Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21, 2017


Simply stated: expect consequences.

Simply stated: there are consequences - every time.

Denying consequences is like denying gravity.
Arrows shot in the air come down.

Consequences leave teeth marks on the skin
of our soul because they have a bulldog teeth grip.

Words, comments,  actions that speak louder
than words, all have consequences.

Hurts hurt. Anger has an echo. Expect paybacks.
Bowling balls even when they miss, leave noise.

The law of consequences.  It exists and it continues.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2017


Today - January 21st - is the feast of St. Agnes - a well-known early Christian martyr - whose dates are around 291-304. 

She became well known down through the Christian centuries.

Many babies were given her name at baptism.  If you’re as old as I am, you too know someone named, “Agnes.”

 Many churches were named after her as well.

Hey, we want to give people a good name and have an advantage and example for goodness and holiness to be present in their lives.

An interesting sidebar is the practice of taking wool from a  sleep this day - and to use it to make the so called “pallium” - a cloth pendant given to new archbishops by the pope.


Agnes  is also one of the 4 great early Christian woman martyrs of the winter months.  Cecilia [November], Lucy [December], Agnes [January], and Agatha [February].

Agnes - meaning lamb - is often pictured with a lamb in her arms.

She was a young teenage girl - who declared her Christian faith - and was murdered  - martyred.

The legends are many  - men lusted after her - one became blind - prayed to her - and was healed.


The history of the Catholic Church has stories and examples of many saints and martyrs - who challenge us and are example of particular virtues.

Agnes is one to pray to for chastity - holiness - and strength with sexual temptations.

There is also the legend and the tradition for young single women to pray to St. Agnes for a good husband to be.  We see that in the long, long poem by John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes.


So that’s a few words about St. Agnes.

There is more - check her out in stories of Saints - Virgins and Martyrs.


Today, January 20th, we celebrate the feast of Saint Sebastian.

It's interesting that just a week ago or so - we visited the Cathedral of San Sebastian - the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro - and here it is his feast this week. The Portuguese king was  Sebastiao back in 1565 - when the city was founded - so it was called, "Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro". That's Portuguese for “St. Sebastian of the January River”. 

And if you check out the city you'll find on the Seal of the City the arrows of Sebastian - and pictures of him everywhere.

He’s the early Christian martyr who wouldn’t give up his Christian faith - during the persecution by Diocletian - the Roman Emperor - around the year 288.

The legend and the story is that he was tied to a tree and soldiers shot arrows into him.

Because of the violence and vividness of his martyrdom - it’s easy to picture the scene. I say this because paintings of Saint Sebastian can be found in all the major art museums.

There are alternative stories that he was thought dead - but a Saint Irene found his wounded body and nursed him back to health.

How many cowboy movies - with Clint Eastwood and others have we seen that someone is shot and wounded or beaten up and someone saves the hero - by sneaking him out of town - and nursing someone back to health.

Sebastian becomes in time the patron saint of soldiers - as well as athletes who have to work hard and struggle and suffer to achieve victory.

Next - keeping Shakespeare’s in mind, everyone remembers Hamlet’s words in his “To be or not to be speech” - when he says, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune  / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them?”

We all know there are times when arrows come flying at  us - and to have the courage of Saint Sebastian to deal with the sharp arrows of attack.   We all know that the image of arrows is very clear - when it comes to describing life at times. We all understand Psalm 91- when it talks about the terrors of night and the arrows that fly by day - a thousand arrows - ten thousand arrows - fly towards us - God will protect us.

I would think that image of arrows  - the arrows that are shot at us - is what makes St. Sebastian so popular.


Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017


So solid, so sure of itself, so basic,
one piece - no complexity -
the railroad track does its job….

Thousands and thousands of pounds,
thousands of cars wheel forwards,
rolling, rolling,  day after day after day ….

Railroad tracks - that’s how I want
truth to be - just doing its job -
solid streel alloy truth - just doing it’s job.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2017