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  • Listening to: Asperges Me
  • Reading: "Life of Christ" - Archbishop Fulton Sheen
  • Playing: Pharaoh/Cleopatra
  • Drinking: Vernors



“Pass through the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark [a tau] on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the abominations practiced within it.” - Ezekiel 9:4

“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” - Responsory Psalm

Salvete all!

Happy Ash Wednesday! With this day we officially open up this season of Lent—a time of renewal in our love of God, a time of penance, prayer, and almsgiving. In a word, it is a springtime for the soul—a time of rejuvenation; a time to start afresh. I think this Lent in particular will be a very important one. There’s so much evil in the world, and the darkness only seems to be growing thicker and darker. It is no longer simply looming on the horizon, now it is converging and blackening the whole sky. I’ve got the feeling (and I’m sure others feel it) that something big is about to happen. For all I know, this might be the last “normal” Lent. Who knows what’s on the horizon? Wars, economic collapse, perhaps something far worse than ever the Great Depression and World Wars were. Only God knows. However, for me, this thought that something big is “about to go down” more energizes me than depresses me. A huge spiritual battle is taking place in the hearts of everyone alive, and upon the whole world stage. The lines are being drawn up, and it’s up to us to choose our side. I think the recent terrorist attacks and all of the other evils going on in the world have only been tremors of a larger earthquake. “For we fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the ruler of the world of darkness, against the spirits of evil in high places…” (Eph. 6:12). In any case, whatever happens in the world, we ought always to be prepared for death, which is on the horizon of every soul. How do we prepare for death? By living WELL. By doing God’s will. This is what Lent has always been about: re-orienting ourselves to God, repenting when we fall, and never lagging in trust in God’s great mercy and love for us. We get more wearied asking God for forgiveness than God will ever tire of giving it.

All the evil and darkness in the world ought to spur us on to greater efforts in returning to the Lord and fighting this spiritual battle with the weapons of light. We can be the army that God uses to save the world, but we have to be loyal soldiers of the Cross, and to do that, we have to carry our own cross after our Captain and our King. In G.K. Chesterton’s great epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse, he has Our Lady saying this to King Alfred:
        
     "The men of the East may spell the stars,
         And times and triumphs mark,
         But the men signed of the cross of Christ
         Go gaily in the dark.

         "The men of the East may search the scrolls
         For sure fates and fame,
         But the men that drink the blood of God
         Go singing to their shame.

         "The wise men know what wicked things
         Are written on the sky,
         They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
         Hearing the heavy purple wings,
         Where the forgotten seraph kings
         Still plot how God shall die.

         "The wise men know all evil things
         Under the twisted trees,
         Where the perverse in pleasure pine
         And men are weary of green wine
         And sick of crimson seas.

         "But you and all the kind of Christ
         Are ignorant and brave,
         And you have wars you hardly win
         And souls you hardly save.

         "I tell you naught for your comfort,
         Yea, naught for your desire,
         Save that the sky grows darker yet
         And the sea rises higher.

         "Night shall be thrice night over you,
         And heaven an iron cope.
         Do you have joy without a cause,
         Yea, faith without a hope?"


Indeed, the battle between Heaven and Hell takes place in each individual soul. We must examine our consciences. We must ask ourselves: how have I failed the world? How have I failed my brothers and sisters? How have I failed the Lord? We must not say: “This is what is wrong with the world.” No. We must say: “I am what’s wrong with the world.” If I was a saint, if I was what God meant for me to be, I would set the world on fire (in the words of St. Catherine of Siena). I would do such incalculable good for the whole world at large if I were only a saint. But I am not, and because I am not, I have wounded the world, all of my brothers and sisters, and everyone around me (for no man is an island), and most of all, myself. So, the question we must ask ourselves this Lent is: “What is it that keeps me from being a saint?”

But that is not where we should end. It is one thing to recognize that one has done great evil, it is another to be contrite and repentant. The first, without recourse to God’s mercy, turns only into despair. We must first realize our guilt, and second, we must then abandon ourselves completely to the great mercy of God, which never fails. We must kill our pride and realize that we are not as good as think we are, or as good as we ought to be. Then we must kill pride again when it tries to turn us to despair, and instead we must have absolute confidence in the love of God. There is no sin that God cannot forgive, except for the sin that refuses to be forgiven. If pride again tries to discourage us and drag us down, let us again have recourse to God, and ask Him fro His help. Grace is the very life of God. Only God can supply us with His very own Life (Grace) to be like Him. If we lack in Faith, let us go to God to seek it. If we lack in Hope, or Love, let us again go to Him to seek it. If we lack any virtue, or struggle with any vice—there is the Lord Himself at hand to help us when we ask. The Mother of God, the entire heavenly court of angels and the Triumphant Saints in Heaven and our own Guardian Angels are here to help us in the battle. Christ Himself struggled against the temptations of the devil in the desert. He warred against the Flesh, the World, and the Devil. And He won. And then He won most completely when He trampled on Death by Death through His Resurrection. The Lord Jesus wants us to share in His victory with Him. Let us fight to the death for Truth, and the Lord God will do battle for us.

If you haven’t done so already, St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary is a great way to prepare for Lent and Easter. The preparation for Consecration begins this Friday, on February 20th, until the actual consecration date March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation. This site shows how to do that: www.fisheaters.com/totalconsec…

Greek Orthodox Church Interior by Marahuta

“You are dust, and to the dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). These words were spoken for the first time by God to Adam as a consequence of his sin, and are repeated by the Church to every Christian to remind him of three fundamental truths: his nothingness, his status as sinner, and the reality of death.

Dust, the ashes which the priest puts on our foreheads today, has no substance; the lightest breath will disperse it. It is a good representation of man’s nothingness: “Lord…my lifetime is as nothing in your sight” (Psalm 33:5), exclaims the Psalmist. Our pride needs to be broken before this truth! In ourselves, we are not only nothing, we are also sinners, who make use of the very gifts of God to offend Him. Today, the Church calls upon us, her children, to bow our heads to receive the ashes as a sign of humility, imploring pardon for our sins; at the same time she reminds us that as punishment for our offenses, we must one day return to dust.

Sin and death are the bitter and inseparable fruits of man’s rebellion against God. “God did not make death” (Wisdom 1:13); it came into the world through sin; and the sad “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Created by God for life, joy, and holiness, we bear in ourselves an eternal seed; therefore we cannot but suffer in the face of sin and death which threaten to impede us in the attainment of our goal, and hence, in the full realization of our being. Yet the Church’s invitation to reflect upon these painful truths is not intended to dishearten us by a pessimistic view of life, but rather to open our hearts to repentance and hope. If Adam’s disobedience introduced sin and death into the world, Christ’s obedience brought their remedy. Lent prepares us to celebrate the paschal mystery which is precisely the mystery through which Christ saves us from sin and from eternal death, while it converts physical death into the way to true life, to beatific and never-ending communion with God. Sin and death are conquered by Christ’s death and resurrection: we shall share in his victory in proportion as we share in His death and resurrection.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments’”(Joel 2:12-13). The essential element in conversion is really heartfelt contrition: a heart broken and mortified in its repentance for sin. Sincere repentance, in fact, includes the desire to amend one’s life, and leads in practice to such an attainment. No one is exempt from this obligation: all of us, even the most virtuous, always need conversion; this is, we need to turn to God more completely and more fervently, and to overcome the weaknesses and frailties which lessen our total orientation toward Him.

Lent is the traditional time for this spiritual renewal: “Now is the acceptable time...now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2), notes St. Paul; each of us should make it a decisive moment in the history of our own personal salvation. “We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” he insists, and adds: “we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 5:20; 6:1). It is not only the soul in mortal sin that needs to be reconciled with the Lord; every lack of generosity or of faithfulness to grace hinders intimate friendship with God, chills our relations with Him, and is a rejection of Hid love; all of this requires penance, conversion and reconciliation.

In the Gospel (Matthew 6:1, 6-18), Jesus Himself points out the chief means of sustaining the work of conversion: almsgiving, prayer, fasting; and He insists on the part our interior dispositions play in making these effective: “Almsgiving atones for sins” (Sirach 3:30) but only when done with a sincere desire to please God and to relieve someone in need—not from a desire for praise. Prayer unites man with God and implores His grace when it pours forth from the depths of the heart, but not when reduced to vain ostentation or empty words. Fasting is a sacrifice which pleases God and atones for our faults, provided this mortification of our body is accompanied by the much more important mortification of self-love. Only then, Jesus concludes by saying, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4, 6:18), that is, He will forgive your sins and grant you ever increasing grace.

- from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.
The holy land 2 by O-N

“Thus says the Lord God:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.

They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed,
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;

Then the Lord will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

- Isaiah 58:1-12




Grant, O Lord,
that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Holy Land 61 by erene33


:peace: Pax Vobiscum! :peace:
Valete!
~Omnes ad Iesum per Mariam~

Your Sister in Christ,
* ~ Theophilia ~ *

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconmikesmom37:
mikesmom37 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Student General Artist
my husband and I renew our vow of consecration to Mary every year on Easter , the day we made our consecration vow to her together.
the rest of our family have also chosen to take this vow.
it is a serious endeavor but it is well worth the time and effort. the spiritual fulfillment that one receives  after becoming the Blessed Mother's voluntary slave is so uplifting, so freeing, so full of the love of Christ through Her that I cannot understand why more people do not  take this vow...
a very well written journal Theophilia . well done and "Catholic On" !!!!
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D I usually do it on the Annunciation but I got so behind that I'm just going to do it on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows this year. :nod:
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:iconmikesmom37:
mikesmom37 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Student General Artist
although lent is over, this journal is powerful and spiritually enlightening!!!
would you consider  submitting your  inspiring words to the featured section of our group-  CatholicsUntited  ?
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sure! I just submitted it!
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:iconmikesmom37:
mikesmom37 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Student General Artist
thank-you, it will be an inspiration to those who read it I am certain!
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:iconariodante28:
ariodante28 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015
Powerful post with an excellent summary of Lent and repentance. I think the sense that the world is growing especially dark is spreading. But, I likewise find it strangely energizing, though I cannot say why.
Excuse me while I hunt for a copy of the Ballad of the White Horse. I read it about ten years ago and was swept off my feet by its beauty. ^^; Chesterton is such a suitable voice for our time: that startlingly clear perception of the world combined with a hope and love of life so wanting in modernity.
God bless you this Lent.  
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amen, Amen, Amen! :D God bless G.K. Chesterton. I'm sure he's already up in Heaven praying for us but hopefully he can put in a good word to the Lord to at least get more people to read his stuff. :D
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:iconbelianis:
belianis Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Have you done that truly amazing saint, Benedict Joseph Labre?
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No I haven't. All the saints I've done are in my gallery.
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:iconbelianis:
belianis Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I had a medical appointment on Ash Wednesday, so I was not able to receive the ashes. However, I did create a coat of arms for John Marie Vianney, the patron of my  parish; I pray that you may like it.
Have you made any images of Father Vianney, or of his inspiration, Saint Philomena? 'tis a pity that the latter is no longer in the calendar.
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I haven't gotten around to making any pictures of St. John Vianney (though he's my sister's confirmation saint) but I do have an image of St. Philomena. :nod:
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:iconbelianis:
belianis Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
A truly lovely image.:) (Smile) :D (Big Grin) 
Decapitation has unfortunately come back into fashion, as you know.:( (Sad) 
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:iconfoxhound1871:
FOXHOUND1871 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015
You're reading Archbishop Sheen's stuff too? I love him! I wish they would get over whatever it is that they're having issues with and canonize him already.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yep! I haven't read a lot of his stuff, but the stuff I've read I love! I've also seen some clips of his show on YouTube as well. :D That'd be awesome if they canonized him soon.
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:iconbeatnext:
Beatnext Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm just coming back to this website, and I'm welcomed with this gem of Lent to prepare me for the rest of Lenten season. 

This journal entry is wonderful! I loved reading every sentence of it!  I feel it truly helped me prepare for the rest of this holy season.

May God bless you! :)
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful Lent!
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:iconbeatnext:
Beatnext Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
To you as well.  Peace be with you!
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:iconalexvanarsdale:
AlexVanArsdale Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Professional General Artist
"Remember man that you are dust, and into dust you shall return."
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:nod:
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:iconlordshadowmane:
LordShadowmane Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Wow....

Very spiritual
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:)
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:icondagokrakus:
DagoKrakus Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
   Now even 40 days of preparation to go with Jesus to accompany him on the way to calvary ... Not only spiritually (which of course is very important), but also physically, by participating in the annual mysteries of passion in the "Poland Jerusalem" - Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (sanctuary of our Lady of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska [I am a worshipper of Our Lady in this lovely image of Our lady of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and in this painting worshiped by all of his Holy life from an early age to our Saint Pope John Paul II to Calvary visiting as a small boy with his father, after the death of his Mom (then his father told him that now it will be his Mom - Our Lady of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska), as a student, priest, Bishop, Cardinal and Pope) www.pawlowski.dk/attachments/I… ], It is also the shrine of passion, namely around the monastery of Bernardine fathers and the Basilica of our Lady of the angels on the surrounding hills and hollows of there is a beautiful barogue pilgrimage park with chapels and great old trees,  during the passion and death of Jesus, from the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem by expelling the merchants from the temple, feast on Thomas last supper, betrayal of Judas, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, the catch, the Court in Annas and Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod and the Court The way of the cross and the Entombment ... ("Tracks of the Lord Jesus"), and sorrows, the Dormition and assumption of the Our lady ("Tracks of the Our Lady"). The shrine is founded around the year 1600, of the Cracow City Councilman - Nicholas Zebrzydowski from build on top of the intense heat of the chapel of the crucifixion, then he noticed the similarity in the topography between the Valley of the river Skawa ("Bottom"), and the top of the Żarek mount ("Calvary") and Lanckorona mount ("mount of olives"), that is very similar to the topography of Jerusalem; and then he began to fetch the following chapels of the stations of the cross, then his descendants were put up by wealthy following chapels associated with the passion of the Lord Jesus. kalwaria.wkraj.pl/?EN#/57053/2… kalwaria.wkraj.pl/?EN#/56421/2… old.kalwaria.eu/images/x_t_map…; When in the 17th century, the monastery was a wonderful picture began a Marian devotion, so they built chapels associated with sleep and the Ascension of the Our Lady. www.kalwaria.eu/kroniki/150820… www.kalwaria.EU/17082014-proce…. html. From 413 years at Calvary in the Big holy week (Palm Sunday - Jesus ' entry into Jerusalem, expelling the merchants from the Temple of Jerusalem www.kalwaria.eu/kroniki/130420…; Big Wednesday - Feast in Simon, betrayal of Judas www.kalwaria.eu/kroniki/wielka…; Maundy Thursday - the last supper, the transition from a Bottom and the last instruction, prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, the Catch, the Court in Annas and Caiaphas www.kalwaria.eu/kroniki/wielki…; and Good Friday - Morning Court Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod court , the Conviction of the Lord Jesus to death, way of the cross, Adoration of the cross, the Entombment www.kalwaria.eu/kroniki/wielki…) are held every year, the mysteries of the passion that are played by amateur actors (brothers and local residents), texts are based only on the texts of the Gospel, which attract colonies of many crowds of pilgrims (Normal arund the 80 000 pigimirs, some times 100 000 pilgimires). It is a beautiful tradition in such a beautiful setting, and public profession of faith and spiritual experience feast of the passion, death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ:-)

   Unfortunately, the relationship of these mysteries of the passion are in Polish language and there is no translation into English, but I recommend you watch them, and facilitating is that scenes are played only with the Gospel and according to texts of the Gospels, so you will not have a problem with the diagnosis of a given scene or issue ;-) I Recommend it ;-)

   Palm Sunday - Jesus ' entry into Jerusalem, expelling the merchants from the Temple of Jerusalem - www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc8DAP…
   Big Wednesday - Feast at the Simon, betrayal by Judas - www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MUCeJ…
   Maundy Thursday - the last supper, the transition from a Bottom and the last instruction, prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, Catch - www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsp0cT…; The Court in Annas and Caiaphas and wipe Jesus by Peter - www.youtube.com/watch?v=icROPt…
   Good Friday - the Court of Pilate, Court of Herod's - www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlN_XN…; Conviction of the Lord Jesus to death, way of the cross, Adoration of the cross, the Entombment - www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EKYZt…; (and still very nice and interesting film made all-good Friday summarizing www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RqxbI…; www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHRA_4…)

   PS.: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - Baroque Basilica and monastery and pilgrimage park with its beautiful Baroque chapels in 1999 was typed on the UNESCO list :-)
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, that's really beautiful! Thanks for all of the links! I wish we had something more like that in the States!
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:icondagokrakus:
DagoKrakus Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
I will try this year to go there with a camera and in addition to the spiritual experience of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ , I would like to see with my own eyes this beautiful tradition of ordinary people with their great faith and the beauty of the landscape :-) (But funny from my youngest years often go there to Calvary on these tracks, but never on the mystery I wasn't)
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:iconnkhyi-naonzgo:
nKhyi-naonZgo Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
RE: "But the men signed of the Cross of Christ go gaily in the dark", my favorite example is, the monastery that St. Maximilian Kolbe founded in Nagasaki in the 1920s or 30s was preserved from the atomic bombing, because it was behind a mountain. The land was cheap, because it was on the northeast side of the mountain—the direction called "kimon" or "ogre-gate", the unlucky direction in Onmyôdô, the Japanese form of feng shui.

Also, the system used to write Hebrew when Ezekiel was composed (early 6th century BC) was not Hebrew as we know it (which is a calligraphic form of Aramaic), but a sister-script to Aramaic called Paleo-Hebrew (both descend from Phoenician). Interestingly, the "taw" in Paleo-Hebrew looks like an X—or a +.
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's what I thought was interesting. I had only heard that verse in reference to Ash Wednesday the other day and I thought it was a really cool connection. :nod:
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