When some new possibility for your life stirs in you, something heretofore unknown and unfamiliar, Jesus is born. It is Christmas. When suddenly you realize that you can open your heart in love, when you have kept it closed for years out of fear, it is Christmas. When you consider how to spend your time, and you go to a hospital to visit the sick, Jesus is born and it is Christmas. Christmas is an archetypal event, deep within, and outside of history. Christmas is a mystery: It is not a puzzle to be figured out but a mysterious happening that transfigures life and gives it meaning. It makes life merry and worthy of our complete devotion.
—from the book The Soul of Christmas
† Saint Quote "Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart." — St. Therese of Lisieux
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "In that blessed [Christmas] night also Joseph became the patron, the vicar, and the patriarch of the whole Catholic Church. It is certain, St. Athanasius tells us, that the stable where Jesus was born is 'a figure of the Church, whose altar is the manger, whose vicar is Joseph, whose ministers are the shepherds, whose priests are the angels, whose great High-Priest is Jesus Christ, and whose throne is the Blessed Virgin.'" — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 233 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life and Glories of St. Joseph
† VERSE OF THE DAY "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
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St. Victoria (d. 250 A.D.) was a Christian noblewoman from Rome. She, together with her sister, St. Anatolia, were forced into arranged marriages with two pagan noblemen. Both Victoria and Anatolia desired to devote themselves entirely to God rather than marry. Upon this refusal, their suitors denounced the sisters as Christians to the authorities under the persecution of Roman Emperor Decius. The sisters were seized and put under house arrest in order to break their faith and convince them to marry. Instead of weakening, their faith in Christ became more resolute. While under house arrest they sold all of their belongings, gave their money to the poor, and converted the servants and guards who attended them to Christianity. Both St. Victoria and her sister were eventually killed for their faith; first Anatolia, and later Victoria. St. Victoria was stabbed through the heart at the request of her rejected suitor, Eugenius. Her feast day is December 23rd.
Saint John of Kanty
(June 24, 1390 – December 24, 1473) John was a country lad who made good in the big city and the big university of Kraków, Poland. After brilliant studies he was ordained a priest and became a professor of theology. The inevitable opposition which saints encounter led to his being ousted by rivals and sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz. An extremely humble man, he did his best, but his best was not to the liking of his parishioners. Besides, he was afraid of the responsibilities of his position. But in the end he won his people's hearts. After some time he returned to Kraków and taught Scripture for the remainder of his life.
John was a serious man, and humble, but known to all the poor of Kraków for his kindness. His goods and his money were always at their disposal, and time and again they took advantage of him. He kept only the money and clothes absolutely needed to support himself. He slept little, ate sparingly, and took no meat. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by the Turks. Later John made four subsequent pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When he was warned to look after his health, he was quick to point out that, for all their austerity, the fathers of the desert lived remarkably long lives. Reflection
John of Kanty is a typical saint: He was kind, humble, and generous, he suffered opposition and led an austere, penitential life. Most Christians in an affluent society can understand all the ingredients except the last: Anything more than mild self-discipline seems reserved for athletes and ballet dancers. Christmas at least is a good time to reject self-indulgence.
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent Lectionary: 199 Reading 1
Mal 3:1-4, 23-24
Thus says the Lord GOD: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek,1 And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.
Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day, To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the land with doom.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14 R.(see Luke 21:28) Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand. Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand. All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees. The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him, and his covenant, for their instruction. R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust! R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John." But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name." So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him."
Catholic Meditations Meditation: Luke 1:57-66
4th Week of Advent
All were amazed. (Luke 1:63)
If you were to pay close attention to the Gospel readings between the season of Advent and the feast of the Epiphany, you might notice a familiar refrain, especially in the readings from Luke. Everyone seems to be amazed all the time!
Initially, when Zechariah was delayed in the Temple by an angelic visitor, the people waiting for him "were amazed" at how long he took (Luke 1:21). Then in today's Gospel, when Zechariah's tongue is loosened and when he blesses God, the people are amazed (1:63). When the shepherds told the people of Bethlehem the good news of Jesus' birth, everyone was similarly amazed (2:18). Even Joseph and Mary were amazed when Simeon prophesied that their child was the "glory for your people Israel" (2:32).
It's only two days before Christmas, so now may be a good time to remind yourself why everyone was so amazed. It's because Jesus is amazing! If you've been following him for a while, you have probably seen him work in some amazing ways—either in your life or as he helped you reach out to someone with his love. Take some time today to think back on some of these events, and thank him for these blessings. If you're only beginning to walk with Jesus, be assured that he has amazing things in store for you and your loved ones.
But no matter how long or short a time you have been following Jesus, you can trust that he still has a lot of amazing work to do in your life. The promise of Christmas is a promise of new life and new hope—it's a promise that never ends.
And even though he came two thousand years ago, he still comes to us today. He comes through the sacraments. He comes through his word in Scripture. He comes in the whisperings of our conscience. He comes in answered prayers and in answers deferred. And he comes in the people and situations we encounter every single day. So don't be afraid to ask him for the "Christmas present" of seeing him work powerfully.
That's what's so amazing about Jesus: he is always with us, no matter what. May we never lose sight of this glorious truth!
"Jesus, fill me with eager expectation as I await your coming on Christmas Day. I believe that you can still amaze me!"
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24 Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
Theology is essential for the Church's pastoral mission and life of faith. Sadly, theology is often viewed merely as a form of Catholic trivia. But it is not simply enough to love the Lord with all one's heart. Loving the Lord with our minds is indispensable. —Michael Patrick Barber from Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know
my2cents: "But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire..."
A purificator? The purifying fire? What is a refiner's fire? It burns the old, and the impurities away.
Are we thinking purgatory? Why not think Savior? He comes to destroy what has been destroying all of us since the beginning of time! Adhere!! COME HERE!
We pray: "Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand."
He guides as a guiding light, amen? He teaches the humble a couple things we prayed: Justice, and His Way. The purifying fire is a fire of light.
In the Gospel we heard today: "...all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God." This happens when we follow humility and take to His way. You are free to speak...the Word of God. From Bishop Barron Today:
Friends, today's Gospel tells the story of the birth and naming of John the Baptist. John's father Zechariah had been rendered speechless after his vision in the sanctuary, but we hear that "his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God." What follows this passage is the wonderful Canticle of Zechariah, which puts Jesus and John in the context of the great story of Israel. I would like to explore two lines of that great prayer today.
The God of Israel, Zechariah prays, "has visited and brought redemption to his people." This is what God always wants to do. He hates the fact that we've become enslaved by sin and fear, and accordingly, he wants to liberate us. The central event of the Old Testament is an event of liberation from slavery. We are, as sinners, enslaved to our pride, our envy, our anger, our appetites, our greed, our lust—all of which wrap us up and keep us from being the people that we want to be.
Zechariah continues: "He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant." God will effect this liberation through the instrumentation of a mighty Savior. This should be read against the background of Israel's long history of military struggle against its enemies. A great warrior has come, and he is from the house of Israel's greatest soldier, David. God had promised that he would put a descendant of David on the throne of Israel for all eternity, and Zechariah is prophesying that this will take place.
Reflect: How are you "enslaved"? What do you have to do to become free? . . . Last night I told the crowd at Posadas that Jesus came for two things and two things to save us from of utmost importance: Sin, and Death.
With that comes healing and life. God chose to reveal Himself through Jesus. And now, through the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit is among us...Emmanuel. Let us pray to be enlightened by the Spirit. The darkest day of our lives will then be behind us..and more and more light will then begin to enter....
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Random Bible Verse 1
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Thank You Lord
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