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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-25-12, Solemnity, Nativity of the Lord [Dawn]
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 12-25-12 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/24/2012 3:43:51 PM PST by Salvation

December 25, 2012 [Mass at Dawn]

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

 

Reading 1 Is 62:11-12

See, the LORD proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
say to daughter Zion,
your savior comes!
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of the LORD,
and you shall be called "Frequented,"
a city that is not forsaken.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12.

R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Reading 2 Ti 3:4-7

Beloved:
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel Lk 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
"Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us."
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; jesuschrist; prayer
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/24/2012 3:43:59 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Alleluia Ping!
 
If you aren’t on this ping list NOW and would like to be, 
please Freepmail me.

2 posted on 12/24/2012 5:04:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Adoration of the Shepherds, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650-5
 

3 posted on 12/24/2012 5:08:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 62:11-12

Names of the new Jerusalem


[11] Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
[12] And they shall be called The holy people,
The redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought out,
a city not forsaken.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

The Navarre has no commentary for this reading. Please reflect on God’s word
and invite the Holy Spirit to enter your heart with His inspiration.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 12/24/2012 6:04:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Titus 3:4-7

Renewal of the Christian Life in the Holy Spirit


[Beloved], [4] ... when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior ap-
peared, [5] he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but
in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Ho-
ly Spirit, [6] which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
[7] so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal
life.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

[T]he coming of Christ has opened up a new panorama (vv. 4-7). As elsewhere
in these letters (cf. 1 Tim 3:15; Tit 2:11-14), we have here a hymn to Christ which
may well have come from primitive Christian liturgy or from a confession of faith.
It summarizes Christian teaching on the Incarnation, the Redemption and the ap-
plication of salvation to the individual.

According to this text, the Incarnation is the revelation of God our Savior, who
makes known his goodness (”benignity”, a word which often occurs in the Old
Testament and sometimes in the New: cf. Rom 2:4; 11: 22; Gal 5:22; Eph 2:7)
and “loving goodness” (literally “philanthropy”, a word taken from Greek). The
Redemption is referred to in Old Testament language: “he saved us in virtue of
his own mercy.”

Finally, the Christian’s access to salvation is something gratuitous: without any
prior merit on our part, God’s mercy has sought us out (v. 5; cf. note on Rom 3:
27-31); Baptism is the door to salvation, for it is the sacrament of “regeneration
and renewal” (cf. Eph 5:26); the Holy Spirit sent by Christ (cf. Jn 14:26) makes
the waters of Baptism effective; his grace gives life to the soul and entitles it to
eternal life (cf. Gal 4:7; Rom 8:16-17). The Council of Trent specified that “justifi-
cation is not only the remission of sins, but sanctification and renovation of the
interior man through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts whereby a man
becomes just instead of unjust and a friend instead of an enemy, that he may
be an heir in the hope of life everlasting” (”De Iustificatione”, chap. 7).

The magnificent resume of faith in Christ contained in Titus 3:3-7 also helps
Christians see how to approach their work and social involvement; the Second
Vatican Council has reminded us once again that “the promised and hoped-for
restoration has already begun in Christ. It is carried forward in the sending of
the Holy Spirit and through him continues in the Church in which, through our
faith, we learn the meaning of our earthly life, while we bring to term, with hope
of future good, the task allotted to us in the world by the Father, and so work
out our salvation” (”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 12/24/2012 6:06:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Luke 2:15-20

The Adoration of the Shepherds (Continuation)


[15] When the angles went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to
one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened
to us, which the Lord has made known to us.” [16] And they went with haste,
and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. [17] And when they
saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this
child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. [19] But
Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds
returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had
been told them.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

15-18. The birth of the Savior Messiah is the key event in the history of mankind,
but God wanted it to take place so quietly that the world went about its business
as if nothing had happened. The only people he tells about it are a few shepherds.
It was also to a shepherd, Abraham, that God gave his promise to save mankind.

The shepherds make their way to Bethlehem propelled by the sign they have re-
ceived. And when they verify it they tell what they heard from the angel and about
seeing the heavenly host. They are the first witnesses of the birth of the Messiah.
“The shepherds were not content with believing in the happy event which the an-
gel proclaimed to them and which, full of wonder, they saw for a fact; they mani-
fested their joy not only to Mary and Joseph but to everyone and, what is more,
they tried to engrave it on their memory. ‘And all who heard it wondered at what
the shepherds told them.’ And why would they not have wondered, seeing on
earth him who is in heaven, and earth and heaven reconciled; seeing that ineffa-
ble Child who joined what was heavenly — divinity — and what was earthly — hu-
manity — creating a wonderful covenant through this union. Not only were they in
awe at the mystery of the Incarnation, but also at the great testimony born by the
shepherds, who could not have invented something they had not heard and who
publish the truth with a simple eloquence” (Photius, “Ad Amphilochium”, 155).

16. The shepherds hasten because they are full of joy and eager to see the Sa-
vior. St Ambrose comments: “No one seeks Christ halfheartedly” (”Expositio
Evangelii Sec. Lucam., in loc.”). Earlier on, the evangelist observed that our La-
dy, after the Annunciation, “went in haste” to see St Elizabeth (Lk 1:39). A soul
who has given God entry rejoices that God has visited him and his life acquires
new energy.

19. In very few words this verse tells us a great deal about our Lady. We see the
serenity with which she contemplates the wonderful things that are coming true
with the birth of her divine Son. She studies them, ponders them and stores
them in the silence of her heart. She is a true teacher of prayer. If we imitate her,
if we guard and ponder in our hearts what Jesus says to us and what he does in
us, we are well on the way to Christian holiness and we shall never lack his doc-
trine and his grace. Also, by meditating in this way on the teaching Jesus has
given us, we shall obtain a deeper understanding of the mystery of Christ, which
is how “the Tradition that comes from the Apostles makes progress in the
Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the reali-
ties and words that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It
comes through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things
in their hearts. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they
experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along
with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth” (Vati-
can II, “Dei Verbum”, 8).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


6 posted on 12/24/2012 6:07:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Readings for the Dawn Mass, celebrated at dawn on Christmas Day:


First reading Isaiah 62:11-12 ©
This the Lord proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look,
your saviour comes,
the prize of his victory with him,
his trophies before him.’
They shall be called ‘The Holy People’,
‘the Lord’s Redeemed.’
And you shall be called ‘The-sought-after’,
‘City-not-forsaken.’

Psalm Psalm 96:1,6,11-12 ©
This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.
The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
  let all the coastlands be glad.
The skies proclaim his justice;
  all peoples see his glory.
This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.
Light shines forth for the just
  and joy for the upright of heart.
Rejoice, you just, in the Lord;
  give glory to his holy name.
This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.

Second reading Titus 3:4-7 ©
When the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.

Gospel Acclamation Lk2:14
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace to men who enjoy his favour.
Alleluia!

Gospel Luke 2:15-20 ©
When the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.

7 posted on 12/24/2012 8:09:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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8 posted on 12/24/2012 8:13:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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9 posted on 12/24/2012 8:16:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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  PRAYERS AFTER
HOLY MASS AND COMMUNION

 


Leonine Prayers
    Following are the Prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia. Below the normal Leonine Prayers is the longer version of the Prayer to St. Michael, composed by His Excellency Pope Leo XIII to defend against The Great Apostasy.
Latin

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructis ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

    Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus gementes et fientes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Oremus. Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa, et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, ejus Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eundum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.

Vernacular

   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

   Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mouring and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

   Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

   Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.


Complete Prayer to Saint Michael
    The following is the longer version of the vital prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 after his startling vision as to the future of the Church. This prayer was dedicated for the Feast of St. Michael 1448 years from the date of the election of the first Leo - Pope Saint Leo the Great. Everyone is familiar with the first prayer below which was mandated by His Holiness as part of the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. Below are both the short and longer versions of this poignant prayer which should never be forgotten.

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
    R: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
    V: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
    R: As we have hoped in Thee.
    V: O Lord hear my prayer.
    R: And let my cry come unto Thee.

    V: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. Amen.


Prayer Before the Crucifix

   Look down upon me, O good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; the while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee, my good Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."

Indulgence of ten years; a plenary indulgence if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, Raccolta 201)

Anima Christi - Soul of Christ

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee, that with
Thy saints I may praise Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Indulgence of 300 days; if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, seven years Raccolta 131)

Prayer for Vocations

   O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst take to Thyself a body and soul like ours, to teach us the glory of self-sacrifice and service, mercifully deign to instill in other hearts the desire to dedicate their lives to Thee. Give us PRIESTS to stand before Thine Altar and to preach the words of Thy Gospel; BROTHERS to assist the priests and to reproduce in themselves Thy humility; SISTERS to teach the young and nurse the sick and to minister Thy charity to all; LAY PEOPLE to imitate Thee in their homes and families. Amen

10 posted on 12/24/2012 8:19:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 12/24/2012 8:22:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
12 posted on 12/24/2012 8:24:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.


13 posted on 12/24/2012 8:28:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  II BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46) [Spiritual fruit - God's will be done]
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1) [Spiritual fruit - Mortification of the senses]
3. The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2) [Spiritual fruit - Reign of Christ in our heart]
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17) [Spiritual fruit - Patient bearing of trials]
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37) [Spiritual fruit - Pardoning of Injuries]

14 posted on 12/24/2012 8:31:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

15 posted on 12/24/2012 8:34:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


16 posted on 12/24/2012 8:37:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)
 
December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

The Immaculate Conception from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”  The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.  By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

 

PRAYER OF POPE PIUS XII
This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954


Litany of the Blessed Virgin

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us God the Holy Spirit, ...
Holy Trinity, one God, ...

Holy Mary, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, ...
Mother of Christ, ...
Mother of Divine Grace, ...
Mother most pure, ...
Mother most chaste, ...
Mother inviolate, ...
Mother undefiled, ...
Mother most amiable, ...
Mother most admirable, ...
Mother of good counsel, ...
Mother of our Creator, ...
Mother of our Saviour, ...
Virgin most prudent, ...
Virgin most venerable, ...
Virgin most renowned, ...
Virgin most powerful, ...
Virgin most merciful, ...
Virgin most faithful, ...
Mirror of justice, ...
Seat of wisdom, ...
Cause of our joy, ...
Spiritual vessel, ...
Vessel of honour, ...
Singular vessel of devotion, ...
Mystical rose, ...
Tower of David, ...
Tower of ivory, ...
House of gold, ...
Ark of the covenant, ...
Gate of heaven, ...
Morning star, ...
Health of the sick, ...
Refuge of sinners, ...
Comforter of the afflicted, ...
Help of Christians, ...
Queen of Angels, ...
Queen of Patriarchs, ...
Queen of Prophets, ...
Queen of Apostles, ...
Queen of Martyrs, ...
Queen of Confessors, ...
Queen of Virgins, ...
Queen of all Saints, ...
Queen conceived without original sin, ...
Queen assumed into heaven, ...
Queen of the most holy Rosary, ...
Queen of Peace, ...

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Grant we beseech Thee, O Lord God, 
that we, Thy servants,  may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body:  and, by the glorious intercession of the blessed Mary, ever Virgin,  be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness. 
Through Christ, our Lord. 

Amen.


 

Why Catholics Believe in the Immaculate Conception

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION NOVENA [Prayer]
Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
"I Am The Immaculate Conception"
The Corona of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

LAND OF MARY IMMACULATE [Ecumenical]
Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

17 posted on 12/24/2012 8:40:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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December 2012

Pope's intentions

General Intention: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Missionary Intention: Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.


18 posted on 12/24/2012 8:44:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Why is the Christmas Feast Celebrated Largely at Night?

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

O Holy night! Yes, a silent night! and, it came upon a midnight clear. Christmas, it would seem, is a festival of the mid night. Jesus is born when it is dark, dark midnight. We are sure of it. And why not?

Even though we are not told the exact hour of his birth we are sure it must have been night. Scripture does say that the Shepherds who heard the glad tidings were keeping watch over their flock “by night” (cf Luke 2:9). Further the Magi sought him by the light of a star, and stars are seen at night, deep midnight. None of this is evidence that Jesus was born at 11:59 PM, but it sets our clocks for night, deep midnight.

Add to this the fact that Christmas is celebrated at the Winter solstice, the very darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. More specifically Christmas breaks in on the very days that the light begins its subtle return. The darkest and shortest days of the year make their impression on December 21 and 22. But by December 23 and 24 we notice a definite, but subtle trend, the days are getting longer, the light is returning! Time to celebrate the return of the light, it is going to be alright!

How fitting now, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the true Light of the World, in a deep and dark December.  Jesus our light, kindles a light and a fire that never dies away. Indeed, in the dark hours of December, we have noticed a trend. The light is returning, the darkness is abating, the days are growing longer from here on out. It is subtle now! But it will grow. And with the return of light, we celebrate our True Light: Jesus.

But light is best appreciated in contrast. We think most, and appreciate most, the glory of light when the darkness assails. There’s just something about Christmas Eve. As the time approaches through December, and the darkness grows, we light lights. Yes, all through December as the darkness grows, we light Advent candles, more as it grows darkest! Even the secular among us string lights in dark December, in malls, on their houses, as if to say, the darkness cannot win, the light conquers!

And lights have their true glory in contrast the darkness. Who sees the stars in mid day? And who appreciates the beauty of light until they have experienced the darkness? Yes, Christmas is a feast of the light. We confront the darkness of December and declare to it: “Your deepest days are over, the light is returning.” And for us of faith, we say to a world in ever deeper darkness, “Your darkness cannot remain. It wil be overcome and replaced.”  For though darkness has its season, it is always conquered by the light.

An atheist recently scoffed at me on the com box of this blog that our day is over, the world has rejected faith… Sorry dear Atheist friend, the light always wins. On December 22, the darkness recedes, the light returns and all darkness is scattered. It seems subtle at first, but the light always returns, the darkness cannot last.

Light has a way of simply replacing the darkness. In three months the equinox (equal night and day) occurs, and in six months the summer solstice (the longest day) comes. And the darkness will once again seek to conquer. BUT IT ALWAYS LOSES. The light will return. Jesus is always born at the hour of darkness’ greatest moment. Just when the darkness is celebrating most, it’s hour is over, the light dawns again.

Yes we celebrate after sundown on December 24. Even at midnight. Christmas morning is almost an afterthought. Most pastors know, the majority of their people have come the “night” before. The darkness cannot win. Light scatters darkness, it overwhelms and replaces it. In a deep and dark December, a light comes forth, a star, shines in the heavens.

We gather, in and on a dark night. We smile. We are moved by the cry of a small infant, by whose voice the heavens were made. His little cry lights up the night. The darkness must go, the light has come, day is at hand.

Yes, we celebrate at night to bid farewell to the darkness. It cannot prevail. It is destined to be scattered by the Light far more powerful than it, a Light it must obey, a Light that overwhelms and replaces it. Farewell to darkness, the Light of the World has come.

Jesus the light of the world.

The video below is a celebration of light. As a Christmas gift to myself on December 22nd, the darkest day of the year, I took an afternoon off and went to photograph the triumph of light over darkness. I went to a Mausoleum, Yes, to a place where thousands are buried in the walls. But also in those walls are windows, glorious windows where light breaks through, and Christ shines forth. Some of the most beautiful stained glass in the city of Washington resides in that place of death and darkness. The light breaks through and it speaks of Christ.

This video is a testimony to just some of those windows (I am putting together another video of other windows to be shown later). In this place, a place of death,  a light breaks through, the light of faith, the Light of Christ. The text of the music in this video is from Taize, and it says, Christe lux mundi, qui sequitur te, habebit lumen vitae, lumen vitae (Christ, Light of the World! Who follows you has the light of life, the light of life).

As you view this video of the Life of Christ, ponder that stained glass begins as opaque sand. But when subject to, and purified by the fire, it radiates the glory of light which can now shine through it. So it is for us. Born in darkness, but purified by Christ and the Fire of the Spirit, we begin to radiate his many splendored Light shining through us, to a dark world.

The Light wins, He always wins.


19 posted on 12/24/2012 8:56:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Christmas Ornament

There is a Scripture reading proclaimed at the Christmas Liturgy that usually gets overlooked. And yet it should elicit considerable reflection since it is proclaimed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, one of the Church’s most prominent Liturgies. It is from the Letter to Titus in the Second Chapter. I would like to reproduce it in full and then give some commentary following.

The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good
. Titus 2:11-14

  1. The Moral Life is a gift - The grace of God has appeared - The Word Grace (χάρις – charis) most fundamentally means, “grace” but it also means “gift.” And this word “gift” needs to govern the whole remainder of the passage which is an exhortation to receive the gift of a new moral life in Christ. One of the biggest mistakes made by most Christians regarding the Christian moral life is that it is something we must, by our own flesh power, “do.” It is not. It is something we must receive as a gift. Without this understanding the Gospel is not good news at all, it is just a long and burdensome list of requirements that we must do “or else.” Frankly, some of the more demanding passages of the New Testament (e.g. that we should love our enemies, never have lustful thoughts and be perfect and the heavenly Father is perfect) ought to clue us in that this is going to have to be God’s gift and God’s work in us. This text is teaching us that the grace (gift) of God’s very own life is available to us. Jesus Christ wants to live his life in us and offers us that relationship. As he begins to live his life in us sin is put to death and the grace (the very life and love of God) comes alive in us. Of course we can then love our enemies because it is God who is doing this in us. Lust, greed, self-centeredness, anger, resentments, fear and the like all begin to die and are replaced by joy, serenity, peace, patience, chastity, love, generosity, self-control and the like. A completely new life is made available to us. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). This grace, (the gift of the very life of God) has now appeared in Jesus Christ and is available to you right now. Don’t leave this gift under the tree!
  2. The gift is offered to all – saving all – The gift is offered to all. As I live, says the Lord, I do not want the sinner to die but to turn to me and live! (Ez 33:11) No one can say they are excluded or that that they are not being offered the gift of a new life in Christ. Therefore the Church’s moral exhortation cannot exclude anyone. There are many today who want to claim exemption from some aspect of the moral law. The claim comes most commonly today from the Gay community who say that God “made me this way” and thus that the Law of Chastity does not apply for them in the same way as others. But this cannot be so for it would amount to a denial that God’s call was universal and that his grace is sufficient. No indeed, God can equip, empower and enable all of us, whatever our condition or apparent limitations to receive and live this new life. ALL are offered this grace. Don’t leave any gifts under your tree unopened!
  3. The gift does not just inform, it transforms - and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires- The Greek word translated here as “training” is παιδεύουσα (paideuosa). First note it is a present participle which signifies an on-going action. As Catholics we see salvation as a process more than just an event. The training involved here is lifelong. We ought to have the experience that we are growing into the perfection that God has promised. I may not be what I want to be but at least I’m not what I used to be! Our training and transformation are on-going and lifelong. Secondly, we need to grasp what is meant by training. Some translators render this as “instructing.” But let’s be clear, our instruction is more than an intellectual thing. It is experiential as well. The Greek word παιδεύουσα is rooted in the Greek word paideuo which means to train up a child by discipline and instruction. Perhaps the best example we have of this today for adults is the notion of a personal trainer. A personal trainer does not just write instructions or talk over the phone. They show up and take you through the exercises personally. They point out bad form that will bring on injury and establish an exercise routine that works all the major muscle groups. They also impose a kind of discipline or routine until the next visit. This is what God wants to do for us. He wants to personally train us and build up strength in us so that we will recognize godless ways and worldly desires and he gives us the strength and will to reject them not merely because we have to but because we want to. Make sure you open and receive this gift from under your tree.
  4. The gift of a clear, clean, sober mind – and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age – The Greek word translated as “temperately” here is σωφρόνως (sophronos) and it more usually means sober, of sound mind, and by extension it can mean moderately or temperately. Obviously intemperate, extreme behavior causes our mind to be unsound. A good, clear mind is a gift that God wants to offer us by also giving us the gift to temper our behavior. To live justly is to be in right relationship with God and others, render to each what is due and receiving also what is due. This too is a very great gift to be sought. So often we are NOT in right relationships with God and others and the result is guilt, anger and frustration. The Greek word translated here as “devoutly” is εὐσεβῶς (eusebos) and it is an adverb meaning more commonly “reverently.” This helps us to understand the word more widely. To be devout is usually interpreted in religious terms as being prayerful. That is a good thing to be sure but the reverent behavior that is the gift here is to be respectful not only of God per se but also of everyone. The gift that the Lord offers in this verse is that with clear and sober minds we live in a right and reverent relationship with God and others. Don’t leave this gift under your tree either.
  5. The gift of hope – as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ - To live with hope is a very great gift. The Theological Virtue of Hope is the gift to have a confident expectation of God’s help in attaining eternal life. Therefore hope is not some vague wish, it is a confident expectation. We ought to live with great confidence for our God has the power to save and the will to save us. And if we but open the gifts under our Christmas Tree and allow them to flourish in our life we can look with confidence to our judgement and to the glorious second coming.
  6. A very personal gift - who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness – Notice again, the moral life is a gift. We are delivered from lawlessness. We are not just warned not to be lawless we are offered the gift of deliverance. And this gift isn’t something Jesus went and got at some store. He paid the price for it with his own blood. We are delivered from lawlessness by the precious blood of Jesus. This is a very personal gift. Now don’t leave it unwrapped!
  7. The gift of a willing heart – and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good – The final expression of the gift is that when we receive the gift of the moral life from Jesus we are not only cleansed, our desires begin to be reformed. Thus we do not keep the law merely because we have to but because we WANT to. We become eager and joyful at keeping God’s law, not resentful and mournful about it. What a gift. Don’t leave it to be lost under the tree!

So, Here are gifts by which our savior saves us. There are many gifts he offers us but the fundamental gift he offers us is the gift of a new life, a reformed and restored heart and mind, eager to do what is right. This is his gift to us this Christmas and every day.


20 posted on 12/24/2012 9:03:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Christmas Gospel Reflections

Christmas
Reading I:
Isaiah 9:1-6 II: Titus 2:11-14
Gospel
Luke 2:1-14

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria.
3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"


Interesting Details
  • (v.2) Quirinius: The governor of Syria in A.D. 6-7. It is difficult to identify the exact year of Jesus' birth, because the census mentioned in this passage took place after A.D. 6, while Luke 1:5 situated Jesus' birth during the reign of Herod the Great, who ruled before Quirinius, from 37-4 B.C.
  • (v.3) Nazareth is a village in Galilee fifteen miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Bethlehem means "house of bread" and is the ancestral home of the line of David.
  • (v.7) "First-born son" is a legal designation for the one who has special privileges and position under Mosaic law (Deut. 21:15-17). Christian faith understands Jesus to be the "first-born of many brothers" in a spiritual sense (Rom 8:29).
  • The swaddling clothes and manger are symbols of poverty and humility; "No room for them in the inn" and "laid him in a manger" are two factors that indicate their staying in a shelter for farm animals.
  • A manger is a place to hold food. Jesus lying in the manger is food for the world. [JEROME]
  • (vv.13-14) The angels' sing of glory as the highest praise to Jesus despite his humble birth.
  • The shepherds were poor, uneducated, commonly regarded as thieves, and classed along with tax collectors and prostitutes [FULLER]. The young David was also a shepherd. Thus, the presence of the shepherds has two meanings: Jesus came to the poor, and Jesus is closely associated with the Kingship of David.

One Main Point

This passage describes the humble birth of Jesus the Savior of humanity. Jesus was born in a very lowly setting and was welcomed into the world by the lowliest and poorest people, yet His birth was announced by the angels as 'good news of a great joy which will come to all people'.


Reflections
  1. How do I receive the good news of the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior of humanity, and as my personal Savior?
  2. As I am determined to follow Jesus, how do I reach out to those who are lowly or 'poor' in different aspects of life, and those who are suffering physically or emotionally? How do I bring the 'good news of a great joy' to them?
  3. What am I willing to give up, like Jesus gives up His throne in heaven, to reach out to the poorest and lowliest? My material life? My time? My comfort zones?

21 posted on 12/24/2012 9:16:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The Nativity of the Lord - Christmas (Solemnity)
Midnight
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:

Dawn
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:

During the Day

First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:

Isaiah 9:1-6
Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14


Isaiah 62:11-12
Psalm 97:1, 6, 11-12
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:15-20


Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98:1-6
Hebrews 1:1-6
John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

 

A light shall shine upon us this day: for the Lord is born to us: and He shall be called Wonderful, God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come: of whose reign there shall be no end.

-- Is. ix. 2, 6


22 posted on 12/24/2012 9:20:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

23 posted on 12/24/2012 9:24:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


24 posted on 12/24/2012 9:29:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Christmastide - Christmas Eve

Christmastide - Christmas Eve

An excellent introduction to the Christmas season and celebrations in the "Domestic Church" is found in the following excerpts from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (on theVatican web site). Links to resources on our web site are provided.

Christmastide 
106. During Christmastide, the Church celebrates the mystery of the Lord's manifestation: His humble birth in Bethlehem which was made known to the shepherds, the first of Israel to welcome the Savior; the Epiphany to the three wise men who had "come from the East" (Mt 2:1), the first of the Gentiles who recognized and adored Christ the Messiah in the child of Bethlehem; the theophany at the river Jordan in which the Father declares that Jesus is His "well-beloved Son" (Mt 3:17) at the outset of His messianic mission; the miracle of Cana in which Jesus "manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11).

107. In addition to these celebrations recalling the primary meaning of Christmas, there are also other celebrations closely connected with the mystery of the Lord's manifestation: the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents (December 28) whose blood was shed because of hatred for Jesus and because of Herod's rejection of His lordship; the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus, January 13; the feast of the Holy Family (Sunday in the octave of Christmas) celebrating the holy family in which Jesus "grew in wisdom and grace before God and men" (Lk 2:52); the solemnity of January 1, which recalls the divine, virginal and salvific motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, although outside of Christmastide, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2), celebrating the encounter between the Messiah and His people, represented by Simeon and Anna, and the prophecy of Simeon.

108. Much of the richness and complexity of the mystery of the Lord's manifestation is reflected in displays of popular piety, which is especially sensitive to the childhood of Christ which reveals His love for us. Popular piety intuitively grasps:

Popular piety, precisely because it can intuit the values inherent in the mystery of Christ's birth, is called upon to cooperate in preserving the memory of the manifestation of the Lord, so as to ensure that the strong religious tradition surrounding Christmas is not secularized by consumerism or the infiltration of various forms of neopaganism.

Christmas Eve
109. In the space of time between the first Vespers of Christmas and Midnight Mass, both the tradition of Christmas carols, which are potent means of conveying the Christmas message of peace and joy, and popular piety propose certain forms of prayers, differing from country to country, which should be cherished and, where necessary, made consonant with the celebration of the Liturgy: These would include:

110. Where possible, the Church desires that the faithful should prepare for the celebration of Midnight Mass on December 24 with the Office of Readings. Where such is not possible, it may be opportune to arrange a vigil of hymns, readings, and elements drawn from popular piety.

111. At Midnight Mass, an event of major liturgical significance and of strong resonance in popular piety, the following could be given prominence:

See also Christmas Eve: Blessings for Tree and Crib - Mealtime Prayers for the Christmas Season


CHRISTMAS SEASON | Christmas Readings | Christmas Hymns & Carols | Christmas Meal Prayers | Christmas Tree & Crib (Creche) ] Origin of Christmas Customs

25 posted on 12/25/2012 8:59:26 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information: Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Feast Day: December 25

26 posted on 12/25/2012 9:07:10 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

Christmas, the Birthday of Jesus

Christmas, the Birthday of Jesus
Feast Day: December 25

The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us. His mother Mary and St. Joseph had to leave their home in Nazareth and go to Bethlehem.

This journey had to be made because the Roman emperor wanted a count of the number of his people. So every Jewish family had to go to the city of their ancestors.

Since Mary and Joseph belonged to the royal family of David, they had to go to David's city of Bethlehem. The emperor had made the law, but this law helped to fulfill God's plan. The Bible said that the Savior was to be born in Bethlehem.

It was a slow, hard journey for Mother Mary as they had to travel over hilly country. But Mary was calm and peaceful. She knew she was doing God's will. She was happy thinking of her Divine Son soon to be born.

When Mary and Joseph reached Bethlehem, they found that there was no place for them to stay. At last, they found shelter in a cave. There, in that rough stable, the Son of God was born on Christmas Day.

His Blessed Mother wrapped him up warmly and laid him in a manger. Baby Jesus chose to be born poor so that we would learn that riches and comforts are not important at all.

The night that Jesus was born, God sent his angels to announce his birth. The angels were not sent to the emperor or the king. They were not sent even to the learned doctors and chief priests. They were sent to poor, humble shepherds.

These men were watching their flocks on the hillside near Bethlehem. As soon as they heard the angels' message, they hurried to adore the Savior of the world. Then they went home giving praise and glory to God.

The great prophets of the Old Testament had been comforted by the thought that someday the Savior would come into the world. Now he had been born among us. Christ came for all of us.

The Bible says: "God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son." If those who lived in the hope of his coming were happy, we must rejoice much, much more because we know that as always, God had kept his wonderful promise.

We have Jesus' teachings, his Church and Jesus himself on our altars at every Mass. Christmas is the time when we realize more than ever how much God loves us.

Reflection: Today we can give grateful thanks to God for the gift of the Incarnation: God-with-us.

27 posted on 12/25/2012 9:14:54 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Luke
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 2
15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. Et factum est, ut discesserunt ab eis angeli in cælum : pastores loquebantur ad invicem : Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum, quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis. και εγενετο ως απηλθον απ αυτων εις τον ουρανον οι αγγελοι και οι ανθρωποι οι ποιμενες ειπον προς αλληλους διελθωμεν δη εως βηθλεεμ και ιδωμεν το ρημα τουτο το γεγονος ο ο κυριος εγνωρισεν ημιν
16 And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. Et venerunt festinantes : et invenerunt Mariam, et Joseph, et infantem positum in præsepio. και ηλθον σπευσαντες και ανευρον την τε μαριαμ και τον ιωσηφ και το βρεφος κειμενον εν τη φατνη
17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. Videntes autem cognoverunt de verbo, quod dictum erat illis de puero hoc. ιδοντες δε διεγνωρισαν περι του ρηματος του λαληθεντος αυτοις περι του παιδιου τουτου
18 And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. Et omnes qui audierunt, mirati sunt : et de his quæ dicta erant a pastoribus ad ipsos. και παντες οι ακουσαντες εθαυμασαν περι των λαληθεντων υπο των ποιμενων προς αυτους
19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. Maria autem conservabat omnia verba hæc, conferens in corde suo. η δε μαριαμ παντα συνετηρει τα ρηματα ταυτα συμβαλλουσα εν τη καρδια αυτης
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Et reversi sunt pastores glorificantes et laudantes Deum in omnibus quæ audierant et viderant, sicut dictum est ad illos. και υπεστρεψαν οι ποιμενες δοξαζοντες και αινουντες τον θεον επι πασιν οις ηκουσαν και ειδον καθως ελαληθη προς αυτους

28 posted on 12/25/2012 1:38:20 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
15. And it came pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.

GREEK EX. The shepherds were filled with astonishment at the things that they saw and heard, and so they left their sheepfolds, and set out by night to Bethlehem, seeking for the light of the Savior; and therefore it is said, They spoke one to another, &c.

THEOPHYL; As men who were truly watching, they said not, Let us see (the child; but) the word which has come to pass, i.e. the Word which was from the beginning, let us see how it has been made flesh for us, since this very Word is the Lord. For it follows, Which the Lord has made, and has shown to us; i.e. Let us see how the Lord has made Himself, and has shown His flesh to us.

AMBROSE; How remarkably Scripture weighs the import of each word. For when we behold the flesh of the Lord, we behold the Word, which is the Son. Let not this seem to you a slight example of faith, because of the humble character of the shepherds. For simplicity is sought for, not pride. It follows, And they came in haste. For no one indolently seeks after Christ.

ORIGEN; But because they came in haste, and not with loitering steps, it follows, They found Mary, (i.e. her who had brought Jesus into the world,) and Joseph, (i.e. the guardian of our Lord's birth,) and the babe lying in the manger, (i.e. the Savior Himself.)

THEOPHYL; It seems to succeed in due order, that after having rightly celebrated the incarnation of the Word, we should at length come to behold the actual glory of that Word. Hence it follows: But when they saw it, they made known the word which had been spoken to them.

GREEK EX. Beholding with hidden faith indeed the happy events which had been told them, and not content with marveling at the reality of those things which at the very first they saw and embraced when the Angel told them, they began to relate them not only to Mary and Joseph, but to the others also (and what is more they impressed them on their minds,) as it follows, And all who heard it marveled. For how could it be otherwise, at the sight of one of the heavenly host upon earth, and earth in peace reconciled to heaven; and that ineffable Child binding together in one, by His divinity, heavenly things, by His humanity, earthly things, and by this conjunction of Himself ejecting a wonderful union!

GLOSS. Not only do they marvel at the mystery of the incarnation, but also at so wonderful an attestation of the shepherds, men who could not have devised these unheard of things, but were with simple eloquence proclaiming the truth.

AMBROSE; Esteem not the words of the shepherds as mean and despicable For from the shepherds Mary increases her faith, as it follows: Mary kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her heart. Let us learn the chastity of the sacred Virgin in all things, who no less chaste in her words than in her body, gathered up in her heart the materials of faith.

THEOPHYL; For keeping the laws of virgin modesty, she who had known the secrets of Christ would divulge them to no one, but comparing what she had read in prophecy with what she now acknowledged to have taken place, she did not utter them with the mouth, but preserved them shut up in her heart.

GREEK EX. Whatever the Angel had said to her, whatever she had heard from Zacharias, and Elisabeth, and the shepherds, she collected them all in her mind, and comparing them together, perceived in all one harmony. Truly, He was God who was born from her.

ATHANAS. But every one rejoiced in the nativity of Christ, not with human feelings, as men are wont to rejoice when a son is born, but at the presence of Christ and the luster of the Divine light. As it follows: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for every thing they had heard, &c.

THEOPHYL; That is to say, from the Angels, and had seen, i.e. in Bethlehem, as it was told them, i.e. they glory in this, that when they came they found it even as it was told them, or as it was told them they give praise and glory to God. For this they were told by the Angels to do, not in very word commanding them, but setting before them the form of devotion when they sung glory to God in the highest.

THEOPHYL; To speak in a mystery, let the shepherds of spiritual flocks, (nay, all the faithful,) after the example of, these shepherds, go in thought even to Bethlehem, and celebrate the incarnation of Christ with due honors. Let us go indeed casting aside all fleshly lusts, with the whole desire of the mind even to the heavenly Bethlehem, (i.e. the house of the living bread,) that He whom they saw crying in the manger we may deserve to see reigning on the throne of His Father. And such bliss as this is not to be sought for with sloth and idleness, but with eagerness must we follow the footsteps of Christ. When they saw Him they knew Him; and let us haste to embrace in the fullness of our love those things which were spoken of our Savior, that when the time shall come that we shall see with perfect knowledge we may be able to comprehend them.

THEOPHYL; Again, the shepherds of the Lord's flock by contemplating the life of the fathers who went before them, (which preserved the bread of life,) enter as it were the gates of Bethlehem, and find therein none other than the virgin beauty of the Church, that is, Mary; the manly company of spiritual doctors, that is, Joseph; and the lowly coming of Christ contained in the pages of Holy Scripture, that is, the infant child Christ, laid in the manger.

ORIGEN; That was the manger which Israel knew not, according to those words of Isaiah, The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib.

THEOPHYL; The shepherds did not hide in silence what they knew, because to this end have the Shepherds of the Church been ordained, that what they have learned in the Scriptures they might explain to their hearers.

THEOPHYL; The masters of the spiritual flocks also, while others sleep, at one time by contemplation enter into the heavenly places, at another time pass around them by seeking the examples of the faithful, at another time by teaching return to the public duties of the pastoral office.

THEOPHYL; Every one of us, even he who is supposed to live as a private person, exercises the office of shepherd, if, keeping together a multitude of good actions and pure thoughts, he strive to rule them with due moderation, to feed them with the food of the Scriptures, and to preserve them against the snares of the devil.



Catena Aurea Luke 2
29 posted on 12/25/2012 1:38:58 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


The Annunciation to the Shepherds

Unknown Catalan master

c. 1180
Fresco
Panteón de los Reyes, Colegiata de San Isidoro, Léon

30 posted on 12/25/2012 1:39:35 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: December 25, 2012
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who gladden us year by year as we wait in hope for our redemption grant that, just as we joyfully welcome your Only Begotten Son as our Redeemer, we may also merit to face him confidently when he comes again as our Judge. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Christmas: December 25th

Solemnity of Christmas

Old Calendar: The Nativity of Our Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Savior. Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity. Christmas time begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ. White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy. The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us. The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled. With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth. The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity: "For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind; so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen."

During the Christmas season there is an extensive exchange of greetings and good wishes among friends. These greetings are a reminder of those "good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people, for this day is born to you a Savior Who is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). They are a reminder, too, that all blessings and graces come to us from Christ: "Hath He not also with Him given us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).

During the Christmas season there is also an exchange of gifts. This custom should recall to us that on this day God Himself gave to us the greatest of all gifts, His beloved Son: "God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son" (John 3: 16).

The Christmas tree, of which the first-known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. It symbolizes the great family tree of Christ which through David and Jesse has its roots in Abraham, the father of the chosen race. It is often laden with gifts to remind us that Christmas brought us the priceless gifts of grace and of eternal life. It is frequently adorned with lights that recall to us that Christ is the Light of the world enlightening those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Though not entirely unknown before, the custom of the Christmas Crib was adopted by St. Francis of Assisi at Greccio, Italy, on Christmas 1225. It is a concrete and vivid way of representing to ourselves the Incarnation and birth of Christ. It depicts in a striking manner the virtues of the newborn Savior, especially His humility, poverty, and charity.

The First Day of Christmas

Christmas: the Lord’s Birth
Today is the great solemnity that shows the world that the Word incarnate, the Savior of mankind, is finally born. God becoming truly man is an enormous event [….]. Something truly happens that goes beyond any evolutionary process: the fusion of man and God, the creature and the Creator. It is not the progression of another step in the evolutionary process, but the eruption of a personal action, founded on love, that from this point forward reveals to men new space and possibilities. (J Ratzinger in A Conversation with P Seewald: God and the world, 2001, p197).

Christmas says to us: alone we can’t profoundly change the world to remedy it. Alone, we can make the world better or worse, but we can’t save it. Christ came therefore, because left to ourselves; we couldn’t escape the ‘mortal disease’ that has enveloped us from the first moment of conception in our mother’s womb. This gives us hope, true hope, and true Christian optimism: I can’t do it but He is there! This is the mystery of grace synthesized in the human figure of God incarnate.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day are moments of contemplation. We consider, in many dimensions, the mystery of love that was incarnated for us. First of all, we contemplate the light and joy, without forgetting Jesus and Mary’s sorrows and sufferings, and the many difficulties that had surrounded them: the cold, the uncomfortable place, the dangers….. It would be good to accompany these thoughts by reciting and meditating slowly on the Holy Rosary, preferably in front of a crib. ‘Blessed grotto of Bethlehem that testified to the wonders! Who, in this hour would not turn our hearts? Who would not prefer the opulent palace of the King?’ (P. Guéranger, L’Anno Liturgico, Alba 1959 [orig. franc. 1841], I, p122).

Listen to the way that St Bonaventura, the seraphic doctor, invites us to contemplate this scene in his ‘Meditation on the life of Jesus Christ’: ‘You have also lingered, bent your knee, adored the Lord God, venerated His Mother and greeted Joseph, the holy old man, with reverence. Therefore, kiss the feet of the baby Jesus, who lies in the manger, and pray that the Holy Virgin will allow you to hold Him. Take Him between your arms, hold Him and see His lovable face, kiss it with reverence and rejoice with Him. You can do this because He has come to bring salvation to sinners and He has humbly conversed with them, finally giving Himself as food’. (cit in Guéranger, pp 136-137)

Christmas also reminds us of the great mystery of God’s people, of the Church acquired through Christ’s blood, animated by the life giving Spirit, governed by the legitimate shepherds in communion with the successor of Peter. On this day in which the Word came to earth, assuming human nature, body, and soul, how can we not think about His Mystical Body that is animated by the Holy Spirit? ‘For this reason, by no weak analogy, [the Church] is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body’ (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, n.8).

Holy Christmas also reminds us of the mystery of Mary as Mother of God, mother of the Incarnated Word, and mother of His mystical body, the Church. Christmas encourages us to contemplate Jesus together with Mary, reflecting on Jesus with ‘His mother’, as recounted many times in the Gospels. If our faith must be fully evangelical, it can not neglect a sane and profound devotion to the Mother of God, as she shows us the easiest way to reach Jesus.

From the Congregation for the Clergy


31 posted on 12/25/2012 5:06:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

CHRISTMAS 

shoemaker

ON this particular morning Conrad the shoemaker rose very early, cleaned out his workshop, then went back into his living quarters and lighted a fire in the stove and set the table. He was not going to work. He was expecting company, a very special guest: God Himself. Last night God came to him in a dream and let him know that the following day he would come and be his guest. 

So Conrad sat in the cozy room and waited, his heart filled with joy. He then heard some footsteps outside and a knock at the door. “There He is,” thought Conrad, running to the door and throwing it open. 

But it was only the mailman. His face was red and his fingers blue from the cold. He looked longingly at the teapot on the stove. Conrad let him in door, poured him a cup of tea and let him warm himself near the stove. “Thanks,” said the postman. “That tea sure hit the spot.” And then he disappeared out into the cold. 

As soon as he was gone, Conrad cleaned off the table again. Then he sat down near the window to see his guest coming. He was certain that one would soon come. 

Suddenly he noticed a little boy with tears running down his cheeks. Conrad called him in and found out that the lad had lost his mother in town and had no way of finding his way back home. Then he wrote a note and left on the table. The note said, “Wait for me. I’ll be right back.” He then left the door open a bit and took the little boy by the hand and brought him home. 

Shoemaker__TN

But that walk was longer than he thought it would be; in fact it was already getting dark when he got back home. He was shocked to find someone in his house looking out the window. But then his hear skipped a beat. This surely must be God, who had promised to come. 

But Conrad recognized the person, the lady from the flat upstairs. She looked so sad and tired. She told him that she had not slept at all because her son Peter was sick. She did not know what to do any longer. The child lay there so still, his fever high, and he could no longer recognize his mother. 

Conrad felt so sorry for her. There she was all alone with her son, living alone since her husband died in an accident. 

So he went along with her. Together they wrapped Peter in a wet sheet. Conrad sat at the boy’s bedside, while the mother had a bit of a rest. 

When he got back to his room, it was already past midnight. He was tired and completely disappointed as he threw himself into bed. The day was over. God had not come. 

Suddenly he heard a voice. It was God’s voice saying, “Thanks, for letting Me warm Myself in your house today. Thanks for showing Me the way home. And thank for your encouragement and help. Conrad, I thank you that today I could be your guest.” 

Note: Willi Hoffsuemmer – Taken from Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD, 1000 STORIES YOU CAN USE – Volume One , Manila, Philippines: Divine Word Publications, 1989, pages 32-34. 


32 posted on 12/25/2012 5:13:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

MARY AND JOSEPH KNEW PEACE FROM GOD 

490248-christmas-card (1)

JUST as Mary and Joseph knew peace from God, so can we. God’s peace can come to us in many ways; through the love of our families, as we develop our talents, or even when we take a quiet walk in the park. Yet the peace we experience in each of these instances is just a portion of the full peace God wants to give us. He wants us to be peaceful in every circumstance – even in the most painful and difficult of times. 

At its heart, this kind of peace is focused on reconciliation and transformation. We experience this kind of peace when we come to understand that Jesus has reconciled us to our Father in heaven and when we know in our hearts that we are right with Him. We need both ingredients – and “understanding” that Jesus has reconciled us, and a “clear conscience” that comes from confessing our sins and receiving Jesus’ forgiveness. When both factors are at work in us, then we can know God’s peace, no matter what our outer circumstances might be. Like Mary and Joseph, our peace won’t be based upon how many things are going our way, but upon the incredible depth of God’s love for us. 

We all know that Christmas is a time for love, gift giving, and family gatherings. More importantly, Christmas is a time for rejoicing in our salvation and thanking God for the way He is working in our lives. Let’s enjoy God’s peace as we celebrate Christmas with our family and friends. Let’s also go to Jesus and tell Him that the deepest desire in our hearts is to be in a right and loving relationship with Him. 


33 posted on 12/25/2012 5:17:44 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim

THIS IS A DAY OF GREAT REJOICING

(A biblical refection on the NATIVITY OF THE LORD – Tuesday, 25 December 2012) 

Gospel Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6 

First Reading: Is 52:7-10; Psalms: Ps 98:1-6; Gospel Reading: Jn 1:1-18 

BSNBI013

The Scripture Text

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, who He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He reflects the glory of god and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of power. When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee”? Or again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” (Heb 1:1-6 RSV) 

The greatest gift you have is your life. But this gift is also a mystery, something that we can’t completely figure out on our own. How do you unwrap a mystery? The answer is found wrapped in a manger, in the mystery of the One who is fully God and fully man. As we unwrap the mystery of Jesus’ life, the mystery of our own lives will make more and more sense.

Scripture tells us that from all eternity, Jesus, the Word, was with God, and that He was God (Jn 1:1). The Word became flesh and lived among us (Jn 1:14). But why did He choose to come among us? A clue is found in His name, Yeshua, which means “God saves.” In Jesus, God has come among us to save us, to rescue us.

From what did Jesus come to save us? From the death that entered the world when our first parents embraced the lies and envy of the devil (Wis 2:23-24). We were created to become like Jesus in all His purity and holiness, but because of sin, our vision became clouded. Restlessly, we search for what might increase our happiness and satisfy the desires of our hearts. But we pursue narrow goals. We strive to fill our lives with meaning and still do not feel complete. There, resting in the manger, is the “Bread of Life,” the only one who can satisfy our hunger.

What does it mean? Take a moment to think of all that this infant child of Bethlehem means. His coming among us as man is the fulcrum of all God’s action, the center from which all His blessings flow out to us. Imagine: If God had only created us in His image, that would have been enough. If He had only sent us His word through the prophets, that would have been enough. If He had only come among us to comfort us and teach us a new way to live, that would have been enough. If He had only forgiven our sins, that would have been enough. If he had only sent His Spirit to guide the Church, that would have been enough. But God has done all these things and more. He has given us Christ Himself to live in our hearts. He has promised us that Jesus will return to take us into His glory.

In the incarnation of His Son, God restored every blessing we forfeited when we fell into sin. From the very beginning, the Son of God was destined to be the source and goal of our lives. In love, God made us like Himself, with the powers of intellect, emotion, and will. In love, He placed within us a hunger for Himself. How could He help but do everything in His power to satisfy that hunger – even to the point of sacrificing His only Son for our sake?

This is a day of great rejoicing, for our destiny has been restored! As we look into the manger, we see innocence, purity, and divine life. This seemingly vulnerable child is the way of our salvation. He died for our sins, was raised for our justification, and will come again to judge the living and the dead. In a sense, the manger is a mirror of our lives, for there we see the glorious power of the indestructible life that God has intended for all of us.

What do you see when you look at the manger? Has your heart thrilled to the good news that this Child has restored you to God? Do you see your greatest Christmas gift here? He has come to give you divine life. Hold Him in your heart. Ask Him to warm your heart. Accept this gift humbly and gratefully. This is the gift that conquers death. This Child is the hope of glory for all of us.

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life, and for the gift of Your Son in whom we have eternal life. By Your Holy Spirit, reveal to us the treasures held in the mystery of incarnation. Move us to love today, even if we do not feel like loving. Teach each and every one of us to live like this Child, who teaches us that to give is to receive. Amen.


34 posted on 12/25/2012 5:21:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 

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


35 posted on 12/25/2012 5:28:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Where Was God?
Pastor’s Column
Christmas, 2012
 
          Where was God? As I write these words one week before Christmas Day, many of us are troubled still by the events at Clackamas Town Center and most especially the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Where was Jesus in all this? We can find some answers in Christmas Day.
 
          God lived within each child and adult that died, for he both creates and sustains each person on earth. At the same time, in a very real sense, he died alongside and within each one who perished. He feels our pain; he knows our struggles; he is with us through it all.
 
          We have a God who, in this present world, comes to us always in one disguise or another. Whenever you visit or care for a sick or dying person, the Lord assures us it is actually him. Did you buy a gift for a needy child from the giving tree or do any one act of charity this season? Jesus was the recipient. Were you kind -- or unkind-- to someone? Again, it is always Christ, for this entire lifetime we are given is for this purpose only: to give us an opportunity to love God, to choose or reject the opportunities to choose and love him in his many disguises.
 
          Though Jesus came among us as a small child, he was not welcomed by many in his day! First, the innkeepers of Bethlehem turned him away, because others arriving for the census had more money and rooms were in high demand. Then King Herod massacred the children of Bethlehem in a misguided attempt to destroy him. Even today, many find no use for this infant! He is seen by some as some kind of threat or another, when in fact he brings the gift of fellowship with God forever, and the freedom that comes with doing what God asks of us! We reach the height of our humanity in our empathy and outreach to those who are suffering, because, again, they always represent Christ in disguise.
 
          Our Jesus, who came disguised in the humility of a baby at Christmas, is also present especially in the sufferings we have to endure, the difficulties we must face, and yes, in the questions, like Sandy Hook, that we cannot yet answer. Jesus had to suffer and die, though completely innocent; therefore no deaths, especially the deaths of the innocent, are ever without eternal meaning, for Christ’s own death has eternal meaning.
 
          Our lives might be compared to a Christmas tree, with many shiny packages underneath. Attractive though they may be, what gives meaning to our lives are not the presents we receive but the ones we give to others. Amid these distracting packages is our God of disguises, wrapped in swaddling clothes and covered with humility. We find him still in our daily lives, especially in our sufferings and the presents, and presence, and prayers, we give to others.
                                                                                      Father Gary

36 posted on 12/25/2012 5:39:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Paul Center Blog

New Song: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Readings for Christmas Day

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn

Nativity 4

Isaiah 52:7–10
Psalms 98:1–6
Hebrews 1:1–6
John 1:1–5, 9–14

The Church’s liturgy rings in Christmas with a joyful noise. We hear today of uplifted voices, trumpets and horns, and melodies of praise. 

In the First Reading, Isaiah fortells Israel’s liberation from captivity and exile in Babylon. He envisions a triumphant homecoming to Zion marked by joyful singing.

The new song in today’s Psalm is a victory hymn to the marvelous deeds done by our God and King.

Both the prophet and psalmist sing of God’s power and salvation. God has shown the might of His holy arm, they say. This language recalls the Exodus, where the people first sang of God’s powerful arm that shattered Israel’s enemy Egypt (see Exod. 15:1, 6, 16).

The coming of the Christ child into the world fulfills all that the Exodus and the return from exile prefigured.

In Jesus, all nations to the ends of the earth will see the victory of God over the forces of sin and death.

Jesus is the new King. He is the royal firstborn son and Son of God promised to David, as we hear in today’s Epistle (see Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14).

And as our Gospel reveals, He is the Word of God, the one through whom the universe was created, the one through whom the universe is sustained.

In speaking to us through His Son, God has unveiled a new age, the last days.

The new age is a new creation. In the beginning, God spoke His Word and light shone in the darkness. Now, in this new age, He sends us the true light to scatter the darkness of a world that has exiled itself from God.

He is the one Isaiah foretold – who brings good tidings of peace and salvation, who announces to the world that God has come to dwell and to reign (see Rev. 21:3–4).

So we sing a new song on Christmas. It is the song of those who have believed in the Christ child and been born again – by grace given the power to become children of God.


37 posted on 12/25/2012 5:51:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Christmas -- A Great Light!




"A savior has been born to you who is Christ the Lord" 

Is 9: 1-6
Titus 2: 11-14
Lk 2: 1-14

There is a well-known Christmas story told from the time of the First World War. As the first Christmas of World War I approached, Pope Benedict XV on Dec. 7, 1914, asked the leaders of all warring governments to agree to an official cease-fire. He begged "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang."

Not surprisingly, his plea was ignored by government leaders. But many of the soldiers on the front lines declared their own unofficial truce.

On Christmas Eve of 1914, German troops in Belgium, put candles around their trenches and sang Christmas carols. When opposing British troops heard the Germans singing, they responded with Christmas caroling of their own.

The sound of gun-fire and destruction throughout the region fell silent.

Then a remarkable scene occurred. German and British soldiers climbed out of their trenches and ventured unarmed into the highly dangerous no man's land to exchange gifts of food and drink, as well as souvenir hats and buttons.

The truce also allowed opposing sides to retrieve their dead and participate in joint services.

A firsthand account of this inspiring Christmas truce was given by Bruce Bairnsfather, who fought with a British machine gun unit. He wrote: "I wouldn't have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything. ... I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think, and being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons. ... I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange."

Reportedly as many as 100,000 British and German troops along much of the Western Front -- a line of trenches stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France -- stopped fighting and engaged in similar acts of human kindness.

But as is often the case, the "leaders" got in the way. High-ranking officers ordered all such truces to stop and to start killing again.

(Source: National Catholic Reporter: Tony Magliano)

Once again, Christmas is upon us and we hear the story of Bethlehem, the manger, a virgin Mother and a new born child. We know of a courageous and just man by the name of Joseph who is key to completing the image of the Holy Family. We can tell the story of the shepherds and magi by heart.  Singing angels who proclaim the birth of a new born King and the German lullaby “Silent Night” is embedded in our Christmas experience. But the constant pursuit of peace on earth, despite the heroic story of the famed Christmas truce, remains seemingly far away.

While we may tire of the rush, frenetic shopping sprees, the unspoken competition as to which house has more lights or who makes the best egg nog, in the end Christmas remains fresh every time we hear the familiar story of the birth of Jesus Christ. In its stark simplicity, there is hidden a great mystery that will forever live alive and fresh each year in December. So, maybe we need to reflect more on what the story implies than on the all familiar details of its scene. The Christmas truce between fighting soldiers, for example, shows us peace is possible and preferred for those who of their own volition, lay aside weapons of war.  

In our Scripture readings for the traditional Mass at Night celebrated by ancient tradition somewhere around the turn of the midnight, we hear Isaiah the prophet proclaim: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light . . . (Is 9: 1). Darkness here refers both to lack of knowledge and understanding but also to the darkness of sin.

With the birth of this child, a new age begins.  A new light enters the world as never before and a new hope dawns for all humankind.  But, we must choose to embrace that new light and that new hope.  God offered the world a “Christmas” gift in the mystery of the Incarnation (God made flesh) but we must decide whether we want that gift or not and if so what we must do about it. So, God proposes a new way of life for those willing to respond.

Very recently our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI offered an Op-ed piece in, of all places, the Financial Times. This highly unusual move by a secular magazine which offers business and financial advice to those in such a field wouldn’t normally open their pages to the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church!

However, they apparently did and Pope Benedict asks Christians to reassess their Christmas priorities.  By doing so, he clearly implies the new way by which God reveals himself to us in Christ and what it means for our daily lives.

Among what the Pope writes: “Christians shouldn’t shun the world; they should engage with it . . .” The vast majority of us do not live as hermits or in silent Monasteries but rather, particularly the laity, are involved in the daily push and pull of human life. Myself as Parish Priest is likewise called out from my office or home to engage the culture around us with a higher set of values; a better way to live based on God’s law as revealed to us.

The Pope goes on pointedly: “Christians fight poverty out of recognition of the supreme dignity of every human being . . . Christians work for more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources out of a belief that, as stewards of God’s creation, we have a duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable. Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction that generosity and selfless love, as taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth, are the way that leads to fullness of life. Christian belief in the transcendent destiny of every human being gives urgency to the task of promoting peace and justice for all.”

The birth of the Son of God and Son of Mary among us came historically at a time of great peace. Luke reminds us of Caesar Augustus during whose time found the vast Roman Empire in a period of peace. Angels call all humanity to see this child as the central figure of history.  And from him, as shepherds and Magi symbolize, all humankind from all cultures and races, will be offered a new Gospel – good news.

Pope Benedict XVI offers us concrete ways in which we can live out this Gospel: fight poverty, share more equitably, oppose greed and exploitation, and defend human life in all its stages. 

As we gather around Word and Sacrament at Holy Mass this Christmastime, let’s reflect, rejoice, and embrace this new good news of the Savior that is both ancient and new. 

Our work is cut out for us indeed.  But if warring troops can lay aside guns, light candles, sing carols and face each other peacefully on the battle field, how can we do anything less?  
 
Fr. Tim

38 posted on 12/25/2012 6:03:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

Flesh, Glory, Grace
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

(Note: Since there are four different liturgies on this day, we selected the Gospel from the Mass during the day)

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man´s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father´s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This is he of whom I said, ´The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.´" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father´s side, has revealed him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this Christmas day. I believe that you became a little child to redeem me and show me the Father’s love. I love you. Your birth shows the depth of your love for me. I choose to recommit myself today to be a Christian in love with you.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in wonder at your love.

1. Flesh: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” For most families, Christmas is a day of special closeness. We take time to be with each other. We also know that God is close. He is that “someone” who unites us in love. Today, in astonished silence, we contemplate the Christ Child. Amid all the excitement and emotion of our Christmas day we cannot help but stop in amazement: My God lets me put my arms around him. Here is an amazing mystery of closeness. Here is where all human closeness finds its greatest expression. It is God’s initiative. He became flesh. He lives among us. Do I let myself draw close to Christ? Do I allow him to love me? Do I allow myself to love him?

2. Glory: “And we saw his glory.” For John, the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ is the glory of love. Jesus glories in being able to love — in being able to love us. What an amazing God we have! He defies our reason. His Christmas glory lies in making himself so humble that he becomes a tiny child dependent on our love. His glory will later consist in embracing his cross and dying out of love for us. Do I appreciate this glorious love? Am I ready to enter into its mystery? Am I ready to make my heart today shine with this glory of God’s love?

3. Grace: “…Full of grace and truth.” The grace spoken of here is the Father’s loving glance. Jesus brings the Father’s loving glance to our world, to our lives. He transforms our world into the very place where the Father finds his Son. The Father is pleased; Christ lives among us. This is the grace that is Christ: God’s initiative of love. Grace is a gift. It does not depend on me. I simply have to receive it. I simply have to appreciate it, as John did. Do I appreciate Christ? Do I try to make my life a gift like his was?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, thank you for this Christmas day. I know it may be busy, but I also know it is very beautiful. It is beautiful because you are here, Lord. Thank you for being here this Christmas day. I want to love you as Mary did. I want to bring your grace and glory to those around me.

Resolution: Today I will strive to show special joy and goodness in my relations with others, especially with my family. I will look for an extra way to make each of them happy today.


39 posted on 12/25/2012 6:20:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

The Christmas Word

 

by Food For Thought on December 25, 2012 · 

Second, the actual coming. It is expressed in the simplest of narratives: a journey and a birth, shepherds watching and angels singing, good news, great joy, to be shared by all. He has come.

Third, the theological reflection. In this child so anxiously awaited, so simply come, in him God’s grace has been revealed, salvation has been made possible for all, we are to give up everything that does not lead to God, and wait in hope. He will come again.

Christmas is an invitation for each one of us to discover in ourselves a dimension of goodness, which we call Jesus Christ. It’s an invitation to let that dimension shine forth into the darkness of today’s world.

Christmas celebrates the fact that the infinite God, at a point in time, crossed an unimaginable border and personally entered our world. The Christmas image of Jesus is that of a light shining in the darkness. Christmas celebrates the fact that when Jesus entered our darkened world hope also entered.

What Jesus was to the world of his time, he wants us to be to the world of our time. We too must be a beam of light in the midst of darkness. We, too, must be a ray of hope in the midst of despair.

Christmas is an invitation for each one of us to be for the world what Jesus was to his world: a beam of light in the midst of darkness, a ray of hope in the midst of despair.

If Jesus is to be born into today’s world, it must be through us. We must be the beam of light in the midst of darkness. We must be the ray of hope in the midst of despair.

To the extent that we heed the invitation of Christmas, to that extent will the world receive the gift of Christmas: peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

A Blessed Christmas to You All!


40 posted on 12/25/2012 6:34:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Deeper Meaning of Christmas

The Deeper Meaning of Christmas

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. on December 24, 2012 · 

In the days of Caesar Augustus, an era of peace was established in the Mediterranean world after centuries of strife. But this peace was forged by the proud ambition of emperors and the edge of their armies’ swords.

Upon this stage appears a baby acclaimed as king by eastern dignitaries. Neither Caesar nor Herod will brook any rivals. So brutal hordes are sent to slay Him at birth, though He himself comes without armies. The thugs are thwarted, but only for a season. For the royal child is laid in a manger, and the wood of that manger foreshadows the wood of the cross.

Caesar and Herod were bound to misunderstand Him. They climbed their way to the top, stepping on all who stood in their way. He emptied himself and plunged to the bottom, from the glory of heaven to the squalor of a stable. Pharaohs and Caesars strained towards immortality. Yet He who was Immortal by nature embraced mortality. The great ones of the world took every opportunity to exalt themselves. In the very act of being born, He humbled himself.

You would think that He would have chosen Rome or Athens as the place of his appearance. But He selects an obscure desert town in a dusty provincial outpost. Even in this humble spot, not even a seedy inn would make room for Him. So they had recourse to a cave, welcomed only by the animals. Isaiah said it well: “an ox knows its owner, and an ass its master’s manger; but Israel does not know, my people has not understood” (Isaiah 1:2).

Everything was in fulfillment of Scripture. He was born in Bethlehem, a town whose name means “house of bread.” His crib was a manger, a feeding trough. But they did not understand that He was the Bread of Life. He was wrapped, like Solomon, in swaddling clothes (Wisdom 7:4-5), but they did not recognized him as the new King and embodiment of divine wisdom.

The only people who recognize Him are shepherds, the humblest in society, and Magi, the wisest. But most Israelites, like us, were neither very humble nor very wise, so they missed it. They especially missed this–that one of the birthday gifts was incense, used in the worship of gods. He was not only king, wise man, messiah, and savior–he was God incarnate.

How could Jews have believed this? God is infinite, invulnerable, and omnipotent. What is more vulnerable, fragile, and helpless than an infant? Can the Eternal be born in time? Can the Divine Word be a child at the breast, incapable of speech? Can a mere teenage girl be the Mother of God?

It was just as hard for the pagans to believe it. For their philosophers had taught that God is spirit and the body is a prison. Salvation means liberation from the confines of the physical body. So the idea that a divine Savior would embrace human flesh just did not compute.

Love sometimes does strange things. It takes great risks and goes to extreme lengths that many would call foolish. On that first Christmas day, God’s foolishness was wiser than men, and his weakness was stronger than men. It took them all by surprise.

But this, of course, was part of God’s strategy. The element of surprise is critical in warfare. And Christmas was an act of warfare. In fact it was D-Day, the day of deliverance. The preparation had taken centuries, but now it was time for the Conqueror to land on enemy occupied territory. He came in humility, and would finish the conquest thirty years later by the greatest act of humility the world had ever seen.

“Peace on Earth, Good will towards men.” True peace can never be forged by steel, but only by love. It is the humble babe in the manger, not Caesar in his chariot, who is the real Prince of peace.


41 posted on 12/25/2012 6:39:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prepare Room for Christ in Your Hearts and Homes

Prepare Room for Christ in Your Hearts and Homes

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet on December 24, 2012 · 

Not a complaint, though in her condition she could have had many. He might have had a few as well. Each of their worlds had changed radically not even nine months before. You might not see the peace and love between them so much as a stoic determination to safely reach the City of David in time for the census. That’s if you even thought to look.

You would not know that this unborn child was the Messiah, the Son of God. He was already feared by the king, who was sending agents out looking for the one — “the king of the Jews” — whose arrival was foretold in a prophecy. You wouldn’t see that the woman was the only one who understood — to the extent that she could have gathered in those eight-plus months — that her child would change the world.

But what if you did suddenly know who Mary and Joseph were, and you knew that you were witnessing the arrival of the One who would bring salvation to mankind? What if you had a place to stay and saw them turned away from other lodgings; wouldn’t you insist that they take your room? Wouldn’t you make sure that they had everything they needed and that the room was cleaned and ready? Wouldn’t you ask for help from your family on the outskirts of town, and make sure that they knew how important it was that this baby arrived safely? Wouldn’t you have the greatest gift you could gather ready when He arrived?

This is where we are today. We know that Christ is coming, and that He is looking for room in our hearts. Still, many of us postpone the cleaning, or even let the room fill up with other things, so that there really isn’t room for the Christ child. We may even be shy about reaching out to friends and family, so we don’t let them see the urgency and joyful expectation that they should see in us.

Don’t you know who this child is? We must prepare our hearts and homes, and make Him room, starting today. And we must do all we can to know that those around us know Him as well, and see Him in our love and action.

We have been talking for weeks about the need to be people of true Christian hope, united in charity and truth, so that we can respond adequately to the needs around us. We have spent some time — though surely not enough — looking at some of the key teachings of the Church as they relate to life and the way in which these teachings have been rejected not only by society, but even by some within the Church. This rejection has blinded many to the true causes of the problems that we all see around us, and has fractured our families and communities. It is up to us to respond in charity and truth.

In other words, the task before us remains urgent and must take shape in the circumstances around us. We form ourselves in the Sacraments, the truth of the Gospel, in the teachings of the Church, and we ready ourselves to be Christ for one another. We make Christ visible to those around us by our example as people of true Christian hope. We reach out in charity to our own communities and let our neighbors know that we are there for them, that they are not alone, that there is room for them.

We must also remember that contraception — the divorce between the unitive and procreative aspects of human sexuality — must be addressed if we are to expect any lasting victory in the fight for life and family. Open to life is essential. Treating life as simply a convenience and valuing only the “wanted” in society inevitably leads to abuses such as abortion and euthanasia. Indeed, Salvation Himself entered the world through the birth of a child.

With God’s grace, we strive to become the kind of people that we find in the Saints: passionate, fearless, honest and generous, and unflinchingly in love with Jesus Christ. We cannot get lost in the urgency of the chaos around us, lest we lose our hope and our focus. We engage these evils, to be sure, but we do so with hearts formed in Christ, ready to respond in real charity and His truth.

It seems like dusk in our nation and in the world, but Christ is right before us, brought to us by the Holy Family. All for the Glory of God, and the defense of life and family, as Father Marx put it in laying out HLI’s mission. For now, let’s focus on preparing Him room in our hearts and homes. Let’s offer the Christ Child the greatest gift we can offer Him, hearts that are ready to receive Him, and families that know Who it is we celebrate during this Holy Season.


42 posted on 12/25/2012 6:45:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 


<< Tuesday, December 25, 2012 >> Christmas
 
Isaiah 52:7-10
Hebrews 1:1-6

View Readings
Psalm 98:1-6
John 1:1-18

 

DIS-HONORABLE MENTION

 
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, 'Your God is King!' " —Isaiah 52:7
 

The good news of Christmas is: "A Savior has been born to you" (Lk 2:11). "Your Savior comes" (Is 62:11). "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us" (Ti 3:4-5). If Jesus had not been born, our future would be bleak, our present a desperate escape attempt, and our past an even heavier burden. If Jesus had not been born, fear, resentment and depression would reign supreme. If Jesus had not been born, we could not stand to live but would be afraid to die.

At Christmas midnight Mass, I looked at the congregation from my place behind the altar. One young girl was trapped in fornication. Two young men were in a homosexual perversion. A middle-aged man had destroyed his family through alcoholism. An elderly woman was mentally ill. A couple was talking divorce after thirty years of marriage. This was a sampling of the midnight Mass crowd. They desperately needed to be saved. Despite this, none of their fellow parishioners had told them about Jesus the Savior. They were given Christmas carols, Christmas presents, and holiday wishes, but Jesus was only given "honorable mention."

Tell a broken world about Jesus this Christmas. Accept Him as Lord and Savior. "Christ our Savior is born!"

 
Prayer: Jesus, open my lips to tell a lost and hurting world about Your saving love for them.
Promise: "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory: the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love." —Jn 1:14
Praise: Alleluia! Christ our Savior is born. Praise You, Jesus! We give our lives to You. Alleluia!

43 posted on 12/25/2012 7:39:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
 
 
President Reagan presents Mother Teresa with the Medal of Freedom
 
Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said:
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
 
The greatest challenge facing the western world is not violence from without, but the tragic decision to take a life within.

44 posted on 12/25/2012 7:47:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Many are shocked to walk into daily Mass on December 26 and instead of hearing more of the “Baby Jesus” we are confronted with Martyrdom, “The Feast of Stephen” is ancient on the Church’s calendar. More ancient than the Christmas cycle and hence it was not removed to another time.

Bu the martyrdom does not stop there. We are in the midst of the Christmas Octave, an Octave filled with blood as we shall see.

What is an Octave? But first, there may be some of you who wonder what is meant by and “Octave.” An Octave is a period of eight days wherein a feast of the Church is celebrated for that whole period as though it were all the same day. In the modern liturgical calendar we only observe two octaves explicitly: Christmas and Easter.

During the week following Christmas many of the prayers speak of each day as though it were still Christmas. For example some of the prayers and antiphons say, “Today is born our savior, Christ the Lord.” A purist might say, but it is NOT today that he is born, it was back on Saturday the 25th that he was born. But, in certain sense this IS still Christmas day. Christmas Day is one long day of eight days from Saturday the 25th to Saturday January 1st.

It is the same with Easter where for one whole week we announce: “This is the day the Lord has made…”

Why eight days? Some say it is a reference to the eighth day on which Christ rose. I know, you thought it was the third day. But it was also the eighth day! For God made the world in seven days, resting on the seventh (Sabbath or Saturday). But Christ rose on the 8th day (Sunday). So resurrection morning is both the third day AND the eighth day! Others say the practice of the octave goes to Jewish times where some of the feasts (e.g. Dedication and Tabernacles (Booths)) were celebrated over 8 days.

In the old calendar there were more Octaves such as: Epiphany, Pentecost, All Saints, Immaculate Conception, Ascension Sacred Heart and others). Not all of these were privileged Octaves in which no other feasts could be celebrated. Easter and Pentecost were really the only two that blocked out all other feasts entirely. Others, like the Christmas Octave, allowed the celebration of other feasts but still referred to the feast of the octave as well.

So here we are in the Christmas Octave and, in a strong sense it is thus still Christmas Day. TODAY is born our savior Christ the Lord. This feast is so important that we stretch its observance a completed week and into the eighth day.

Bloody Octave – But one of the striking things about the Christmas octave is its bloodiness. It is one of the bloodiest weeks of the Church’s years. Thus, on December 26th, when we have hardly digested our Christmas dinner, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the Martyr who was stoned to death. On December 28th we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the young and infant boys who were murdered by Herod seeking to kill Christ. On December 29th we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. Even St. (King) Wenceslaus of whom we happily sing “on the Feast of Stephen” was brutally killed by his brother.

Why all this blood, why this martyrdom? It is almost as though the red poinsettias that we put out in festive Christmas spirit look back to us in testimony. For it is clear that Jesus came to this world, ultimately to die. His crib (likely of wood) in which he was laid, arms and feet bound by swaddling clothes, points inevitably to the wood of his cross where, once again, his arms and legs were bound by nails and, after dying, he was wrapped tightly in a linen shroud.

The blood of the Christmas octave also reminds us that many of us too will share in Christ’s lot. This world hated Christ and had “no room for him.” Neither does this world have room for true Christians and the blood of martyrs stretches down through the centuries in testimony to the world’s hatred for authentic disciples of Christ and the truth they propose.

From this bloody octave the words of Christ ring out: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (Jn 15:19). The martyrs of the Christmas Octave say, Amen.

And even St. John the Apostle, whose feast also occurs in the Octave (Dec 27), also says Amen. For, though he did not suffer martyrdom he proclaimed his Amen also from his prison cell on Patmos: I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev 1:9).

Victory – But all these martyrs and sufferers (St. Stephen, St. John, the Holy Innocents, St. Thomas Becket, and St Wenceslaus) proclaim too the victory that is theirs with Jesus Christ who also said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). And again, Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Rev 2:10) Yes, Lord, the Spirit and the Bride say, Amen.

Did I wish you a merry Christmas?


45 posted on 12/26/2012 10:22:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 25, 2012:

(Christmas) Christmas day can be busy, even hectic, as you prepare food for guests or travel to relatives. Share the work. If you feel ready to snap, take a 5 minute “sanity break.” It’s called prayer. Remember Jesus’ words to Martha. (Luke 11:41-42)


46 posted on 12/27/2012 6:26:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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http://resources.sainteds.com/showmedia.asp?media=../sermons/homily/2012-12-25-Homily%20Fr%20Gary.mp3&ExtraInfo=0&BaseDir=../sermons/homily


47 posted on 12/31/2012 7:57:44 PM PST by Salvation (("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26))
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