Archive for December, 2014

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…


December 31, Seventh Day in the Octave of ChristmasThe last day of the year is also the feast of St. Sylvester — bishop of Rome in 314. Constantine gave him the Lateran Palace, which became the cathedral church of Rome. Many legends exist about Sylvester. He supposedly cured Constantine from leprosy and later baptized him on his deathbed.

New Year’s Eve, along with its innocent gaiety, is really a day for serious reflection. On the eve of the civil New Year the children may join their parents in a holy hour, in prayer and thanksgiving for the gifts and benefits which God has given them in the past year, and to pray for necessary graces in the forthcoming civil year.

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days7.cfm

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…


December 30, Sixth Day in the Octave of ChristmasGod is your beatitude. The things of time are toys. You are eternity’s child and your eternity has already begun! There is a compelling urgency to every day and every hour of the day. In it we are to witness to the truth — that God greeted and gifted us at Christmas. 

If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ — He who was the world’s outstanding Martyr. — Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days6.cfm

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…


December 29, Fifth Day in the Octave of ChristmasGiven the tempo of the liturgical season with its feasts it is easy to overlook that one saint who for many centuries was, after Mary and Joseph, the most venerated person in European Christendom.

St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury was assassinated in his cathedral on December 29, 1170 because of his opposition to his former friend, King Henry II of England, who was encroaching on the liberties of the English Church.

Devotion to him spread like wildfire. He was enshrined in the hearts of men, and in their arts. In statues and stained glass, in song and story this good bishop was everywhere to be found: France, Italy, Spain, Sweden. Many miracles were attributed to his heavenly advocacy. — Excerpted from Days of the Lord

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days5.cfm

On the Fourth Day of Christmas…


December 28, Feast of the Holy FamilyToday is the feast day of the Holy Family, but also every family’s feast day, since the Holy Family is the patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states: 

“The children must learn to see in their father the foster-father St. Joseph, and the Blessed Mother as the perfect model for their own mother. The lesson to be learned is both practical and theoretical, in that the children must learn how to obey and to love their parents in thought, word and action, just as Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph. Helping mother in the kitchen and in the house work, and helping father in his odd jobs about the home thus take on a new significance by being performed in a Christ-like spirit.” (True Christmas Spirit, ©1955, St. Meinrad Archabbey, Inc.)

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/Christmas_days_family.cfm

On the Third Day of Christmas…


December 27, Feast of Saint JohnSt. John was born in Bethsaida, and like his brother James, was a fisherman. He was called while mending his nets to follow Jesus. He became the beloved disciple of Jesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse. His passages on the pre-existence of the Word, who by His Incarnation became the light of the world and life of our souls, are among the finest of the New Testament. 

He is the evangelist of the divinity of Christ and His fraternal love. With James, his brother and Simon Peter, he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. At the Last Supper, he leans on the Master’s breast. At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts His Mother to his care. John’s pure life kept him very close to Jesus and Mary. In years to come John was exiled to the island of Patmos under Emperor Domitian, but lived to an old age. — From the Daily Roman Missal

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days3.cfm

On the Second Day of Christmas…


December 26, Feast of St. Stephen

Saint Stephen is the first martyr of the Church, and is the patron of stonemasons, masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. His story comes from the Acts of the Apostles. He is usually pictured in deacon’s vestments, holding the symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand, to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos meaning “wreath.”

“If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ — He who was the world’s outstanding Martyr.” — Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days2.cfm

On the First Day of Christmas…

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 6th). On the updated calendar — since Ephiphany is celebrated on a Sunday — these days may be more or less. We have 19 days on the tree this year because the Christmas season extends until the feast of the Baptism of Christ and we have decided to include them all.

The origin of the Twelve Days is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures. In the Western church, Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the time the three Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus. In some cultures Epiphany is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings. Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, Epiphany is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/Christmas_days.cfm

 

 

The purest of Virgins gave us our God, who was this day born of her, clothed in the flesh of a Babe, and she was found worthy to feed him at her Breast: let us all adore Christ, who came to save us.

Ye faithful people, let us all rejoice, for our Savior is born in our world: this Day there has been born the Son of the great Mother, and she yet a pure Virgin.

O Queen of the world, and Daughter of a kingly race! Christ has risen from thy womb, as a Bridegroom coming from the bride-chamber: He that rules the stars lies in a Crib. — Antiphon from the ancient Church of Gaul

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/christmas/christmas_days1.cfm

Merry Christmas! December 25, 2014

I’d like to share a photo that I took in December of 2012. It captures two enormous Christmas lights in the form of a Christmas tree. The tree in the foreground is no longer there as the government has decided to make the landmark park into an actual museum. The far off distant lights in the back is from the Bank of Guam’s annual display. I still find that the thing that is most beautiful is the expression with which we share with others our delight in the season of Christmas. On Guam there is an awareness that the sacredness of Christmas is being met head on with commercial messaging. The awareness to reclaim the Christ and the Mass in Christmas is ongoing. I think we are doing well! Enjoy the photo!

Christmas lights in the capital of Guam known as Hagatña.

December 21 is the Fourth Sunday in Advent–Love

Fourth Sunday in Advent--Love

Image from: http://www.holyfamilysisters.org/13/Prayers–Scriptures.htm

Old Calendar: Fourth Sunday of Advent

“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12). This nobleman is Christ, the Son of God, King of all nations. His kingdom is over all men and over all things, both material and spiritual. He has everything in His hand as God and man. But another, Satan, has broken into His kingdom and has made himself master of many of Christ’s subjects. In the old dispensation only a small part of humanity, the chosen people, remained faithful to the almighty King.

Christ, the Son of God, came into this “far country” in order to become man and, by means of humility, obedience, and poverty, to cast out the usurper who had taken His subjects. He came to reassert His dominion over all those who had left Him, both Jews and Gentiles.

The feast of St. Peter Canisius, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2014-12-21

 

December 14, 2014 is the Third Sunday in Advent–Gadaute Sunday

Gaudate Sunday--Joy

Image from: http://www.holyfamilysisters.org/13/Prayers–Scriptures.htm

Old Calendar: Third Sunday of Advent; Gaudete Sunday

“Rejoice: the Lord is nigh.” As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni (“Come”) of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: “Come, Lord Jesus,” the last words of the New Testament.

Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

The feast of St. John of the Cross, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2014-12-14

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