luke's Nativity

It is now nine months from the announcement in the Holy Place of the temple, to Zechariah and Elizabeth, that they would bear a Son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. ...

6. The Blessings of Obedience

For us to experience the blessings of obedience, we must be obedient to God. For, Obedience is the measure of our faith. And blessings are the fruit of our obedience. ...

7. Behind The Scenes At Christmastime: Zechariah's Song

The Benedictus is all about this one great truth: That God has at long last visited his people! In the verses that follow we learn five specific facts about the Divine Visitation and the blessings that flow from it. ...

III. Featured: Patience

8. The Patience of God

When we are patient with others, even in small ways, we are reflecting the character of a loving God. ...

9. The Virtue of Patience

Impatience can lead to frustration, which can lead to anger. Cultivating a patient spirit by focusing on the promises of God in His Word and the work of the Spirit of the Lord will lessen frustration and reduce the anger that is the mark of the foolish heart. ...

10. The Temporary Non-Path of Patience

We all know that patience isn't easy, or fun. What it is, though, is the path of the wise. Or, perhaps it's better to say the "non-path," since it usually involves a decision to do nothing for a while, to be still and know that you are not God, to reflect, or to strategize. ...

11. Our Last Minute God

Patience is a necessary virtue because it acknowledges God's perfect timing above our flawed timeline. A lack of patience is rooted in trust of self, while an abundance of patience is rooted in trust of God. ...

IV. General Weekly Features

12. Recipe: Rainbow Cake

13. A Spiritual Workout: Commitment and Perseverance

Growing closer to God is serious work. There will be moments when you may get discouraged, but over time when you look back at the things it has allowed God to do in your life, you will know that it was all worth it.

14. Family Special: Your Spouse ... Your Best Friend?

Over the years I've discovered some specific ways we can develop a close friendship with our spouse. First, we can take an interest in what's going on where we each spend a great deal of time, our workplaces. ...

15. Inspiration: The Truth About Positive Thinking

I believe you get back what you send out. I am a very "up" person and people frequently ask me how I maintain my enthusiasm. ...

16. 3 Ways to See God in Your Suffering

When you face trials, are you inclined to sing "It is well, it is well with my soul," or do you find it difficult to sing at all? What does it take to keep such solid faith when life is nothing but shifting sands? How can you grow through suffering, rather then just get through suffering? ...

17. About Malankara World

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