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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 01-02-06, Mem. St. Basil/Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, dctrs American Bible ^ | 01-02-06 | New American Bible

Posted on 01/02/2006 9:34:44 AM PST by Salvation

January 2, 2006

Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church

Psalm: Monday 4

Reading I
1 Jn 2:22-28

Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Jn 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

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KEYWORDS: catholiccaucus; catholiclist; christmas; dailymassreadings; great; nazianzen; stbasil; stgregory
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 01/02/2006 9:34:50 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Alleluia Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Alleluia Ping List.

2 posted on 01/02/2006 9:36:34 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
St Basil The Great (329-379)

Saint Basil the Great "Orator of Orthodoxy"

3 posted on 01/02/2006 9:38:36 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Happy New Year, Salvation! May 2006 hold many blessings for the readers of the Daily Caucus threads!

4 posted on 01/02/2006 9:40:55 AM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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St. Gregory Nazianzen, [Nazianzus] 330-390. Doctor of Theologians

St. Gregory Nazianzen on the Incarnation

5 posted on 01/02/2006 9:42:39 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: 1 John 2:22-28

Not Listening to Heretics (Continuation)

[22] Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This
is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. [23] No one
who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the
Father also. [24] Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.
If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide
in the Son and in the Father. [25] And this is what he has promised us,
eternal life.

[26] I write this to you about those who would deceive you; [27] but
the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have
no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you
about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught
you, abide in him.

[28] And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we
may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.


22. "Jesus is the Christ": this is a basic truth of Christian faith. As
in most of St John's writings, this wording means not only that Jesus
is the Messiah but also that he is the Son of God (cf. Jn 20:31). From
the earliest days of Christianity faith in Jesus, which included both
his messiahship and his divinity, could be expressed by applying to him
the titles of "Messiah" and "Son of God", or simply one or other of
those titles. Over the course of the centuries the Church has been
developing and deepening its understanding of revealed truths about
Christ--partly in reaction to heresies attacking that truth. In recent
years also the Magisterium has taken issue with erroneous ideas: "The
opinions according to which it has not been revealed and made known to
us that the Son of God subsists from all eternity in the mystery of the
Godhead, distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit, are in open
conflict with this belief likewise the opinions according to which the
notion is to be abandoned of the one person of Jesus Christ begotten in
his divinity of the Father before all the ages and begotten in his
humanity of the Virgin Mary in time; and lastly the assertion that the
humanity of Christ existed not as being assumed into the eternal person
of the Son of God but existed rather of itself as a person, and
therefore that the mystery of Jesus Christ consists only in the fact
that God, in revealing himself, was present in the highest degree in
the human person Jesus.

"Those who think in this way are far removed from the true belief in
Christ, even when they maintain that the special presence of God in
Jesus results in his being the supreme and final _expression of divine
Revelation. Nor do they come back to the true belief in the divinity of
Christ by adding that Jesus can be called God by reason of the fact
that in what they call his human person God is supremely present"
(SCDF, "Mysterium Filii Dei", 3).

23. "Has the Father": a very graphic way of referring to union with God
(cf. 2 Jn 9). St John, who has other ways of saying the same thing--for
example, "knowing him" (1 Jn 2:3f; Jn 14:7); "seeing him" (Jn 14:7, 9)
--may have had in mind the errors of the Gnostics, who held that union
with God was attained through a special kind of knowledge (gnosis),
available only to initiates of their sect. The Apostle repeats the
teaching given in his Gospel: only through Christ, through faith in
him, can one attain union with and knowledge of the Father (cf. Jn 1:18;
14:9-10); Jesus and the Father are one, only God (Jn 14:11). So, faith
in Christ is inseparable from faith in the Blessed Trinity; so, too,
denial of the Son's divinity involves rejection of the Father. "Once
the mystery of the divine and eternal person of Christ the Son of God
is abandoned, the truth respecting the Most Holy Trinity is also
undermined" (SCDF, "Mysterium Filii Dei", 4).

27. The anointing (cf. note on 2:20) refers to the Holy Spirit, who
acts on the faithful by instructing them "about everything". Our Lord
had said this would be so: "the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things" (Jn 14:26).

The Apostle does not mean that the faithful have no need of the
Magisterium of the Church (the very fact that he is writing to them
shows otherwise); what he wants to make quite clear is that their true
teacher is the Holy Spirit (he it is who guides the Magisterium in its
teaching, and he also acts in the soul of the Christian, helping him or
her to accept that teaching). "If his anointing teaches you everything,
it seems that we [pastors] are toiling to no purpose; why so much
shouting on our part [...]? This is the marvelous thing. The sound of
our words is striking your ears, but the Master is within. Do not think
that it is a question of somebody learning from a man; we can attract
your attention by the power of our voice, but if he who does the
teaching is not within, all our sermons will be in vain" (St Augustine,
"In Epist. Ioann. Ad Parthos", 3, 13).

28-29. These two verses sum up what has gone before and also act as an
introduction to a passage on divine filiation. The central idea which
St John has been repeating--"abide in him"--now opens out on to the
prospect of the Last Judgment: Jesus Christ, who will be our Judge, is
the same person as gave us revelation and life. This is one of the
foundations of Christian hope.

"We may have confidence": the sacred writer changes to the plural, to
include himself: we all have to give an account of our actions and we
should have confidence in Christ our Judge. The word translated as
"confidence" is much richer in Greek than in English; it is the
equivalent of freedom, frankness, confident audacity. "It will be a
great thing at the hour of death", St Teresa of Avila writes, "to
realize that we shall be judged by One whom we have loved above all
things [...]. Once our debts have been paid we shall be able to walk
in safety. We shall not be going into a foreign land, but into our own
country, for it belongs to him whom we have loved so truly and who
himself loves us" ("Way of Perfection", 40, 8).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.

6 posted on 01/02/2006 9:44:37 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: John 1:19-28

The Witness of John

[19] And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and
Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" [20] He confessed,
he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." [21] And they
asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are
you the prophet?" And he answered, "No." [22] They said to him then,
"Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do
you say about yourself?" [23] He said, "I am the voice of one crying
in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet
Isaiah said."

[24] Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. [25] They asked him,
"Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah,
nor the prophet?" [26] John answered, "I baptize with water; but among
you stands One whom you do not know, [27] even He who comes after me,
the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie." [28] This took
place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


19-34. This passage forms a unity, beginning and ending with reference
to the Baptist's "testimony": it thereby emphasizes the mission given
him by God to bear witness, by his life and preaching, to Jesus as the
Messiah and Son of God. The Precursor exhorts people to do penance and
he practices the austerity he preaches; he points Jesus out as the Lamb
of God who takes away the sin of the world; and he proclaims him boldly
in the face of the Jewish authorities. He is an example to us of the
fortitude with which we should confess Christ: "All Christians by the
example of their lives and the witness of the word, wherever they live,
have an obligation to manifest the new man which the put on in Baptism"
(Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 11).

19-24. In this setting of intense expectation of the imminent coming of
the Messiah, the Baptist is a personality with enormous prestige, as is
shown by the fact that the Jewish authorities send qualified people
(priests and Levites from Jerusalem) to ask him if he is the Messiah.

John's great humility should be noted: he is quick to tell his
questioners: "I am not the Christ". He sees himself as someone
insignificant compared with our Lord: "I am not worthy to untie the
thong of His sandal" (verse 27). He places all his prestige at the
service of his mission as precursor of the Messiah and, leaving himself
completely to one side, he asserts that "He must increase, but I must
decrease" (John 3:30).

25-26. "Baptize": this originally meant to submerge in water, to
bathe. For the Jews the rite of immersion meant legal purification of
those who had contracted some impurity under the Law. Baptism was also
used as a rite for the incorporation of Gentile proselytes into the
Jewish people. In the Dead Sea Scrolls there is mention of a baptism
as a rite of initiation and purification into the Jewish Qumran
community, which existed in our Lord's time.

John's baptism laid marked stress on interior conversion. His words of
exhortation and the person's humble recognition of his sins prepared
people to receive Christ's grace: it was a very efficacious rite of
penance, preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah, and it
fulfilled the prophecies that spoke precisely of a cleansing by water
prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God in the messianic times (cf.
Zechariah 13:1; Ezekiel 36:25; 37-23; Jeremiah 4:14). John's baptism,
however, had no power to cleanse the soul of sins, as Christian Baptism
does (cf. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4).

"One whom you do not know": Jesus had not yet publicly revealed Himself
as Messiah and Son of God; although some people did know as a man, St.
John the Baptist could assert that really they did not know Him.

27. The Baptist declares Christ's importance by comparing himself to a
slave undoing the laces of his master's sandals. If we want to
approach Christ, whom St. John heralds, we need to imitate the
Baptist. As St. Augustine says: "He who imitates the humility of the
Precursor will understand these words. [...] John's greatest merit, my
brethren, is this act of humility" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 4, 7).

28. This is a reference to the town of Bethany which was situated on
the eastern bank of the Jordan, across from Jericho--different from the
Bethany where Lazarus and his family lived, near Jerusalem (cf. John

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.

7 posted on 01/02/2006 9:45:35 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Catholic Caucus: The 16 Days of Christmas (Christmas to the Baptism of the Lord)

Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]

Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" [Underground Catechism]

Journeying with the Magi

8 posted on 01/02/2006 9:46:29 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Monday, January 2, 2006
Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors (Memorial)
First Reading:
1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1-4
John 1:19-28

The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.

-- St Basil

9 posted on 01/02/2006 9:47:42 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

**The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.

-- St Basil**

Such powoerful words!

10 posted on 01/02/2006 9:48:51 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Such powoerful words!

Such powerful words!

11 posted on 01/02/2006 9:49:38 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Faith-sharing bump.

12 posted on 01/02/2006 9:53:40 AM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

God our Father, you inspired the Church with the example and teaching of your saints Basil and Gregory. In humility may we come to know your truth and put it into action with faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

January 02, 2006 Month Year Season

Memorials of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors

Old Calendar: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors. This is the ninth day in the octave of Christmas.

St. Basil was a brilliant student born of a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey). For some years, he followed the monastic way of life. He vigorously fought the Arian heresy. He became Bishop of Caesarea in 370. The monks of the Eastern Church today still follow the monastic rules which he set down.

St. Gregory was also from Cappadocia. A friend of Basil, he too followed the monastic way of life for some years. He was ordained priest and in 381 became Bishop of Constantinople. It was during this period when the Arian heresy was at its height. He was called "The Theologian" because of his great learning and talent for oratory.

Before the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1969 the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was celebrated on this day. It is now celebrated on January 3. St. Basil was celebrated on June 14 and St. Gregory on May 9.

The Ninth Day of Christmas

St. Basil
St. Basil was born about 330, the oldest of four sons; three of his brothers became bishops, one of whom was St. Gregory of Nyssa. His pious grandmother Macrina exercised a great influence upon his religious education: "Never shall I forget the deep impression that the words and example of this venerable woman made upon my soul." Between St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzen an intimate friendship existed from youth to old age. Of Western monasticism St. Benedict was the father and founder, of Eastern monasticism, St. Basil.

As bishop, Basil was a courageous and heroic champion of the Catholic faith against the Arian heresy. In 372 Emperor Valens sent Modestus, the prefect, to Cappadocia to introduce Arianism as the state religion. Modestus approached the holy bishop, upbraided him for his teaching, and threatened despoliation, exile, martyrdom, and death. To these words of the Byzantine despot, Basil replied with the peace of divine faith: "Is that all? Nothing of what you mentioned touches me. We possess nothing, we can be robbed of nothing. Exile will be impossible, since everywhere on God's earth I am at home. Torments cannot afflict me, for I have no body. And death is welcome, for it will bring me more quickly to God. To a great extent I am already dead; for a long time I have been hastening to the grave." Astonished, the prefect remarked: "Till today no one has ever spoken to me so courageously." "Perhaps," rejoined Basil, "you have never before met a bishop." Modestus hastened back to Valens. "Emperor," he said, "we are bested by this leader of the Church. He is too strong for threats, too firm for words, too clever for persuasion."

Basil was a strong character, a burning lamp during his time. But as the fire from this lamp illumined and warmed the world, it consumed itself; as the saint's spiritual stature grew, his body wasted away, and at the early age of forty-nine his appearance was that of an old man. In every phase of ecclesiastical activity he showed superior talent and zeal. He was a great theologian, a powerful preacher, a gifted writer, the author of two rules for monastic life, a reformer of the Oriental liturgy. He died in 379, hardly forty-nine years old, yet so emaciated that only skin and bone remained, as though he had stayed alive in soul alone.

Patron: Cappadocia; hospital administrators; reformers; Russia.

Symbols: Supernatural fire, often with a dove present.

St. Gregory Nazianzen
Gregory, surnamed the "Theologian" by the Greeks, was born at Nazianz in Cappadocia in 339. He was one of the "Three Lights of the Church from Cappadocia." To his mother, St. Nonna, is due the foundation for his saintly life as an adult. He was educated at the most famous schools of his time - Caesarea, Alexandria, Athens. At Athens he formed that storied bond of friendship with St. Basil which was still flaming with all the fervor of youthful enthusiasm when he delivered the funeral oration at the grave of his friend in 381.

Gregory was baptized in 360, and for a while lived the quiet life of a hermit. In 372 he was consecrated bishop by St. Basil. At the urgent wish of Gregory, his father and bishop of Nazianz, he assisted him in the care of souls. In 381 he accepted the see of Constantinople, but grieved by the constant controversies retired again to the quiet life he cherished so highly and dedicated himself entirely to contemplation.

During his life span the pendulum was continually swinging back and forth between contemplation and the active ministry. He longed for solitude, but the exigencies of the times called him repeatedly to do pastoral work and to participate in the ecclesiastical movements of the day. He was unquestionably one of the greatest orators of Christian antiquity; his many and great accomplishments were due in great measure to his exceptional eloquence. His writings have merited for him the title of "Doctor of the Church."

13 posted on 01/02/2006 9:54:34 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

January 2, 2006
St. Basil the Great

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what St. Benedict is to the West, and his principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea (now southeastern Turkey), and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of his suffragan bishops, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

One of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down. But trouble remained. When the great St. Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”

He was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world (as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself) and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator. His writings, though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”


As the French say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Basil faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.


St. Basil said: “The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

14 posted on 01/02/2006 9:58:01 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

January 3
St. Gregory Nazianzen

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians. An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”


It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten. Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, no pain. In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.


“God accepts our desires as though they were a great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor. His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness.”

15 posted on 01/02/2006 10:00:03 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

Don't know why American Catholic has the differing dates for these two saints????

16 posted on 01/02/2006 10:01:11 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Homily of the Day

Homily of the Day

Title:   Do You Know Who You Aren't?
Author:   Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
Date:   Monday, January 2, 2006

1 Jn 2:22-28 / Jn 1:19-28

One of the most foolish mistakes any of us can make is to believe our own press releases. Taking ourselves too seriously is a fatal error that is made so often that we have to conclude that it's been bred into the human race. It was the mistake that Adam and Eve made in the garden, when they were only too ready to let the snake persuade them that they could become God's equal. What a farce, and yet we see it recurring in our own time and in our own lives every day.

In today's gospel, John the Baptist provides a refreshing respite from the usual self inflation. When messengers from the authorities in Jerusalem asked him in all seriousness if he were the messiah, or the great Elijah, or the Prophet, John had to be flattered and tempted at the very least to make some tantalizing delphic response such as, "In time all things will be made clear," or "You'll be surprised." But he did none of that. Instead, his response was a clear "no" to all the questions. "I am only the voice in the desert, crying out: 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'"

What a perfect example for us all: To know who we are and what our own unique vocation from God is; to delight in answering that call as fully and enthusiastically as we can; and to ask for nothing more and pretend to nothing more. It is the truth that will set us free. Embrace the truth and let your heart soar.


17 posted on 01/02/2006 10:07:44 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Great links and commentaries. Thank you.

18 posted on 01/02/2006 11:10:53 AM PST by Nihil Obstat (The real danger to a society is not merely a lack of virtue, but a lack of heroism.)
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To: Salvation
Jn 1:19-28
# Douay-Rheims Vulgate
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? et hoc est testimonium Iohannis quando miserunt Iudaei ab Hierosolymis sacerdotes et Levitas ad eum ut interrogarent eum tu quis es
20 And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. et confessus est et non negavit et confessus est quia non sum ego Christus
21 And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No. et interrogaverunt eum quid ergo Helias es tu et dicit non sum propheta es tu et respondit non
22 They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? dixerunt ergo ei quis es ut responsum demus his qui miserunt nos quid dicis de te ipso
23 He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. ait ego vox clamantis in deserto dirigite viam Domini sicut dixit Esaias propheta
24 And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees. et qui missi fuerant erant ex Pharisaeis
25 And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? et interrogaverunt eum et dixerunt ei quid ergo baptizas si tu non es Christus neque Helias neque propheta
26 John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. respondit eis Iohannes dicens ego baptizo in aqua medius autem vestrum stetit quem vos non scitis
27 The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. ipse est qui post me venturus est qui ante me factus est cuius ego non sum dignus ut solvam eius corrigiam calciamenti
28 These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. haec in Bethania facta sunt trans Iordanen ubi erat Iohannes baptizans

19 posted on 01/02/2006 12:34:37 PM PST by annalex
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To: Salvation
The fourth verse of this carol fits well with the First Reading's emphasis on truth vs. error:

"Joy to the World, the Lord is Come"
by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.

2. Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

3. No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

4. He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #87
Text: Luke 2:10; Ps. 98
Author: Isaac Watts, 1719
Composer: Georg F. Handel, 1742
Tune: "Antioch"
20 posted on 01/02/2006 12:35:38 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: annalex

Preaching of St John the Baptist

Domenico Ghirlandaio

Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

21 posted on 01/02/2006 12:36:47 PM PST by annalex
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To: All
A Voice in the Desert

Monday January 2, 2006    Monday before Epiphany

Reading (1 John 2:22-28)   Gospel (St. John 1:19-28)

In the first reading today, Saint John tells us that anyone who confesses Christ also has the Father, and then goes on to tell us about this anointing that has been received; and the anointing received in this sense is the Holy Spirit, so we have the Holy Trinity. But at the same time, Saint John tells us that we must remain in Christ. And if we remain in Christ, he tells us exactly what the promise is: eternal life. Therefore, if we do not remain in Christ, we have cut ourselves off from eternal life.  

What does it mean to remain in Christ? At the very least, it means to be in the state of grace, to make sure that all of our sins are confessed and forgiven so we can be in union with Christ. But a minimal point like that is not enough because we all know what the devil’s wiles are. Saint John tells us that he is writing all of this in order to protect us from those who are going to try to deceive us. Well, who is the one who is going to try to deceive us? It is Satan. And if all we are trying to do is keep ourselves minimally in the state of grace–thanks be to God we are there, but we all know Satan’s attacks can be pretty fierce–we are going to be in serious trouble. The temptations, especially at the last moment of our lives, are going to be very harsh. If we are not accustomed to praying and if we are not seeking a deeper union with Christ but only simply saying, “What’s the absolute minimum that I have to have,” then when the temptations come chances are that we are going to fall. That fall will be disastrous, because if we die and we are not in the state of grace, there is only one place we can go. If we are not in the state of grace, we cannot go to Purgatory. Purgatory is for those who are in the state of grace but are not yet fully purified. So if we are not in the state of grace, the only place to go is hell.  

This is why it is so critically important that we develop the spiritual life. In the society in which we live, we have to have a spiritual life. It is just part and parcel of every Christian, and it has been for two thousand years. But it is more imperative now than it ever has been before because never before has there been a situation where things are so evil as they are now, where things have gone so far astray. The devil knows how human nature works. He knows that most human beings want to be “in the middle.” So he keeps pushing things out further and further and further so that the middle now is so skewed that what is now considered the middle is something that fifty years ago no one in their right mind would have even dreamed of doing because it was so horrible. But what do we do? We justify it; we say, “It’s not that bad.” But it is! How are we going to recognize how bad it is? Only through the Holy Spirit, Who is in us. And how are we going to recognize it? Only if we pray, because we are not willing to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit if we are not praying. We are not willing to develop a relationship with Christ, which means that we are going to develop our relationship the other way. We are going to be deeper into the things of the world, which means we are going to be deeper into the things of the devil. That is why it is so critical that we develop a prayer life.  

That means, as I have told you thousands of times by now, you have to have time every single day in front of the Blessed Sacrament. You have to take time to sit silently before the Lord. It is not enough just to say a few prayers. That is good, but it is not enough. In the world in which we live, it is so necessary that we are deep in prayer just in order to live what used to be considered an ordinary Christian life. That is what has happened. We have to understand that the devil has been so shrewd and right now the line is reeled so far out that just in order to get ourselves back to where we belong we need to be praying. We need to know the truth and we need to conform ourselves to the truth. The only way to do that is going to be in prayer; again, because we know that if we are going to find that middle ground as society wants to present it, it means we are going to be rejecting part of the truth. So if we want the truth–and the truth is Christ–then we have to unite ourselves with Him in prayer. That is what this is all about. If we are united with Him in prayer, then we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will teach us because He was given to lead us into all truth, which means He was given to lead us into full union with Christ. That is what we need today more than anything.  

So if we want that union, if we do not want to follow the spirit of Antichrist, then we need to be deep in union with Jesus Christ. There are only the two options: It is Christ or it is Satan. The choice is ours. As we know, the devil does not care if you make an explicit act of faith in him; you do not have to say, “I reject Jesus and I choose Satan.” All we have to do is look at how we live, the choices we make, the things we do. The actions, as my mother taught me so many times, speak far louder than our words. If our words do not deny Him [Christ] but our actions do, Satan will be perfectly happy with that. So that is why, if we are going to say we believe in Christ, we need to act upon it so we do not deny Him in our actions after professing Him with our words.

*  This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.       

22 posted on 01/02/2006 4:10:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Nihil Obstat

You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a blessed New Year!

23 posted on 01/02/2006 9:41:35 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Monday, January 02, 2006

1 John 2:22-28

John had been with Jesus from the very beginning. He stayed with him for a full three years and even stood at the foot of the cross when he died. How did he manage to stay so faithful? Because he took to heart Jesus’ invitation to abide in him (John 15:1-11).

During the years after the death of Jesus, John must have pondered Jesus’ words over and over again. He must have recalled and studied the Hebrew Scriptures and written down all he remembered from what Jesus had taught him and the rest of the disciples. And that’s how John learned how to abide in Christ: All his pondering of Jesus’ teachings convinced him that Christ lived in him, and that gave him confidence that he could indeed “abide” in Christ. John also discovered that remaining in Jesus made him capable of bearing much more fruit in the kingdom of God than if he tried to do God’s work by his own strength.

As the early Christian communities grew, they began to experience a clash of cultures between the philosophies of the world and the gospel they had embraced. How should young believers deal with the perennial problems of love of the world, lust of the flesh, and pride of life (1 John 2:12-17)? In this letter, St. John used all he had learned over the years to encourage these believers. And his teaching all boiled down—again—to abiding in Christ: “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you” (2:24). John exhorted them to remember that the Holy Spirit had been poured out precisely to teach them and help them to overcome the obstacles they were facing (2:27).

We are bombarded with worldly ideas, our own fleshly cravings, and Satan’s evil schemes. Who will save us? Jesus Christ, our Lord! Every day, we can fill our minds with the promises of God. Every day, we can seek his presence. Every day, we can practice the art of abiding in Christ. Jesus promised he would never leave us; we just need to turn to him for guidance and strength. As we do, we will be convinced that we can overcome the world, simply because we are abiding in Christ.

“Jesus, I want to remain in your presence all through my day. Help me to rest in your word. Teach me through the Scriptures how to live a life of love and gratitude.”

Psalm 98:1-4; John 1:19-28

24 posted on 01/02/2006 9:46:32 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Monday, January 2, 2006 >> St. Basil the Great
St. Gregory Nazianzen
1 John 2:22-28 Psalm 98 John 1:19-28
View Readings
"Tell us who you are." —John 1:22

God asks us two questions, "Who is the liar?" (1 Jn 2:22) and "Who are you?" (Jn 1:19) The two questions often go together. Sometimes the liars are us because we lie about who we are. We are tempted to give the impression we're the Messiah and the center of attraction. However, that's a false impression and a lie. We are also tempted to answer the question, "Who are you?" with "what we do." When someone asks, "Who are you?", we answer, "I worked there" or "I do this." These too are lies. We are people, not merely employees or workers.

We sometimes answer the question "Who are you?" by putting ourselves down, saying we're no good, failures who never made much money or got much recognition. Again, we lie because our identity does not depend on money or status.

Who are you? If baptized, you are a son or daughter of the Father, a brother or sister of Jesus, a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are a royal priesthood (1 Pt 2:9), purchased at the price of Jesus' blood (1 Cor 6:20). You are holy, chosen, and beloved (Col 3:12). You are destined for eternal life in heaven.

Prayer: Father, give me the Christmas gift of knowing and believing who I am.
Promise: "He Himself made us a promise and the promise is no less than this: eternal life." —1 Jn 2:25
Praise: St. Gregory wrote of St. Basil, "we seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit. Our single object and ambition was virtue and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come."

25 posted on 01/02/2006 9:48:18 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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