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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-25-13, SOL. The Nativity of the Lord [Midnight-Christmas]
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 12-25-13 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/24/2013 5:14:04 PM PST by Salvation

December 25, 2013 - Mass at Midnight

 

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

 

 

Reading 1 Is 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13

R. (Lk 2:11) Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Reading 2 Ti 2:11-14

Beloved:
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.

Gospel Lk 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”



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

1 posted on 12/24/2013 5:14:05 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 12/24/2013 5:15:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Luke
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 2
1 AND it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. Factum est autem in diebus illis, exiit edictum a Cæsare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis. εγενετο δε εν ταις ημεραις εκειναις εξηλθεν δογμα παρα καισαρος αυγουστου απογραφεσθαι πασαν την οικουμενην
2 This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. Hæc descriptio prima facta est a præside Syriæ Cyrino : αυτη η απογραφη πρωτη εγενετο ηγεμονευοντος της συριας κυρηνιου
3 And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. et ibant omnes ut profiterentur singuli in suam civitatem. και επορευοντο παντες απογραφεσθαι εκαστος εις την ιδιαν πολιν
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, Ascendit autem et Joseph a Galilæa de civitate Nazareth in Judæam, in civitatem David, quæ vocatur Bethlehem : eo quod esset de domo et familia David, ανεβη δε και ιωσηφ απο της γαλιλαιας εκ πολεως ναζαρετ εις την ιουδαιαν εις πολιν δαυιδ ητις καλειται βηθλεεμ δια το ειναι αυτον εξ οικου και πατριας δαυιδ
5 To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore prægnante. απογραψασθαι συν μαριαμ τη μεμνηστευμενη αυτω γυναικι ουση εγκυω
6 And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. Factum est autem, cum essent ibi, impleti sunt dies ut pareret. εγενετο δε εν τω ειναι αυτους εκει επλησθησαν αι ημεραι του τεκειν αυτην
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Et peperit filium suum primogenitum, et pannis eum involvit, et reclinavit eum in præsepio : quia non erat eis locus in diversorio. και ετεκεν τον υιον αυτης τον πρωτοτοκον και εσπαργανωσεν αυτον και ανεκλινεν αυτον εν τη φατνη διοτι ουκ ην αυτοις τοπος εν τω καταλυματι
8 And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. Et pastores erant in regione eadem vigilantes, et custodientes vigilias noctis super gregem suum. και ποιμενες ησαν εν τη χωρα τη αυτη αγραυλουντες και φυλασσοντες φυλακας της νυκτος επι την ποιμνην αυτων
9 And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. Et ecce angelus Domini stetit juxta illos, et claritas Dei circumfulsit illos, et timuerunt timore magno. και ιδου αγγελος κυριου επεστη αυτοις και δοξα κυριου περιελαμψεν αυτους και εφοβηθησαν φοβον μεγαν
10 And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: Et dixit illis angelus : Nolite timere : ecce enim evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum, quod erit omni populo : και ειπεν αυτοις ο αγγελος μη φοβεισθε ιδου γαρ ευαγγελιζομαι υμιν χαραν μεγαλην ητις εσται παντι τω λαω
11 For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. quia natus est vobis hodie Salvator, qui est Christus Dominus, in civitate David. οτι ετεχθη υμιν σημερον σωτηρ ος εστιν χριστος κυριος εν πολει δαυιδ
12 And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. Et hoc vobis signum : invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et positum in præsepio. και τουτο υμιν το σημειον ευρησετε βρεφος εσπαργανωμενον κειμενον εν φατνη
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Et subito facta est cum angelo multitudo militiæ cælestis laudantium Deum, et dicentium : και εξαιφνης εγενετο συν τω αγγελω πληθος στρατιας ουρανιου αινουντων τον θεον και λεγοντων
14 Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis. δοξα εν υψιστοις θεω και επι γης ειρηνη εν ανθρωποις ευδοκια

3 posted on 12/24/2013 5:59:04 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

THEOPHYL; The Son of God, about to be born in the flesh, as by His birth of a virgin He showed that the grace of virginity was most pleasing in His sight, is therefore begotten in the most peaceful time of the world, because He taught men to seek peace, and condescends to visit those who follow it. But there could be no greater sign of peace than for the whole world to be brought together under one taxing, while its ruler Augustus reigned with so great peace for the twelve years, about the time of our Lord's nativity, that war having been quelled throughout the whole world, there seemed to be a literal fulfillment of the Prophet's prediction, They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, &c.

GREEK EX. Christ is born also at a time when the princes of Judah had failed, and the kingdom was transferred to Roman governors, to whom the Jews paid tribute; and then was fulfilled the, prophecy, saying, There shall not fail a leader from Judah, nor a prince from between his feet, until he shall come who is to be sent. And now when Caesar Augustus was in the 42nd year of his reign, there went forth an edict from him that all the world should be taxed for the payment of tribute, the management of which he committed to a certain Cyrinus whom he made governor of Judea and Syria;

and so it follows, This taxing was first made, &c.

THEOPHYL; St. Luke points out, that this taxing was either the first of those which comprehended the whole world, for before this very many parts of the earth are often mentioned as having been taxed; or first began at that time when Cyrinus was sent into Syria.

AMBROSE; He has rightly added the name of the governor, to mark the course of time. For if the names of the Consuls are affixed to the tables of prices, how much more ought the time to be noted down, of that event which was the redemption of all men?

THEOPHYL; Now the registration of property was so appointed by Divine guidance, that every one was ordered to go into his own country, as it follows, And they all went to be taxed, every one to his own city. Which so came to pass, in order that the Lord, conceived in one place, born in another, might the more easily escape the fury of the crafty Herod.

Hence it follows: Now Joseph also went up from Galilee.

CHRYS. It was the Lord who directed Augustus to give this edict, that he might minister to the coming of the Only-begotten; for it was this edict that brought Christ's mother into her country as the prophets had foretold, namely, to Bethlehem of Judea, according to the word, to a city of David, which is called Bethlehem.

GREEK EX. Now he added, a city of David, that he might declare that the promise made by God to David, namely, that from the fruit of his loins there should go before him a king for ever, was already fulfilled. Whence it follows, Because he was of the house and lineage of David. But since Joseph was of t e family of David, it pleased the Evangelist to make known also that the Virgin herself was of the same family, because the Divine law enjoined marriages between those of the same line;

and therefore it follows, With Mary his espoused wife.

CYRIL; It is said that she was espoused, to imply that nothing more than espousals preceded the conception; for it was not by man's seed that the Holy Virgin conceived.

GREG. But the registering of the whole world when our Lord was about to be born was mystical; for He appeared in the flesh Who should write down the names of His own elect in eternity.

AMBROSE; There is described a secular registration, implied a spiritual, to be laid before the King not of earth but of Heaven; a registering of faith: a census of souls. For the old census of the Synagogue was abolished, a new census of the Church was preparing. And to decide that the census was not of Augustus, but of Christ, the whole world is ordered to be registered. For who could demand the registration of the whole world but He who had dominion over it, for the earth is not of Augustus, but the earth is the Lord's?

THEOPHYL; And He most perfectly fulfilled what the name Augustus signifies, in that He was both desirous and able to increase His own.

THEOPHYL. Because it was fit also that at Christ's coming the worship of many Gods should cease, and one God only be worshipped, one king is described as ruling the world.

ORIGEN; To those who attentively consider it, there seems to be expressed a kind of sacrament, in its being necessary that Christ should be put down in the registration of the whole world; in order that His name being written with all, He might sanctify all, and being placed in the census with the whole world, He might impart to the world the communion of Himself.

THEOPHYL; As at that time in the reign of Augustus and under the governorship of Cyrinus, every one went to his own city to make returns of his property; so now when Christ reigns through His teachers (the governors of the Church) ought we to make returns of righteousness.

AMBROSE; This was then the first public enrollment of souls to the Lord, to Whom all enroll themselves not at the voice of the crier, but of the Prophet, who says, O clap your hands, all you people. But in order that men might know that the taxing was just, there came up to it Joseph and Mary, the just man and the virgin. He who kept the word and she who obeyed it.

THEOPHYL; Our city and country is the resting-place of the blessed, to which we ought to be traveling with daily increasing virtues. But day by day does Holy Church wait upon her Teacher, and going up from the course of worldly business (which the name of Galilee signifies) to the city of Judah, i.e. the city of confession and praise, make returns of her devotion to the Eternal King. She, after the example of the blessed Virgin Mary, a Virgin has conceived us of the Spirit. Though espoused to another, she is made fruitful by Him; and while visibly joined to the Pontiff who is placed over her, is invisibly filled with the graces of the Spirit. And hence Joseph is well interpreted increased, declaring by his very name, that the earnestness of the master speaking is of no avail, except he receive increasing help from above, that he may be heard.

6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

AMBROSE; St. Luke has briefly explained the manner, time, and also the place in which Christ was born in the flesh; the manner, that is, in which the espoused has conceived, a virgin has born offspring.

GREG. NYSS. Though coming in the form of man, yet not in every thing is He subject to the laws of man's nature; for while His being born of a woman, tells of human nature; virginity becoming capable of childbirth betokens something above man. Of Him then His mother's burden was light, the birth immaculate, the delivery without pain, the nativity without defilement, neither beginning from wanton desire, nor brought to pass with sorrow. For as she who by her guilt engrafted death into our nature, was condemned to bring forth in trouble, it was meet that she who brought life into the world should accomplish her delivery with joy. But through a virgin's purity He makes His passage into mortal life at a time in which the darkness was beginning to fail, and the vast expanse of night to fade away before the exceeding brightness of the light. For the death of sin had brought an end of wickedness which from henceforth tends to nothing by reason of the presence of the true light which has illuminated the whole world with the rays of the Gospel.

THEOPHYL; He condescended to become incarnate at that time, that after His birth He might be enrolled in Caesar's taxing, and in order to bring liberty to us might Himself become subject to slavery. It was well also that our Lord was born at Bethlehem, not only as a mark of the royal crown, but on account of the sacrament of the name.

GREG. Bethlehem is by interpretation the house of c bread. For it is the Lord Himself who says, I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. The place therefore where the Lord was born was before called the house of bread, because it was there that He was to appear in His fleshly nature who should refresh the souls of the elect with spiritual fullness.

THEOPHYL; But down to the very end of time, the Lord ceases not to be conceived at Nazareth, to be born at Bethlehem, whenever any of His hearers taking of the flour of the word makes himself a house of eternal bread. Daily in the Virgin's womb, i.e. in the mind of believers, Christ is conceived by faith, born by baptism. It follows, and she brought forth her firstborn son.

JEROME; From this Helvidius strives to prove that no one can be called firstborn who has not brothers, as he is called only-begotten who is the only son of his parents. But we thus determine the matter. Every only-begotten is firstborn, not every firstborn is only-begotten. We say not that he is first-begotten whom others follow, but before whom there is no one; (otherwise, supposing there is no firstborn but who has brothers following him, there are then no firstlings due to the priests as long as there are no others begotten;) lest perchance when no birth follows afterward, there should be an only-begotten and not a firstborn.

THEOPHYL; He is also only-begotten in the substance of His divinity, firstborn in the taking upon Himself humanity, firstborn in grace, only begotten in nature.

JEROME; Now here was no midwife, no tender anxiety of women; she wrapped the Child up in swaddling clothes, herself both mother and midwife.

THEOPHYL; He who clothes the whole world with its varied beauty, is wrapped up in common linen, that we might be able to receive the best robe; He by Whom all things are made, is folded both hands and feet, that our hands might be raised up for every good work, and our feet directed in the way of peace.

GREEK EX. Oh the wonderful straitening and banishment which He underwent, Who holds the whole world in His hands! From the very beginning He seeks for poverty, and ennobles it in His own person.

CHRYS. Surely if He had so willed it, He might have come moving the heavens, making the earth to shake, and shooting forth His thunderbolts; but such was not the way of His going forth; His desire was not to destroy, but to save; and to trample upon human pride from its very birth, therefore He is not only man, but a poor man, and has chosen a poor mother, who had not even a cradle where she might lay her new born Child; as it follows, and she laid him in the manger.

THEOPHYL; He is confined in the narrow space of a rude manger, whose seat is the heavens, that He may give us ample room in the joys of His heavenly kingdom. He Who is the bread of Angels is laid down in a manger, that He might feast us, as it were the sacred animals, with the bread of His flesh.

CYRIL; He finds man in his corrupt affections become like the beasts that perish, and therefore He is laid in the manger, in the place of food, that we changing the life of beasts, might be brought to the knowledge that befits man, partaking not of hay, but of the heavenly bread, the life-giving body.

THEOPHYL; He who sits at His Father's right hand, finds no room in an inn, that He might prepare for us in His Father's house many mansions; He is born not in His Father's house, but in an inn and by the way side, because through the mystery of the incarnation He was made the way by which to bring us to our country, (where we shall enjoy the truth and the life.)

GREG. And that He might show that on account of the human form which He took upon Him, He was born as in a strange country, not according to His power but according to His nature.

AMBROSE; On your account then am I weak, in you am I strong. On your account am I poor, in you am I rich. Consider not what you see, but acknowledge that you are redeemed. I owe more, O Lord Jesus, to Your sufferings that I am redeemed, than to Your works that I am created. It were no advantage to be born, had it not advantaged me to be redeemed also.

8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12. And this shall be a sign to you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

AMBROSE; Observe with what care God builds up our faith. An Angel teaches Mary; an Angel teaches Joseph; an Angel the shepherds also, of whom it is said, And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field.

CHRYS. To Joseph the Angel appeared in a dream, as to one who might be easily brought to believe, but to the shepherds in visible shape as to men of a ruder nature. But the Angel went not to Jerusalem, sought not for Scribes and Pharisees, (for they were corrupt and tormented with envy.) But these were simple men living in the ancient practices of Moses and the Patriarchs. There is a certain road which leads by innocence to Philosophy.

THEOPHYL; No where; in the whole course of the Old Testament do we find that the Angels who so constantly appear to the Patriarchs, came in the day time. This privilege was rightly kept for this time, when there arose in the darkness a light to them that were s true of heart. Hence it follows, and the glory of God shone round about them. He is sent forth from the womb, but He shines from heaven. He lies in a common inn, but He lives in celestial light.

GREEK EX. They were alarmed at the miracle, as it follows, And they were afraid, &c.

But the Angel dispels their rising fears. He not only soothes their terrors, but pours gladness into their hearts; for it follows, For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, &c. not to the Jewish people only, but to all. The cause of their joy is declared; the new and wonderful birth is made manifest by the very names.

It follows, For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. The first of these, i.e. the Savior, has reference to the action, the third, i.e. the Lord, to the dignity of the person.

CYRIL; But that which is in the middle, namely, Christ, has reference to the adoration, and signifies not the nature, but the compound substance of two natures. For on Christ our Savior we confess the anointing to have been performed, not however figuratively, (as formerly on kings by the oil,) and as if by prophetic grace, nor for the accomplishment of any work, as it is said in Isaiah, Thus said the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus; who although he was an idolater was said to be anointed, that he might by the decree of Heaven take possession of the whole province of Babylon; but the Savior as man in the form of a servant, was anointed by the Holy Spirit as God He Himself by His Holy Spirit anoints those that believe in Him.

GREEK EX. He marks the time of our Lord's nativity, when he says, Today, and the place when he adds In the city of David; and the signs thereof when it follows And there shall be a sign, &c. Now the Angels bring tidings to the shepherds of the Chief Shepherd ,as of a lamb discovered and brought up in a cave.

THEOPHYL; The infancy of the Savior was impressed upon us, both by frequent heraldings of Angels and testimonies of Evangelists, that we might be the more deeply penetrated in our hearts by what has been done for us. And we may observe, that the sign given us of the newborn Savior was, that He would be found not clothed in Tyrian purple, but wrapped in poor swaddling clothes, not laying on gilded couches, but in a manger.

MAXIMUS; But if perhaps the swaddling clothes are mean in your eyes, admire the Angels singing praises together If you despises" tile manger, raise your eyes a little, and behold the new star in heaven proclaiming to the world the Lord's nativity. If you believe the mean things, believe also the mighty. If you dispute about those which betoken His lowliness, look with reverence on what is high and heavenly.

GREG. It was in a mystery that the angel appeared to the shepherds while they were watching, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, implying that they are thought worthy above the rest to see sublime things who take a watchful care of their faithful flocks; and while they themselves are piously watching over them, the Divine grace shines widely round about them.

THEOPHYL; For in a mystery, those shepherds, and their flocks, signify all teachers and guides of faithful souls. The night in which they were keeping watch over their flocks, indicates the dangerous temptations from which they never cease to keep themselves, and those placed under their care. Well also at the birth of our Lord do shepherds watch over their flocks; for He was born who says, I am the good Shepherd: but the time also was at hand in which the same Shepherd was to recall His scattered sheep to the pastures of life.

ORIGEN; But if we would rise to a more hidden meaning, I should say, that there were certain shepherd angels, who direct the affairs of men, and while each one of them was keeping his watch, an angel came at the birth of the Lord, and announced to the shepherds that the true Shepherd had arisen. For Angels before the coming of the Savior could bring little help to those entrusted to them, for scarcely did one single Gentile believe in God. But now whole nations come to the faith of Jesus.

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, good will toward men.

THEOPHYL; Lest the authority of a single Angel should appear small, as soon as one had revealed the sacrament of the new birth, straightway there was present a multitude of the heavenly host. Rightly has the attending Chorus of Angels received the name of heavenly host, seeing they both humbly bring their aid to that Leader mighty in battle, Who has appeared to put down the powers of the air, and also themselves by their celestial arms bravely vanquish those opposing powers lest they should prevail as they wish in tempting men. But because He is both God and man, rightly do they sing Peace to men and Glory to God.

As it follows, Praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest. As soon as one Angel, one messenger, had brought the good tidings that God was born in the flesh, the multitude of the heavenly host broke forth in the praise of the Creator, in order both to fix their devotion on Christ, and to instruct us by their example, that as often as any of the brethren shall sound forth the word of sacred learning, or we ourselves shall have brought these holy things home to our minds, we should with our whole heart, our mouths and hands, return praise to God.

CHRYS. Of old, indeed, Angels were sent to punish, as, for instance to the Israelites, to David, to the men of Sodom, to the valley of weeping. Now on the other hand they sing the song of thanksgiving to God: because He has revealed to them His coming down to men.

GREG. At the same time they also give praises because their voices of gladness accord well with our redemption, and while they behold our acceptance, they rejoice also that their number is completed.

THEOPHYL; They wish also peace to men, as they add, On earth peace to men, because those whom they had before despised as weak and abject, now that our Lord has come in the flesh they esteem as friends.

CYRIL; This peace has been made through Christ, for He has reconciled us by Himself to God and our Father, having taken away our guilt, which was the ground of offense also. He has united two nations in one man, and has joined the heavenly and the earthly in one flock.

THEOPHYL; For whom they ask peace is explained in the words, Of good will. For them, namely, who receive the new born Christ. For there is no peace to the ungodly, but much peace to them that love the name of God.

ORIGEN; But the attentive reader will ask, How then does the Savior say, I came not to send peace on the earth, whereas now the Angels' song of His birth is, On earth peace to men? It is answered, that peace is said to be to men of goodwill. For the peace which the Lord does not give on the earth is not the peace of good will.

AUG. For righteousness belongs to good will.

CHRYS. Behold the wonderful fill working of God. He first brings Angels down to men, and then brings men up to heaven. The heaven became earth, when it was about to receive earthly things.

ORIGEN; But in a mystery, the Angels saw that they could not accomplish the work committed to them without Him Who was truly able to save, and that their healing fell short of what the care of men required. And so it was as if there should come one who had great knowledge in medicine, and those who before were unable to heal, acknowledging now the hand of a master, grudge not to see the corruptions of wounds ceasing, but break forth into the praises of the Physician, and of that God who sent to them and to the sick a man of such knowledge; the multitudes of the Angels praised God for the coming of Christ.

Catena Aurea Luke 2
4 posted on 12/24/2013 5:59:30 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


The Nativity

Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452)

Poplar, 88 x 58 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

5 posted on 12/24/2013 5:59:54 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: Salvation

Thank you, Salvation. Merry Christmas!


6 posted on 12/24/2013 6:03:28 PM PST by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: Gene Eric

Most welcome, Gene Eric.


7 posted on 12/24/2013 7:07:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

The Prince of Peace


[2] The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
[3] Thou has multiplied the nation,
thou hast increased its joy;
they rejoice before thee
as with joy at the harvest,
as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
[4] For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
thou hast broken as on the day of Midian.
[6] For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counsellor, Might God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
[7] Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,
to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

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

9:1-7. At this point, though not yet very clearly, we begin to see the figure of
King Hezekiah, who, unlike his father Ahaz, was a pious man who put all his
trust in the Lord. After Galilee was laid waste by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria,
and its population subsequently deported (cf. 8:21-22), Hezekiah of Judah would
reconquer that region, which would recover its splendour for a period. All this
gave grounds for hope again.

This oracle may have a connexion with the Immanuel prophecy (7:1-17), and the
child with messianic prerogatives that has been born (cf. 9:6-7) could be the child
that Isaiah prophesied about (cf. 7:14). For this reason, 9:1-7 is seen as the se-
cond oracle of the Immanuel cycle. This “child” that is born, the son given to us,
is a gift from God (9:6), because it is a sign that God is present among his peo-
ple. The Hebrew text attributes four qualities to the child which seem to embrace
all the typical features of Israel’s illustrious forebears — the wisdom of Solomon
(cf. 1 Kings 3: “Wonderful Counsellor”), the prowess of David (cf. 1 Sam 7: “Migh-
ty God”), the administrative skills of Moses (cf. Ex 18:13-26) as liberator, guide
and father of the people (cf. Deut 34:10-12), (”Everlasting Father”), and the virtues
of the early patriarchs, who made peace pacts (cf. Gen 21:22-34; 26:15-35; 23:
6), (”Prince of peace”). In the old Latin Vulgate, the translation gave six features
(”Admirabilis, Consiliarius, Deus, Fortis, Pater future saeculi, Princeps pacis”);
these have found their way into the liturgy. The New Vulgate has reverted to the
Hebrew text. Either way, what we have here are titles that Semite nations ap-
plied to the reigning monarch; but, taken together, they go far beyond what be-
fitted Hezekiah or any other king of Judah. Therefore, Christian tradition has in-
terpreted them as being appropriate only for Jesus. St Bernard, for example, ex-
plains the justification for these names as follows: “He is Wonderful in his birth,
Counsellor in his preaching, God in his works, Mighty in the Passion, Everlas-
ting Father in the resurrection, and Prince of Peace in eternal happiness” (Ser-
mones de diversis, 53, 1).

Because these names are applied to Jesus, the short-term conquest of Galilee
by Hezekiah is seen as being only an announcement of the definitive salvation
brought about by Christ. In the Gospels we find echoes of this oracle in a num-
ber of passages that refer to Jesus. When Luke narrates the Annunciation by
the angel to Mary (Lk 1:31-33) we hear that the son that she will conceive and
give birth to will receive “the throne of his father David and he will reign over the
house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk 1:32b-33;
cf. Is 9:7). And in the account about the shepherds of Bethlehem, they are told
that “to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord
…” (Lk 2:11-12; cf. Is 9:6). St Matthew sees the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in
Galilee (Mt 4:12-17) as the fulfillment of this Isaian oracle (cf. Is 9:1): the lands
that in the prophet’s time were laid waste and saw ethnic cleansing and trans-
plantation were the first to receive the light of salvation from the Messiah.

*********************************************************************************************
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.


8 posted on 12/24/2013 7:09:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Titus 2:11-14

The Incarnation, the Basis of Christian Ethics and Piety


[11] For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, [12] training
us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and
godly lives in this world, [13] awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the
glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to
redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are
zealous for good deeds.

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

11-14. This section is almost like a hymn in praise of saving grace and God’s
loving kindness as manifested in Christ. The terse, sober style, with phrases
piled on one another, and very few verbs, is typical of St. Paul. The duties just
described (2:1-10) — of older men, women, young people and slaves — all point
to Christians’ having a common lifestyle, which is the fruit of grace. God is the
source of that grace, and salvation its goal, and it is given to us through Jesus
Christ.

Thus, divine grace manifested in the Incarnation is actively at work to redeem us;
it brings salvation; it sanctifies us, enabling us to live godly lives; and it is the ba-
sis of our hope in the second coming of the Lord. All these dimensions of the ac-
tion of grace summarize revealed doctrine on righteousness (justification) in Je-
sus Christ. Thus, in the Incarnation, God’s salvific will, embracing all men, is ma-
nifested in a special way (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); in the Redemption, Christ, the only Me-
diator and Savior (cf. 1 Tim 2:5) obtains for us the gift of grace, whereby man be-
comes a sharer in the good things of salvation. Jesus is our model; by means of
grace he instructs the Christian on how to control his defects and grow in virtue.
The instruction we receive is not only an external one: God inwardly moves us to
seek holiness (cf. Rom 5:1-5 and note). Grace also channels our hope, for Chris-
tians are motivated not only by the memory of a past event (our Lord’s life on
earth) but also, and especially, by the fact that Jesus is in the glory of heaven
even now and that we are invited to share his inheritance (cf. 2 Pet 3:12-13).

13. “The glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”: an explicit confession
of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who is stated at one and at the same time
(with only one article in the original Greek) to be God and Savior. This expres-
sion is the hinge on which the entire hymn turns: Jesus Christ our God is the
one who came at the Incarnation, who will manifest himself fully at his second
coming, and who through his work of redemption has made it possible for man
to live a live pleasing to God.

This verse is reminiscent of Romans 9:5, where St. Paul wrote: “to them belong
the patriarchs, and of their race according to the flesh is the Christ, who is God
over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

14. The mention of Jesus Christ at the end of the previous verse leads St. Paul
to summarize the doctrine of the Redemption in this lovely passage. Four essen-
tial elements in redemption are listed: Christ’s self-giving; redemption from all ini-
quity; purification; and Christ’s establishment of a people of his own dedicated to
good deeds. The reference to Christ’s self-giving clearly means whereby we are
set free from the slavery of sin; Christ’s sacrifice is the cause of the freedom of
the children of God (analogously, God’s action during the Exodus liberated the
people of Israel). Purification, a consequence of redemption, enables a man to
become part of God’s own people (cf. Ezek 37-23). The expression “a people of
his own” is a clear allusion to Exodus 19:5: through the covenant of Sinai God
made Israel his own people, different from other nations; through the New Cove-
nant of his blood Jesus forms his own people, the Church, which is open to all
nations: “As Israel according to the flesh which wandered in the desert was al-
ready called the Church of God, so, too, the new Israel, which advances in this
present era in search of a future and permanent city, is called also the Church of
Christ. It is Christ indeed who has purchased it with his own blood; he has filled
it with his Spirit; he has provided means adapted to its visible and social union
[...]. Destined to extend to all regions of the earth, it enters into human history,
though it transcends at once all times and all racial boundaries” (”Lumen Gen-
tium”, 9).

*********************************************************************************************
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.


9 posted on 12/24/2013 7:10:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 2:1-16

The Birth of Jesus


[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 Quirinius was gover-
nor of Syria. [3] And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. [4] And Jo-
seph 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.

The Adoration of the Shepherds


[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 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 heavenly hosts praising God and saying,
[14] “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He
is pleased!”

[15] When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to
one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has made known to us.” [16] And they went with haste, and
found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

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

1. Caesar Augustus was Roman emperor at this time, reigning from 30 B.C. to
A.D. 14. He is known to have commissioned various censuses, one of which
could well be that referred to by the evangelist. Since Rome normally respected
local usages, censuses were carried out in line with Jewish custom whereby
every householder went to his place of origin to be listed in the census.

6-7. The Messiah is born, the Son of God and our Savior. “He made Himself a
child [...] to enable you to become a perfect man; He was wrapped in swaddling
clothes to free you from the bonds of death [...]. He came down on earth to en-
able you to rise up to Heaven; He had no place in the inn so that you might have
many mansions in Heaven. He, being rich, became poor for our sake — St. Paul
says (2 Corinthians 8:9) — so as to enrich us with His poverty [...]. The tears of
this crying child purify men, they wash away my sins” (St. Ambrose, “Expositio
Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.”).

The new-born Child does not yet speak, but He is the eternal Word of the Father.
Even from the manger in Bethlehem He teaches us. “We must learn the lessons
which Jesus teaches us, even when He is just a newly born child, from the very
moment He opens His eyes on this blessed land of men” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ
Is Passing By”, 14). The main lesson He gives us concerns humility: “God hum-
bled Himself to allow us to get near Him, so that we could give our love in ex-
change for His, so that our freedom might bow, not only at the sight of His power,
but also before the wonder of His humility.

“The greatness of this Child who is God! His Father is the God who has made
Heaven and earth and there He is, in a manger, ‘because there was no room at
the inn’ (Luke 2:7); there was nowhere else for the Lord of all creation” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 18).

Our hearts should provide Jesus with a place where He can be born spiritually;
that is, we should be born to a new life, becoming a new creature (Romans 6:4),
keeping that holiness and purity of soul which we were given in Baptism and
which is like being born again. We contemplate the birth of our Savior when
we pray the “third mystery” of the Holy Rosary.

7. “First-born son”: it is usual for Sacred Scripture to refer to the first male child
as “the first-born” whether or not there were other brothers (cf., for example, Exo-
dus 13:2; 13:13; Numbers 15:8; Hebrews 1:6). The same practice is to be found
in ordinary speech; take, for example, this inscription dating from approximately
the same time as Christ was born, which was found near Tell-el-Jedvieh (in Egypt)
in 1922, which states that a woman named Arsinoe died while giving birth to “her
first-born son”. Otherwise, as St. Jerome explains in his letter “Adversus Helvidi-
um”, 10, “if only He were first-born who was followed by other brothers, He would
not deserve the rights of the first-born, which the Law lays down, until the other
had been born” — which would be absurd, since the Law ordains that those first-
born should be “ransomed” within a month of their birth (Numbers 18:16).

However, Jesus Christ is first-born in a much deeper sense independent of natu-
ral or biological considerations — which St. Bede describes in these words, sum-
marizing a long tradition of the Fathers of the Church: “Truly the Son of God, who
was made manifest in the flesh, belongs to a more exalted order not only be-
cause He is the Only-begotten of the Father by virtue of the excellence of His di-
vinity; He is also first-born of all creatures by virtue of His fraternity with men: con-
cerning this [His primogeniture] it is said: ‘For those whom He foreknew He also
predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be
the first-born among many brethren’ (Romans 8:29). And concerning the former
[His being the Only-begotten] it is said ‘we have beheld His glory, glory as of the
only Son from the Father’ (St. John 1:14). Thus, He is only-begotten by the sub-
stance of the Godhead, and first-born through His assumption of humanity; first-
born by grace, only-begotten by nature. This is why He is called brother and Lord;
brother, because He is the first-born; Lord, because He is the Only-begotten” (”In
Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.”).

Christian Tradition teaches, as a truth of faith, that Mary remained a virgin after
Christ’s birth, which is perfectly in keeping with Christ’s status as her first-born.
See, for example, these words of the Lateran Council of 649: “If anyone does not
profess according to the holy Fathers that in the proper and true sense the holy,
ever-Virgin, immaculate Mary is the Mother of God, since in this last age not with
human seed but of the Holy Spirit she properly and truly conceived the divine
Word, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and gave Him birth with-
out any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after His birth:
let such a one be condemned” (Canon 3).

8-20. At His birth Christ’s divinity and His humanity are perfectly manifested: we
see His weakness — the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7) — and His divine po-
wer. Christian faith involves confessing that Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

The salvation which Christ brought us is offered to everyone, without distinction:
“Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian,
Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). That is
why, even at His birth, He chose to manifest Himself to different kinds of people
— the shepherds, the Magi and Simeon and Anna. As St. Augustine comments:
“The shepherds were Israelites; the Magi, Gentiles. The first lived near-by; the
latter, far away. Yet both came to the cornerstone, Christ” (”Sermo De Nativitate
Domini”, 202).

8-9. These shepherds may have been from the neighborhood of Bethlehem or
even have come from further afield in search of pasture for their flocks. It was
these simple and humble people who were the first to hear the good news of
Christ’s birth. God has a preference for the humble (cf. Proverbs 3:32); He hides
from those who consider themselves wise and understanding and reveals Him-
self to “babes” (cf. Matthew 11:25).

10-14. The angel announces that the new-born Child is the Savior, Christ the
Lord. He is the “Savior” because He has come to save us from our sins (cf. Mat-
thew 1:21). He is “the Christ”, that is, the Messiah so often promised in the Old
Testament, and now born among us in fulfillment of that ancient hope. He is “the
Lord”: this shows Christ’s divinity, for this is the name God chose to be known
by to His people in the Old Testament, and it is the way Christians usually refer
to and address Jesus and the way the Church always confesses her faith: “We
believe [...] in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.”

When the angel tells them that the Child has been born in the city of David, he
reminds them that this was where the Messiah Redeemer was supposed to be
born (cf. Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6), who would be a descendant of David (cf.
Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 22:42-46).

Christ is the Lord not only of men but also of angels, which is why the angels re-
joice at His birth and render Him the tribute of adoration: “Glory to God in the high-
est.” And, since men are called to share, like them, in the happiness of Heaven,
the angels add: “And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
“They praise the Lord,” St. Gregory the Great comments, “putting the notes of
their hymn in harmony with our redemption; they see us as already sharing in
their own happy destiny and rejoice at this” (”Moralia”, 28, 7).

St. Thomas explains why the birth of Christ was revealed through angels: “What
is in itself hidden needs to be manifested, but not what is in itself manifest. The
flesh of Him who was born was manifest, but His Godhead was hidden, and there-
fore it was fitting that this birth should be made known by angels, who are mini-
sters of God. This is why a certain brightness accompanied the angelic apparition,
to indicate that He who was just born ‘reflects the glory of the Father’ (Hebrews 1:
3)” (”Summa Theologiae”, III, q. 36, a. 5 ad 1).

The angel also tells the shepherds that Christ is a man: “You will find the babe
wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (verse 12) — as foretold in
the Old Testament: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the govern-
ment will be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6).

14. This text can be translated in two ways, which are compatible with each
other. One is the version chosen by the RSV; the other, as an RSV note points
out: “other ancient authorities read ‘peace, good will among men’”; a variant is
the translation used in the Liturgy: “Peace on earth to men who are God’s friends.”
Essentially what the text says is that the angels ask for peace and reconcilia-
tion with God, which is not something which results from men’s merits but rather
comes from God’s deigning to have mercy on them. The two translations are com-
plementary, for when men respond to God’s grace they are fulfilling God’s good
will, God’s love for them: “Iesus Christus, Deus homo”: Jesus Christ, God-man.
This is one of ‘the mighty works of God’ (Acts 2:11), which we should reflect up-
on and thank Him for. He has come to bring peace on earth to men of good will’
(Luke 2:14), to all men who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God” (St.
J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 13).

*********************************************************************************************
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.


10 posted on 12/24/2013 7:11:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Jerusalem Bible published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Readings for the Vigil Mass, celebrated during the afternoon or evening before Christmas Day:


First reading

Isaiah 62:1-5 ©

About Zion I will not be silent,

about Jerusalem I will not grow weary,

until her integrity shines out like the dawn

and her salvation flames like a torch.

The nations then will see your integrity,

all the kings your glory,

and you will be called by a new name,

one which the mouth of the Lord will confer.

You are to be a crown of splendour in the hand of the Lord,

a princely diadem in the hand of your God;

no longer are you to be named ‘Forsaken’,

nor your land ‘Abandoned’,

but you shall be called ‘My Delight’

and your land ‘The Wedded’;

for the Lord takes delight in you

and your land will have its wedding.

Like a young man marrying a virgin,

so will the one who built you wed you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,

so will your God rejoice in you.


Psalm

Psalm 88:4-5,16-17,27,29 ©

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

  I have sworn to David my servant:

I will establish your dynasty for ever

  and set up your throne through all ages.’

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Happy the people who acclaim such a king,

  who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,

who find their joy every day in your name,

  who make your justice the source of their bliss.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

‘He will say to me: “You are my father,

  my God, the rock who saves me.”

I will keep my love for him always;

  with him my covenant shall endure.’

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.


Second reading

Acts 13:16-17,22-25 ©

When Paul reached Antioch in Pisidia, he stood up in the synagogue, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

  ‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out.

  ‘Then he made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’


Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

Tomorrow there will be an end to the sin of the world

and the saviour of the world will be our king.

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-25 ©

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,

Perez was the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram was the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,

Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,

Obed was the father of Jesse;

and Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,

Joram the father of Azariah,

Azariah was the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah;

and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.

Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon:

Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,

Abiud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

Azor was the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Achim,

Achim the father of Eliud,

Eliud was the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob;

and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;

of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

  This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home and, though he had not had intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.

OR:

Alternative Gospel

Matthew 1:18-25 ©

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home and, though he had not had intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.

Readings for the Midnight Mass, celebrated during the night before Christmas Day:


First reading

Isaiah 9:1-7 ©

The people that walked in darkness

has seen a great light;

on those who live in a land of deep shadow

a light has shone.

You have made their gladness greater,

you have made their joy increase;

they rejoice in your presence

as men rejoice at harvest time,

as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

For the yoke that was weighing on him,

the barb across his shoulders,

the rod of his oppressor,

these you break as on the day of Midian.

For all the footgear of battle,

every cloak rolled in blood,

is burnt,

and consumed by fire.

For there is a child born for us,

a son given to us

and dominion is laid on his shoulders;

and this is the name they give him:

Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God,

Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.

Wide is his dominion

in a peace that has no end,

for the throne of David

and for his royal power,

which he establishes and makes secure

in justice and integrity.

From this time onwards and for ever,

the jealous love of the Lord of Hosts will do this.


Psalm

Psalm 95:1-3,11-13 ©

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.

O sing a new song to the Lord,

  sing to the Lord all the earth.

  O sing to the Lord, bless his name.

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.

Proclaim his help day by day,

  tell among the nations his glory

  and his wonders among all the peoples.

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,

  let the sea and all within it thunder praise,

let the land and all it bears rejoice,

  all the trees of the wood shout for joy

at the presence of the Lord for he comes,

  he comes to rule the earth.

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.

With justice he will rule the world,

  he will judge the peoples with his truth.

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.


Second reading

Titus 2:11-14 ©

God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.


Gospel Acclamation

Lk2:10-11

Alleluia, alleluia!

I bring you news of great joy:

today a saviour has been born to us, Christ the Lord.

Alleluia!


Gospel

Luke 2:1-14 ©

Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census – the first – took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.

  In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’

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


First reading

Isaiah 62:11-12 ©

This the Lord proclaims

to the ends of the earth:

Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look,

your saviour comes,

the prize of his victory with him,

his trophies before him.’

They shall be called ‘The Holy People’,

‘the Lord’s Redeemed.’

And you shall be called ‘The-sought-after’,

‘City-not-forsaken.’


Psalm

Psalm 96:1,6,11-12 ©

This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,

  let all the coastlands be glad.

The skies proclaim his justice;

  all peoples see his glory.

This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.

Light shines forth for the just

  and joy for the upright of heart.

Rejoice, you just, in the Lord;

  give glory to his holy name.

This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.


Second reading

Titus 3:4-7 ©

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


Gospel Acclamation

Lk2:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and peace to men who enjoy his favour.

Alleluia!


Gospel

Luke 2:15-20 ©

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

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!

EITHER:

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.

OR:

Alternative 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.


11 posted on 12/24/2013 7:24:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Savior Has Been Born !


12 posted on 12/24/2013 7:26:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Christmas Midnight Mass: Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness
Dominican carolers bring joy of Christmas to downtown DC
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on the meaning of Christmas
Christmas message from Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
The Promise and Fulfillment of Christmas
Why is Christmas Celebrated Mainly at Night?

The Angels in Bethlehem
The Irrepressible Joy of Christmas
Favorite Christmas Movies! What's Yours?
Far From Happy Christmas for Christians in the Holy Land
Why December 25?
Pope’s Christmas message warns gender theory is a denial of God and the Bible
Jerusalem (Latin Rite) patriarch's Christmas message surveys Middle East situation
5 Ways to Keep the Christmas Spirit Alive in Your Heart
Pope Says Denying God No Path to Peace in Christmas Eve Mass
Pope: Christmas Urbi et Orbi Message (full text)
Pope Benedict’s Midnight Mass Homily
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]

13 posted on 12/24/2013 7:37:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
14 posted on 12/24/2013 7:41:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
15 posted on 12/24/2013 7:46:35 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.

16 posted on 12/24/2013 7:49:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

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

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I 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 Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


17 posted on 12/24/2013 7:51:28 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

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

18 posted on 12/24/2013 7:54:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

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


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


19 posted on 12/24/2013 7:56:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

 

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 ... 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]

20 posted on 12/24/2013 8:03:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Holy Father's Intentions: December 2013

Victimized Children That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.

Prepare the Savior's Coming That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.

21 posted on 12/24/2013 8:08:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Gospel Commentary

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), Mass at Midnight - Solemnity

Commentary of the day
Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938), a Spanish Trappist monk
Spiritual writings, 27/12/1936 (trans. Mairin Mitchell, 1964)

"Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people"

It is cold on earth. The skies are pattered with stars whose existence can only be guessed ain the background of the dark blue of the celestial vault. On earth, one of the smallest planets in the vast sidereal systems, wonders are taking place this night which fill the angels with awe...: a God who for love of man descends in the humility of mortal flesh, born of a woman on one of the smallest planets, one of the coldest-born on earth...

It is cold! Men are cold in their hearts too. No one attends to witness the miracle of the birth of God. The whole world is simply reduced to a woman who is called Mary, a man with blue eyes called Joseph, and a new-born Child, who, wrapped in swaddling clothes, opens his eyes for the first time between the breathing of an ass and an ox, and is cradled in the handful of straw which Joseph in his poverty and Mary in her solicitude and love have procured for Him. The whole world sleeps unconsciously the nightmare of the flesh. It is very cold this night in the lands of Judea. The stars which pattern the sky are the eyes of the angels singing "Glory to God in the highest ", singing directed to God and heard by some shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, and who with their childlike souls come to worship the newborn Jesus. It is the first lesson of the love of God...

Though my soul has neither the chastity of Joseph nor the love of Mary, I offered the Lord my complete poverty and my naked soul. And if I didn't praise him with hymns like the angels, I tried to sing Him shepherd's ballads, the song of the poor man, of him who has nothing, the song of him who has only miseries and weaknesses to offer to God. But never mind, for the miseries and weaknesses offered to Jesus by a heart that really loves Him, are accepted by Him as though they were virtues. Great, boundless, is the mercy of God! My mortal flesh doesn't hear the praises of Heaven, but my soul divines that today, as then, the angels look down in wonder at the earth, and sing "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."


22 posted on 12/24/2013 8:16:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

The Humility that Heals – A Homily for Christmas

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

I. The Paradox of this Night - In a way, we are too familiar with the Christmas story, and so many of its strange paradoxes and stunning “absurdities” fail to shock and amaze us. And yet it does not take long to consider that no human being would ever craft this sort of entrance of God into our world.

Surely we would envision God’s entrance in Cecil B. DeMille proportions.  (DeMille was producer of “The Ten Commandments” and other classic Hollywood Epics, in case I’m showing my age). Yes, there would be grand sets, a cast of thousands, palaces, trumpets, processions and signs and wonders seen by the whole world! Kings and Queens, heads of State, would be featured as among those first notified by Angelic Ambassadors of the imminent arrival of God, and they would set out to meet God in reverential fear. A palace or temple (on a lofty mountaintop) with polished marble floors, high ceilings and walls gilded with gold and fine carvings would be the place of God’s arrival. All would be in readiness for the arrival of God!

And when he came he would not come as an infant. He would not come as the reputed child of a peasant couple from a “hick town” in the north. No! God would come in all his glory, child of no one, and Father and King of All; very adult, indeed he would come as the Ancient of Days! He would descend on a kind of lightning bolt escorted by myriads of the heavenly hosts in a display so stunning that no one in the whole world could miss it.

And as for God’s enemies? They would cringe before his awesome glory, realize how wrong they had been, and either repent, or run away in a futile attempt to escape.

Yes! such is the entrance that fits our God; at least as we would design it.

And thus the real Christmas stuns us by its humble simplicity. And if we really ponder how different it is from any human standard, we cannot avoid saying, “Are you kidding?” Even the few details that mildly comport with our notions (angels, wise men, a star, emperor talk like Evangelion and Kyrios) are so understated. Only a few hidden souls even seem to notice or experience these .

And then there is the crushing poverty and utter humiliation. He comes as an infant. Yes! God as an infant! And not only is the Lord not born in a palace, as would befit him, he is not even born in a warm house. He is born in a filthy, smelly stable, not far from animal dung;  a cave really, down beneath an Inn while people comfortably lodge above. An ancient antiphon of the Church speaks to our astonishment:

O magnum mysterium,(O great mystery)
et admirabile sacramentum, (and wondrous sacrament)
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, That animals would see the newborn Lord
jacentem in praesepio! (lying in a manger (food trough))

Yes, it is a great mystery. Why all this? Why so hidden? Why so lowly? If God is going to enter and announce good news, why so secret? It is almost as though he doesn’t want to be seen or known! Why this “silent night” ?

In a word, “Humility.” How is pride to be conquered? By humility! Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred; only love can do that. And pride will not drive out pride; only humility will do that.

What does pride have to do with it? Everything! Satan in pride said, “I will not serve!” and so he, along with a third of the angels fell from heaven like lightning. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in pride saying, in effect, “I will not be told what to do. I will decide what is good and evil, I will know good and evil for myself and not be told by anyone, even God who gave me everything.”

This is pride. And God will conquer it with humility. He is born in a very low place, in grave need and poverty. He is acknowledged and praised only by a few “nobodies” and a few foreign wise men. Scripture says of Jesus lifetime of humility:

  1. Being in very nature God, He did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a slave, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he therefore humbled himself, becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Phil 2:4-8)
  2. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 C0r 8:9)

Yes, this is God’s way. We humans try to fight fire with fire, violence with more violence, abused power with more abused power, and crime brings crime forever and the cycle of violence continuously spins. In striving to vanquish our foes, we become too much like them, and Satan wins no matter who loses.

But God catches Satan not by being like Satan, but by being different. He vanquishes hate with love, darkness with light, retribution with mercy, and pride with humility. God’s “foolishness” traps Satan and the worldly-wise in their own designs. Humility conquers pride because pride can only rush headlong into its own premises. In a battle against humility, to win means you lose! And thus Satan “won” at the cross, but, in the process, lost everything for He gave Jesus a chance to humbly obey and thereby undo prideful Adam’s disobedience.

And thus tonight the Lord comes humbly, silently, almost stealthily. His methods are utterly incomprehensible to a prideful world, governed by a prideful and fallen angel. But here he is, in all his puzzling paradox and we ought to pray and repent to understand even a little.

II. The Peace of this Night – In the midst of all this paradox where pride is overwhelmed by humility, comes this offered blessing for those, like the Shepherds, humble enough to hear it: and on earth peace to people of good will (Luke 2:14). Yes, though many angels spoke this, only a few were humble enough and had their wills disposed enough to hear it.

Peace…what is this peace that is offered to us? For too many, the word “peace” is something of an abstraction. We know it is the absence of war and conflict. But what is peace, more positively, more fully understood?

The Greek word translated here as “peace” is εἰρήνη (eirene) which most literally means, to join or tie together into a whole; to have wholeness; the experience we have when all essential parts are joined together. Peace is God’s gift of healing and wholeness.

And thus tonight, if you are I are humble enough to find Jesus in the humiliating and unexpected reality of his birth, he has this gift to offer you: peace, wholeness, integration, healing. But it is a gift offered in humility, and available only in humility and to the humble. It is not a gift we will find in the pride of our own agenda and expectations. Healing and wholeness come only through humility. Pride is poison, humility is healing.

And, as most of us know, who have lived long enough to experience it, our greatest healings and the deepest sources of our peace have come not from our strength, but from our weakness, from the difficult and painful moments of our life, from those moments when were were humbled enough to authentically cry out, “Help Lord!” And then he went to work.

Tonight the Lord enters our pain. He is found in poverty, in humiliation and even rejection. He is found in a low place, a cave where one has to stoop to enter. But this humility is necessary to overcome our pride.

And in the midst of the Lord’s humility and ours too, a little hand is stretched out, so little he can only hold our finger. Yes, in this humble place, with our humble God there is a healing, a gift of peace that is offered. And if we are humble enough to be of the good will to receive it, is ours.

Somehow an old song comes to mind. I have it on the best of the authority that one of the humble shepherds sang it on his way back from the humble cave, where the humble Lord’s infant hand took hold of his and the peace offered to those of good will became his. Yes, I have it on the best of authority that that humble shepherd sang this song:

Shackled by a heavy burden
Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same

He touched me, oh he touched me
And oh the joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Since I met this blessed savior
Since he cleansed and made me whole
I will never cease to praise him
Ill shout it while eternity rolls

And on Earth, Peace, to all of good will.


23 posted on 12/24/2013 8:35:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
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


24 posted on 12/24/2013 8:45:01 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.

25 posted on 12/24/2013 8:48:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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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. 


26 posted on 12/24/2013 8:51:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Information: The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ

Feast Day: December 25

27 posted on 12/25/2013 7:21:29 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Interactive Saints for Kids

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.


28 posted on 12/25/2013 7:30:44 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Wednesday, December 25

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of the
Lord. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child
and bear a son, and they shall name him
Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’"
(Matthew 1:23)

29 posted on 12/25/2013 8:22:02 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

The missal gave this version:

“They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”

The Douay gives this:

“For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.”

Something is not right here. The translation used today makes Jesus sound like a caped crusader, a man of steel, wearing his shorts outside his tights and standing with his fists on his hips.

I think people are using translation as an excuse to corrode the faith.


30 posted on 12/25/2013 3:25:28 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc
Catholic Culture

 

Daily Readings for:December 25, 2013
(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.

RECIPES

o    Arroz Dulce

o    Basic Sweet Dough

o    Berliner Kranser

o    Biskkupsky Chelbicek

o    Boiled Dressing

o    Breton Nut Bread

o    Brioche

o    Buche de Noel

o    Butter Balls

o    Butterscotch-Walnut Apples on Sticks

o    Cassata

o    Chestnut Yule Log

o    Christmas Pie

o    Christmas Pudding

o    Christmas Stollen (4)

o    Christmas Tree Cookie Decorations

o    Christstollen (2)

o    Christstollen (6)

o    Coffee Braid

o    Cole Slaw with Boiled Dressing

o    Corn Meal Meat Pie

o    Cranberry Muffins

o    Eggnog

o    Eggnog Pie

o    English Eggnog

o    Fondant Icing

o    Fruit Punch for Children, with variations

o    Galette

o    German Cinnamon Stars

o    Hard Sauce

o    Krabeli

o    Lamb's Wool, Non-Alcoholic (2)

o    Lebkuchen V

o    Lemon Sauce

o    Melachrino

o    Mulled Bishop's Wyn

o    Plum Pudding

o    Plum Pudding 2

o    Plum Pudding 3

o    Plum Pudding 4

o    Plum Pudding 5

o    Plum Pudding Rum Sauce

o    Plum Pudding Sauce

o    Popcorn Balls

o    Rich Fruit Cake

o    Rum Sponge Cake

o    Sage and Onion Stuffing

o    Six Christmas Dinner Menus

o    Soft Molasses Cookies

o    Sorrel Soup

o    Spanish Eggnog

o    Springerle

o    Spritz Cookies

o    St. Nicholas Breads

o    Stollen (1)

o    Stollen (3)

o    Stuffed Turkey

o    Sugar Cookies with Nuts

o    Thin Knots

o    Three-Way Fruit Cake

o    Torte

o    Vanocka

o    Wassail

o    Wayside Inn Pie

o    Yule Log

o    Yule Log Coffee Cake

o    Zimtstern

ACTIVITIES

o    A Christmas Play

o    A Christmas Quiz

o    A Russian German Christmas

o    Celebrating Advent and Christmas

o    Celebrating Christmas Day at Home

o    Christ-Candle

o    Christ-Guest at Christmas

o    Christingles

o    Christmas Crib

o    Christmas Crib

o    Christmas Ideas for Young Children

o    Christmas in Ireland

o    Christmas in the Polish Home

o    Christmas Music: Caroling, Folk Dancing and Yodeling

o    Christmas Pie

o    Christmas Play

o    Christmas Traditions

o    Cooking for Christmas

o    Day One ~ Christmas Drama for the Home

o    From Heaven High, O Angels, Come

o    Hymns and Carols

o    Irish Christmas Candles

o    Making a Christ-Candle

o    Meaning and History of Christmas

o    O Infant, God's Eternal Son

o    Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas

o    Post-Midnight Mass Traditions

o    Put Christ Back in Christmas

o    Shepherds, Up!

o    The Exchange of Gifts

o    The Masses of Christmas

o    Giving of Presents

PRAYERS

o    Blessing of the Christmas Crib

o    Blessing of the Christmas Tree in the Home

o    Meal Prayers for the Christmas Season

o    Christmas Night Prayers

o    Enthroning the Christ Child

o    Blessing of the Crib

o    Christmas Baking and Bread Blessing

o    Christmas Morning Prayers

o    Christmas Evening Prayers

o    Christmas Masses

LIBRARY

o    A Child Is Born | Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty

o    Jesus Christ Is the World's True Wealth | Pope John Paul II

·         Christmas: December 25th

·         Solemnity of Christmas

·         Old Calendar: The Nativity of Our Lord

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

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

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

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

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

·        

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

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

·         The First Day of Christmas

·        

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

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

·        

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

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

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

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

·         From the Congregation for the Clergy


31 posted on 12/25/2013 3:43:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: John 1:1-18

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

The Word became flesh. (John 1:14)

This is a day for falling in love. This is the day when Mary and Joseph look up from the baby in the manger and invite us to gather around. Even as they savor the moment, they are eager to share it with us as well, this “good news of great joy

for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

And so Joseph and Mary invite us to join them on their journey of discovery. Here, says Mary, as she lifts her newborn from the hay. He is yours too—he came for you. Take him. Hold him close. Share in the love that Joseph and I have for this little one.

Like the angels’ birth announcement, the invitation is for everyone. No one is left out—however unworthy, unspiritual, or unprepared we may feel. So whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your state today, receive this gift of Jesus. Take the child in your arms. Gaze on his face, and see how much he loves you. Let him lock eyes with you, as babies will, so that he can search your heart and reveal you to yourself. Let down your defenses, and fall in love with this Christ child—with God made flesh for you.

According to a wise spiritual director—most likely Fr. Pedro Arrupe, former superior general of the Society of Jesus—falling in love with God in this “absolute, final way” is the most practical and far-reaching thing you could ever do:

“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”

Jesus has come. The Word has become flesh. Fall in love with him. Stay in love with him. It will decide everything.

“Mary and Joseph, thank you for bringing Jesus to me! Pray that I might love him as you did—more and more each day.”

Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-6


32 posted on 12/25/2013 4:43:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

24 Dec

THE MOMENT WHEN GOD STEPPED INTO OUR HISTORY

(A biblical refection on CHRISTMAS [Year A] – 25 December 2013)

Gospel Reading: Luke 2:1-14

First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalms: Psalm 96:1-3,11-13; Second Reading: Titus 2:11-14

BSNBI024

The Scripture Text

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 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, to be enrolled with Mary his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 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.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 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; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:1-14 RSV)

Christian faith accepts that at a certain moment in time God stepped into our history, clad in our flesh and blood, in order to heal our sinfulness and draw us to Himself. Saint John the Evangelist expressed the mystery in one short statement: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

But Saint Luke has fleshed out the mystery in a story of people and places. It is a story that children can understand. In fact, it is only the child in the soul that can appreciate it with proper wonder and the sense of being involved in the story. Luke’s familiar story has given us the crib tableau and the script of that play which four year-old children perform for admiring parents on their theatrical debut. It has inspired the artists, poets and hymn writers of a thousand cultures. We see pictures based on the story on Christmas cards which range from the masters to the modern commercial mixture of biblical figures and winter symbols like holly, red-breasted robbins and snow.

But the story needs a closer look because familiarity may have dulled the edge of appreciation.

ANAK YESUS DILAHIRKAN - 100

Luke has a great sense of how God has put down the mighty from their high places and exalted the lowly in the reversal of human standards. He cites the names of places in an order of decreasing importance. Commencing with a decree that affects the whole world, the picture centers on the province of Syria before narrowing down to the unpretentious town of Nazareth in Galilee and the small Judaean town, Bethlehem. Luke is aware that the movement would be reversed and that from Bethlehem and Nazareth the messasge of life would spread throughout Syria and reach Rome, the capital of the “world”.

The same descending movement is attached to the houses and dynasties mentioned. The story begins in the imperial palace of Caesar Augustus. It reaches the ancient royal house of David. But where the divine child is born is not even a house. Luke’s words are deliberate: “there was no place for them in the inn”. (Luke 2:7). Yet the divine reversal is hinted in the name of Bethlehem, which means the “house of bread”. Again Luke is aware that no house can contain the divine One who has come; yet for our sake He chose to be present in the Eucharistic bread. And He who came to feed the world’s spiritual hunger is first laid in the feeding trough of the dumb animals.

The people who are caught up in the story come to us in the same descending order. Luke begins with the emperor, Caesar Augustus. Next comes the governor of Syria, Quirinius: then Joseph and Mary, unknowns in the eyes of the world. Finally we meet the shepherds, poorly paid hirelings, commonly regarded as thieves and unwelcome at religious celebrations because of their smelly clothes and contraventions of religious hygiene.

Again Luke delights in the reversal of roles. Bethlehem had been the birthplace of David, who from the unlikely start of shepherd boy and youngest son became the nation’s greatest king. Now, to the other Bethlehem shepherds, is given news of great joy for the whole world. Into these humble places shines the light of glory. And unto such unimportant people comes the messenger angel and the great throng of the heavenly choir.

Luke always likes to follow up his description of action with a comment on the inner reactions of people to the event. He reveals something of the inner life of Mary who treasured these things and pondered them in her heart. Not just weighed them up: but Luke’s word indicates how Mary kept on connecting these happenings with later events. About the shepherds, Luke notes that they responded to the happenings by glorifying and praising God.

Christmas is the time to find the Savior in the most unlikely place of all …… in my own sinful soul. And to discover the Child in my own soul, capable of wonder and astonishment: willing to let go of self to rise into praise and glory.

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 Spirit, reveal to us the treasures held in the incarnation. Move us to love today, even if we do not feel like loving. Teach us to live like this Child, who teaches us that to give is to receive. Amen

33 posted on 12/25/2013 4:52:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: dsc

Jerusalem has this:

and this is the name they give him:

Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God


34 posted on 12/25/2013 5:04:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

35 posted on 12/25/2013 5:29:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 25, 2013:

(Christmas) If you are a parent, take a moment today to ponder the awesome miracle of your child’s birth. If you are not a parent, ponder a mysterious way that God has acted in your life. Look around. It’s there.

36 posted on 12/25/2013 5:41:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Ye who are little, come unto Me

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 20:02

December 31st will mark the beginning of a year celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birthday of Mother Mectilde de Bar. This text of hers, dating from 1671, reveals her as a precursor of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

“It is true that the mystery is past, I recognize it, and that it happened only once, but the grace of the mystery is not, in fact, past for the souls who prepare themselves to give birth to Jesus Christ in their heart. He was born one time in Bethlehem, and he is born every day in us with Holy Communion, which, as the Fathers say, is an extension of the Incarnation.

Do you know why Our Lord did not want to be born in the city of Jerusalem? It is because there all was full of creatures; there was not a single empty house. All was full of business or something other. He preferred to be born in a poor stable, empty and abandoned. This demonstrates to us that, if we want Jesus to abide in us, we must empty ourselves of all things, withour exception. This being done, He will impress in us His spirit, His life, His inclinations, and in such a soul one will see only Jesus.

Those who have received this grace, will be recognized easily by their docility and simplicity, the companion virtues of holy childhood. Who are the first to come to the Infant Jesus to offer Him homage? Poor folk, shepherds. It is what the Gospel says: “Ye who are little, come unto Me.” Only the humble are worthy of learning secrets so divine, hidden from the great ones of the earth, who are precisely the proud. The more a soul is little, the more will God communicate Himself to her. He goes to seek her out in the depth of her nothingness, where He fills her with all Himself.”

Mother Mectilde de Bar (1614-1698)


37 posted on 12/25/2013 5:55:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

In principio erat Verbum

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 08:34

 

The Wood of Crèche and of Cross

This is an extraordinary painting of the Nativity, principally because of the crucifix on the rustic shelf inside the stable. It is the work of Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556). The nakedness of the Child in the manger presages His nakedness on the cross. His arms are outstretched in the manger as on the cross. In Bethlehem, the Virgin Mother and Saint Joseph contemplate Him; on Calvary the Virgin Mother and Saint John will look upon Him pierced.

Adoring Silence

Following the monastic tradition, there is no sermon at the Mass of Christmas Day. The Prologue of Saint John — the mystery of the Word out of silence — calls for what the Venerable John Paul II described as an “adoring silence.” The Prologue is sung to a sublime melody. And after it, there has to be silence. After the Word, no other words. Tacere et adorare.

Saint John the Theologian presents us with the ineffable mystery of the Word: the Word facing the Father from all eternity; the Word made flesh, pitching his tent among us, that we might see his glory. Before the glory of the Word, all other words fall silent. In the presence of the Word, human discourse stammers and fails. Silence alone is worthy of the mystery.


38 posted on 12/25/2013 6:07:22 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

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 1

<< Wednesday, December 25, 2013 >> Christmas
 
Isaiah 52:7-10
Hebrews 1:1-6

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

Similar Reflections
 

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

 
"Hark! Your watchmen raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion." —Isaiah 52:8
 

"Mary" Christmas! Alleluia! Christ our Savior is born. On this Christmas morn many throughout the world have almost nothing and live in abject poverty. They live in conditions similar to the first Christmas. There is no room for them in the inn (Lk 2:7). Yet there is room for all of us in the kingdom of the Christ-Child. We may be rejected by man and despised by the world, but no one who comes to Jesus will He ever reject (Jn 6:37).

"O come all ye faithful...O come let us adore Him." "The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all" (Ti 2:11). "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy" (Ti 3:4-5).

Come to Jesus. Receive salvation. "You who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come" (Is 55:1). Come to Jesus, "all you who are weary and find life burdensome" (Mt 11:28), and He will refresh you. Come "to Bethlehem and see this event" (Lk 2:15). "This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Praise, praise, and give Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary."

 
Prayer: Jesus, on this Christmas Day, I come to You. I repent of my sins and give You the Christmas present of my life. I accept You as my Lord and Savior.
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: Praise You, Jesus, Son of God, for becoming a human being like us in everything but sin. Thank You, Jesus! Alleluia!

39 posted on 12/25/2013 6:21:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

40 posted on 12/25/2013 6:26:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

“The Jerusalem Bible (JB or TJB) is an English-language translation of the Bible which was first introduced to the English-speaking public in 1966” Wikipedia

I wonder if they really think they have produced a better translation than Saint Jerome’s.


41 posted on 12/26/2013 11:29:51 AM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc

I found a Jerusalem Bible at a book sale for only $6 and something.

Not bad, all in all. But sometimes I like the Douay Rheims better. That is my son’s favorite Bible.

What translation is used most around the world?


42 posted on 12/26/2013 2:52:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

The Deeper Meaning of Christmas

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. on December 25, 2013 ·

 

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.

 


43 posted on 12/26/2013 6:38:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

The Christian Booksellers Association list the most popular versions of the Bible sold by their members in the United States. Through 29 December 2012, the top 5 best selling translations (based on both dollar and unit sales) are as follows:[8]
New International Version
King James Version
New Living Translation
New King James Version
English Standard Version

I never see a DR on the shelf.


44 posted on 12/27/2013 2:03:34 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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