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My Writing Journey

The Adulteress – A Poem

The Adulteress

by Dawn Pisturino

“It is the law,” Old Moses cried

A-top the mountain called Sinai;

“And everyone who broke it, died,”

The people in the valley sighed.

“And what of me?” the young girl said,

Shaking her black and tousled head.

“I will not send him from my bed,

Not if the sun becomes blood red!”

She spread her arms as if to fly:

“Not if the moon should leave the sky!

I love him! Strong, yet very shy —

The man whose side I must be by!”

Her husband prayed the whole night through.

“What have I done? What must I do?”

He muttered as the sky turned blue.

The laws were made; they must hold true.

The people gathered with their stones

And broke the young wife’s slender bones.

And when she died with cries and groans,

They turned and heard her husband’s moans.

“The price is paid,” they cried as one.

“The sinful tie has been undone.”

The young man turned, as if to shun,

The righteous crowd whose law had won.

~

September 18, 1986; August 3, 2022

Copyright 1986-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Jesus Wept

(Eastern Orthodox icon showing Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead)

“Jesus wept” is the shortest and one of the most profound verses in the New Testament. In those two words, we see Jesus’s humanity and feel his pain. It may have taken scholars a few hundred years to officially decide that Jesus was both human and divine, but the people who encountered him during his lifetime felt his Presence and his Power and witnessed both his human nature and his divinity. They were touched and forever changed.

John 11:1 to 12:11 tells the story of Lazarus’ illness and death and Jesus’ miracle:

When Jesus hears that Lazarus is seriously ill, he tells his disciples, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Two days later, Jesus (knowing that Lazarus is dead) and his disciples set out for Judea. By the time they arrive at their destination, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, remind Jesus that their brother would not have died if Jesus had been there. Surrounded by mourners, Mary falls at Jesus’ feet in despair. Touched by her faith, her love, and her grief, he begins to weep.

At the entrance to the tomb, Jesus cries, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus hears him and emerges from the tomb. The result of this event is two-fold: believers are confirmed in their beliefs and doubters believe; and people who witnessed the miracle inform the Pharisees.

The Pharisees, concerned about their own positions and survival, conspire against Jesus and plot his death. In the meantime, Jesus and his disciples return to Judea to visit Lazarus and his sisters. It is during this visit that Judas Iscariot questions Jesus and his mission and begins to plot against him.

The significance of Lazarus’ resurrection cannot be underestimated. Jesus used Lazarus – someone he loved – to illustrate the glory and power of God and his own role in God’s plan on earth. Lazarus’ death and resurrection foreshadow Jesus’ own fate and emphasize his promise that anybody who believes in him will also be resurrected into a new life.

(“Jesus is Just Alright” – The Doobie Brothers)
(Superstar Scene – Jesus Christ Superstar)
(“Put Your Hand in the Hand” – Ocean)

Happy Easter!

Dawn Pisturino

April 8, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

13 Comments »

St. Thomas the Apostle and the Three Wise Men

The Gospel of Matthew recounts how the Three Wise Men followed the Star of Bethlehem to the Christ Child in the manger, worshiped Him, and brought Him gifts. Then they left, feeling it wiser to bypass King Herod and his murderous intentions. 

Matthew 2:1-12:

 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

~

Later stories in the apocrypha elaborate on this account. The Three Wise Men meet St. Thomas the Apostle, who baptizes them as Christians, gives them the Eucharist, and sends them out into the world to spread the message of Christ as his disciples.

During the baptismal ceremony, St. Thomas recites this prayer:

“We praise you, O mystery of salvation,

which was given to us in oil by grace for anointing. 

Glory to you, O hidden mystery,

which was given to us in oil by grace for salvation,

for anointing. 

Glory to you, O hidden mystery,

which was given to us in oil for salvation and

and absolution.

 And by it (you) enlighten us and drive away

 darkness and error from us.

And again, by its mystery the athletes of the contest 

defeat their enemies.

Glory to you, O mystery of the oil,

since you became worthy to be in fellowship with

Christ.

With you the victorious are crowned in the contest, 

and you are twinned with the Spirit.

And you fly over the water like your (twin,) 

the Holy Spirit,

you mix the soul with mind,

and you renew the body with the birth of salvation.

Come, O partner of the firstborn;

Come, O renewer of humanity by the birth to eternal 

life;

and rest upon these believers, the beloved ones of our 

Lord Jesus Christ, and purify them and sanctify them

from all the stains of their bodies,

and may they become for you temples for your

dwelling

and rest for the Son of perfect mercy. 

And may you perfectly sanctify them with the birth of

salvation.”

(Translated from the Syriac by Brent Landau)

May we all become wiser, closer to God, and better disciples of the Christ Child in the year ahead.

Amen!

Dawn Pisturino, RN

December 23, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“He Shall Feed His Flock” – Handel’s Messiah

I like to start out the holiday season by listening to Handel’s Messiah. Not only is the music powerful and majestic, with a wide variety of vocal ranges, but the lyrics and the music capture the essence of Jesus’ life and teachings. One of my favorite pieces is “He Shall Feed His Flock,” which is straight out of Matthew 11:28-29 and Isaiah 40:11 in the Bible. This Oratorio is a fine example of Baroque music that has endured for 280 years.

Performed by Swiss soprano Regula Muhlemann. From Handel’s Messiah.

Lyrics

He shall feed his flock like
A shepherd
And He shall gather
The lambs with his arm
With his arm

He shall feed his flock like
A shepherd
And He shall gather
The lambs with his arm
With his arm

And carry them in his bosom
And gently lead those
That are with young
And gently lead those
And gently lead those
That are with young

Come unto Him
All ye that labour
Come unto Him, ye
That are heavy laden
And He will give you rest

Come unto Him
All ye that labour
Come unto Him, ye
That are heavy laden
And He will give you rest

Take his yoke upon you
And learn of Him
For He is meek
And lowly of heart
And ye shall find rest
And ye shall find rest
Unto your souls

Take his yoke upon you
And learn of Him
For He is meek
And lowly of heart
And ye shall find rest
And ye shall find rest
Unto your souls

Source: Musixmatch

Scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens.

Music by G.F. Handel, 1741.

Dawn Pisturino

November 6, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


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Angel Art – The Archangel Michael

Artwork by Luca Giordano

Michael means “who is as God.” Among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, he is the highest angel in the hierarchy of angels. His occult name is Sabathiel. In Islam, he is known as Mika’il. The Zoroastrian book, Avesta, portrays him as Saosyhant, the redeemer.

As chief among angels, he is revered as the “angel of repentance, righteousness, mercy, and sanctification.” He stands guard over the nation of Israel. He is a known enemy of Satan. As the Prince of Light, he leads the angels of God against the angels of Satan in the Dead Sea scroll, The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness. In the Last days, he is the fierce angel who will finally slay the Dragon (Satan).

In 1950, Pope Pius XII affirmed Michael as the patron of policemen. Today, he watches over all first responders. He has been identified as the angel who stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, Isaac, although this act has also been attributed to other angels, such as Metatron. Jewish tradition describes him as “the fire that Moses saw in the burning bush . . . ,” although some scholars attribute this to Zagzagel. Michael may have been one of the three angels who visited Abraham in his tent. Religious lore credits him with assisting the other three archangels – Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel – with burying the body of Moses. In fact, Michael has been identified as the angel who fought with Satan over Moses’ body.

Islamic lore describes him as bearing wings “of the color of green emerald.” His body “is covered with saffron hairs, each of them containing a million faces and mouths and as many tongues which, in a million dialects, implore the pardon of Allah.” The Qu’ran claims the cherubim were created from Michael’s tears. The Persians regarded him as the sustainer of mankind.

Catholics pray for Michael’s heavenly intercession as St. Michael. They regard him as God’s warrior who protects the faithful from the Devil’s wily snares. As the angel of death, prayers to St. Michael request his intercession in a good and holy death. Fra Filippo portrayed him as the messenger who announced to the Virgin Mary that she would soon be taken up into Heaven.

Michael’s feast day is September 29th (the Feast of the Archangels).

Prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel

Saint Michael, the Archangel,

Defend us in battle!

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,

By the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits

Who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Amen.

(1932)

(Eastern Orthodox Church icons) – The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Michael’s feast day on November 8th.

This painting by Cesare Nebbia tells the story of the four apparitions of Michael, the Archangel, that allegedly occurred in Southern Italy many centuries ago.

Apparition #1: A wealthy landowner, named Gargano, in the 3rd to 8th century C.E., lost a bull, became angry when he found the bull grazing near a cave, and shot a poisoned arrow at him. Miraculously, the arrow turned around and shot him instead! The local bishop ordered three days of prayer and fasting. On the third day, Michael appeared to the bishop and ordered him to “dedicate the cave to Christian worship.” Since the cave had been used by pagan worshippers in the past, the bishop did not honor Michael’s request.

Apparition #2: Michael allegedly appeared again in the year 492 C.E., but scholars have determined that the apparition actually occurred later, inspiring Duke Grimoaldo I to defeat the Greeks on May 8, 663 C.E., who had attacked the Sanctuary of Gargano. May 8th is now celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church as the Feast of the Anniversary of the Apparitions of St. Michael, the Archangel.

Apparition #3: After the victory over the Greeks, the cave was finally dedicated by local bishops to St. Michael. But Michael is reported to have said, “I founded it, I myself consecrated it.” When the bishops arrived at the cave, they found Michael’s footprint in a crude stone altar that was already erected there. Since then, the cave has been called the “Celestial Basilica” because Michael consecrated it to himself!

Apparition #4: In 1656, Michael ordered Bishop Alfonso Puccinelli to bless the stones of his cave. Michael carved the sign of the cross and the letters “M.A.” onto the stones. He then told the bishop that “anyone carrying the stones would be immune to the plague” that was ravaging southern Italy. The bishop’s city was cured of illness. The stones, known as St. Michael’s relics, are now used in exorcisms.

In popular culture, Longfellow wrote, in The Golden Legend, that Michael was the spirit of the planet Mercury who brought patience to mankind. In the Hollywood movie, The Bishop’s Wife (1947), Cary Grant plays Michael in the form of a mysterious assistant who suddenly appears to aid the Episcopalian Bishop Brougham.

Dawn Pisturino

September 7, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

10 Comments »

Angel Art – The Archangel Gabriel

Artwork by Gaudenzio Ferrari

Gabriel means “God is my strength.” In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he is regarded as the angel of “annunciation, resurrection, mercy, vengeance, death, and revelation.” His primary role is that of God’s messenger. His most important task in the New Testament was announcing to a young Jewish virgin that she would soon become the Mother of God’s Son, Jesus Christ (known as the Annunciation).

Islamic tradition names Gabriel (Jibril) as the angel with “140 pairs of wings” who revealed the Qu’ran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Gabriel has sometimes been identified as the angel who destroyed Sodom and Gommorah. In Jewish tradition, he is featured in the Book of Daniel as the angel who rescued Hannaniah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-Nego) from the fiery furnace. (After the exile to Babylon, Daniel and his fellow chamberlains were given Babylonian names.)

Joan of Arc testified that it was the archangel Gabriel who inspired her to embark on her great mission to save France from British domination.

Literary figures such as John Milton portrayed Gabriel as commander of God’s angelic forces in Heaven. Longfellow wrote about him as “the angel of the moon who brings man[kind] the gift of hope.”

In the Catholic Church, Gabriel’s feast day is September 29th (the Feast of the Archangels):

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, November 8th is Gabriel’s feast day:

(Eastern Orthodox Church icon)

In occult circles, wearing an angel Gabriel talisman modeled after the Grimoire of Armadel, brings the wearer success in business and love, the blessing of many children, and magical powers.

Dawn Pisturino

September 1, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments »

Angel Art – The Archangel Uriel

This painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, titled “The Virgin of the Rocks,” depicts the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, the Child Jesus, and the Archangel Uriel.

Uriel means “fire of God.” In Catholic tradition, he was the angel that stood outside the Garden of Eden, after the expulsion of Adam and Eve, holding the revolving fiery sword. His feast day is celebrated on September 29th (the Feast of the Archangels).

In 1 Enoch, Uriel is the angel that “watches over thunder and terror.” In the apocryphal book, The Book of Adam and Eve, Uriel is the angel of salvation and repentance. II Esdras, an apocalyptic writing often included in the King James Bible, portrays Uriel as the angel who interprets Ezra’s dreams. Uriel has sometimes been identified as the angel who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel and helped bury the bodies of Adam and Abel in Paradise; as the messenger sent by God to warn Noah and his family about the flood; and the angel who destroyed 185,000 Assyrians in II Kings 19:35.

Occult literature names Uriel as the angel who brought alchemy down to earth from heaven, although many sources attribute this act to the angel Metatron.

John Milton, in Paradise Lost III, refers to Uriel as the “Regent of the Sun.” Dryden portrays him “as descending from heaven in a chariot drawn by white horses.”

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Uriel’s feast day on November 8th:

(Eastern Orthodox Church icons)

Dawn Pisturino

August 30, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

2 Comments »

Angel Art – The Archangel Raphael

Artwork by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

The name Raphael means “God has healed.” The Archangel Raphael is mentioned in the Catholic Book of Tobit and 1 Enoch.

In The Book of Tobit, he disguises himself as a traveler and helps the son of Tobit, Tobias, pick up some money and take it back home to his father. He binds the demon Asmodeus, cures Sarah of a curse she has been living under, and heals Tobit of blindness. The happy result is that Tobias and Sarah get married and prosper. The Catholic Church regards Raphael as the patron of travelers (especially pilgrims), the blind, happy reunions, sacred marriage, nurses, doctors, and pharmacists, and matchmakers. In Italy, Raphael is the protector of sailors. He is a known enemy of Satan.

In 1 Enoch, Raphael was appointed the healer of all disease and wounds. He incapacitated the armies of Azazel and threw them into the fiery pit.

Jewish tradition regards Raphael as one of the angels who visited Abraham. He was appointed by God to heal Abraham after his late-life circumcision and to save Lot during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Christian tradition tasked him with stirring the waters in the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2-4).

Muslims call Raphael Israfil. On the Day of Resurrection, he will blow the trumpet that calls the dead back to life:

Raphael’s feast day is September 29th in the Catholic Church (the Feast of the Archangels):
The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day on November 8th:

(Eastern Orthodox Church icons)

Dawn Pisturino

August 29, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

2 Comments »

Finding Comfort in the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful and lyrical verses in the Bible. Scholars believe it was composed by King David more than 2,500 years ago. David was a shepherd who loved God and often sang songs to the Lord while tending his sheep. Psalm 23 is a love song to the Lord filled with gratitude, hope, and faith in the constancy of God’s love. It is a poetic meditation reflecting on the power of God’s protection in the face of adversity. Most of all, it is a vivid portrait of the natural world, our humble place in nature, and God’s role as Supreme Master of the Universe. Reading this psalm and contemplating its message brings an inner feeling of comfort, peace, and joy. 

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Yahweh is my shepherd,

     I lack nothing.

In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.

To the waters of repose he leads me;

     there he revives my soul.

He guides me by paths of virtue

     for the sake of his name.

Though I pass through a gloomy valley,

     I fear no harm;

beside me your rod and your staff

     are there, to hearten me.

You prepare a table before me

     under the eyes of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil,

     my cup brims over.

Ah, how goodness and kindness pursue me,

     every day of my life;

my home, the house of Yahweh,

     as long as I live!

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

2 Comments »

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