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

Posted on 12/24/2012 3:49:40 PM PST by Salvation

December 25, 2012 [Mass during the Day]

 

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

 

Reading 1 Is 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
"Your God is King!"

Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
for they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6.

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

Reading 2 Heb 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

Gospel Jn 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 was 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.

or Jn 1:1-5, 9-14

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.
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.


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 3:49:53 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 5:06:08 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 5:09:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 52:7-10

The Messenger of Peace


[7] How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good tidings,
who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
[8] Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice,
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
[9] Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
[10] The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

[11] Depart, depart, go out thence,
touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of her, purify yourselves,
you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
[12] For you shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

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

52:7-12. Salvation is approaching; it has reached the gates of Zion, and its herald
is the messenger “who publishes salvation” (v. 7), proclaiming that the Lord is re-
turning to his holy city, like a victorious king coming back with his men, having re-
deemed them from their captors (vv. 7-8). This victory parade includes songs of
joy extolling the salvation brought about by the Lord, and also a pressing call to
purification, to ensure that those who welcome the Lord are worthy to form part
of his holy company (vv. 11-12). These verses form the famous poem of the “mes-
senger of peace” who “brings good tidings”. The ideas of the first oracle of this
second part of the book (40:1-11) are repeated here very beautifully. The messen-
ger’s feet are praised — a symbol of his speed and surefootedness when crossing
the mountains, which is where important news comes from (cf. 40:9). His mes-
sage (v. 7) is described very significantly as involving “peace”, which in Isaiah
means safety in Israel after the hardships of exile; “good tidings” or, more literal-
ly, “news of goodness and well-being”, that is, genuine material and spiritual
prosperity; and “salvation”, which is permanent renewal on all levels. The three
words read together mean the highest degree of happiness imaginable. The core
of this message is the enthronement of God: “Your God reigns,” similar to 40:9:
“Behold your God.” What is new about this poem is that it depicts God as the
king of Zion (cf. 24:23). The kingdom of God is sublime; and only analogically is
it comparable to earthly kingdoms, as can be seen in the psalms of divine king-
ship (Ps 47:8; 93:1; 96:10; 97:1), and, much more fully; in the New Testament,
which records Jesus’ preaching centered on the Kingdom of God.

As in a stage play, the arrival of the messenger, which is really the same thing
as the arrival of God as king on Zion, causes the watchmen to raise shouts of
joy that resound across the city (v. 8). Those whose job it was to give warning
of any threat now provoke unconfined joy because of the “return of the Lord to
Zion” (v. 8; Ezek 43:1-5).

In a beautiful personification, the “waste places of Jerusalem” are called to join
in the watchmen’s song (v. 9). The restoration has come, and the credit must go
to the Lord, for he has bared his holy arm a symbol of vigorous action, as in the
time of the exodus (v. 10; cf. 40:10, 5 1:9; Ps 98:1).

The short hymn at the end (vv. 11-12) is an exhortation to be cleansed from every
trace of Babylonian idolatry and to follow the Lord’s path, who, in the early trek
through the wilderness (cf. Ex 13:21-22), travels at the head of the company and
is also its rearguard.

St Paul quotes the words of v. 7 in Romans 10:15 when he is making the point
that preaching is necessary if the Gospel is to be spread. So, they are an abi-
ding call to apostolate.

The words of this oracle (especially v. 11) have also been applied by Christian
tradition to those who have pastoral responsibilities: “A pastor should be a man
whose thoughts are pure and purified. No stain should mar the character of the
man who holds the office of pastor; thus shall he be able to cleanse the impurity
of those in his care. The one whose work it is to purify stains must have clean
hands, to ensure that, when he seeks to cleanse, he does not soil his charges
more. The prophet says: purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
Those who are entrusted with leading souls along the path of faith to their eternal
home bear the vessels of the Lord. Consider carefully, then, how pure they must
be who have devoted themselves to the task of bearing living vessels to the
eternal Temple” (St Gregory the Great, “Regula Pastoralis”, 2, 2).

*********************************************************************************************
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 6:09:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Hebrews 1:1-6

The Greatness of the Incarnate Son of God


[1] In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; [2]
but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir
of all things, through whom also he created the world. [3] 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 on high, [4] having become as much superior to angels as the name
he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

Proof from Sacred Scripture


[5] 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”? [6] And
again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels
worship him.”

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

1-4. The first four verses are a kind of prologue to the letter, which does not carry
the greetings and words of thanksgiving to God normally found in letters of St
Paul. Like the prologue of St John’s Gospel, the letter moves immediately into its
main subject — the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. It speaks of Christ as
a Son whose sonship is eternal, prior to the creation of the world and to his Incar-
nation; it speaks also of Christ’s mission to save all men, a mission appropriate
to the Word who created all things. This exposition culminates in the affirmation
of Christ’s absolute superiority over angels, a theme dealt with, in different ways,
up to the end of the second chapter.

The entire epistle in fact develops the subject entered on in the prologue — the
sublimity of Christ, the natural and eternal Son of God, the universal Mediator,
the eternal Priest. This is why St Thomas Aquinas says that the subject matter
of this epistle is the “excellence” of Christ. In this respect the Letter to the Heb-
rews is different from the other letters in the Pauline corpus: in some letters (the
“Great Epistles” and the Captivity Letters) the Apostle deals with the grace which
imbues the entire mystical body of the Church; others (the Pastoral Letters) deal
with the grace bestowed on certain members of the Church (such as Timothy
and Titus); whereas the Letter to the Hebrews looks at grace as it is found in the
Head of the mystical body, Christ. This “excellence” of Christ the Angelic Doctor
adds, is examined by St Paul from four points of view: the first is that of Christ’s
origin, which the sacred writer identifies by calling him the true (natural, metaphy-
sical) Son of God, when he says that God has spoken to us by a Son; the se-
cond is that of his power, for he depicts him as being made the heir of all things;
the third is that of his activity, when he affirms that he created the world; the
fourth, his sublime dignity, when he says that Christ reflects the glory of God (cf.
“Commentary on Heb.”, Prologue and 1:1).

Christ is thus presented as the pinnacle and fullness of salvific Revelation, as the
Second Vatican Council reminds us: “After God had spoken many times and in
various ways through the prophets ‘in these last days he has spoken to us by a
Son’ (Heb 1:1-2). For he sent his Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all men
to dwell among men and to tell them about the inner life of God [...]. He did this
by the total fact of his presence and self-manifestation — by words and works,
signs and miracles, but above all by his death and glorious resurrection from the
dead, and finally by sending the Spirit of truth. He revealed that God was with us,
to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life”
(”Dei Verbum”, 4).

1. Divine Revelation, which is rightly called “the Word of God”, develops in sta-
ges in the course of the Old and New Testaments. “By this Revelation,” Vatican
II teaches,”’the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17), from the fullness of his love,
addresses men as his friends (cf. Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15), and moves among men
(cf. Bar 3:38), in order to invite and receive them into his own company. This eco-
nomy of Revelation is realized by deeds and words, which are intrinsically bound
up with each other. As a result, the works performed by God in the history of sal-
vation show forth and bear out the doctrine and realities signified by the words;
the words, for their part, proclaim the works, and bring to light the mystery they
contain” (”Dei Verbum”, 3). Revelation is, then, a gradual opening up of God’s my-
steries whereby little by little, like a wise teacher, it makes known who he is and
what his plans are concerning the salvation of all mankind. For, although there is
only one God and one way of salvation, man needs to be educated by means of
many precepts and to progress by stages on his way to God and so advance in
faith towards complete salvation in Christ. God in his mercy reveals his myste-
ries to man in this way in order that the whole world experiencing “this saving pro-
clamation, on hearing it should believe, on believing it hope, on hoping in it love”
(St Augustine, “De Catechizandis Rudibus”, 4, 8).

When speaking of Revelation, the First Vatican Council recalled that although
“God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural
light of human reason from the things that he created, [...] it was, nevertheless,
the good pleasure of his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal
decrees of his will to the human race in another and supernatural way” (”Dei Fi-
lius”, Chap. 2). This supernatural revelation, as it says (reaffirming the teaching
of the Council of Trent), is contained in books and in oral traditions which the
Apostles received from Christ or from the Holy Spirit and passed on to us.
Christ’s Gospel had earlier been promised by the prophets and, more generally,
by the entire Old Testament. The epistle refers to this when it says that God
spoke in the past through the mouth of the prophets “in many ways”, that is, at
various stages in the history of the chosen people, and “in various ways”, that is,
by means of visions, words, actions and historical events.

2. “The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the sal-
vation of man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the
sum total of Revelation” (”Dei Verbum”, 2).

St John of the Cross comments on this passage in a very beautiful and profound
way: “And this is as if he had said: That which God spoke of old in the prophets
to our fathers in sundry ways and divers manners, he has now, at last, in these
days, spoken to us once and for all in the Son. Herein the Apostle declares that
God has become, as it were, dumb, and has no more to say, since that which
he spoke before, in part, to the prophets, he has now spoken altogether in him,
giving us the All, which is his Son.

“And so he who would now enquire of God, or seek any vision or revelation would
not only be acting foolishly, but would be committing an offense against God, by
not setting his eyes altogether upon Christ, and seeking no new thing or aught
beside. And God might answer him after this manner, saying: ‘If I have spoken
all things to you in my Word, which is my Son, and I have no other word, what
answer can I now make to you, or what can I reveal to you which is greater than
this? Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to you
all things”’ (”Ascent of Mount Carmel”, Book 2, Chap. 22).

The “last days” refer to the period of time between the first coming of Christ and
the second coming, or Parousia. These days have begun because the definitive
“Word” of God, Jesus Christ, can be seen and heard. Mankind already finds it-
self in the “last age”, in the “end of the ages” (cf. 1 Cor 10:11; Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10).

By speaking to us through his Son, God reveals to us his saving will from the mo-
ment of the Incarnation onwards, for the second person of the Blessed Trinity has
come into the world to redeem us by dying for us and to open for us the way to
heaven by his glorification. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the “prophet” par excellence
(cf. note on Jn 7:40-43), for he perfects and completes God’s merciful revelation.
The Incarnation and the subsequent events of our Lord’s life are, like his teaching,
a source of salvation.

It was appropriate that the Son who perfectly revealed God the Father should also
be the divine Word, the Creator of the world (cf. Jn 1:3). The creative action of the
divine “Logos” or Word is not contradicted by the statement that Creation is the
work of God the Father, for everything done by God outside himself (”ad extra”)
is an action common to the three divine persons; nor is it correct to see the Word
as merely an instrument used by the Father, for he is one in substance with him.

“It is the good Father’s own, unique Word who has ordered this universe. Being
the good Word he has arranged the order of all things [...]. He was with God as
Wisdom; as Word he contemplated the Father and created the universe, giving
it substance, order and beauty” (St Athanasius, “Oratio Contra Gentes”, 40 and
46). Not only did the Word make the Father manifest by creation; he, together
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, acted in the revelation of the Old Testament:
in fact, many patristic writers attributed to the Son — as “angel” or “messenger of
Yahweh” — the divine epiphanies witnessed by Moses and the prophets. St Ire-
naeus writes, for example, that Christ prefigured and proclaimed future events
through his “Patriarchs and prophets”, thereby acting in his role as Teacher, pro-
mulgating the divine commandments and rules and training his people to obey
God the Father (cf. “Against Heresies”, XIV, 21). A profound harmony links God’s
revelation in Creation, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament: in each
case it is the same God who is manifesting himself and the Word is ever actively
involved. This activity of the Word is hidden and happens through the prophets in
the Old Testament; whereas in the New the Word becomes flesh and acts direct-
ly. This passage in Hebrews combines the revelation of Jesus Christ as Mediator
and maker of the universe (cf. Col 1:15-18; 1 Cor 8:6) with the idea that God has
at last spoken to us in his Son, who “is in the bosom of the Father”, and has
made known to us the invisible mysteries of the Godhead (cf. Jn 1:18).

3a. These words, which describe Christ’s divinity and eternity, recall the passage
in the Book of Wisdom which reads, “For she is a reflection of eternal light, a
spotless mirror of the working of God” (Wis 7:26). What the Old Testament de-
scribed as an attribute of God is now revealed as a personal being the second
person of the Trinity, the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Using three images, the text teaches that Jesus Christ is perfect God, identical
to the Father. By saying that he “reflects” the glory of the Father it means that
he and the Father share the same nature — which is what we profess in the
Creed when we say that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is “light
from light, true God from true God” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). “The au-
thor means”, St John Chrysostom writes, “that Christ has this glory in his own
right; it can suffer no eclipse nor can it either increase or diminish” (”Hom. on
Heb.”, 2).

The Son is also “stamped” with the nature of the Father; “stamp” is a translation
of the Greek word “character”, which means the mark left by a tool used to en-
grave or seal (for example, the impression of a seal on wax, or the seal affixed
to a document, or the brand used to identify livestock). This word indicates two
things — first, the perfect equality between the mark and the seal which makes
it, and second, the permanence of the mark.

“Upholding the universe by his word of power”: the Son, through whom all things
have been created, is also maintaining them in existence. God the Father not
only creates but, through the Son, maintains a continual, direct influence on his
creation; if he did not do so, as St Thomas Aquinas explains, the world would re-
vert into non-being: “If the divine power ceased to operate, existence would cease,
the being and subsistence of every created thing would end: (the Word) therefore
upholds all things in respect of their existence, and he sustains them also by vir-
tue of being the first cause of everything he has created” (”Commentary on Heb.”,
1, 2). It makes sense that God the Father should wish to keep the world in exis-
tence by means of the same Word by whom he created it.

3b. This is the central message of the Epistle to the Hebrews: Christ, the consub-
stantial Son of the Father, the perfect reflection of his substance, who created all
things and maintains them in existence, by becoming man brought about purifica-
tion for sins and by his sacrifice was glorified and put at the right hand of the Fa-
ther, receiving “the name which is above every name” (cf. Phil 2: 6-11; Jn 1:1, 3,
14). The actions of Jesus Christ are a continuum of mercy and salvation which
extends from the creation of the world and mankind to the point where he is sea-
ted in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Creation and Redemption are mys-
teries intimately linked to each other. The Son, the divine Word, is both Creator
and Redeemer. “It is appropriate to speak in the first instance”, St Athanasius
writes, “of the creation of the universe and of God its Creator, in order correctly to
appreciate the fact that the new creation of this universe has been brought about
by the Word who originally created it. For there is no contradiction in the Father’s
effecting the salvation of creatures by him through whom they were created” (”De
Incarnatione Contra Arianos”, 1). This is why the tradition of the Church, echoing
certain references in the New Testament (cf. Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:24; Col
3:10), describes the Redemption as a “new creation”.

To “sit down at the right hand of the Majesty” is equivalent to saying “has the sta-
tus of God”: “Majesty” is a term of reverence used to refer to God without naming
him; thus, Jewish rabbis would refer to God as “Lord”, “the most High”, “the Po-
wer”, “Glory”, etc. Sitting in the presence of God was a prerogative of the Davidic
kings (cf. 2 Sam 7:18; Ezek 44:3), and the person at the right hand was seen as
occupying the place of honor (cf. Ps 45:10). Psalm 110 proclaims that God will
have the Messiah sit at his right hand, and at various times Christ referred to that
prophecy to assert that he was the Messiah and God (cf. Mt 22: 44; 26:63-65; Jn
5:17-18; 10:30-33). The exaltation of the Son to the right hand of the Father was
a constant theme of apostolic preaching (cf. Acts 2:33; Rom 8:34; 1 Pet 3:22;
Rev 3:21; Eph 1:20). As St John Chrysostom comments, when St Paul says that
the Son sat down at the right hand of the Majesty he means principally to refer to
the status of the Son as equal to that of the Father. And when he says that he is
on high, in heaven, far from meaning to confine God within spatial limits, he wants
us to see God the Son, as Lord of the universe, raised up to the very throne of his
Father (cf. “Hom. on Heb.”, 2).

4. The prologue ends with a very important statement, which introduces the theme
of the rest of the first chapter: Christ is superior to the angels. To understand this
comparison of Christ with the angels, one needs to bear in mind the outlook of the
Jews at the time. The period immediately prior to the New Testament had seen a
considerable development of devotion to angels among the ordinary religious Jews;
with the result that this was the danger of Jesus, because he was a man, in some
way being seen as on a lower level than angels, who, created beings though they
are, are pure spirits. In the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Acts 23:9), we find the Pha-
risees in the Sanhedrin surmising that St Paul’s preaching may result from revela-
tion given him by an angel; and belief in the existence of angels was a point of
contention between Pharisees and Sadducees (cf. Acts 23:7). For this reason
the author of Hebrews wants to make it quite clear to Christians of Jewish origin
that Jesus is much more than an angelic being.

Christ is superior to angels, the inspired writer says, because he has the title of
Son, which is his by natural right. This name demonstrates his divine nature, a
nature superior to that of any visible or invisible created being, whether material
or spiritual, whether earthly or angelic: something’s name describes its essence
and, particularly in Sacred Scripture, name and essence are at times one and
the same. Thus, for example, the phrase “in the name of” (cf. Mt 28:19; Acts
3:6; 4:7; 4:12; etc.) refers not just to the authority or power of the person named,
but to the person himself. Jesus Christ, because he is the very Son of God, is
superior to angels by virtue of the glory due to his eternal oneness with the
Father. As eternal Son of God, to him belonged, by right of inheritance, the title
of Son and Lord. Moreover, after his passion and resurrection he has “become”
superior to angels by a new title through his exaltation on high (cf. 1 Cor 15: 24-
27; Phil 2:9-11). This passage refers primarily to Jesus’ glorification as man; for
the words “having become as much superior to angels...” cannot refer, St John
Chrysostom points out, to his divine essence: by virtue of his divinity the Son is
equal to the Father and cannot be subject to change, cannot “become” anything:
he is eternally what he is by generation from the Father: “Eternal Word by nature,
he did not receive his divine essence by way of inheritance. These words, which
manifest his superiority over the angels, can only refer to the human nature with
which he has been clothed: for it is that nature that is a created one” (”Hom. on
Heb.”, 1).

On the essence of angels and what they are, see the note on Lk 1:11.

5. Ancient Hebrew exegesis of this verse of Psalm 2 took it in a messianic sense:
the Messiah or Anointed would be king of Israel and would enjoy God’s special
protection. Therefore he merited being called “Son of God”, in the same kind of
way, though more eminently, as other kings and just men of Israel deserved the
title. But in Hebrews 1:5 the verse is given a much more profound interpretation:
the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the eternal Son of God, begotten “today”, that is,
in the continuous present of the eternal Godhead. It is affirming the generation
of the Son by the Father in the bosom of the Trinity, whereby the Son proceeds
eternally from the Father and is his mirror image. This form of generation is radi-
cally different from physical generation, whereby one living being physically be-
gets another like unto himself; and it is also quite different from Creation, where-
by God makes everything out of nothing. It is different from physical generation
because, in the Holy Trinity, Father and Son co-exist eternally and are one and
the same and only God, not two gods. It is different from Creation because the
Son has not been made from nothing but proceeds eternally from the Father.

God created angels in the context of time, as the Fourth Lateran Council says
in its profession of faith: “We firmly believe and profess without qualification that
there is only one true God [...], Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual
and corporeal, who, by his almighty power, from the very beginning of time, has
created both orders of creatures in the same way out of nothing, the spiritual or
angelic world and the corporeal or visible universe. And afterwards he formed the
creature man, who in a way belongs to both orders, as he is composed of spirit
and matter” (”De Fide Catholica”, Chap. 1).

The Son, on the other hand, proceeds from the Father eternally as light rays
come constantly from the sun or as water forms one single thing with the spring
from which it flows.

“These words have never been addressed to an angel,” St Thomas Aquinas com-
ments, “but to Christ alone. In them three things may be observed. First, the
mode of origin, expressed in the word ‘say’. It refers to a type of generation which
is not of the flesh but rather of a spiritual and intellectual kind. Second, this gene-
ration has an altogether singular character, for he says, ‘Thou art my Son’, as if
saying that although many others are called sons, being [God’s] natural son is
proper to Him alone; others are called sons of God because they partake of the
Word of God. Third, this is not a temporal but an eternal generation” (”Commen-
tary on Heb.”, 1, 3).

The quotation from Psalm 2 is completed by Nathan’s prophecy to David (2 Sam
7:14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”), which announces that a des-
cendant of David will be the Messiah and will ever enjoy God’s favor. But the He-
brews text also makes it much clearer that the Messiah is the Son of God in the
proper sense of the word — a son by nature, and not by adoption (cf. Lk 1:32-33).
In Christ, therefore, two things combine: he is the Son of God and he is the Mes-
siah King.

6. Here the words of Deuteronomy 32:43, identical with those of Psalm 97:7 as
given in the Septuagint, are used to convey, as a divine commandment addressed
to spiritual beings, a directive to adore the Son. This is a further proof of Christ’s
superiority: the angels are to worship him. “This adoration shows his absolute su-
periority over angels: it is the superiority of the master over his servants and his
slaves. When Jesus Christ left the bosom of his Father to enter this world, God
required his angels to worship him. This is what a monarch does when he brings
some great personage into his palace and wishes to have him honored: he orders
his dignitaries to bow in his presence “Hom. on Heb.”, 3).

This reference to “bringing the first-born into the world” is consistently interpreted
by the Fathers of the Church and by ancient writers as a reference to the Incarna-
tion. Some authors also see this verse as referring to the second coming of Christ,
when the world to come, unlike the present world, will be totally subject to the Re-
deemer. This interpretation connected with the end of time may explain why the
text of Deuteronomy 32:43 is used: that passage is followed by reference to the
last judgment by God.

Christ’s human nature should be worshipped now and always by angels and men
alike, for by doing so they adore Jesus, who is one person — which is divine —
with two natures, one divine and one human; he is worshipped as one: his divinity
and his humanity are worshipped at one and the same time.

This worship due to Christ over every created being is reminiscent of what St Paul
says in Philippians 2:10: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven
and on earth and under the earth”, referring to the glorified human nature of Christ.
“It is fitting that the sacred humanity of Christ should receive the homage, praise
and adoration of all the hierarchies of the angels and of all the legions of the bles-
sed in heaven” (St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, Second Glorious Mystery).

*********************************************************************************************
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 6:10:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 1:1-18

Prologue


[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word
was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God; [3] all things were made through
him, and without him was not anything made that was made. [4] In him was life,
and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it.

[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] He came for
testimony to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. [8] He
was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

[9] The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. [10] He
was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him
not. [11] He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. [12]
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become
children of God; [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor
of the will of man, but of God.

[14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we
have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the father. [15] (John bore
witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me
ranks before me, for he was before me.’”) [16] And from his fullness have we all
received, grace upon grace. [17] For the law was given through Moses; grace
and truth came through Jesus Christ. [18] No one has ever seen God; the only
Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

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

1-18. These verses form the prologue or introduction to the Fourth Gospel; they
are a poem prefacing the account of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, proclaiming
and praising his divinity and eternity. Jesus is the uncreated Word, God the
Only-begotten, who takes on our human condition and offers us the opportunity
to become sons and daughters of God, that is, to share in God’s own life in a
real and supernatural way.

Right through his Gospel St John the Apostle lays special emphasis on our
Lord’s divinity; his existence did not begin when he became man in Mary’s virgi-
nal womb: before that he existed in divine eternity as Word, one in substance
with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This luminous truth helps us understand
everything that Jesus says and does as reported in the Fourth Gospel.

St John’s personal experience of Jesus’ public ministry and his appearances
after the Resurrection were the material on which he drew to contemplate
God’s divinity and express it as “the Word of God”. By placing this poem as
a prologue to his Gospel, the Apostle is giving us a key to understand the
whole account which follows, in the same sort of way as the first chapters of
the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke initiate us into the contemplation of
the life of Christ by telling us about the virgin birth and other episodes to do
with his infancy; in structure and content, however, they are more akin to the
opening passages of other NT books, such as Col 1:15-20, Eph 1:13-14 and
1 Jn 1-4.

The prologue is a magnificent hymn in praise of Christ. We do not know whe-
ther St John composed it when writing his Gospel, or whether he based it on
some existing liturgical hymn; but there is no trace of any such text in other
early Christian documents.

The prologue is very reminiscent of the first chapter of Genesis, on a number
of scores: 1) the opening words are the same: “In the beginning...”; in the Gos-
pel they refer to absolute beginning, that is, eternity, whereas in Genesis they
mean the beginning of Creation and time; 2) there is a parallelism in the role of
the Word: in Genesis, God creates things by his word (”And God said ...”); in
the Gospel we are told that they were made through the Word of God; 3) in Ge-
nesis, God’s work of creation reaches its peak when he creates man in his own
image and likeness; in the Gospel, the work of the Incarnate Word culminates
when man is raised — by a new creation, as it were — to the dignity of being a
son of God.

The main teachings in the prologue are: 1) the divinity and eternity of the Word;
2) the Incarnation of the Word and his manifestation as man; 3) the part played
by the Word in creation and in the salvation of mankind; 4) the different ways
in which people react to the coming of the Lord — some accepting him with
faith, others rejecting him; 5) finally, John the Baptist bears witness to the
presence of the Word in the world.

The Church has always given special importance to this prologue; many Fa-
thers and ancient Christian writers wrote commentaries on it, and for centuries
it was always read at the end of Mass for instruction and meditation.

The prologue is poetic in style. Its teaching is given in verses, which combine
to make up stanzas (vv. 1-5; 6-8; 9-13; 14-18). Just as a stone dropped in a
pool produces ever widening ripples, so the idea expressed in each stanza
tends to be expanded in later verses while still developing the original theme.
This kind of exposition was much favored in olden times because it makes it
easier to get the meaning across — and God used it to help us go deeper into
the central mysteries of our faith.

1. The sacred text calls the Son of God “the Word.” The following comparison
may help us understand the notion of “Word”: just as a person becoming con-
scious of himself forms an image of himself in his mind, in the same way God
the Father on knowing himself begets the eternal Word. This Word of God is
singular, unique; no other can exist because in him is expressed the entire
essence of God. Therefore, the Gospel does not call him simply “Word”, but
“the Word.” Three truths are affirmed regarding the Word — that he is eternal,
that he is distinct from the Father, and that he is God. ‘’Affirming that he exis-
ted in the beginning is equivalent to saying that he existed before all things”
(St Augustine, “De Trinitate”, 6, 2). Also, the text says that he was with God,
that is, with the Father, which means that the person of the Word is distinct
from that of the Father and yet the Word is so intimately related to the Father
that he even shares his divine nature: he is one in substance with the Father
(cf. “Nicean Creed”).

To mark the Year of Faith (1967-1968) Pope Paul VI summed up this truth con-
cerning the most Holy Trinity in what is called the “Creed of the People of God”
(n. 11) in these words: “We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son
of God. He is the eternal Word, born of the Father before time began, and one
in substance with the Father, “homoousios to Patri”, and through him all things
were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to his divinity, and
inferior to the Father according to his humanity and himself one, not by some
impossible confusion of his natures, but by the unity of his person.”

“In the beginning”: “what this means is that he always was, and that he is eter-
nal. [...] For if he is God, as indeed he is, there is nothing prior to him; if he is
creator of all things, then he is the First; if he is Lord of all, then everything
comes after him — created things and time” (St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on
St John”, 2, 4).

3. After showing that the Word is in the bosom of the Father, the prologue goes
on to deal with his relationship to created things. Already in the Old Testament
the Word of God is shown as a creative power (cf. Is 55:10-11), as Wisdom pre-
sent at the creation of the world (cf. Prov 8:22-26). Now Revelation is extended:
we are shown that creation was caused by the Word; this does not mean that
the Word is an instrument subordinate and inferior to the Father: he is an active
principle along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The work of creation is an
activity common to the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity: “the Father
generating, the Son being born, the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial, co-
equal, co-omnipotent and co-eternal; one origin of all things: the creator of all
things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporal.” (Fourth Lateran Council, “De
Fide Catholica”, Dz-Sch, 800). From this can be deduced, among other things,
the hand of the Trinity in the work of creation and, therefore, the fact that all
created things are basically good.

4. The prologue now goes on to expound two basic truths about the Word —
that he is Life and that he is Light. The Life referred to here is divine life, the pri-
mary source of all life, natural and supernatural. And that Life is the light of men,
for from God we receive the light of reason, the light of truth and the light of glo-
ry, which are a participation in God’s mind. Only a rational creature is capable
of having knowledge of God in this world and of later contemplating him joyfully
in heaven for all eternity. Also the Life (the Word) is the light of men because he
brings them out of the darkness of sin and error (cf. Is 8:23; 9:1-2; Mt 4:15-16;
Lk 1:74). Later on Jesus will say: “I am the light of the world; he who follows
me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12; cf. 12:46).

Vv. 3 and 4 can be read with another punctuation, now generally abandoned
but which had its supporters in ancient times: “All things were made through
him, and without him nothing was made; in so far as anything was made in him,
he was the life and the life was the light of men.” This reading would suggest
that everything that has been created is life in the Word, that is, that all things
receive their being and activity, their life, through the Word: without him they
cannot possibly exist.

5. “And the darkness has not overcome it”: the original Greek verb, given in
Latin as “comprehenderunt”, means to embrace or contain as if putting one’s
arms around it — an action which can be done with good dispositions (a friendly
embrace) or with hostility (the action of smothering or crushing someone). So
there are two possible translations: the former is that given in the Navarre Spa-
nish, the latter that in the RSV. The RSV option would indicate that Christ and
the Gospel continue to shine among men despite the world’s opposition, indeed
overcoming “it”, as Jesus later says: “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the
world” (Jn 16:33; cf. 12:31; 1 Jn 5:4). Either way, the verse expresses the dark-
ness’ resistance to, repugnance for, the light. As his Gospel proceeds, St John
explains further about the light and darkness: soon, in vv. 9-11, he refers to the
struggle between them; later he will describe evil and the po- wers of the evil
one, as a darkness enveloping man’s mind and preventing him from knowing
God (cf. Jn 12:15-46; 1 Jn 5:6).

St Augustine (”In Ioann. Evang.”, 1, 19) comments on this passage as follows:
“But, it may be, the dull hearts of some cannot yet receive this light. Their sins
weigh them down, and they cannot discern it. Let them not think, however, that,
because they cannot discern it, therefore it is not present with them. For they
themselves, because of their sins, are darkness. Just as if you place a blind
person in the sunshine, although the sun is present to him, yet he is absent
from the sun; in the same way, every foolish man, every unrighteous man, every
ungodly man, is blind in heart. [...] What course then ought such a one to take?
Let him cleanse the eyes of his heart, that he may be able to see God. He will
see Wisdom, for God is Wisdom itself, and it is written: ‘Blessed are the clean
of heart, for they shall see God.’” There is no doubt that sin obscures man’s
spiritual vision, rendering him unable to see and enjoy the things of God.

6-8. After considering the divinity of the Lord, the text moves on to deal with his
incarnation, and begins by speaking of John the Baptist, who makes his appea-
rance at a precise point in history to bear direct witness before man to Jesus
Christ (Jn 1:15, 19-36; 3:22ff). As St Augustine comments: “For as much as he
[the Word Incarnate] was man and his Godhead was concealed, there was sent
before him a great man, through whose testimony He might be found to be more
than man” (”In Ioann. Evang.”, 2, 5).

All of the Old Testament was a preparation for the coming of Christ. Thus, the
patriarchs and prophets announced, in different ways, the salvation the Messi-
ah would bring. But John the Baptist, the greatest of those born of woman (cf.
Mt 11:11), was actually able to point out the Messiah himself; his testimony
marked the culmination of all the previous prophecies.

So important is John the Baptist’s mission to bear witness to Jesus Christ that
the Synoptic Gospels stage their account of the public ministry with John’s tes-
timony. The discourses of St Peter and St Paul recorded in the Acts of the Apo-
stles also refer to this testimony (Acts 1:22; 10:37; 12:24). The Fourth Gospel
mentions it as many as seven times (1:6, 15, 19, 29, 35; 3:27; 5:33). We know,
of course, that St John the Apostle was a disciple of the Baptist before beco-
ming a disciple of Jesus, and that it was precisely the Baptist who showed him
the way to Christ (cf. 1 :37ff).

The New Testament, then, shows us the importance of the Baptist’s mission,
as also his own awareness that he is merely the immediate Precursor of the
Messiah, whose sandals he is unworthy to untie (cf. Mk 1:7): the Baptist stres-
ses his role as witness to Christ and his mission as preparer of the way for the
Messiah (cf. Lk 1:15-17; Mt 3: 3-12). John the Baptist’s testimony is undimi-
nished by time: he invites people in every generation to have faith in Jesus, the
true Light.

9. “The true light...” [The Spanish translation of this verse is along these lines:
“It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.”] The
Fathers, early translations and most modern commentators see “the Word” as
being the subject of this sentence, which could therefore be translated as “the
Word was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world...”.
Another interpretation favored by many modern scholars makes “the light” the
subject, in which case it would read “the true light existed, which enlightens...”.
Either way, the meaning is much the same.

“Coming into the world”: it is not clear in the Greek whether these words refer
to “the light”, or to “every man”. In the first case it is the Light (the Word) that
is coming into this world to enlighten all men; in the second it is the men who,
on coming into this world, on being born, are enlightened by the Word; the
RSV and the new Vulgate opt for the first interpretation.

The Word is called “the true light” because he is the original light from which
every other light or revelation of God derives. By the Word’s coming, the world
is fully lit up by the authentic Light. The prophets and all the other messengers
of God, including John the Baptist, were not the true light but his reflection,
attesting to the Light of the Word.

Apropos the fullness of light which the Word is, St John Chrysostom asks: “If
he enlightens every man who comes into the world, how is it that so many have
remained unenlightened? For not all, to be sure, have recognized the high digni-
ty of Christ. How, then, does he enlighten every man? As much as he is permit-
ted to do so. But if some, deliberately closing the eyes of their minds, do not
wish to receive the beams of this light, darkness is theirs. This is not because
of the nature of the light, but is a result of the wickedness of men who delibera-
tely deprive themselves of the gift of grace (Hom. on St. John, 8, 1).

10. The Word is in this world as the maker who controls what he has made (cf.
St Augustine, “In Ioann. Evang.”, 2, 10). In St John’s Gospel the term “world”
means “all creation, all created things (including all mankind)”: thus, Christ
came to save all mankind: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For
God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world
might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16-17). But insofar as many people have
rejected the Light, that is, rejected Christ, “world” also means everything op-
posed to God (cf. Jn 17:14-15). Blinded by their sins, men do not recognize
in the world the hand of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:18-20; Wis 13:1-15): “they be-
come attached to the world and relish only the things that are of the world”
(St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St John”, 7). But the Word, “the true light”,
comes to show us the truth about the world (cf. Jn 1:3; 18:37) and to save us.

11. “His own home, his own people”: this means, in the first place, the Jewish
people, who were chosen by God as his own personal “property”, to be the
people from whom Christ would be born. It can also mean all mankind, for man-
kind is also his: he created it and his work of redemption extends to everyone.
So the reproach that they did not receive the Word made man should be under-
stood as addressed not only to the Jews but to all those who rejected God de-
spite his calling them to be his friends: “Christ came; but by a mysterious and
terrible misfortune, not everyone accepted him. [...] It is the picture of humanity
before us today, after twenty centuries of Christianity. How did this happen?
What shall we say? We do not claim to fathom a reality immersed in myste-
ries that transcend us — the mystery of good and evil. But we can recall that
the economy of Christ, for its light to spread, requires a subordinate but neces-
sary cooperation on the part of man — the cooperation of evangelization, of the
apostolic and missionary Church. If there is still work to be done, it is all the
more necessary for everyone to help her” (Paul VI, General Audience, 4 De-
cember 1974).

12. Receiving the Word means accepting him through faith, for it is through
faith that Christ dwells in our hearts (cf. Eph 3:17). Believing in his name means
believing in his Person, in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. In other words,
“those who believe in his name are those who fully hold the name of Christ, not
in any way lessening his divinity or his humanity” (St Thomas Aquinas, “Com-
mentary on St John, in loc.”).

“He gave power [to them]” is the same as saying “he gave them a free gift” —
sanctifying grace — “because it is not in our power to make ourselves sons of
God” (”ibid.”). This gift is extended through Baptism to everyone, whatever his
race, age, education etc. (cf. Acts 10:45; Gal 3:28). The only condition is that
we have faith.

“The Son of God became man”, St Athanasius explains, “in order that the sons
of men, the sons of Adam, might become sons of God. [...] He is the Son of
God by nature; we, by grace” (”De Incarnatione Contra Arrianos”). What is re-
ferred to here is birth to supernatural life: in which “Whether they be slaves or
freemen, whether Greeks or barbarians or Scythians, foolish or wise, female or
male, children or old men, honorable or without honor, rich or poor, rulers or
private citizens, all, he meant, would merit the same honor. [...] Such is the
power of faith in him; such the greatness of his grace” (St John Chrysostom,
“Hom. on St John”, 10, 2).

“Christ’s union with man is power and the source of power, as St John stated
so incisively in the prologue of his Gospel: ‘(The Word) gave power to become
children of God.’ Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a
new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life (cf. Jn
4:14)” (Bl. John Paul II, “Redemptor Hominis”, 18).

13. The birth spoken about here is a real, spiritual type of generation which is
effected in Baptism (cf. 3:6ff). Instead of the plural adopted here, referring to the
supernatural birth of men, some Fathers and early translations read it in the sin-
gular: “who was born, not of blood...but of God”, in which case the text would
refer to the eternal generation of the Word and to Jesus’ generation through the
Holy Spirit in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary. Although the second reading is
very attractive, the documents (Greek manuscripts, early translations, referen-
ces in the works of ecclesiastical writers, etc.) show the plural text to be the
more usual, and the one that prevailed from the fourth century forward. Besides,
in St John’s writings we frequently find reference to believers as being born of
God (cf. Jn 3:3-6; 1 Jn 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18).

The contrast between man’s natural birth (by blood and the will of man) and his
supernatural birth (which comes from God) shows that those who believe in Je-
sus Christ are made children of God not only by their creation but above all by
the free gift of faith and grace.

14. This is a text central to the mystery of Christ. It expresses in a very con-
densed form the unfathomable fact of the incarnation of the Son of God.
“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman”
(Gal 4:4).

The word “flesh” means man in his totality (cf. Jn 3:6; 17:2; Gen 6:3; Ps 56:5);
so the sentence “the Word became flesh” means the same as “the Word be-
came man.” The theological term “incarnation” arose mainly out of this text.
The noun “flesh” carries a great deal of force against heresies which deny that
Christ is truly man. The word also accentuates that our Savior, who dwelt
among us and shared our nature, was capable of suffering and dying, and it
evokes the “Book of the Consolation of Israel” (Is 40:1-11), where the fragility
of the flesh is contrasted with the permanence of the Word of God: “The grass
withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand for ever” (Is 40:8).
This does not mean that the Word’s taking on human nature is something pre-
carious and temporary.

“And dwelt among us”: the Greek verb which St John uses originally means “to
pitch one’s tent”, hence, to live in a place. The careful reader of Scripture will
immediately think of the tabernacle, or tent, in the period of the exodus from
Egypt, where God showed his presence before all the people of Israel through
certain sights of his glory such as the cloud covering the tent (cf., for example,
Ex 25:8; 40:34-35). In many passages of the Old Testament it is announced
that God “will dwell in the midst of the people” (cf., for example, Jer 7:3; Ezek
43:9; Sir 24:8). These signs of God’s presence, first in the pilgrim tent of the
Ark in the desert and then in the temple of Jerusalem, are followed by the most
wonderful form of God’s presence among us — Jesus Christ, perfect God and
perfect Man, in whom the ancient promise is fulfilled in a way that far exceeded
men’s greatest expectations. Also the promise made through Isaiah about the
“Immanuel” or “God-with-us” (Is 7:14; cf. Mt 1:23) is completely fulfilled through
this dwelling of the Incarnate Son of God among us. Therefore, when we devout-
ly read these words of the Gospel “and dwelt among us” or pray them during
the Angelus, we have a good opportunity to make an act of deep faith and gra-
titude and to adore our Lord’s most holy human nature.

“Remembering that ‘the Word became flesh’, that is, that the Son of God be-
came man, we must become conscious of how great each man has become
through this mystery, through the Incarnation of the Son of God! Christ, in fact,
was conceived in the womb of Mary and became man to reveal the eternal love
of the Creator and Father and to make known the dignity of each one of us”
(Bl. John Paul II, “Angelus Address” at Jasna Gora Shrine, 5 June 1979).

Although the Word’s self-emptying by assuming a human nature concealed in
some way his divine nature, of which he never divested himself, the Apostles
did see the glory of his divinity through his human nature: it was revealed in the
transfiguration (Lk 9:32-35), in his miracles (Jn 2:11; 11:40), and especially in
his resurrection (cf. Jn 3:11; 1 Jn 1:1) The glory of God, which shone out in the
early tabernacle in the desert and in the temple at Jerusalem, was nothing but
an imperfect anticipation of the reality of God’s glory revealed through the holy
human nature of the Only-begotten of the Father. St John the Apostle speaks
in a very formal way in the first person plural: “we have beheld his glory”, be-
cause he counts himself among the witnesses who lived with Christ and, in
particular, were present at his transfiguration and saw the glory of his resur-
rection.

The words “only Son” (”Only-begotten”) convey very well the eternal and unique
generation of the Word by the Father. The first three Gospels stressed Christ’s
birth in time; St John complements this by emphasizing his eternal generation.

The words “grace and truth” are synonyms of “goodness and fidelity”, two attri-
butes which, in the Old Testament, are constantly applied to Yahweh (cf., e.g.,
Ex 34:6; Ps 117; Ps 136; Osee 2:16-22): so, grace is the expression of God’s
love for men, the way he expresses his goodness and mercy. Truth implies per-
manence, loyalty, constancy, fidelity. Jesus, who is the Word of God made
man, that is, God himself, is therefore “the only Son of the Father, full of grace
and truth”; he is the “merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb 2:17). These two
qualities, being good and faithful, are a kind of compendium or summary of
Christ’s greatness. And they also parallel, though on an infinitely lower level,
the quality essential to every Christian, as stated expressly by our Lord when
he praised the “good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21).

As Chrysostom explains: “Having declared that they who received him were
‘born of God’ and ‘become sons of God,’ he then set forth the cause and rea-
son for this ineffable honor. It is that ‘the Word became flesh’ and the Master
took on the form of a slave. He became the Son of Man, though he was the
true Son of God, in order that he might make the sons of men children of God
(”Hom. on St John”, 11,1).

The profound mystery of Christ was solemnly defined by the Church’s Magi-
sterium in the famous text of the ecumenical council of Chalcedon (in the year
451): “Following the holy Fathers, therefore, we all with one accord teach the
profession of faith in the one identical Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We declare
that he is perfect both in his divinity and in his humanity, truly God and truly
man, composed of body and rational soul; that he is consubstantial with the
Father in his divinity, consubstantial with us in his humanity, like us in every
respect except for sin (cf. Heb 4:15). We declare that in his divinity he was be-
gotten in this last age of Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God, for us and for our
salvation” (Dz-Sch, n. 301).

15. Further on (On Jn 1:19-36) the Gospel tells us more about John the Bap-
tist’s mission as a witness to the messiahship and divinity of Jesus. Just as
God planned that the Apostles should bear witness to Jesus after the resur-
rection, so he planned that the Baptist would be the witness chosen to pro-
claim Jesus at the very outset of his public ministry (cf. note on Jn 1:6-8).

16 “Grace upon grace”: this can be understood, as it was by Chrysostom and
other Fathers, as “grace for grace”, the Old Testament economy of salvation
giving way to the new economy of grace brought by Christ. It can also mean
(as the RSV suggests) that Jesus brings a superabundance of gifts, adding
on, to existing graces, others — all of which pour out of the one inexhaustible
source, Christ, who is for ever full of grace. “Not by sharing with us, says the
Evangelist, does Christ possess the gift, but he himself is both fountain and
root of all virtues. He himself is life, and light, and truth, not keeping within him-
self the wealth of these blessings, but pouring it forth upon all others, and even
after the outpouring still remaining full. He suffers loss in no way by giving his
wealth to others, but, while always pouring out and sharing these virtues with
all men, he remains in the same state of perfection” (St John Chrysostom,
“Hom. on St John”, 14, 1).

17. Here, for the first time in St John’s Gospel, the name of Jesus Christ ap-
pears, identified with the Word of whom John has been speaking.

Whereas the Law given by Moses went no further than indicate the way man
ought follow (cf. Rom 8:7-10), the grace brought by Jesus has the power to
save those who receive it (cf. Rom 7:25). Through grace “we have become
dear to God, no longer merely as servants, but as sons and friends” (Chry-
sostom, “Hom. on St John”, 14, 2).

On “grace and truth” see note on Jn 1:14.

18. “No one has ever seen God”: in this world men have never seen God other
than indirectly: all that they could contemplate was God’s “glory”, that is the
aura of his greatness: for example, Moses saw the burning bush (Ex 3:6); Eli-
jah felt the breeze on Mount Horeb — the “still small voice” (RSV) — (1 Kings 19:
11-13). But in the fullness of time God comes much closer to man and reveals
himself almost directly, for Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God
(cf. Col 1:15), the maximum revelation of God in this world, to such an extent
that he assures us that “he who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).
“The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the sal-
vation of man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the
sum total of Revelation” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”, 2).

There is no greater revelation God could make of himself than the incarnation
of his eternal Word. As St John of the Cross puts it so well: “In giving to us, as
he has done, his Son, who is his only Word, he has spoken to us once and for
all by his own and only Word, and has nothing further to reveal” (”Ascent of
Mount Carmel”, Book II, chap. 22).

“The only Son”: the RSV note says that “other ancient authorities read “God”
(for Son); the Navarre Spanish has “the Only-begotten God” and comments as
follows: some Greek manuscripts and some translations give “the Only-begot-
ten Son” or “the Only-begotten”. “The Only-begotten God” is preferable be-
cause it finds best support in the codices. Besides, although the meaning
does not change substantially, this translation has a richer content because
it again explicitly reveals Christ’s divinity.

*******************************************************************************************
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 6:13:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Readings for the daytime Mass on Christmas Day:


First reading Isaiah 52:7-10 ©
How beautiful on the mountains,
are the feet of one who brings good news,
who heralds peace, brings happiness,
proclaims salvation,
and tells Zion,
‘Your God is king!’
Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices,
they shout for joy together,
for they see the Lord face to face,
as he returns to Zion.
Break into shouts of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord is consoling his people,
redeeming Jerusalem.
The Lord bares his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

Psalm Psalm 97:1-6 ©
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Sing a new song to the Lord
  for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
  have brought salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
  has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
  for the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
  the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
  ring out your joy.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
  with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
  acclaim the King, the Lord.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Second reading Hebrews 1:1-6 ©
At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.
  God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
A hallowed day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, worship the Lord,
for today a great light has shone down upon the earth.
Alleluia!

Gospel John 1:1-18 ©
In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me
because he existed before me.’
Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received –
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.

Gospel John 1:1-5,9-14 ©
In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

7 posted on 12/24/2012 8:10:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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On the Faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon (Catholic Caucus)
On The Unfolding of God's Self-Revelation
On the Beauty of God's Plan of Salvation
On Bearing Witness to the Christian Faith
On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced

On the Desire for God
On the Ecclesial Nature of Faith
On the Nature of Faith
Catechism's benefits explained for Year of Faith (Catholic Caucus)
A Life of Faith: Papal Theologian Speaks on the Grace of Faith
ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith

Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
Highlights in the Plan for Year of Faith: Traditional Events Will Take on Special Perspective
Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Miami Prelate Recalls Pope's Visit to Cuba, Looks to Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith

8 posted on 12/24/2012 8:14:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Old Testament Foretold that Mary Would Give Birth Without Pain (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas -- for Families
Is Christmas Pagan? No! It's time to learn some real history....
Pope's childhood letter to Baby Jesus shows his faith
In rare article, Pope asks Christians to reassess priorities at Christmas
On Christmas and Epiphany
On Christmas
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve with Pope Benedict XVI

Christmas, Pagan Romans and Frodo Baggins
Midnight Masses Canceled in Iraq Because of Growing Security Concerns
Christmas Overview for All
The Tradition of Midnight Mass: History
Which Christmas Mass are you attending? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Christmas, Christians, and Christ
The Many Meanings of Christmas
Vocations Under the Christmas Tree? [Catholic Caucus]
A Meditation On the “Bloody Octave” of Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
"It (Theosis) can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears..."
Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees
The Octave of Christmas: December 25 -- January 1 [Ecumenical]
Pope's Christmas Warning: 'The Future Of The World Is At Stake'
Father Corapi: What Really Matters [at Christmas]?
Papal Midnight Mass With No Communion in The Hand
Christmas Requiem for Iraq's Christian Community
Christmas story shows season’s beauty [nice surprise from the Chicago Sun Times]
Text Of Pope's Homily For Christmas Eve Mass
Merry Christmas: Love is born on Christmas Morn and the Whole World Begins Again
'Christmas is Evil': Group Launches Poster Campaign Against Festive Period [UK]

The Origin of Nativity Scenes
St. Francis and the Christmas Creche
Holy Day Vs. Holiday: Making Christmas Less Commercial
25 Ways We're Different this Christmas
On Christmas: Where Everything Began
Saved by Christmas
Christmas Midnight Mass Canceled in Iraq
Some Christmas History: The Aztec Christmas Flower
Top 10 Christmas Carols (What is your favorite Christmas Carol?)
Where’s the Human in Humanism? Humanist Ads Violate...Own Humanist Standards (Attacking Christmas]
Fr. Corapi: In Reality, Sadness Has No Place At Christmas Time Or Any Time…
Pope's battle to save Christmas: Don't let atheists crush your traditions, Benedict tells Britain
A CHRISTMAS TRADITION IN ROME: THE STREET CLEANERS NATIVITY SCENE
The Days of Christmastide -- more than twelve!
Saint Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation
"Transform Me. Renew Me. Change Me, Change Us All" (Pope's Midnight Mass Homily)
Christmas in Rome. The Pope's Tale of the Crèche
On the Feast of Christ's Birth [Benedict XVI]
The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper
St. Francis and the Christmas crib.
Away in a Manger [St. Francis of Assisi and the first Nativity scene]

Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace [Family]
Christmastide and Epiphany
SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD: HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI [Catholic Caucus]
A Christmas Message >From Fr. Corapi
Christmas and the Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Preface: Memories of Christmas
Christmas Overview
The Manger -- Nativity Scene -- Crêche
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Christmas Quiz; How Much Do You Really Know?
Christmas Prayers: Prayers and Collects for the Feast of the Nativity
[Christmas] Customs from Various Countries and Cultures
The 12 Days of Christmas and Christmastide: A Rich Catholic Tradition
The 12 Days of Christmas -- Activities, Customs, Prayers, Blessings, Hymns -- For the Family
Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass
Pope Wishes the World a Merry Christmas
On this night, a comforting message(Merry Christmas!)
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Bethlehem beyond the Christmas calm
The Origin of Nativity Scenes

Various Orthodox Texts for the Feast of the Nativity
The Five Best Christmas Stories
What Are We Celebrating When We Celebrate Christmas?
Secular Christmas Celebration Pointless, Pope Says
The Wonder of Christmas - 1959
The Real Meaning of Christmas Lights
Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Christmas Proclamation
Christmas gifts are a reminder of Jesus, the greatest gift given to mankind, Pope tells youth
The Senses of Christmas
Pope celebrates Christmas mass
Christmas: The Turning Point of History
The Original Christmas Story
Bringing Christmas to Life Again
Christmas: the beginning of our redemption
Christmas and the Eucharist
Catholic Caucus: The 16 Days of Christmas (Christmas to the Baptism of the Lord)
Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]
Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" [Underground Catechism]

9 posted on 12/24/2012 8:17:06 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 8:20:14 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 8:23:01 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 8:25:52 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 8:29:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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 8:32:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



~ 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 8:35:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

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 8:38:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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 8:42:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

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 8:45:50 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 8:57:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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 9:04:28 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 9:16:56 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 9:21:44 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 9:25:17 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 9:31:18 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 9:00:50 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 9:08:59 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 9:16:14 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
John
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  John 1
1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
2 The same was in the beginning with God. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον
3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt : et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum : εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων
5 And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. και το φως εν τη σκοτια φαινει και η σκοτια αυτο ου κατελαβεν
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. εγενετο ανθρωπος απεσταλμενος παρα θεου ονομα αυτω ιωαννης
7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. Hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. ουτος ηλθεν εις μαρτυριαν ινα μαρτυρηση περι του φωτος ινα παντες πιστευσωσιν δι αυτου
8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. ουκ ην εκεινος το φως αλλ ινα μαρτυρηση περι του φωτος
9 That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. Erat lux vera, quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. ην το φως το αληθινον ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. εν τω κοσμω ην και ο κοσμος δι αυτου εγενετο και ο κοσμος αυτον ουκ εγνω
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. εις τα ιδια ηλθεν και οι ιδιοι αυτον ου παρελαβον
12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his qui credunt in nomine ejus : οσοι δε ελαβον αυτον εδωκεν αυτοις εξουσιαν τεκνα θεου γενεσθαι τοις πιστευουσιν εις το ονομα αυτου
13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. οι ουκ εξ αιματων ουδε εκ θεληματος σαρκος ουδε εκ θεληματος ανδρος αλλ εκ θεου εγεννηθησαν
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis : et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiæ et veritatis. και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας
15 John beareth witness of him, and crieth out, saying: This was he of whom I spoke: He that shall come after me, is preferred before me: because he was before me. Joannes testimonium perhibet de ipso, et clamat dicens : Hic erat quem dixi : Qui post me venturus est, ante me factus est : quia prior me erat. ιωαννης μαρτυρει περι αυτου και κεκραγεν λεγων ουτος ην ον ειπον ο οπισω μου ερχομενος εμπροσθεν μου γεγονεν οτι πρωτος μου ην
16 And of his fulness we all have received, and grace for grace. Et de plenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus, et gratiam pro gratia : και εκ του πληρωματος αυτου ημεις παντες ελαβομεν και χαριν αντι χαριτος
17 For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. quia lex per Moysen data est, gratia et veritas per Jesum Christum facta est. οτι ο νομος δια μωσεως εδοθη η χαρις και η αληθεια δια ιησου χριστου εγενετο
18 No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. Deum nemo vidit umquam : unigenitus Filius, qui est in sinu Patris, ipse enarravit. θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε ο μονογενης υιος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο

28 posted on 12/25/2012 1:41:31 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
1a. In the beginning was the Word,

CHRYS. While all the other Evangelists begin with the Incarnation, John, passing over the Conception, Nativity, education, and growth, speaks immediately of the Eternal Generation, saying, In the beginning was the Word.

AUG. The Greek word "logos" signifies both Word and Reason. But in this passage it is better to interpret it Word; as referring not only to the Father, but to the creation of things by the operative power of the Word; whereas Reason, though it produce nothing, is still rightly called Reason.

AUG. Words by their daily use, sound, and passage out of us, have become common things. But there is a word which remains inward, in the very man himself; distinct from the sound which proceeds out of the mouth. There is a word, which is truly and spiritually that, which you understand by the sound, not being the actual sound. Now whoever can conceive the notion of word, as existing not only before its sound, but even before the idea of its sound is formed, may see enigmatically, and as it were in a glass, some similitude of that Word of Which it is said, In the beginning was the Word. For when we give expression to something which we know, the word used is necessarily derived from the knowledge thus retained in the memory, and must be of the same quality with that knowledge. For a word is a thought formed from a thing which we know; which word is spoken in the heart, being neither Greek nor Latin, nor of any language, though, when we want to communicate it to others, some sign is assumed by which to express it. . . Wherefore the word which sounds externally, is a sign of the word which lies hid within, to which the name of word more truly appertains. For that which is uttered by the mouth of our flesh, is the voice of the word; and is in fact called word, with reference to that from which it is taken, when it is developed externally.

BASIL; This Word is not a human word. For how was there a human word in the beginning, when man received his being last of all? There was not then any word of man in the beginning, nor yet of Angels; for every creature is within the limits of time, having its beginning of existence from the Creator. But what says the Gospel? It calls the Only-Begotten Himself the Word.

CHRYS. But why omitting the Father, does he proceed at once to speak of the Son? Because the Father was known to all; though not as the Father, yet as God; whereas the Only-Begotten was not known. As was meet then, he endeavors first of all to inculcate the knowledge of the Son on those who knew Him not; though neither in discoursing on Him, is he altogether silent on the Father. And inasmuch as he was about to teach that the Word was the Only-Begotten Son of God, that no one might think this a possible generation, he makes mention of the Word in the first place, in order to destroy the dangerous suspicion, and show that the Son was from God impassibly. And a second reason is, that He was to declare to us the things of the Father. But he does not speak of the Word simply, but with the addition of the article, in order to distinguish It from other words. For Scripture calls God's laws and commandments words; but this Word is a certain Substance, or Person, an Essence, coming forth impassibly from the Father Himself.

BASIL; Wherefore then Word? Because born impassibly, the Image of Him that begat, manifesting all the Father in Himself; abstracting from Him nothing, but existing perfect in Himself.

AUG. As our knowledge differs from God's, so does our word, which arises from our knowledge, differ from that Word of God, which is born of the Father's essence; we might say, from the Father's knowledge, the Father's wisdom, or, more correctly, the Father Who is Knowledge, the Father Who is Wisdom. The Word of God then, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, is in all things like and equal to the Father; being altogether what the Father is, yet not the Father; because the one is the Son, the other the Father. And thereby He knows all things which the Father knows; yet His knowledge is from the Father, even as is His being: for knowing and being are the same with Him; and so as the Father's being is not from the Son, so neither is His knowing. Wherefore the Father begat the Word equal to Himself in all things as uttering forth Himself. For had there been more or less in His Word than in Himself, He would not have uttered Himself fully and perfectly. With respect however to our own inner word, which we find, in whatever sense, to be like the Word, let us not object to see how very unlike it is also. A word is a formation of our mind going to take place, but not yet made, and something in our mind which we toss to and fro in a slippery circuitous way, as one thing and another is discovered, or occurs to our thoughts. When this, which we toss to and fro, has reached the subject of our knowledge, and been formed therefrom, when it has assumed the most exact likeness to it, and the conception has quite answered to the thing; then we have a true word. Who may not see how great the difference is here from that Word of God, which exists in the Form of God in such wise, that It could not have been first going to be formed, and afterwards formed, nor can ever have been unformed, being a Form absolute, and absolutely equal to Him from Whom It is. Wherefore; in speaking of the Word of God here nothing is said about thought in God; lest we should think there was any thing revolving in God, which might first receive form in order to be a Word, and afterwards lose it, and be canted round and round again in an unformed state.

AUG. Now the Word of God is a Form, not a formation, but the Form of all forms, a Form unchangeable, removed form accident, from failure, from time, from space, surpassing all things, and existing in all things as a kind of foundation underneath, and summit above them.

BASIL; Yet has our outward word some similarity to the Divine Word. For our word declares the whole conception of the mind; since what we conceive in the mind we bring out in word. Indeed our heart is as it were the source, and the uttered word the stream which flows therefrom.

CHRYS. Observe the spiritual wisdom of the Evangelist. He knew that men honored most what was as most ancient, and that honoring what is before every thing else, they conceived of it as God. On this account he mentions first the beginning, saving, In the beginning was the Word.

ORIGEN; There are many significations of this word beginning. For there is a beginning of a journey, and beginning of a length, according to Proverbs, The beginning of the right path is to do justice. There is a beginning too of a creation, according to Job, He is the beginning of the ways of God. Nor would it be incorrect to say, that God is the Beginning of all things. The preexistent material again, where supposed to be original, out of which any thing is produced, is considered as the beginning. There is a beginning also in respect of form: as where Christ is the beginning of those who are made according to the image of God. And there is a beginning of doctrine, according to Hebrews; When for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God. For there are two kinds of beginning of doctrine: one in itself, the other relative to us; as if we should say that Christ, in that He is the Wisdom and Word of God, was in Himself the beginning of wisdom, but to us, in that He was the Word incarnate. There being so many significations then of the word, we may take it as the Beginning through Whom, i.e. the Maker; for Christ is Creator as The Beginning, in that He is Wisdom; so that the Word is in the beginning, i.e. in Wisdom; the Savior being all these excellences at once. As life then is in the Word, so the Word is in the Beginning, that is to say, in Wisdom. Consider then if it be possible according to this signification to understand the Beginning, as meaning that all things are made according to Wisdom, and the patterns contained therein; or, inasmuch as the Beginning of the Son is the Father, the Beginning of all creatures and existences, to understand by the text, In the beginning was the Word, that the Son, the Word, was in the Beginning, that is, in the Father.

AUG. Or, In the beginning, as if it were said, before all things.

BASIL; The Holy Ghost foresaw that men would arise, who should envy the glory of the Only-Begotten, subverting their hearers by sophistry; as if because He were begotten, He was not; and before He was begotten, he was not. That none might presume then to babble such things, the Holy Ghost says, In the beginning was the Word.

HILARY; Years, centuries, ages, are passed over, place what beginning you will in your imagining, you grasp it not in time, for He, from Whom it is derived, still was.

CHRYS. As then when our ship is near shore, cities and port pass in survey before us, which on the open sea vanish, and leave nothing whereon to fix; the eye; so the Evangelist here, taking us with him in his flight above the created world, leaves the eye to gaze in vacancy on an illimitable expanse. For the words, was in the beginning, are significative of eternal and infinite essence.

AUG. They say, however, if He is the Son, He was born. We allow it. They rejoin: if the Son was born to the Father, the Father was, before the Son was born to Him. This the Faith rejects. Then they say, explain to us how the Son could; be born from the Father, and yet be coeval with Him from whom He is born: for sons are born after their fathers, to succeed them on their death. They adduce analogies from nature; and we must endeavor likewise to do the same for our doctrine. But how can we find in nature a coeternal, when we cannot find an eternal? However, if a thing generating and a thing generated can be found any where coeval, it will be a help to forming a notion of coeternals. Now Wisdom herself is called in the Scriptures, the brightness of Everlasting Light, the image of the Father. Hence then let us take our comparison, an from coevals form a notion of coeternals. Now no one doubts that brightness proceeds from fire: fire then we may consider the father of the brightness. Presently, when I light a candle, at the same instant with the fire, brightness arises. Give me the fire without the brightness, and I will with you believe that the Father was without the Son. An image is produced by a mirror. The image exists as soon as the beholder appears; yet the beholder existed before he came to the mirror. Let us suppose then a twig, or a blade of grass which has grown up by the water side. Is it not born with its image? If there had always been the twig, there would always have been the image proceeding from the twig. And whatever is from another thing, is born. So then that which generates may be coexistent from eternity with that which is generated from it. But some one will say perhaps, Well, I understand now the eternal Father, the coeternal Son: yet the Son is like the emitted brightness, which is less brilliant than the fire, or tile reflected image, which is less real than the twig. Not so: there is complete equality between Father and Son. I do not believe, he says; for you have found nothing whereto to liken it. However, perhaps we can find something in nature by which we may understand that the Son is both coeternal with the Father, and in no respect inferior also: though we cannot find any one material of comparison that will be sufficient singly, and must therefore join together two, one of which has been employed by our adversaries, the other by ourselves. For they have drawn their comparison from things which are preceded in time by the things which they spring from, man, for example, from man. Nevertheless, man is of the same substance with man. We have then in that nativity an equality of nature; an equality of time is wanting. But in the comparison which we have drawn from the brightness of fire, and the reflection of a twig, an equality of nature you cost not find, of time you lost. In the Godhead then there is found as a whole, what here exists in single and separate parts; and that which is in the creation, existing in a manner suitable able to the Creator.

EX GESTIS CONCILII EPHESINI; Wherefore in one place divine Scripture calls Him the Son, in another the Word, in another the Brightness of the Father; names severally meant to guard against blasphemy. For, forasmuch as your son is of the same nature with yourself, the Scripture wishing to show that the Substance of the Father and the Son is one, sets forth the Son of the Father, born of the Father, the Only-Begotten. Next, since the terms birth and son, convey the idea of passibleness, therefore it calls the Son the Word, declaring by that name the impassability of His Nativity. But inasmuch as a father with us is necessarily older shall his son, lest thou should think that this applied to the Divine nature as well, it calls the Only-Begotten the Brightness of the Father; for brightness, though arising from the sun, is not posterior to it. Understand then that Brightness, as revealing the co-eternity of the Son with the Father; Word as proving the impassability of His birth, and Son as conveying His consubstantiality.

CHRYS. But they say that In the beginning does not absolutely express in eternity: for that the same is said of the heaven and the earth: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. But are not made and was, altogether different For in like manner as the word is, when spoken of man, signifies the present only, but when applied to God, that which always and eternally is; so too was, predicated of our nature, signifies the past, but predicated of God, eternity.

ORIGEN; The verb to be, has a double signification, sometimes expressing the motions which take place in time, as other verbs do; sometimes the substance of that one thing of which it is predicated, without reference to time. Hence it is also called a substantive verb.

HILARY; Consider then the world, understand what is written of it. In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. Whatever therefore is created is made in the beginning, and you would contain in time, what, as being to be made, is contained in the beginning. But, lo, for me, an illiterate unlearned fisherman is independent of time, unconfined by ages, advances beyond all beginnings. For the Word was, what it is, and is not bounded by any time, nor commenced therein, seeing It was not made in the beginning, but was.

ALCUIN. To refute those who inferred from Christ's Birth in time, that He had not been from everlasting, the Evangelist begins with the eternity of the Word, saying, In the beginning was the Word.

1b. And the Word was with God.

CHRYS. Because it is an especial attribute of God, to be eternal and without a beginning, he laid this down first: then, lest any one on hearing in the beginning was the Word, should suppose the Word Unbegotten, he instantly guarded against this; saying, And the Word was with God.

HILARY; From the beginning He is With God: and though independent of time, is not independent of an Author.

BASIL; Again he repeats this, was, because of men blasphemously saying, that there was a time when He was not. Where then was the Word? Illimitable things are not contained in space. Where was He then? With God. For neither is the Father bounded by place, nor the Son by aught circumscribing.

ORIGEN; It is worth while noting, that, whereas the Word is said to come [be made] to some, as to Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, with God it is not made, as though it were not with Him before. But, the Word having been always with Him, it is said, and the Word was with God: for from the beginning it was not separate from the Father.

CHRYS. He has not said, was in God, but was with God: exhibiting to us that eternity which He had in accordance with His Person.

THEOPHYL. Sabellius is overthrown by this text. For he asserts that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one Person, Who sometimes appeared as the Father, sometimes as the Son, sometimes as the Holy Ghost. But he is manifestly confounded by this text, and the Word was with God; for here the Evangelist declares that the Son is one Person, God the Father another.

1c. And the Word was God.

HILARY; You will say, that a word is the sound of the voice, the enunciation of a thing, the expression of a thought: this Word was in the beginning with God, because the utterance of thought is eternal, when He who thinks is eternal. But how was that in the beginning, which exists no time either before, or after, I doubt even whether in time at all? For speech is neither in existence before one speaks, nor after; in the very act of speaking it vanishes; for by the time a speech is ended, that from which it began does not exist. But even if the first sentence, in the beginning was the Word, was through your inattention lost upon you, why dispute you about the next; and the Word was with God? Did you hear it said, "In God," so that you should understand this Word to be only the expression of hidden thoughts? Or did John say with by mistake, and was not aware of the distinction between being in, and being with, when he said, that what was in the beginning, was not in God, but with God? Hear then the nature and name of the Word; and the Word was God. No more then of the sound of the voice, of the expression of the thought. The Word here is a Substance, not a sound; a Nature, not an expression; God, not a nonentity.

HILARY; But the title is absolute, and free from the offense of an extraneous subject. To Moses it is said, I have given you for a god to Pharaoh: but is not the reason for the name added, when it is said, to Pharaoh? Moses is given for a god to Pharaoh, when he is feared, when he is entreated, when he punishes, when he heals. And it is one thing to be given for a God, another thing to be God. I remember too another application of the name in the Psalms, I have said, you are gods. But there too it is implied that the title was but bestowed; and the introduction of, I said, makes it rather the phrase of the Speaker, than the name of the thing. But when I hear the Word was God, I not only hear the Word said to be, but perceive It proved to be, God.

BASIL; Thus cutting off the cavils of blasphemers, and those who ask what the Word is, he replies, and the Word was God.

THEOPHYL. Or combine it thus: From the Word being with God, it follows plainly that there are two Persons. But these two are of one Nature; and therefore it proceeds, In the Word was God: to show that Father and Son are of One Nature, being of One Godhead.

ORIGEN; We must add too, that the Word illuminates the Prophets with Divine wisdom, in that He comes to them; but that with God He ever is, because He is God. For which reason he placed and the Word was with God, before and the Word was God.

CHRYS. Not asserting, as Plato does, one to be intelligence, the other soul; for the Divine Nature is very different from this. . . But you say, the Father is called God with the addition of the article, the Son without it. What say you then, when the Apostle writes, The great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; and again, Who is over all, God; and Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father; without the article? Besides, too, it were superfluous here, to affix what had been affixed just before. So that it does not follow, though the article is not affixed to the Son, that He is therefore an inferior God.

2. The same was in the beginning with God.

HILARY; Whereas he had said, the Word was God, the fearfulness, and strangeness of the speech disturbed me; the prophets having declared that God was One. But, to quiet my apprehensions, the fisherman reveals the scheme of this so great mystery, and refers all to one, without dishonor, without obliterating [the Person], without reference to time , saying, The Same was in the beginning with God; with One Unbegotten God, from whom He its, the One Only-begotten God.

THEOPHYL. Again, to stop any diabolical suspicion, that the Word, because He was God, might have rebelled against His Father, as certain Gentiles fable, or, being separate, have become the antagonist of the Father Himself, he says, The Same was in the beginning with God; that is to say, this Word of God never existed separate from God.

CHRYS. Or, lest hearing that In the beginning was the Word, you should regard It as eternal, but yet understand the Father's Life to have some degree of priority, he has introduced the words, The Same was in the beginning with God. For God was never solitary, apart from Him, but always God with God. Or forasmuch as he said, the Word was God, that no one might think the Divinity of the Son inferior, he immediately subjoins the marks of proper Divinity, in that he both again mentions Eternity, The Same was in the beginning with God; and adds His attribute of Creator, All things were made by Him.

ORIGEN; Or thus, the Evangelist having begun with those propositions, reunites them into one, saying, The Same was in the beginning with God. For in the first of the three we learnt in what the Word was, that it was in the beginning; in the second, with whom, with God; in the third who the Word was, God. Having, then, by the term, The Same, set before us in a manner God the Word of Whom he had spoken, he collects all into the fourth proposition, viz. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; into, the Same was in the beginning with God. It may be asked, however, why it is not said, In the beginning was the Word of God, and the Word of God was with God, and the Word of God was God? Now whoever will admit that truth is one, must needs admit also that the demonstration of truth, that is wisdom, is one. But if truth is one, and wisdom is one, the Word which enuntiates truth and develops wisdom in those who ho are capable of receiving it, must be One also. And therefore it would have been out of place here to have said, the Word of God, as if there were other words besides that of God, a word of angels, word of men, and so on. We do not say this, to deny that It is the Word of God, but to show the use of omitting the word God. John himself too in the Apocalypse says, And his Name is called the Word of God.

ALCUIN; Wherefore does he use the substantive verb, was? That you might understand that the Word, Which is coeternal with God the Father, was before all time.

3a. All things were made by him.

ALCUIN; After speaking of the nature of the Son, he proceeds to His operations, saying, All things were made by him, i.e. every thing whether substance, or property.

HILARY; Or thus: [It is said], the Word indeed was in the beginning, but it may be that He was not before the beginning. But what says he; All things were made by him. He is infinite by Whom every thing, which is, was made: and since all things were made by Him, time is likewise.

CHRYS. Moses indeed, in the beginning of the Old Testament, speaks to us in much detail of the natural world, saying, In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth; and then relates how that the light, and the firmament, and the stars, and the various kinds of animals were created. But the Evangelist sums up the whole of this in a word, as familiar to his hearers; and hastens to loftier matter, making the whole of his book to bear not on the works, but on the Maker.

AUG. Since all things were made by him, it is evident that light was as also, when God said, Let there be light. And in like manner the rest. But if so, that which God said, viz. Let there be light, is eternal. For the Word of God, God with God, is coeternal with the Father, though the world created by Him be temporal. For whereas our when and sometimes are words of time, in the Word of God, on the contrary, when a thing ought to be made, is eternal; and the thing is then made, when in that Word it is that it ought to be made, which Word has in It neither when, or at sometime, since It is all eternal.

AUG. How then can the Word of God be made, when God by the Word made all things? For if the Word Itself were made, by what other Word was It made? If you say it was the Word of the Word by Which That was made, that Word I call the Only-Begotten Son of God. But if thou cost not call It the Word of the Word, then grant that that Word was not made, by which all things were made.

AUG. And if It is not made, It is not a creature; but if It is not a creature, It is of the same Substance with the Father. For every substance which is not God is a creature; and what is not a creature is God.

THEOPHYL. The Arians are wont to say, that all things are spoken of as made by the Son, in the sense in which we say a door is made by a saw, viz. as an instrument; not that He was Himself the Maker. And so they talk of the Son as a thing made, as if He were made for this purpose, that all things might be made by Him. Now we to the inventors of this lie reply simply: If, as you say, the Father had created the Son, in order to make use of Him as an instrument, it would appear that the Son were less honorable than the things made, just as things made by a saw are more noble than the saw itself; the saw having been made for their sake. In like way do they speak of the Father creating the Son for the sake of the things made, as it; had He thought good to create the universe, neither would He have produced the Son. What can be more insane than such language? They argue, however, why was it not said that the Word made all things, instead of the preposition by being used. For this reason, that you might not understand an Unbegotten and Unoriginate Son, a rival God.

CHRYS. If the preposition by perplex you, and you would learn from Scripture that the Word Itself made all thin as, hear David, You, Lord, in the beginning has laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. That he spoke this of the Only-Begotten, you learn from the Apostle, who in the Epistle to the Hebrews applies these words to the Son.

CHRYS. But if you say that the prophet spoke this of the Father, and that Paul applied it to the Son, it comes to the same thing. For he would not have mentioned that as applicable to the Son, unless he fully considered that the Father and the Son were of equal dignity. If again you dream that in the preposition by any subjection is implied, why does Paul use of the Father? as, God is faithful, by Whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son; and again, Paul an Apostle by the will of God.

ORIGEN; Here too Valentines errs, saying, that the Word supplied to the Creator the cause of the creation of the world. If this interpretation is true, its should have been written that all things had their existence from the Word through the Creator, not contrariwise, through the Word from the Creator.

3b. And without him was not any thing made.

CHRYS. That you may not suppose, when he says, All things were made by Him, that he meant only the things Moses had;, spoken of, he seasonably brings in, And without Him was not any thing made, nothing, that is, cognizable either by the senses, or the understanding. Or thus; Lest you should suspect the sentence, All things were made by Him, to refer to the miracles which the other Evangelists had related, he adds, and without Him was not any thing made.

HILARY; Or thus; That all things were made by him, is pronouncing too much, it may be said. There is an Unbegotten Who is made of none, and there is the Son Himself begotten from Him Who is Unbegotten. The Evangelist however again implies the Author, when he speaks of Him as Associated; saying, without Him was not any thing made. This, that nothing was made without Him, I understand to mean the Son's not being alone, for 'by whom' is one thing, 'not without whom another.

ORIGEN: Or thus, that you might not think that the things made by the Word had a separate existence, and were not contained in the Word, he says, and without Him was not any thing made: that is, not any thing was made externally of Him; for He encircles all things, as the Preserver of all things.

AUG. Or, by saying, without Him was not any thing made, he tells us not to suspect Him in any sense to be a thing made. For how can He be a thing made, when God, it is said, made nothing without Him?

ORIGEN; If all things were made by the Word, and in the number of all things is wickedness, and the whole influx of sin, these too were made by the Word; which is false. Now 'nothing' and 'a thing which is not,' mean the same. And the Apostle seems to call wicked things, things which are not, God calls those things which be not, as though they were. All wickedness then is called nothing, forasmuch as it is made without the Word. Those who say however ever that the devil is not a creature of God, err. In so far as he is the devil, he is not a creature of God; but he, whose character it is to be the devil, is a creature of God. It is as if we should say a murderer is not a creature of God, when, so far as he is a man, he is a creature of God.

AUG. For sin was not made by Him; for it is manifest that sin is nothing, and that men become nothing when they sin. Nor was an idol made by the Word. It has indeed a sort of form of man, and man himself was made by the Word; but the form of man in an idol was not made by the Word: for it is written, we know that an idol is nothing. These then were not made by the Word; but whatever things were made naturally, the whole universe, were; every creature from an angel to a worm.

ORIGEN; Valentinus excludes from the things made by the Word, all that were made in the ages which he believes to have existed before the Word. This is plainly false; inasmuch as the things which he accounts divine are thus excluded from the "all things," and what he deems wholly corrupt are properly 'all things!'

AUG. The folly of those men is not to be listened to, who think nothing is to be understood here as something because it is placed at the end of the sentence: as if it made so any difference whether it was said, without Him nothing was made, or, without Him was made nothing.

ORIGEN; If 'the word' be taken for that which is in each man, inasmuch as it was implanted in each by the Word, which was in the beginning then also, we commit nothing without this 'word' [reason] taking this word 'nothing' in a popular sense. For the Apostle says that sin was dead without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived; for sin is not imputed when there is no law. But neither was there sin, when there was no Word, for our Lord says, If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin. For every excuse is without drawn from the sinner, if, with the Word present, and enjoining what is to be done, he refuses to obey Him. Nor is the Word to be blamed on this account; any more than a master, whose discipline leaves no excuse open to a delinquent pupil on the ground of ignorance. All things then were made by the Word, not only the natural world, but also whatever is done by those acting without reason.

4a. In him was life.

BEDE; The Evangelist having said that every creature was made by the Word, lest perchance any one might think that His will was changeable, as though He willed on a sudden to make a creature, which from eternity he had not made; he took care to show that, though a creature was made in time, in the Wisdom of the Creator it had been from eternity arranged what and when He should create.

AUG. 'The passage can be read thus: What was made in Him was life. Therefore the whole universe is life: for what was there not made in Him? He is the Wisdom of God, as is said, In Wisdom have You made them all. All things therefore are made in Him, even as they are by Him. But, if whatever was made in Him is life, the earth is life, a stone is life. We must not interpret it so unsoundly, lest the sect of the Manicheans creep in upon us, and say, that a stone has life, and that a wall has life; for they do insanely assert so, and when reprehended or refuted, appeal as though to Scripture, and ask, why was it said, That which was made in Him. was life?

Read the passage then thus: make the stop after What was made, and then proceed, In Him was life. The earth was made; but, the earth itself which was, as made is not life. In the Wisdom of God however there is spiritually a certain Reason after which the earth is made. This is Life. A chest in workmanship is not life, a chest in art is, inasmuch as the mind of the workman lives wherein that original pattern exists. And in this sense the Wisdom of God, by Which all things are made, contains in art 'all things which are made, according to that art.' And therefore whatever is made, is not in itself life, but is life in Him.

ORIGEN; It may also be divided thus: That which was made in him; and then, was life; the sense being, that all things that were made by Him and in Him, are life in Him, and are one in Him. They were, that is, in Him; they exist as the cause, before they exist in themselves as effects. If you ask how and in what manner all things which were made by the Word subsist in Him vitally, immutably, causally, take some examples from the created world.

See how that all things within the arch of the world of sense have their causes simultaneously and harmoniously subsisting in that sun which is the greatest luminary of the world: how multitudinous crops of herbs and fruits are contained in single seeds: how the most complex variety of rules, in the art of the artificer, and the mind of the director, are a living unit, how an infinite number of lines coexist in one point. Contemplate these several instances, and you will be able as it were on the wings of physical science, to penetrate with your intellectual eye the secrets of the Word, and as far as is allowed to a human understanding, to see how all things which were made by the Word, live in Him, and were made in Him.

HILARY; Or it can be understood thus. In that he had said, without Him was not anything thing made, one might have been perplexed, and have asked, Was then any thing made by another, which yet was not made without Him? If so, then though nothing is made without, all things are not made by Him: it being one thing to make, another to be with the maker.

On this account the Evangelist declares what it was which was not made without Him, viz. what was made in Him. This then it was which was not made without Him, viz. what was made in Him. And that which was made in Him, was also made by Him. For all things were created in Him and by Him. Now things were made in Him, because He was born God the Creator. And for this reason also things that were made in Him, were not made without Him, viz. that God, in that He was born, was life, and He who was life, was not made life after being born. Nothing then which was made in Him, was made without Him, because He was life, in Whom they were made; because God Who was born of God was God, not after, but in that He was born.

CHRYS Or to give another explanation. We will not put the stop at without Him was not any thing made, as the heretics do. For they wishing to prove the Holy Ghost a creature, read, That which was made in Him, was life. But this cannot be so understood. For first, this was not the place for making mention of the Holy Ghost. But let us suppose it was; let us take the passage for the present according to their reading, we shall see that it leads to a difficulty. For when it is said, That which was made in Him, was life; they say the life spoken of is the Holy Ghost. But this life is also light; for the Evangelist proceeds, The life was the light of men.

Wherefore according to them, he calls the Holy Ghost the light of all men. But the Word mentioned above, is what he here calls consecutively, God, and Life, and Light. Now the Word was made flesh. If follows that the Holy Ghost is incarnate, not the Son. Dismissing then this reading, we adopt a more suitable one, with the following meaning: All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made which was made: there we make a stop, and begin a fresh sentence: In Him was life. Without Him was not any thing made which was as made; i.e. which could be made. You see how by this short addition, he removes any difficulty which might follow. For by introducing without Him was not any thing made, and adding, which was made, he includes all things invisible, and excepts the Holy: Spirit: for the Spirit cannot be made.

To the mention of creation, succeeds that of providence. In Him was life. As a fountain which produces vast depths of water, and yet is nothing diminished at the fountain head; so works the Only-Begotten. How great soever His creations be, He Himself is none the less for them. By the word life here is meant not only creation, but that providence by which the things created are preserved. But when you are told that in Him was life, do not suppose Him confounded; for, as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. As then you would not call the Father compounded, so neither should you the Son.

ORIGEN; Or thus: Our Savior is said to be some things not for Himself, but for others; others again, both for Himself and others. When it is said then, That which was as made in Him was life; we must inquire whether the life is for Himself and others, or for others only; and if for others, for whom? Now the Life and the Light are both the same Person: He is the light of men: He is therefore their life. The Savior is called Life here, not to Himself, but to others; whose Light He also is. This life is inseparable from the Word, from the time it is added on to it.

For Reason or the Word must exist before in the soul, cleansing it from sin, till it is pure enough to receive the life, which is thus engrafted or inborn in every one who renders himself fit to receive the Word of God. Hence observe, that though the Word itself in the beginning was not made, the Beginning never having been without the Word; yet the life of men was not always in the Word. This life of men was made, in that It was the light of men; and this light of men could not be before man was; the light of men being understood relatively to men. And therefore he says, That which was made in the Word was life; not That which was in the Word was life. Some copies read, not amiss, "That which was made, in Him is life." If we understand the life in the Word, to be He who says below, 'I am the life,' we shall confess that none who believe not. in Christ live, and that all who live not in God, are dead.

4b. And the life was the light of men.

THEOPHYL. He had said, In him was life, that you might not suppose that the Word was without life. Now he shows that that life is spiritual, and the light of all reasonable creatures. And the life was the light of men: i.e. not sensible, but intellectual light, illuminating the very soul.

AUG. Life of itself gives illumination to men, but to cattle not: for they have not rational souls, by which to discern wisdom: whereas man, being made in the image of God, has a rational soul, by which he can discern wisdom. Hence that life, by which all things are made, is light, not however of all animals whatsoever, but of men.

THEOPHYL. He said not, the Light of the Jews only, but of all men: for all of us, in so far as we have received intellect and reason, from that Word which created us, are said to be illuminated by Him. For the reason which is given to us, and which constitutes us the reasonable beings we are, is a light directing us what to do, and what not to do.

ORIGEN; We must not omit to notice, that he puts the life before the light of men. For it would be a contradiction to suppose a being without life to be illuminated; as if life were an addition to illumination. But to proceed: if the life was the light of men, meaning men only, Christ is the light and the life of men only; an heretical supposition. It does not follow then, when a thing is predicated of any, that it is predicated of those only; for of God it is written, that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and yet He is not the God of those fathers only. In the same way, the light of men is not excluded from being the light of others as well. Some moreover contend from , Genesis, Let us make man after our image, that man means whatever is made after the image and similitude of God. If so, the light of men is the light of any rational creature whatever.

5. And the light shines in darkness.

AUG. Whereas that life is the light of men, but foolish hearts cannot receive that light, being so encumbered with sins that they cannot see it; for this cause lest any should think there is no light near them, because they cannot see it, he continues: And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. For suppose a blind man standing in the sun, the sun is present to him, but he is absent from the sun. In like manner every fool is blind, and wisdom is present to him; but, though present, absent from his sight, forasmuch as sight is gone: the truth being, not that she is absent from him, but that he is absent from her.

ORIGEN; This kind of darkness however is not in men by nature, according to the text in the Ephesians, You were some time darkness, but now are you light in the Lord.

ORIGEN; Or thus, The light shines in the darkness of faithful souls, beginning from faith, and drawing onwards to hope; but the deceit and ignorance of undisciplined souls did not comprehended the light of the Word of God shining in the flesh. That however is an ethical meaning. The metaphysical signification of the words is as follows. Human nature, even though it sinned not, could not shine by its own strength simply; for it is not naturally light, but only a recipient of it; it is capable of containing wisdom, but is not wisdom itself. As the air, of itself, shines not, but is called by the name of darkness, even so is our nature, considered in itself; a dark substance, which however admits of and is made partaker of the light of wisdom. And as when the air receives the sun's rays, it is not said to shine of itself, but the sun's radiance to be apparent in it; so the reasonable part of our nature, while possessing the presence of the Word of God, does not of itself understand God, and intellectual things, but by means of the divine light implanted in it. Thus, The light shines in darkness: for the Word of God, the life and the light of men, ceases not to shine in our nature; though regarded in itself, that nature is without form and darkness. And forasmuch as pure light cannot be comprehended by any creature, hence the text: The darkness comprehended it not.

CHRYS. Or thus: throughout the whole foregoing passage he, had been speaking of creation; then he mentions the spiritual; benefits which the Word brought w with it: and the life was the light of men. He said not, the light of Jews, but of all men without exception; for not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also have come to this knowledge. The Angels he omits, for he is speaking of human nature, to whom the Word came bringing glad tidings.

ORIGEN; But they ask, why is not the Word Itself called the light of men, instead of the life which is in the Word? We reply, that the life here spoken of is not that which rational and irrational animals have in common, but that which is annexed to the Word which is within us through participation of the primeval Word. For we must distinguish the external and false life, from the desirable and true. We are first made partakers of life: and this life with some is light potentially only, not in act; with those, viz. who are not eager to search out the things which appertain to knowledge: with others it is actual light, those who, as the Apostle said, covet earnestly the best gifts, that is to say, the word of wisdom. (If the life and the light of men are the same, whoso is in darkness is proved not to live, and none who lives abides in darkness.)

CHRYS. Life having come to us, the empire of death is dissolved; a light having shone upon us, there is darkness no longer: but there remains ever a life which death, a light which darkness cannot overcome. Whence he continues, And the light shines in darkness: by darkness meaning death and error, for sensible light does not shine in darkness, but darkness must be removed first; whereas the preaching of Christ shone forth amidst the reign of error, and caused it to disappear, and Christ by dying changed death into life, so overcoming it, that, those who were already in its grasp, were brought back again. Forasmuch then as neither death nor error has overcome his light, which is every where conspicuous shilling forth by its own strength; therefore he adds, And the darkness comprehended it not.

ORIGEN; As the light of men is a word expressing two spiritual things, so is darkness also. To one who possesses the light, we attribute both the doing the deeds of the light, and also true understanding, inasmuch as he is illuminated by the light of knowledge: and, on the other hand, the term darkness we apply both to unlawful acts, and also to that knowledge, which seems such, but is not. Now as the Father is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, so is the Savior also. Yet, inasmuch as he underwent the similitude of our sinful flesh, it is not incorrectly said of Him, that in Him there was some darkness; for He took our darkness upon Himself, in order that He might dissipate it. This Light therefore, which was made the life of man, shines in the darkness of our hearts, when the prince of this darkness wars with the human race. This Light the darkness persecuted, as is clear from what our Savior and His children suffer; the darkness fighting against the children of light. But, forasmuch as God takes up the cause, they do not prevail; nor do they apprehend the light, for they are either of too slow a nature to overtake the light's quick course, or, waiting for it to come up to them, they are put to flight at its approach. We should bear in mind, however, that darkness is not always used in a bad sense, but sometimes in a good, as in Psalm xvii. He made darkness His secret place: the things of God being unknown and incomprehensible. This darkness then I will call praiseworthy, since it tends toward light, and lays hold on it: for, though it were darkness before, while it was not known, yet it is turned to light and knowledge in him who has learned.

AUG. A certain Platonist once said, that the beginning of this Gospel ought to be copied in letters of gold, and placed in the most conspicuous place in every church.

BEDE; The other Evangelists describe Christ as born in time; John witnesses that He was in the beginning, saying, In the beginning was the Word. The others describe His sudden appearance among men; he witnesses that He was ever with God, saying, And the Word was with God. The others prove Him very man; he very God, saying, And the Word was God. The others exhibit Him as man conversing with men for a season; he pronounces Him God abiding with God in the beginning, saying, The Same was in the beginning with God. The others relate the great deeds which He did amongst men; he that God the Father made every creature through Him, saying, All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any shiny made.

6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

AUG. What is said above, refers to the Divinity of Christ. He came to us in the form of man, but man in such sense, as that the Godhead was concealed within Him. And therefore there was sent before a great man, to declare by his witness that He was more than man. And who was this? He was a man.

THEOPHYL. Not an Angel, as many have held. The Evangelist here refutes such a notion.

AUG. And how could he declare the truth concerning God, unless he were sent from God.

CHRYS. After this esteem nothing that he says as human; for he speaks not his own, but his that sent him. And therefore the Prophet calls him a messenger, I send My messenger, for it is the excellence of a messenger, to say nothing of his own. But the expression, was sent, does not mean his entrance into life, but to his office. As Esaias was sent on his commission, not from any place out of the world, but from where he saw the Lord sitting upon His high and lofty throne; in like manner John was sent from the desert to baptize; for he says, He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon Whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Ghost.

AUG. What was he called? whose name was John?

ALCUIN. That is, the grace of God, or one in whom is grace, who by his testimony first made known to the world the grace of the New Testament, that is, Christ. Or John may be taken to mean, to whom it is given: because that through the grace of God, to him it was given, not only to herald, but also to baptize the King of kings.

AUG. Wherefore came he? The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light.

ORIGEN; Some try to undo the testimonies of the Prophets to Christ, by saying that the Son of God had no need of such witnesses; the wholesome words which He uttered and His miraculous acts being sufficient to produce belief; just as Moses deserved belief for his speech and goodness, and wanted no previous witnesses. To this we may reply, that, where there are a number of reasons to make people believe, persons are often impressed by one kind of proof; and not by another, and God, Who for the sake of all men became man, can give them many reasons for belief in Him. And with respect to the doctrine of the Incarnation, certain it is that some have been forced by the Prophetical writings into an admiration of Christ by the fact of so many prophets having, before His advent, fixed the place of His nativity; and by other proofs of the same kind. It is to be remembered too, that, though the display of miraculous powers might stimulate the faith of those who lived in the same age with Christ, they might, in the lapse of time, fail to do so; as some of them might even get to be regarded as fabulous. Prophecy and miracles together are more convincing than simply past miracles by themselves. We must recollect too that men receive honor themselves from the witness which they bear to God. He deprives the Prophetical choir of immeasurable honor, whoever denies that it was their office to bear witness to Christ. John when he comes to bear witness to the light, follows in the train of those who went before him.

CHRYS. Not because the light wanted the testimony, but for the reason which John himself self gives, viz. that all might believe on Him. For as He put on flesh to save all men from death; so He sent before Him a human preacher, that the sound of a voice like their own, might the readier draw men to Him.

BEDE; He says not, that all men should believe in him; for, cursed be the man that trusts in man; but, that all men through him might believe; i.e. by his testimony believe in the Light.

THEOPHYL. Though some however might not believe, he is not accountable for them. When a man shuts himself up in a dark room, so as to receive no light from the sun's rays, he is the cause of the deprivation, not the sun. In like manner John was sent, that all men might believe; but if no such result followed, he is not the cause of the failure.

CHRYS. Forasmuch however as with us, the one who witnesses, is commonly a more important, a more trustworthy person, than the one to whom he bears witness, to do away with any such notion in the present case the Evangelist proceeds; He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. If this were not his intention, in repeating the words, to bear witness of that Light, the addition would be superfluous, and rather a verbal repetition, than the explanation of a truth.

THEOPHYL. But it will be said, that we do not allow John or any of the saints to be or ever to have been light. The difference is this: If we call any of the saints light, we put light without the article. So if asked whether John is light, without the article, you may allow without hesitation that he is: if with the article, you alloy it not. For he is not very, original, light, but is only called so, on account of his partaking of the light, which comes from the true Light.

9. That was the true Light which lights every man that comes into the world.

AUG. What Light it is to which John bears witness, he shows himself, saying, That was the true Light.

CHRYS. Or thus; Having said above that John had come, and was sent, to bear witness of the Light, lest any from the recent coming of the witness, should infer the same of Him who is witnessed to, the Evangelist takes us back to that existence which is beyond all beginning, saying, That was the true Light.

AUG. Wherefore is there added, true? Because man enlightened is called light, but the true Light is that which lightens. For our eyes are called lights, and yet, without a lamp at night, or the sun by day, these lights are open to no purpose. Wherefore he adds: which lightens every man: but if every man, then John himself. He Himself then enlightened the person, by whom He wished Himself to be pointed out. And just as we may often, from the reflection of the sun's rays on some object, know the sun to be risen, though we cannot fool; at the sun itself; as even feeble eyes can look at an illuminated wall, or some object of that kind: even so, those to whom Christ came, being too weak to behold Him, He threw His rays upon John; John confessed the illumination, and so the illuminator Himself was discovered. It is said, that comes into the world. Had man not departed from Him, he had not had to be enlightened; but therefore is he to be here enlightened, because he departed thence, when the might have been enlightened.

THEOPHYL. Let the Manichean blush, who pronounces us the creatures of a dark and malignant creator: for we should never be enlightened, v ere we not the children of the true Light.

CHRYS. Where are those too, who deny Him to be very God? We see here that He is called very Light. But if He lightens every man that comes into the world, how is it that so many have gone on without light? For all have not known the worship of Christ. The answer is: He only enlightens every man, so far as pertains to Him. If men shut their eyes, and will not receive the rays of this light, their darkness arises not from the fault of the light, but from their own wickedness, inasmuch as they voluntarily deprive themselves of the gift of grace. For grace is poured out upon all; and they, who will not enjoy the gift, may impute it to their own blindness.

AUG. Or the words, lightens every man, may be understood to mean, not that there is no one who is not enlightened, but that no one is enlightened except by Him.

BEDE; Including both natural and divine wisdom; for as no one can exist of himself, so no one can be wise of himself.

ORIGEN; Or thus: We must not understand the words, lightens every man that comes into the world, of the growth from hidden seeds to organized bodies, but of the entrance into the invisible world, by the spiritual regeneration and grace, which is given in Baptism. Those then the true Light lightens, who come into the world of goodness, not those who rush into the world of sin.

THEOPHYL. Or thus: The intellect which is given in us for our direction, and which is called natural reason, is said here to be a light given us by God. But some by the ill use of their reason have darkened themselves.

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

AUG. The Light which lightens every man that comes into the world, came here in the flesh; because while He was here in His Divinity alone, the foolish, blind, and unrighteous could not discern Him; those of whom it is said above, The darkness comprehended it not. Hence the text; He was in the world.

ORIGEN; For as, when a person leaves off speaking, his voice ceases to be, and vanishes; so if the Heavenly Father should cease to speak His Word, the effect of that Word, i.e. the universe which is created in the Word, shall cease to exist.

AUG. You must not suppose however, that He was in the world in tile same sense in w which the earth, cattle, men, are in the world; but in the sense in which an artificer controls his own work; whence the text, And the world was made by Him. Nor again did He make it after the manner of all artificer; for whereas an artificer is external to what he fabricates, God pervades the world, carrying on the work of creation in every part, and never absent from any part: by the presence of His Majesty He both makes and controls what is made. Thus He was in the world, as He by Whom the world w as made.

CHRYS. And again, because He was in the world, but not coeval with the world, for this cause he introduced the words, and the world was made by Him: thus taking you back again to the eternal existence of the Only-Begotten. For when we are told that the whole of creation was made by Him, we must be very dull not to acknowledge that the Maker existed before the work.

THEOPHYL. Here he overthrows at once the insane notion of the Manichaean, who says that the world is the work of a malignant creature, and the opinion of the Arian, that the Son of God is a creature.

AUG. But what means this, The world was made by Him? The earth, sky, and sea, and all that are therein, are called the world. But in another sense, the lovers of the world are called the world, of whom he says, And the world knew Him not. For did the sky, or Angels, not know their Creator, Whom the very devils confess, Whom the whole universe has borne witness to? Who then did not know Him? Those who, from their love of the world, are called the world; for such live in heart in the world, while those who do not love it, have their body in the world, but their heart in heaven; as said the Apostle, our conversation is in heaven. By their love of the world, such men merit being called by the name of the place where they live. And just as in speaking of a bad house, or good house, we do not mean praise or blame to the walls, but to the inhabitants; so when we talk of the world, we mean those who live there in the love of it.

CHRYS. But they who were the friends of God, knew Him even before His presence in the body; whence Christ said below, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. When the Gentiles then interrupt us with the question, Why has He come in these last times to work our salvation, having neglected us so long? we reply, that He was in the world before, superintending what He had made, and was known to all who were worthy of Him; and that, if the world knew Him not, those of whom the world was not worthy knew Him. The reason follows, why the world knew Him not. The Evangelist calls those men the world, who are tied to the world, and savor of worldly things; for there is nothing that disturbs the mind so much, as this melting with the love of present things.

11. He came to his own, and his own received him not.
12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the wild of man, but of God.

CHRYS. When He said that the world knew Him not, he c referred to the times of the old dispensation, but what follows H has reference to the time of his preaching; He came to his own.

AUG. Because all things were made by Him.

THEOPHYL. By his own, understand either the world, or Judea, which He had chosen for His inheritance.

CHRYS. He came then to His own, not for His own good, but for the good of others. But whence did He Who fills all things, and is every where present, come? He came out of condescension to us, though in reality He had been in the world all along. But the world not seeing Him, because it knew Him not, He deigned to put on flesh. And this manifestation and condescension is called His advent. But the merciful God so contrives His dispensations, that we may shine forth in proportion to our goodness, and therefore He will not compel, but invites men, by persuasion and kindness, to come of their own accord: and so, when He came, some received Him, and others received Him not. He desires not an unwilling and forced service; for no one who comes unwillingly devotes himself wholly to Him. Whence what follows, And his own received him not. He here calls the Jews His own, as being his peculiar people; as indeed are all men in some sense, being made by Him. And as above, to the shame of our common nature, he said, that the world which was made by Him, knew not its Maker: so here again, indignant at the ingratitude of the Jews, he brings a heavier charge, viz. that His own received Him not.

AUG But if none at all received, none will be saved. For no one will be saved, but he who received Christ at His coming; and therefore he adds, As many as received Him.

CHRYS. Whether they be bond or free, Greek or Barbarian, wise or unwise, women or men, the young or the aged, all are made meet for the honor, which the Evangelist now proceeds to mention. To them gave He power to become the sons of God.

AUG. O amazing goodness! He was born the Only Son, yet would not remain so; but grudged not to admit joint heirs to His inheritance. Nor was this narrowed by many partaking of it.

CHRYS. He said not that He made them the sons of God, but gave them power to become the sons of God: showing that there is need of much care, to preserve the image, which is formed by our adoption in Baptism, untarnished: and showing at the same time also that no one can take this power from us, except we rob ourselves of it. Now, if the delegates of worldly governments have often nearly as much power as those governments themselves, much more is this the case with us, who derive our dignity from God. But at the same time the Evangelist wishes to show that this grace comes to us of our own will and endeavor: that, in short, the operation of grace being supposed, it is in the power of our free will to make us the sons of God.

THEOPHYL. Or the meaning is, that the most perfect sonship will only be attained at the resurrection, as said the Apostle, Wailing for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. He therefore gave us the power to become the sons of God, i.e. the power of obtaining this grace at some future time.

CHRYS. And because in the matter of these ineffable benefits, the giving of grace belongs to God, but the extending of faith to man, He subjoins, even to those who believe on his name. Why then declare you not, John, the punishment of those who received Him not? Is it because there is no greater punishment than that, when the power of becoming the sons of God is offered to men, they should not become such, but voluntarily deprive themselves of the dignity? But besides this, inextinguishable fire awaits all such, as will appear clearly farther on.

AUG. To be made then the sons of God, and brothers of Christ, they must of course be born; for if they are not born, how can they be sons? Now the sons of men are born of flesh and blood, and the will of man, and the embrace of wedlock; but how these are born, the next words declare: Not of bloods; that is, the male's and the female's. Bloods is not correct Latin, but as it is plural in the Greek, the translator preferred to put it so, though it be not strictly grammatical, at the same time explaining the word in order not to offend the weakness of one's hearers.

BEDE; It should be understood that in holy Scripture, blood in the plural number, has the signification of sin: thus in the Psalms, Deliver me from blood-guiltiness.

AUG. In that which follows, Nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, the flesh is put for the female; because, when she was made out of the rib, Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. The flesh therefore is put for the wife, as the spirit sometimes is for the husband; because that the one ought to govern, the other to obey. For what is there worse than a house, where the woman has rule over the man? But these that we speak of are born neither of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.

BEDE; The carnal birth of men derives its origin from the embrace of wedlock, but the spiritual is dispensed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

CHRYS. The Evangelist makes this declaration, that being taught the vileness and inferiority of our former birth, which is through blood, and the will of the flesh, and understanding the loftiness and nobleness of the second, which is through grace, we might hence receive great knowledge, worthy of being bestowed by him who begat us, and after this show forth much zeal.

14a. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

AUG. Having said, Born of God; to prevent surprise and trepidation at so great, so apparently incredible a grace, that men should be born of God; to assure us, he says, And the Word was as made flesh. Why marvel you then that men are born of God? Know that God Himself was born of man.

CHRYS. Or thus, After saying that they were born of God, who received Him, he sets forth the cause of this honor, viz. the Word being made flesh, God's own Son was made the son of man, that he might make the sons of men the sons of God. Now when you hear that the Word was made flesh, be not disturbed, for He did not change His substance into flesh, which it were indeed impious to suppose; but remaining what He was, took upon Him the form of a servant. But as there are some who say, that the whole of the incarnation was only in appearance, to refute such a blasphemy, he used the expression, was made, meaning to represent not a conversion of substance, but an assumption of real flesh. But if they say, God is omnipotent; why then could He not be changed into flesh? we reply, that a change from an unchangeable nature is a contradiction.

AUG. As our word becomes the bodily voice, by its assumption of that voice, as a means of developing itself externally, so the Word of God was made flesh, by assuming flesh, as a means of manifesting Itself to the world. And as our word is made voice, yet is not turned into voice; so the Word of God was made flesh, but never turned into flesh. It is by assuming another nature, not by consuming themselves in it, that our word is made voice, and the Word, flesh.

EX GESTIS CONC. EPH. The discourse which we utter, which we use in conversation with each other, is incorporeal, imperceptible, impalpable; but clothed in letters and characters, it becomes material, perceptible, tangible. So too the Word of God, which was naturally invisible, becomes visible, and that comes before us in tangible form, which was by nature incorporeal.

ALCUIN. When we think how the incorporeal soul is joined to the body, so as that of two is made one man, we too shall the more easily receive the notion of the incorporeal Divine substance being joined to the soul in the body, in unity of person; so as that the Word is not turned into flesh, nor the flesh into the Word; just as the soul is not turned into body, nor the body into soul.

THEOPHYL. Apollinarius of Laodicea raised a heresy upon this text; saying, that Christ had flesh only, not a rational soul; in the place of which His divinity directed and controlled His body.

AUG. If men are disturbed however by its being said that the Word was made flesh, without mention of a soul; let them know that the flesh is put for the whole man, the part for the whole, by a figure of speech; as in the Psalms, Unto you shall all flesh come; and again in Romans, By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified. In the same sense it is said here that the Word was made flesh; meaning that the Word was made man.

THEOPHYL. The Evangelist intends by making mention of the flesh, to show the unspeakable condescension of God, and lead us to admire His compassion, in assuming for our salvation, what was so opposite and incongenial to His nature, as the flesh: for the soul has some propinquity to God. If the Word, however, was made flesh, and assumed not at the same time a human soul, our souls, it would follow, would not be yet restored: for what He did not assume, He could not sanctify. What a mockery then, when the soul first sinned, to assume and sanctify the flesh only, leaving the weakest part untouched! This text overthrows Nestorius, who asserted that it was not the very Word, even God, Who the Self-same was made man, being conceived of the sacred blood of the Virgin: but that the Virgin brought forth a man endowed with every kind of virtue, and that the Word of God was united to him: thus making out two sons, one born of the Virgin, i.e. man, the other born of God, that is, the Son of God, united to that man by grace, and relation, and love. In opposition to him the Evangelist declares, that the very Word was made Man, not that the Word fixing upon a righteous man united Himself to him.

CYRIL; The Word uniting to Himself a body of flesh animated with a rational soul, substantially, was ineffably and incomprehensibly made Man, and called the Son of man, and that not according to the will only, or good-pleasure, nor again by the assumption of the Person alone. The natures are different indeed which are brought into true union, but He Who is of both, Christ the Son, is One; the difference of the natures, on the other hand, not being destroyed in consequence of this coalition.

THEOPHYL; From the text, The Word was made flesh, we learn this farther, that the Word Itself is man, and being the Son of God was made the Son of a woman, who is rightly called the Mother of God, as having given birth to God in the flesh.

HILARY; Some, however, who think God the Only-Begotten, God the Word, Who was in the beginning with God, not to be God substantially, but a Word sent forth, the Son being to God the Father, what a word is to one who utters it, these men, in order to disprove that the Word, being substantially God, and abiding in the form of God, was born the Man Christ, argue subtilely, that, whereas that Man (they say) derived His life rather from human origin than from the mystery of a spiritual conception, God the Word did not make Himself Man of the womb of the Virgin; but that the Word of God was in Jesus, as the spirit of prophecy in the Prophets. And they are accustomed to charge us with holding, that Christ was born a Man, not of our body and soul; whereas we preach the Word made flesh, and after our likeness born Man, so that He Who is truly Son of God, was truly born Son of man; and that, as by His own act He took upon Him a body of the Virgin, so of Himself He took a soul also, which in no case is derived from man by mere parental origin. And seeing He, The Self-same, is the Son of man, how absurd were it, besides the Son of God, Who is the Word, to make Him another person besides, a sort of prophet, inspired by the Word of God; whereas our Lord Jesus Christ is both the Son of God, and the Son of man.

CHRYS. Lest from it being said, however, that the Word was made flesh, you should infer improperly a change of His incorruptible nature, he subjoins, And dwelt among us. For that which inhabits is not the same, but different from the habitation: different, I say, in nature; though as to union and conjunction, God the Word and the flesh are one, without confusion or extinction of substance.

ALCUIN; Or, dwelt among us, means, lived amongst men.

14b. And we saw his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

CHRYS. Having said that we are made the sons of God and in no other way than because the Word was made flesh; he mentions another gift, And we saw His glory. Which glory we should not have seen, had He not, by His alliance with humanity, become visible to us. For if they could not endure to look on the glorified face of Moses, but there was need of a veil, how could soiled and earthly creatures, like ourselves, have borne the sight of undisguised Divinity, which is not vouchsafed even to the higher powers themselves.

AUG. Or thus; in that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, His birth became a kind of ointment to anoint the eyes of our heart, that we might through His humanity discern His majesty; and therefore it follows, And we saw His glory. No one could see His glory, who was not healed by the humility of the flesh. For there had flown upon man's eye as it were dust from the earth: the eye had been diseased, and earth was sent to heal it again; the flesh had blinded you, the flesh restores you. The soul by consenting to carnal affections had become carnal; hence the eye of the mind had been blinded: then the physician made for thee ointment. He came in such wise, as that by the flesh He destroyed the corruption of the flesh. And thus the Word was made flesh, that you might be able to say, We saw His glory.

CHRYS. He subjoins, As of the Only-Begotten of the Father: for many prophets, as Moses, Elijah, and others, workers of miracles, had been glorified, and Angels also who appeared to men, shining with the brightness belonging to their nature; Cherubim and Seraphim too, who were seen in glorious array by the prophets. But the Evangelist withdrawing our minds from these, and raising them above all nature, and every preeminence of fellow servants, leads us up to the summit Himself; as if he said, Not of prophet, or of any other man, or of Angel, or Archangel, or any of the higher powers, is the glory which we beheld; but as that of the very Lord, very King, very and true Only-Begotten Son.

GREG. In Scripture language as, and as it were, are sometimes put not for likeness but reality; whence the expression, As of the Only-Begotten of the Father.

CHRYS. As if he said: We saw His glory, such as it was becoming and proper for the Only-Begotten and true Son to have. We have a form of speech, like it, derived from our seeing kings always splendidly robed. When the dignity of a man's carriage is beyond description, we say, In short, he went as a king. So too John says, We saw His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father. For Angels, when they appeared, did every thing as servants who had a Lord, but He as the Lord appearing in humble form. Yet did all creatures recognize their Lord, the star calling the Magi, the Angels the shepherds, the child leaping in the womb acknowledged Him: yes the Father bore witness to Him from heaven, and the Paraclete descending upon Him: and the very universe itself shouted louder than any trumpet, that the King of heaven had come. For devils fled, diseases were healed, the graves gave up the dead, and souls were brought out of wickedness, to the utmost height of virtue. What shall one say of the wisdom of precepts, of the virtue of heavenly laws, of the excellent institution of the angelical life?

ORIGEN; Full of grace and truth. Of this the meaning is twofold. For it may be understood of the Humanity, and the Divinity of the Incarnate Word, so that the fullness of grace has reference to the Humanity, according to which Christ is the Head of the Church, and the first-born of every creature: for the greatest and original example of grace, by which man, with no preceding merits, is made God, is manifested primarily in Him. The fullness of the grace of Christ may also be understood of the Holy Spirit, whose sevenfold operation filled Christ's Humanity. The fullness of truth applies to the Divinity but if you had rather understand the fullness of grace and truth of the New Testament, you may with propriety pronounce the fullness of the grace of the New Testament to be given by Christ, and the truth of the legal types to have been fulfilled in Him.

THEOPHYL. Or, full of grace, inasmuch as His word w as gracious, as said David, Full of grace are your lips; and truth, because what Moses and the Prophets spoke or did in figure, Christ did in reality.

15. John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.

ALCUIN; He had said before that there was a man sent to bear witness; now he gives definitely the forerunner's own testimony, which plainly declared the excellence of His Human Nature and the Eternity of His Godhead. John bore witness of Him.

CHRYS. Or he introduces this, as if to say, Do not suppose that we bear witness to this out of gratitude, because we were with Him a long time, and partook of His table; for John who had never seen Him before, nor tarried with Him, bore witness to Him. The Evangelist repeats John's testimony many times here and there, because he was held in such admiration by the Jews. Other Evangelists refer to the old prophets, and say, This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. But he introduces a loftier, and later witness, not intending to make the servant vouch for the master, but only condescending to the weakness of his hearers. For as Christ would not have been so readily received, had He not taken upon Him the form of a servant; so if he had not excited the attention of servants by the voice of a fellow-servant beforehand, there would not have been many Jews embracing the word of Christ. It follows, And cried; that is, preached with openness, with freedom, without reservation. He did not however begin with asserting that this one was the natural only-begotten Son of God, but cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. For as birds do not teach their young all at once to fly, but first draw them outside the nest, and afterwards try them with a quicker motion; so John did not immediately lead the Jews to high things, but began with lesser flights, saying, that Christ was better than he; which in the mean time was no little advance. And observe how prudently he introduces his testimony; he not only points to Christ when He appears, but preaches Him beforehand; as, This is He of whom I spoke. This would prepare men's minds for Christ's coming: so that when He did come, the humility of His garb would be no impediment to His being received. For Christ adopted so humble and common an appearance, that if men had seen Him without first healing John's testimony to His greatness, none of the things spoken of Him would have had any effect. THEOPHYL. He said, Who comes after me, that is, as to the time of His birth. John was six months before Christ, according to His humanity.

CHRYS. Or this does not refer to the birth from Mary; for Christ was born, when this was said by John; but to His coming for the work of preaching. He then said, is made before me; that is, is more illustrious, more honorable; as if he said, Do not suppose me greater than He, because I came first to preach.

THEOPHYL. The Arians infer from this Word, that the Son of God is not begotten of the Father, but made like any other creature.

AUG. It does not mean - He was made before I was made, but He is preferred to me.

CHRYS. If the words, made before me, referred to His coming into being, it was superfluous to add, For He was before me. For who would be so foolish as not to know, that if He was made before him, He was before him. It would have been more correct to say, He was before me, because He was made before me. The expression then, He was made before me, must be taken in the sense of honor: only that which was to take place, he speaks of as having taken place already, after the style of the old Prophets, who commonly talk of the future as the past.

16. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

ORIGEN; This is to be considered a continuation of the Baptist's testimony to Christ, a point which has escaped the attention of many, who think that from this to, He has declared Him, St. John the Apostle is speaking. But the idea that on a sudden, and, as it would seem, unseasonably, the discourse of the Baptist should be interrupted by a speech of the disciple's, is inadmissible. And any one, able to follow the passage, will discern a very obvious connection here.

For having said, He is preferred before me, for He was before me, he proceeds, From this I know that He is before me, because I and the Prophets who preceded me have received of His fullness, and grace for grace, (the second grace for the first.) For they too by the Spirit penetrated beyond the figure to the contemplation of the truth. And hence receiving, as we have done, of his fullness, we judge that the law was given by Moses, but that grace and truth were made, by Jesus Christ - made, not given: the Father gave the law by Moses, but made grace and truth by Jesus.

But if it is Jesus who says below, I am the Truth, how is truth made by Jesus? We must understand however that the very substantial Truth, from which First Truth and Its Image many truths are engraver on those who treat of the truth, was not made through Jesus Christ, or through any one; but only the truth which is in individuals, such as in Paul, e.g. or the other Apostles, was made through Jesus Christ.

CHRYS. Or thus; John the Evangelist here adds this testimony to that of John the Baptist, saying, And of his fullness have we all received. These are not the words of the forerunner, but of the disciple; as if he meant to say, We also the twelve, and the whole body of the faithful, both present and to come, have received of His fullness.

AUG. But whet have you received? Grace for grace. So that we are to understand that we have received a certain something from His fullness, and over and above this, grace for grace; that we have first received of His fullness, first grace; and again, we have received grace for grace. What grace did we first receive; Faith: which is called grace, because it is given freely. This is the first grace then which the sinner receives, the remission of his sins. Again, we have grace for grace; i.e. instead of that grace in which we live by faith, we are to receive another, viz. life eternal: for life eternal is as it were the wages of faith. And thus as faith itself is a good grace, so life eternal is grace for grace. There was not grace in the Old Testament; for the law threatened, but assisted not, commanded, but healed not, showed our weakness, but relieved it not.

It prepared the way however for a Physician who was about to come, with the gifts of grace and truth: whence the sentence which follows: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth were made by Jesus Christ. The death of your Lord has destroyed death, both temporal and eternal; that is the grace which was promised, but not contained, in the law.

CHRYS. Or we have received grace for grace; that is, the new in the place of the old. For as there is a justice and a justice besides, an adoption and another adoption, a circumcision and another circumcision; so is there a grace and another grace; only the one being a type, the other a reality. He brings in the words to show that the Jews as well as ourselves are saved by grace: it being of mercy and grace that they received the law. Next, after he has said, Grace for grace, he adds something to show the magnitude of the gift; For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth were made by Jesus Christ. John when comparing himself with Christ above had said, He is preferred before me: but the Evangelist draws a comparison between Christ, and one much more in admiration with the Jews than John, viz. Moses.

And observe his wisdom. He does not draw the comparison. between the persons, but the things, contrasting grace and truth to the law: the latter of which he says was given, a word only applying to an administrator; the former made, as we should speak of a king, who does every thing by his power: though in this King it would be with grace also, because that with power He remitted all sins. Now His grace is shown in His gift of Baptism, and our adoption by the Holy Spirit, and many other things; but to have a better insight into what the truth is, we should study the figures of the old law: for what was to be accomplished in the New Testament, is prefigured in the Old, Christ at His Coming filling up the figure. Thus was the figure given by Moses, but the truth made by Christ.

AUG. Or, we may refer grace to knowledge, truth to wisdom. Amongst the events of time the highest grace is the uniting of man to God in One Person; in the eternal world the highest truth pertains to God the Word.

18. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

ORIGEN; Heracleon asserts, that this is a declaration of the disciple, not of the Baptist: an unreasonable supposition; for if the words, Of His fullness have we all received, are the Baptist's, does not the connection run naturally, that he receiving of the grace of Christ, the second in the place of the first grace, and confessing that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; understood here that no man had seen God at any time, and that the Only Begotten, who was in the bosom of the Father, had committed this declaration of Himself to John, and all who with him had received of His fullness? For John was not the first who declared Him; for He Himself who was before Abraham, tells us, that Abraham rejoiced to see His glory.

CHRYS. Or thus; the Evangelist after showing the great superiority of Christ's gifts, compared with those dispensed by Moses, wishes in the next place to supply an adequate reason for the difference. The one being a servant was made a minister of a lesser dispensation: but the other Who was Lord, and Son of the King, brought us far higher things, being ever coexistent with the Father, and beholding Him. Then follows, No man has seen God at any time, &c.

AUG. What is that then which Jacob said, I have seen God face to face; and that which is written of Moses, he talked with God face to face; and that which the prophet Isaiah said of himself, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne?

GREG. It is plainly given us to understand here, that while we are in this mortal state, we see God only through the medium of certain images, not, in the reality of His own nature. A soul influenced by the grace of the Spirit may see God through certain figures, but cannot penetrate into his absolute essence. And hence it is that Jacob, who testifies that he saw God, saw nothing but an Angel: and that Moses, who talked with God face to face, says, Show me Your way, that I may know You: meaning that he ardently desired to see in the brightness of His own infinite Nature, Him Whom he had only as yet seen reflected in images.

CHRYS. If the old fathers had seen That very Nature, they would not have contemplated It so variously, for It is in Itself simple and without shape; It sits not, It walks not; these are the qualities of bodies. Whence he said through the Prophet, I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the Prophets: i.e. I have condescended to them, I appeared that which I was not. For inasmuch as the Son of God was about to manifest Himself to us in actual flesh, men were at first raised to the sight of God, in such ways as allowed of their seeing Him.

AUG. Now it is said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; and again, When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, for we shall see Him as He is. What is the meaning then of the words here: No man has seen God at any time? The reply is easy: those passages speak of God, as to be seen, not as already seen. They shall see God, it is said, not, they have seen Him: nor is it, we have seen Him, but, we shall see Him as He is. For, No man has seen God at any time, neither in this life, nor yet in the Angelic, as He is; in the same way in which sensible things are perceived by the bodily vision.

GREG. If however any, while inhabiting this corruptible flesh, can advance to such an immeasurable height of virtue, as to be able to discern by the contemplative vision, the eternal brightness of God, their case affects not what we say. For whoever sees wisdom, that is, God, is dead wholly to this life, being no longer occupied by the love of it.

AUG. For unless any in some sense die to this life, either by leaving the body altogether, or by being so withdrawn and alienated from carnal perceptions, that he may well not know, as the Apostle says, whether he be in the body or out of the body, he cannot be carried away, and borne aloft to that vision.

GREG. Some hold that in the place of bliss, God is visible in His brightness, but not in His nature. This is to indulge in over much subtlety. For in that simple and unchangeable essence, no division can be made between the nature and the brightness.

AUG. If we say, that the text, No one has seen God, at any time, applies only to men; so that, as the Apostle more plainly interprets it, Whom no man has seen nor can see, no one is to be understood here to mean, no one of men: the question may be solved in a way not to contradict what our Lord says, Their Angels do always behold the face of My Father; so that we must believe that Angels see, what no one, i.e. of men, has ever seen.

GREG. Some however there are who conceive that not even the Angels see God.

CHRYS. That very existence which is God, neither Prophets, nor even Angels, nor yet Archangels, have seen. For inquire of the Angels; they say nothing concerning His Substance; but sing, Glory to God in the highest, and Peace on earth to men of good will. Nay, ask even Cherubim and Seraphim; you will hear only in reply the mystic melody of devotion, and that heaven and earth are full of His glory.

AUG. Which indeed is true so far, that no bodily or even mental vision of man has ever embraced the fullness of God; for it is one thing to see, another to embrace the whole of what you see. A thing is seen, if only the sight of it be caught; but we only see a thing fully, when we have no part of it unseen, when we see round its extreme limits.

CHRYS. In this complete sense only the Son and the Holy Ghost see the Father. For how can created nature see that which is uncreated? So then no man knows the Father as the Son knows Him: and hence what follows, The Only-Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared, Him. That we might not be led by the identity of the name, to confound Him with the sons made so by grace, the article is annexed in the first place; and then, to put an end to all doubt, the name Only-Begotten is introduced.

HILARY; The Truth of His Nature did not seem sufficiently explained by the name of Son, unless, in addition, its peculiar force as proper to Him were expressed, so signifying its distinctness from all beside. For in that, besides Son, he calls Him also the Only-Begotten, he cut off altogether all suspicion of adoption, the Nature of the Only-Begotten guaranteeing the truth of the name.

CHRYS. He adds, Which is in the bosom of the Father. To dwell in the bosom is much more than simply to see. For he who sees simply, has not the knowledge thoroughly of that which he sees; but he who dwells in the bosom, knows every thing. When you hear then that no one knows the Father save the Son, do not by any means suppose that he only knows the Father more than any other, and does not know Him fully. For the Evangelist sets forth His residing in the bosom of the Father on this very account: viz. to show us the intimate converse of the Only-Begotten, and His co-eternity with the Father.

AUG. In the bosom of the Father, i.e. in the secret Presence of the Father: for God has not the fold on the bosom, as we have; nor must be imagined to sit, as we do; nor is He bound with a girdle, so as to have a fold: but from the fact of our bosom being placed innermost, the secret Presence of the Father is called the bosom of the Father. He then who, in the secret Presence of the Father, knew the Father, the same has declared what He saw.

CHRYS. But what has He declared? That God is one. But this the rest of the Prophets and Moses proclaim: what else have we learnt from the Son Who was in the bosom of the Father? In the first place, that those very truths, which the others declared, were declared through the operation of the Only Begotten: in the next place, we have received a far greater doctrine from the Only Begotten; viz. that God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth; and that God is the Father of the Only Begotten.

BEDE; Farther, if the word declared have reference to the past, it must be considered that He, being made man, declared the doctrine of the Trinity in unity, and how, and by what acts we should prepare ourselves for the contemplation of it. If it have reference to the future, then it means that He will declare Him, when He shall introduce His elect to the vision of His brightness.

AUG. Yet have there been men, who, deceived by the vanity of their hearts, maintained that the Father is invisible, the Son visible. Now if they call the Son visible, with respect to His connection with the flesh, we object not; it is the Catholic doctrine. But it is madness in them to say He was so before His incarnation; i.e. if it be true that Christ is the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God. The Wisdom of God cannot be seen by the eye. If the human word cannot be seen by the eye, how can the Word of God?

CHRYS. The text then, No man has seen God at any time, applies not to the Father only, but also to the Son: for He, as Paul said, is the Image of the invisible God; but He who is the Image of the Invisible , must Himself also be invisible.

Catena Aurea John 1
29 posted on 12/25/2012 1:42:18 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Overall view of the apse

1145-60
Mosaic
Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalù, Sicily

30 posted on 12/25/2012 1:42:41 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Crucifixion Diptych (right panel)

Rogier van der Weyden

c. 1460
Oil on oak panel, 180,3 x 92,3 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

31 posted on 12/25/2012 1:43:10 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


32 posted on 12/25/2012 5:07:40 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. 


33 posted on 12/25/2012 5:14:48 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. 


34 posted on 12/25/2012 5:19:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.


35 posted on 12/25/2012 5:24:12 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


36 posted on 12/25/2012 5:30:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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

37 posted on 12/25/2012 5:40:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.


38 posted on 12/25/2012 5:52:45 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

39 posted on 12/25/2012 6:05:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.


40 posted on 12/25/2012 6:21:37 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!


41 posted on 12/25/2012 6:36:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.


42 posted on 12/25/2012 6:41:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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.


43 posted on 12/25/2012 6:47:26 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!

44 posted on 12/25/2012 7:41:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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45 posted on 12/25/2012 7:49:27 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?


46 posted on 12/26/2012 10:21:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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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)


47 posted on 12/27/2012 6:28:56 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


48 posted on 12/31/2012 7:58:22 PM PST by Salvation (("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26))
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