“And the angel said to them:Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. – Luke 2: 10-11
“The One Awaited”
How strange this night; like no other. With silence and stillness beyond compare. So dense the air of forlornness. Trials of days gone by and trials yet to come, pale in contrast to those that lie within. So heavy the burden of life.
All attention is now given to an unoccupied crib, humble in nature; its purpose yet to unfold. And within its emptiness, so go our hearts. A weary faithful world awaits.
In an instant of time long measured, the veil of obscurity is lifted; revealing the eagerly anticipated visage. For now, in the crib resides all beauty, all purity, all innocence; empowered by divine love.
The radiance of this infant presence instills light in the darkest of human hearts. And in so doing removes the sting from suffering, despair and death. Order is restored, trust renewed and truth has its place.
So, then, to whom may joyous voices freely sing their praise; and homage be paid? Who is this advocate of salvation, peace and good will? It is He, God’s gift of love; in whom all hope is well placed.
Hope; He Offers Peace Eternal.
The unlikely source of this hope is found in the infant so humbly born yet marked by a star. The infant empowered by God, with and in him, to make all things new.
Christmas goes on though the world today seems bleak, dark and lost. So, on this Christmas most needed, abandon the world as it is for now and celebrate. Share with family and those held dear the love, joy, light and hope of Christmas and let Him to make all things new.
“Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.” – G.K. Chesterton
I was disappointed to find that the life-size Nativity was not on display in the Danielson town green some years ago. My first thought, knowing our times, was that some objection to the display might have convinced the town leaders to remove it. Although when I inquired a town parks and recreation representative informed me that the display organizers had arranged to have it moved to a church near the park. Reason being, that the baby Jesus which had been taken from the display, but returned in recent years, was not returned last year.
The thief must have been a good thief. Because only a good thief would know the greatest value of something. That is why he or she chose to take the central figure of the display; which so happens to be the central figure of Christmas. The baby Jesus always draws the…
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away. – Matthew 16: 1-4
In watching a baseball game from a distance when the pitch is hit, first is seen the flight of the ball and then the awaited crack of the bat when it meets the ball. There is a definite delay between the flight and the sound. Why is this? Because the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. Now, should we get closer to the game, then the delay is less and less, until we are at the field and both flight and sound seem to coincide.
As a thunder storm approaches one can tell if the storm is getting close or moving further away. If the sound of thunder that follows the incident of lightening is further separated from the lightening then the storm is moving away. If it lessens then it is approaching. When directly overhead, like the bat hitting the ball, both lightening and clap of thunder also seem to coincide. I say coincide because the characteristics of both still hold. So though the different speeds of each are not clearly discernable, by their nature they still exist.
“Let There Be Light.” – Genesis. In that phrase the supreme Author set the stage for the approaching final scene of the history of mankind.
As the celebration of Christmas approaches, though it may be even months away, there are certain signs of the season that alert us that it is on its way. Whether it be Santa at the end of the Thanksgiving parade, or more importantly the lighting of each of four Advent candles in the Christian faith. The Christmas tree being brought into the house, the decorations being displayed, and the manger with all replicas of participants in their places save for the One. So as these signs begin to accumulate we know that the event of Christmas is near. When the One, the Word made flesh, is placed in the crib, we then know that the awaited event that IS Christmas is complete. The time has come in that fulfillment. The key chapter in the history of mankind’s destiny is about to be written.
The Judgment of the Nations
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46
From John, author of Revelations
“IamtheAlphaandtheOmega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 21:6-7 Then He said to me, “It is done.”
The event of Christmas sets in place the event of Calvary and Easter. God entered His creation to reconcile Himself with His creatures, Man and Woman. And He did so in innocence as a child born of a virgin and in humility by being born in a cave among the lowly not the elevated. This was done so to impress upon us all that innocence and humility are the requisites for the fulfillment of that reconciliation. For: “TrulyI tellyou,” He said,“unlessyou changeandbecomelikelittle children,you will never enterthekingdomofheaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.… Matthew 18:3-4.
Let’s go back and think of all the repercussions of the sin of Adam. There isn’t an Arab; there isn’t an American; there isn’t a European; there isn’t an Asiatic in the world who does not feel within himself something of the complexes, the contradictions, the contrarieties, the civil wars, the rebellions inside of his human nature which he has inherited from Adam. We all struggle against temptation. Why? Simply because our human nature was disordered in the beginning. There is a terrific monotony about human nature. You must not think that you are the only one in the world who has a tortured soul. Now if the sin of Adam has had so many repercussions in every human being that has ever lived, shall we deny that the Incarnation of our Blessed Lord has had a greater repercussion? Can it be that the sin of one man can have greater effects and disorder in human nature than the Incarnation of the Son of God has in ordering all humanity? That is why I say that everybody in the world is implicitly Christian. Some may not become Christians, but that is not the fault of Christ. He took their humanity upon himself. – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. A promise that God would again make all things right between Himself and Man. The Creator would be reconciled with His creatures. Through Christ we all become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. And thereby are heirs of all that His love has had in store for us from all eternity. The first man said noto God and broke their relationship. Through the Incarnation man has been given the opportunity to renew that relationship by saying yesto Christ.
All who come to Christ are reconnected with God. And all are changed, because in coming to Him all must be changed. When the wise men came to pay homage to Christ they did not return by the way they came, for fear that Herod would know the Christ child’s whereabouts and seek do Him harm. In another sense, all who come to Christ with a contrite heart, will likewise, not return by the way they came. They cannot return to their lives which once belonged to the world, because their lives must now belong to Christ. One cannot stand in two camps. One must decide one way or the other. One can choose to remain a worldly sinner or become a saint. For all who one day enter heaven are exactly that; saints.
So this is where Advent leads. To a crib in which nestles the key that frees weary men and women from souls enslaved by sin, and restores peace to uncertain anxious hearts that the world cannot. The key which will soon re-open the gates of heaven to all who believe in Him.
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches. It is the beginning of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church, as well. It is a time of both anticipation and preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus at Christmas. But, why? Why the need for the Incarnation? Why did God find it necessary to come to man as a man; while maintaining His divine nature?
I believe the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explains it best in the following.
We Are Fallen “God certainly did not create us this way. We are fallen. All the facts support this view. There is a voice inside our moral conscience that tells us that our immoral and unmoral acts are abnormal. They ought not be there. There’s something wrong in us, something dislocated. God did not make us one way. Or rather, he did make us one way. And we have made ourselves, by virtue of our freedom, in other ways. He wrote the drama and we changed the plot. We are not just animals that have failed to evolve into humans. We are humans who have rebelled against the divine. If we are riddles to ourselves, we are not to put the blame on God or on evolution. But we are to put the blame on ourselves. We are not just a mass of corruption, but we bear within ourselves the image of God. We are very much like a man who has fallen into a well. We ought not be there, and yet we cannot get out. We are sick; we need healing; we need deliverance; we need liberation, and we know very well that we cannot give this liberation and this freedom to ourselves. We are like fish on top of the Empire State Building. Somehow or other we are outside of our environment. We cannot swim back into the stream. Someone has to put us back.”
We cannot in and of ourselves fix ourselves, as Archbishop Sheen says. And what needs repair is beyond the means which the world can provide. For it is through worldliness that we have become broken. If our watch is not operating properly, then it is not fulfilling its purpose. In order for it to be made right, the malfunctioning watch must be taken to a watchmaker. For as the maker of watches he can best diagnose and restore the damaged watch to its proper operation. So too, God, as our maker, knows best what is needed to free us of our brokenness and restore us to the rightful purpose for which we were intended. And the consequence of fulfilling that purpose is that one day the obedient will return home to Him.
We could not bring our illness to God as we can take our broken watch to the watchmaker. So God made a house call. He could only heal us by coming to us. And in a wonderfully strange contradiction, by an exchange of the exalted for the humbled, God, the creator of all things, chose to enter His own creation as an innocent child. For it is in the restoration of innocence that our cure is found. God, being God, could have come to man in any manner He chose. Yet, by entering the world through the portal of the womb, as anyone of us has, He impresses the importance and sanctity of life.
The king of kings would not be welcomed by prominent men and women with pageantry, replete with fine trappings befitting royalty. Instead, among those who would receive and pay Him homage were domestic beasts, and men and women of meager means. He was not born of a woman favored among the worldly elite, nor surrounded by comparable wealth. Rather, He would be loved and nurtured by a common and sinless woman of His own choosing; not to be cradled in a regal estate, but the humblest of accommodations; a stable beneath the Earth.
“Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet. All the eyes of wonder and worship which had been turned outwards to the largest thing were now turned inward to the smallest…paradox of the divine being in the cradle.” – G. K. Chesterton (“The Everlasting Man”)
During my fourth season as a high school girls volleyball coach, our team had compiled an impressive 10-0 record before meeting one of our main rivals in the county. Although we were the visiting team our confidence was not diminished. Despite a fine effort, as is customary with our play, we took it on the chin. The final match results verified the home team as winner. We did not win even one game of the match. The girls were down, frustrated and humiliated by the outcome. The loss was a hard pill to swallow since we had entered the match undefeated.
We left the gym, and the girls ran out to the bus through heavy rain. I had driven to the match and needed to get my car. I moved along under the building overhang to avoid getting wet. I must reveal here that I was not able to walk under my own power. I was aided by leg braces and crutches as a result of having been stricken with polio at age four. My detour seemed a good idea until I hit a slick spot and down I went into a rain-soaked bush on a muddy terrain. A few girls ran over to assist and found my two feet jutting out from beneath the bush. Of course, being thoroughly wet and coated in mud would understandably add to the humiliation of the day’s events.
The next day at practice, before getting on with the business of evaluating the loss and how to adjust for the season ahead, I brought up the incident of my fall. The girls responded with laughter. They knew me too well to think that I would deal with that incident in any other way. And I expected as much from them. We ended the season with a 21-2 record and garnered a state championship.
We have all experienced humiliation. It is quite common. How each of us reacts to such an event is as unique as the individual who falls victim to it. Knowing that no one is immune to humiliation should encourage you not to escalate the effect of humiliation. Our outlook regarding it will determine whether we move forward with a productive fulfilling life or one of unsatisfying stagnation. If we allow them to, humiliating moments will become roadblocks rather than bumps along the way. If we become afraid to make mistakes, because of our concern for others’ opinions of us, then we are responsible for the frustrations and unhappiness we will face. We have no control over how others will respond to potentially humiliating events. However, we do have control over our response. You can sit safely on the sideline of life or get on the court. Whatever court on which your God-given gifts place you, the risk of humiliation is heightened. Yet it is a risk worth taking when the alternative is a life of inhibited purpose.
I was able to make nothing of my fall on that rainy afternoon, largely because of my doctor’s and parents’ influence in my life. After contracting polio and the recovery thereafter, part of which required a nine-month stay in a convalescent hospital, my doctor had told my parents the temptation to spoil me would be great. However, for my sake they let life be hard, as it often is. Even more so for one with a challenging disability. The severity of the trials I faced would be tempered by the love, understanding and support of those around me.
Humiliation has a negative connotation: it reduces someone or something to a lower position. Humility, on the other hand, affirms a positive, for one who possesses it is found to be down-to-earth in nature. And one cannot be reduced to a lower position if one is already there. When we permit the unwanted mistakes of our lives to hold a prominent place, we stifle the opportunities through avoidance. Also, by behaving in such a manner, we lend credibility to those who will seize that moment when we seem most vulnerable and to shame and humiliate us. People who would instigate humiliation or be a party to such have problems of their own. Their actions imply an insecurity that is rooted in some fear. They should not be rebuffed without being pitied and prayed for.
Humiliation then can be overcome by humility. Anyone who easily succumbs to the effects of humiliation or enjoys the humiliation of another possesses an ego in excess. It is difficult to forgive yourself or draw therapeutic humor from a humiliating moment when you are governed by an ego that frowns on mistakes. If you dispense little or no understanding to yourself, others will likely not receive it either.
From my experience with polio, I have learned an important lesson. Although the task may be hard, through humility, defeat need not win. Humility provides a foundation from which a “positive forward thinking” attitude can grow — an attitude that beckons us to keep trying in the face of adversity, no matter its form.
When an atheist complains about the ugliness and evil in the world, does he not know in in his inmost heart that this is not the way the world was intended to be? He is affirming the very existence of God with the intensity of the complaint. Without god there would be no one to whom to complain. – Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
It is the goal of man and woman to be happy. Simply, to be happy is to be content. When a baby cries he is signaling that he is not happy. He expresses an unintelligible, yet loud, acknowledgement that something is wrong. Now it can be for a variety of reasons. Usually, unless it is result of an illness, it is either he is hungry or needs his diaper changed. When he is fed or changed, he no longer cries because the cause of his discontent has been addressed. He is no longer hungry or he is no longer uncomfortably soiled. So, he returns to his happy state. He may smile, make happy baby sounds or fall peacefully asleep which confirms to mom or dad that they were successful in the remedy.
There are more requisites for happiness for a person than an animal. If an animal in the wild has its physical needs met. ie. hunger and thirst satiated, proper sleep, exercise and a safe environment, then one could say that, in the absence of threat, that animal is happy. Domestic animals have an added element in their environment. That of the master or mistress, family, who is entrusted with the animal’s welfare. Should the master or mistress be away for a period of time, the pet has a sense of that absence which disrupts its environment and therefore causes its feeling that something is wrong. He may express this in a sullen behavior.
Fish have fins and birds have wings. They are free to swim and fly as it is their God given nature to do. And when they do they are content, because they feel God’s pleasure. Man has neither fins nor wings, yet he is free to swim and fly though it is outside of his nature. Each share a freedom to do these things and others. A fish out of water and a bird in a cage share a discontent as that of the oppressed man whose free will has been constrained. For with any loss of freedom, regardless of which hierarchy of life is ascribed, the Law of Nature has been disrupted. And with that each senses that something is wrong. Any prolongation of that disorder is hell.
In the world, throughout its history with man’s appearance, something has always been wrong. Those with a belief in God adhere to the biblical event of the Fall. Adam, the first man, influenced by Eve, the first woman, each submitted to Satan’s lie and in so doing disobeyed God’s warning and broke the law. The key law. Though God has bestowed upon him and all mankind a free will to choose, he has but two choices: what he wants to do or what he should do. When he choses what he should all is right with the world for it is aligned with God’s will. It is like buying a new car and rather than following the manual on how to best use the car, you choose to use it as you please. And in that you abuse the car and it is then that you find something is wrong.
Those who believe that there is no God believe that all is by chance. And that it is incumbent upon man through trial and error to, in time, arrive at a point where fleeting happiness with its ebbs and flows finally achieves a stable and unending state of happiness. But, no one can tell us where we are on this utopian highway. Have we just begun in the cosmic scheme of things or have we evolved one fourth the way, half the way, two thirds the way? None can be sure because they don’t know for certain where or when it began nor how and what conditions are there to reach the perfect state. Scientists can conjecture that some day, as some freeze their lifeless bodies for some future date, we will have the cure for all that ails us. But it doesn’t confirm that those ills will not still be around. Polio vaccines have all but eradicated the disease, but in some countries devoid of the vaccine polio still inflicts. So in this belief in a Godless process of evolution we find that the utopia that lies ahead is still likely to be finite life expectancy; for the ills that error unfolds which did not exist before the Fall still now exist. Utopia notwithstanding.
But, Christ was born, was crucified and died, was buried and God raised Him from the dead. And Christ did this so the death from sin would no longer bar us from God or his kingdom. And the best promise kept is this: Christ said we will do what he has done. All we need do is follow his way and truth to life. Believers know exactly where we are on the road that leads to the narrow gate which opens to Heaven. Christ did not seek the cross, but knew it was the only way in a flawed world to happiness for us all. It is what a selfless father/mother does for their child; sacrifice. A sacrifice that leads them to fulfillment and happiness. For nothing pleases them more than when their children are happy. And, as well, showing wayward children how to return to that pathway to happiness when it becomes apparent that something is wrong. Good parents like God leave us not without the map to get us back on the right road.
Throughout our lives in one case or another whether it be illness, poverty, death, broken relationships, loss of freedom, mental or moral irregularities we all experience that something is wrong. This is so because we know that in our suffering these things does not leave us happy or content. Solely because we have and can experience the opposite. There is no man or woman on the face of the earth that does not have this understanding. It is the first principle of man’s very existence. It is the one and only goal that people strive for as long as they are alive. For if they stay true to the intent of free will, prudently enduring all the slings and arrows along the way with that will aligned with God, then the goal of happiness shall, unlike the uncertainty of utopia, be eternal. An eternal where there will no longer exist a concern that something is wrong. For all will have forever been righted.
“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton
When one looks in a mirror he sees an ever changing exterior. What I saw as a child I see not as an adult. Have you ever heard one, who you haven’t seen in a while, tell you that you haven’t changed; that your still the same? By what you see in the mirror you know that not to be true. But maybe it is. Is what they see the me or the I?
The I is our being. Our awareness of everything in and beyond our environment. If we are aware, then we are. All that effects our senses and our souls. We don’t remember a lot from our toddler years unless we experienced something traumatic. Though I contracted Polio at age 4, I do remember running. Because once as a child, before Polio, I was running with a flag in my mouth imitating one of those hero dogs on the TV and fell. My mom rushed to me and dislodged the flag from my throat. No matter what your age you don’t forget an incident like that. Yet, I don’t remember much about Polio other than that I didn’t always have it. But we do remember a lot from early school years and all in between up until the present. It is a curious thing, that in living our whole life we only see ourselves in the flesh in two dimensions. By way of a mirror or photo. Technology has given us Holography, but it is still but an image of us. Others see us in three dimensions as we likewise see them. Without the aid of mirror and photo we don’t see ourselves from the rear, as well. Yet, if we had none of these aids we would know that we are, that we exist, by our interaction with others and the effects on us from our environment.
The me that we see ages and feels growing pains and aches not known in our youth. Developing health issues attributed to age advance. And our attitude, once carefree and uninhibited, now is distracted in taking notice of once ignored twinges. For the heat on such has been dialed up. The once steady stride now is a slower gate with more ebbs than flows. It takes discipline to not let such changes, deteriorating events, get us down to depression. For these things cause one to look more within than without. Me ages; I does not. I is that which is unique and non-depreciating. Atoms don’t make me aware of me. But, rather, that thing emanating from grace which places man on the highest pedestal of living hierarchy.
Yet, though the vehicle which is Me wanes with the passage of time, the timeless I is like old man river, it just keeps moving along. So when one tells you that you haven’t changed, though your once flowing hair flows no longer in harmony in a stiff wind, he says so not because he is focused on the outer trappings, but on the one eternal, I, which is never changing nor ending.
Newton’s Law of Conservation Of Energy states that energy — the ability to do work — can’t be created or destroyed. Energy can, however, change forms. Sounds like God doesn’t it? Who is, Who was, Who will always be; The Incarnate.That is why when Moses asked God: “Who should I say sent me?” God simply replied: “Tell them “I AM” sent you.”
“I AM”. God is like a vast endless ocean. We are but drops of water in that vastness. Sounds insignificant doesn’t it? But, it is quite the opposite. For if one drop is extracted from it, the ocean is then all the less for it. It, if taken literally, and all that forms it, is no longer an ocean by the loss of any part; even a drop. And if not for the ocean there would be no droplets nor occasion for them. We each are in the I of the I AM. In God’s infinite presence we find ourselves. As a creature of God our I is significant to His I AM. That is the essence of our being. That is why one can tell us that you never change. For though the body fails, due to “The Fall” from grace, so contrarily, the I will not. If I AM is eternal it is affirmed that all of I AM is eternal, including our I. Both body and soul of man were intended by God to be with Him in paradise forever, because HE IS forever. And those things which flow from God are forever things. Of which we are one. We are because He is. My connection to I Am says that I am.
I assures us of eternity. Our choices in life which determine if we are greeted with a “You never changed” from God, Who is the I that we are, will likewise determine if the eternity of our I is going to be found beyond the narrow gate or at the end of the road to perdition.
My discourse here is based upon observation, experience, gathered knowledge, examination of thought and “wonder”. I will not offer it authoritatively. Because, in some matters there is only so much we may be meant to know, lest we lose the most significant aspect of our relationship with God; FAITH.
What one can conceive, one can achieve. Though we may be limited in some conceptions, there is, even though bounded, sufficient truth to encourage hope over despair.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
The “Fight”-er is persistent in the ring. The runner perseveres in the “Race”. The “Faith”-ful is purposeful in practice. All exhibit the same quality:firmness of commitment.
Not all athletes in the Hall of Fame have won a Championship. And not all who have won a Championship are in the hall of fame.
52 Hall of Fame NFL players have never won a Super Bowl. Some of the best NBA players now in the Hall never won a Championship ring. 40 of the greatest MLB players who never won a World Series Title are in the Hall.
Paul in his above letter to Timothy:
Doesn’t confirm the fight won, the top podium at the race’s end nor the fulfillment of faith’s fruits among all peoples. Discipleship of all the nations of the world is too not guaranteed.
As it is with the athlete it also is with the common man and woman. It matters not the victory secured but the character of the individual who is in pursuit of it. Things not visible to the eye appears in the heart and has a profound effect upon the soul. A champion is not justified by a plaque on a wall nor trophy on a mantle. But, rather, is so in the immortal words of Rudyard Kipling (IF) and Washington Gladden (ULTIMA VERITAS):
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on! – Kipling
In the darkest night of the year,
When the stars have all gone out.
Courage is better than fear,
faith is truer than doubt. – Gladden
Though the chest be bare of medal and the head unadorned by wreath there is a crown awaiting all who possess the credentials of one who has endured the inner conflict of one in this world to that of one of it. If in the end, when last breaths are drawn, one finds one’s will matched with that of God’s then the crown of Glory will be found placed upon one’s brow.
No matter how great the challenge nor dire the outcome may seem: