Archive for January, 2015

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Church

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his talk on Drama of the Mass says

“…make yourselves little, humble, self giving, hopeful in relationship to others, keeping nothing back. And the more you empty yourself, the more God can work with you.

Secondly love the Church which is the historical fulfillment of the Incarnation. Love the pontiffs because we break away from the Holy Father we lose something. Our Blessed Lord said to the Apostles ‘the devil, the devil will sift you as wheat.’ The ‘you’ is in the plural. That is to say, ‘you twelve.’ But I have prayed for thee Simon, that thy faith fail not. And thou being converted after thy fall will restore thy brethren.’ Our Blessed Lord was saying that of the twelve the one He was praying for was Peter, even though Peter was weak. And who the influence of Peter and the prayer of our Lord, Peter will strengthen the others. We bishops, we priests, we laity in varying degrees share in the prayer of Christ because we are one with Peter, and because we are one with Paul. So love the Church! And do not tolerate those who would say that you for example are only bones or an institution when you know you have flesh and blood. The Church is the safeguard of our liberty.”

Holy Father Pope Francis on Ecclesial elites

Having read an article on our Holy Father’s position on Ecclesial elites and those who take an exclusive approach to faith, prompted me to reflect on this with the following.

As posted on Facebook January 30, 2015

And to further the distinction by those practicing a faith in a myopic sense of self while maintaining the exclusivity and practice of ecclesial elitism, is shunned in Pope Francis’ plain and simple reminder to us of humanities own salvation history. Jesus’ words on loving and the unconditional inclusion of the other in all aspects and dimensions of love strengthens in our frailty God’s gifts of the theological virtues. Our Christian faith is a living faith and the very heart and foundation and definition of a unified people who approach communion which the God of Salvation History has given us in his new covenant, and renewed in his passion, death and resurrection. Therefore to be a Church in union with each other and with God comes together on the same altar of sacrifice which we all share!

On the Eighteenth Day of Christmas…

January 11, Feast of the Baptism of ChristToday we celebrate the baptism of Christ in the Jordan. This is the second epiphany, or manifestation, of the Lord. The past, the present, and the future are made manifest in this epiphany.

The most holy one placed Himself among us, the unclean and sinners. The Son of God freely humbled Himself at the hand of the Baptist. By His baptism in the Jordan, Christ manifests His humility and dedicates Himself to the redemption of man. He takes upon Himself the sins of the whole world and buries them in the waters of the Jordan. — The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.


On the Seventeenth Day of Christmas…

January 10, Christmas WeekdayEvery country in the world has its own Christmas customs. Christmas in Australia is often very hot. Whereas the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter, Australians are baking in summer heat. It is not unusual to have Christmas Day well into the mid 30 degrees Celsius, or near 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

A traditional meal includes a turkey dinner, with ham, and pork. A flaming Christmas plum pudding is added for dessert. In the Australian gold rushes, Christmas puddings often contained a gold nugget. Today a small favor is baked inside. Whoever finds this knows that they will enjoy good luck. Another treat is Mince Pies.

It is Father Christmas who brings the presents to the Australian children on Christmas Eve. Homes and gardens are decorated with greenery, Christmas tree and fairy lights. Seasonal plants are the Christmas bush and the Christmas bell.


On the Sixteenth Day of Christmas…

January 9, Christmas WeekdaySt. Francis initiated the beautiful practice of displaying a Christmas crib or creche. He built it in a cave on a bleak mountain near the village of Greccio. News of what he was doing spread all over the countryside and a steady stream of men, women and children came by night carrying torches and candles to light their way. 

“It seemed like midday,” wrote someone who was there, “during that midnight filled with gladness for man and beast, and the crowds drawing near, so happy to be present for the renewal of the eternal mystery.” Francis himself sang the Gospel story in a voice which was “strong and sweet and clear,” says the observer. “Then he preached to the people, most movingly, about the birth of the poor King in little Bethlehem.” — Excerpted from Christmas


On the Fifteenth Day of Christmas…

January 8, Christmas WeekdayDawn is the time of day in which the first rays of light begin to glimmer, to illumine and dispel the darkness. . . Christ’s actual birth in Bethlehem shows forth the beautiful reality that God works with things according to their nature. Simply put, it makes perfect sense that a darkened world is tangibly illumined by divine, supernatural intervention upon the natural. — Father Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM 

Candles are a symbol of Christ, the Light of the World. The wax is regarded as typifying in a most appropriate way the flesh of Jesus Christ born of a virgin mother. From this has sprung the further conception that the wick symbolizes more particularly the soul of Jesus Christ and the flame the Divinity which absorbs and dominates both. — Catholic Encyclopedia


On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas…

January 7, St. Raymond of Penafort

St. Raymond devoted much of his life to helping the poor. The famous incident which is recounted in the story of Raymond’s life took place when he went with King James to Majorca. The King dismissed Raymond’s request to return home. Relying on his faith and love of God, Raymond walked on the waves to his ship, spread his cloak to make a sail, made the sign of the cross then sailed to the distant harbor of Barcelona.

For St. Raymond’s feast we should remember that, “caroling and story telling belong to the whole Christmas season. Hospitality and giving to others also must continue if true Christmas joy is to remain. An outing to which friends are invited or a party that includes a round of caroling become perhaps even more appropriate with the approach of Epiphany.” — Excerpted from The Twelve Days of Christmas


On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas…

January 6, Bl. Andre BessetteBrother André spent most of his days in a narrow lodge, with only a table, some chairs and a bench as furnishings. He was attentive to the needs of all, smiling, obliging. In the evening he would engage in the difficult work of maintaining the parlor and hallway floors. He was on his knees until late at night, washing, polishing, and waxing by the dim light of a candle. — Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval

The use of candles is one of the loveliest Christmas customs that we can keep on using throughout the year. Now, more than ever, Christmas is a festival of light in a dark world, a time to hold our candles high, and to teach our children all the little ceremonies which make life gracious and full of meaning. No matter how long we live, nor how learned we become, we may travel the world over, and find nothing more beautiful than candlelight on the face of a child. “Now the Lord be thanked because we have light.” — Dorothy Albaugh Stickell


On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

January 5, St. John NeumannJohn Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 20, 1811. Since he had a great desire to dedicate himself to the American missions, he came to the United States as a cleric and was ordained in New York in 1836 by Bishop Dubois.

In 1840, John Neumann entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He labored in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1852, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia. There he worked hard for the establishment of parish schools and for the erection of many parishes for the numerous immigrants. Bishop Neumann died on January 5, 1860; he was beatified in 1963.


On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

January 4, Solemnity of the EpiphanyEpiphany is a large celebration, especially in Spanish speaking countries. Things look different around the household: the infant Jesus in the manger now has a small gold crown and is wearing regal robes. The figures of the wise men have reached Bethlehem, completing the nativity scene. 

The Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home on this day probably originated from these words in the Gospel, “And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him.” The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father of the family may do so.


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