27 December 2007

The Post Christmas Clutter

As the first wave of Christmas wrapping paper, boxes, and packaging materials has made it to the garbage and toys are scattered hither and thither while waiting for the inevitable wails of "I'm bored" or "there's nothing to do" echoing throughout the house, I wanted to share an essay from Fr. McNabb called "The Passing of Children's Games."

Plato has told us that one of the surest forebodings of a nation's death is any great change in the song's that people sing. (Hmmm, replacing the glorious musical treasures of the Church with happy clappy banal pop ditties post Vatican II?) He would have been a better prophet of his own people.... had he known that an even surer sign of a nation's death is any great change in the games the children play.
It will not be denied, at least by any lovers of sport, that children's games have sickened------it may be to the point of death. Perhaps some of my readers may not understand what i mean by saying that games have ceased to be creative and even imaginative. We have largely confused games, which children must re-create as they play with toys, which children merely use to enjoy. the great national games are a dispiriting study in the same ailment. They are now mostly composed of a few skilled players who are paid to play, and tens of thousands of onlookers who pay to be amused. Yet to be amused is passive, not active or creative in form and function. but to "play" bears an active meaning or reminiscence; and reminds us that children who need to be amused, whilst three is grass in the fields and sand by the shore, are the anaemic offspring of a people on the threshold of death.
It is money-making and professionalism that have been the death of children's games. Nowadays as there is a business side to everything, not excepting the Gospels, so there is an opportunity of making money out of the games our children play. I can even imagine that somewhere in the background is that supreme creation of Mammon, a "Toy Trust." If there is, then it immediate aim is not to amuse children, but to amass wealth; and its final end will be to destroy children, who, in spite of economics a la Herod, are the nations' wealth in bullion.
The toys of children, like the clothes of their elders, are at present the prey of fashion. I wish it were more evident that the changes of fashion are nowadays beyond the control of what our grandparents called a "leader of fashion." If there are persons who claim this survival of decayed nobility they are "leaders" who no longer lead, but follow. the real leaders are the tradesfolk, the manufacturers or general dealers, who insist that the next season's fashion in hats or gowns or playthings shall be what they think best, that is, best, not for the buyers, but for the trade. In something less than a generation we have witnessed almost the complete decay of the old games which demanded the fewest toys, and most creative childlike imagination.
There are a thousand reasons for this unnerving decay of children's games. after the spread of money-making and professionalism, perhaps the chief reason is the decay of children. When a homes holds but one or two children at the most, toys, playthings, and organized games become a domestic necessity. The child-boy or child-girl lacks that best of playthings, namely, two or three brothers or sisters. The noble art of child-play is entrusted to a paid nurse, whose apparatus is the bought toy and playthings. the child is amused, as precious pet dogs are taken out on a
lead to be exercised. The tragedy of decaying child-play may be written in six acts.
-----------------------------------------------------
Act I: Horatio dives, the only begotten son of John Dives (nee Murphy) and Marian Dives (nee Tomkin's), has no elder or younger brothers to play with or fight with.

Act II: A nursery is set up in the abode of Horatio Dives, where, under pretext of "bringing him up," the said Horatio is imprisoned for the term of his natural boyhood. Several jailers (alias head-nurse and under-nurse and nursemaids) are paid to see that Horatio does not live like an ordinary boy with five or six ordinary brothers and sisters.

Act III: The head-jailer, to pacify Horatio in his struggles for his birthright of boyhood and freedom, discovers the efficacy of teddy bears, gollywogs, and that kind of thing.

Act IV: Mr. Makepenny, the sweater and multiple storekeeper, discovers money in teddy bears, gollywogs and that kind of thing. He thereupon develops the "toy-line" of business. The motor cars outside his Piccadilly and Fifth Avenue stores congest the traffic.

Act V: All the lesser people, to whom the moneyed classes are the Communion of Saints, buy toys for rapidly decreasing families.

Act VI: !!!! (Curtain)
Dead March in Herod.

17 December 2007

Christmas Latin Mass at St. Walburga's

There will be a Christmas Mass in the Tridentine Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at St. Walburga's in Rogers/Fletcher/Hassan Township MN. Click here for directions. St. Walburga's is also known as Mary, Queen of Peace Church and is a joint parish with St. Martin's in Rogers. Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Cloutier at 1:00 in the afternoon. This may not be an ideal time for everyone, especially on Christmas day, but as Fr. is generously offering to do this after a full slate of Masses beginning Christmas Eve at his normal parish it would be great to have as much support as possible.

Click here for some pictures of St. Walburga's.

12 December 2007

The Meaning of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph which was read and understood quickly by the Aztec Indians.

1. THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN
She was greater than the dreaded Huitzilopochtli, their sun-god of war.
2. HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT MOON
She had clearly crushed Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent moon-god.
3. THE STARS STREWN ACROSS THE MANTLE
She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped. She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on December 12, 1531 and the stars that she wore are the constellations of the stars that appeared in the sky that day!
4. THE BLUE‑GREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE She was a Queen because she wears the color of royalty.
5. THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son who died on the cross for all mankind.
6. THE BLACK BELT She was with child because she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
7. THE FOUR PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB She was the Mother of God because the flower was a special symbol of life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
8. HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
9. THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE COLORED GARMENT She is the Queen of the Earth because she is wearing a contour map of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.

THE IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE AND SCIENCE

1. The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.
2. The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years! The tilma or cloak of Saint Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!
3. There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
4. Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
5. The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown property of the surface and substance of which it is made.
6. According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a modern day photograph. (Produced 300 years before the invention of photography.)
7. The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
8. Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is believed to be the images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan Gonzales, the interpreter and others.
9. The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in the normal eye which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.
10. The stars on Our Lady's Mantle coincide with the constellations in the sky on December 12, 1531.

All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And while her role in the conversion of the Mexican people and ending the bloody human sacrifices of the Aztecs is well known, she is less well known for her assistance a few years later in a battle half way around the world. "Pope Pius V called for a rosary crusade among all Christians, as he anticipated the conflict. At the same time, the second archbishop of Mexico, Don Fray Alonso de Montufor, had become a devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the miraculous image of the Mother of God given to a humble Indian convert, Juan Diego, on the newly discovered continent. The archbishop had seen evidence of continuous miracles through the intercession of God's Mother, and he was aware of the crisis in Europe. He had a small reproduction of the holy image of Our Lady of Guadalupe made, then touched it to the original and sent it to King Philip of Spain in 1570. Archbishop Montufor expressed the desire that the king would see that this copy of the sacred image of our Lady was placed in a suitable place in the Christian navy when the battle began.
Archbishop Montufor believed that God's Mother would work a miracle for the Holy League which the Pope had organized, just as she had so often done for the Mexicans. The king agreed and had it mounted in the cabin of Admiral Andrea Doria as the Battle of Lepanto approached. During the battle, Andrea Doria was compelled to separate from the center force of Christians. Uluch Ali then broke through the gap and was prepared to destroy Andrea Doria's fleet. Doria knew he was facing destruction, together with his fleet. His was the ship with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his cabin, and the battle was thus under her intercession.
At this critical moment a tremendous wind came up and blew the Turkish navy into total disorganization. Their squadrons were thrown into panic and, thus stricken, most of their fleet was captured or destroyed....Until 1811 the small reproduction of the holy image of Guadalupe remained in the Doria family. A descendant, Cardinal Doria, made a present of it to the people of Aveto in Liguria, north of Genoa. There it remains, enshrined to the present day in the Church of San Stefano d'Aveto. Pius VII in 1815 granted that shrine the faculty of a Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as indulgences, in answer to the great faith and love inspired by the shrine and the reported miracles. Pope Leo XII granted perpetual privileges to the altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Stefano d'Aveto.

07 December 2007

Excerpts from Nazareth or Social Chaos


One of my favorite authors is Fr. Vincent McNabb O.P. Fr. McNabb was an Irish priest who spent most of his life at the Dominican Priory in N.W. London. Fr. McNabb was regarded as being eccentric and controversial by many, but he lived in that company of saints who followed the Gospel teaching of poverty to the letter and even his detractors could not deny that he lived exactly as he preached. He walked nearly everywhere in his homemade boots and tattered religious habit. In his cell he had a chair and a bed, neither of which he used as he either stood or knelt. He kept a Bible, his breviary, the constitutions of the Dominican Order, and the Summa of St. Thomas. He was the spiritual advisor and friend of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Msgr. Knox wrote of him "Father Vincent is the only person I have ever known about whom I have felt, and said more than once, 'He gives you some idea of what a saint must be like.' There was a kind of light about his presence which didn't seem to be quite of this world." -Most of his writings are out of print but IHS Press is reprinting some of them and worth buying. Here is an excerpt from his book Nazareth or Social Chaos which hopefully will be re-printed in 2008. A recurrent theme throughout his works is the model of the Holy Family and the town of Nazereth where we will find the answer to the modern economic and social evils that afflict us.

Chapter 20. Fifteen Things a Distributist May Do

An Open Letter to
J.—B.—, A Young Gentleman with Desires)
You say you are at sea with a pen; and that anyhow, Fleet Street, not to say Little Essex Street, is in no need of recruits. You feel that Distributist modelling and designing has been well and truly done; but that the modellers and designers will have wasted their brains if some simple folk like you don’t attempt to carry out the designs. You ask dramatically, ‘Don’t tell me what to think for I subscribe to G.K.’s. But tell me what to do.’

I will therefore set down fifteen things, any one of which would be good to do. They shall be fifteen for two reasons. Because if I set down the hundred and one things you might do, it would fill a whole issue and not just one article in G. K.’s. Fifteen gives a choice such as a man has,say, in choosing a cravat, a livelihood, or a wife.

I will not begin at the beginning. I will begin anywhere and go on anyhow. But, indeed, when things have come to such a state of social untidiness as they are at present, a beginning can be made anywhere and anyhow. The one things necessary is to begin.

1. If you have a mantelpiece, remove everything from it except perhaps the clock. If you are fortunate enough to have no mantelpiece, remove from the walls of your home all pictures and such like, except a crucific. This will teach you the Poverty of Thrift. It may be called an empiric approach to Economics.

2. Clean out your own room daily. Clean it if possible on your knees. This will teach you the Poverty of Work. It will also prevent paralysis of the knees. But a paralysis which has reached the knees will soon reach the hands and the brain, if not the tongue.

3. For forty days or more—say, during Lent—do not smoke (and neither grouse about it nor boast about it). This will also improve your eyesight. It will also improve your insight into the tangled economics question: (tobacco) combines and how to smash them.

4. Buy some hand-woven cloth. Wear it. Buy some more. Wear that too. Remember the noble advice on how to eat cucumber, cut it into two parts (equal or unequal). Eat one part. Then eat the other. Your home-spun will instruct you better than the Declaration of Independence will instruct you on the dignity and rights of man.

5. Buy boots you can walk in. Walk in them. Even if you lessen the income of the General Omnibus Company, or your family doctor; you will discover the human foot. On discovering it, your joy will be as great as if you had invented it. But this joy is the greatest, because no human invention even of Mr. Ford or Mr. Marconi is within a mile of a foot.

6. Find another young Distributist, with our without University education, but with
brains and feet1. Invite him to use his feet by tramping with you across any English county, say, water-logged Staffordshire during the summer holidays. Invite him to use his brains by standing on his feet, but not on his dignity, in market-places, telling the village-folk what is the matter with Staffordshire. This will lead him to tell them what is the matter with himself.

note 1.
Do not believe X.—, who says they are not to be found. The truth is that X.— has
lived so long in stunt circles for the last six months that he has become prematurely infantile.)

If you will keep at it for three weeks or a month, your advice on How to Save England will be more valuable, though, I admit, less valued than that of the entire Board of Directors of the Old Woman of Threadneedle Street.

7. If you fail to find a fellow-tramp, or if you covet the heroism of the dug-outs in a time of peace, spend your summer holiday as a farm-hand. You will not be worth your keep; but it will be worth your while. If Babylondon has not befogged your ‘intellectus agens’—your active intellect, in the noble phrase of scholasticism, you will gradually see the Poverty of Work. This is the other empiric approach to Economics.

8. If through the machinations of Beelzebub or his fellow-devil Mammon, your house is in suburbia, plant your garden not with things lovely to see like roses, or sweet to smell like lavender; but good to eat like potatoes or French beans. At the end of two years you will have done three things: (1) You will have a higher appreciation of yokel-intelligence; (2), you will have a wider knowledge of Natural History (especially of slugs and the like); and (3), You will have a sardonic scorn for the economics of our present Sewage System. In other words you will have had the beginnings of a liberal education.

9. I wil not approach a matter or your reputation. If you take the advice offered, you may be accounted a fanatic. But fanatic or no fanatic, here is the advice. For twelve months, if possible, or at least for twelve days, do not use nything ‘canned’, neither canned meat nor canned music.

This will throw you back on what is called Home Produce. This in its turn will show you the right expression to put into your singing of Rule Britannia.

10. I will now appeal to the artist that is within every one of us. Art, as you know, is the right way of making a good thing. There is no right way of making a bad things. Not only something, but make something—a cup of tea, a boiled egg, a hatpeg (from a fallen branch), a chair!

This heroic attempt to make something will enable your friends to practise their wit by saying you have only made an ass of your yourself. In order to hear this gibe stolidly, read up about ‘the ass’s colt at the crossways.’

11. Talk your young architect friend into spending two weeks of his holiday making an abode (formerly called a house1). He is thinking in terms of Brick-combine bricks, Timber-combine timber, Steel-combine steel, Cement-combine cement, Building materials-combine building materials. Drag him out into England that still grows oak, elm, ash, beech, fir, larch, etc. Give him a wood axe, a hatchet, and adze, and a few tools. Tell him from me that if in two weeks and for less that 100 pounds you and he cannot make an abode more spacious and sanitary than ninety per cent of the dwellings in the Borough of Westminster or St. Pancras, your should be certified. This may be called the Strain Test, enabling you to know whether he has brains enough to be your friend, even if he has brains enough to be an architect.

note 1.
The word house is now becoming obsolete. Collections of flats are not a house.
For the moment the genius of the English language seems unequal to the task of
giving these collections a name.

12. Set down for the information and inspiration of young Distributists one hundred answers to the usually despairing question: ‘How can I get out of London?‘ Begin with the simplest answer: ‘Walk out.’ You may find that some of your most promising Distributists will walk no more with you. Do not be despondent at this; because it may make your own Distributism more sea-worthy.

13. As you are not yet married, and as marriage is the fundamental state of life as well as the unit of the Commonwealth, make up your mind whether your are called to this state. If you make up your mind to marry, do not marry merely a good wife: marry a good mother to your children. A wife that is a good mother to your children ist the Angel of the House; the other sort is the very devil.

14. Before asking her hand and her heart, tell her how to test you. Advise her to ask herself not whether you would make her a good husband, but whether you would make a good father to her and your children. A wife that is not a house-wife, and husband that is not a good house-band are heading for Admiralty Probate and Divorce!

15. If you do not feel called to the state of marriage vows, there is another state of vows—where mysticism and asceticism prove themselves the redemption of
Economics.

But—well—God-speed you, as they say in lands of the old culture.

THE END

There are more excerpts from the book that can be read online.

IHS Press was launched in September of 2001 to bring back into print the classics of last century on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church.

06 December 2007

More on Catholicism and Manliness

There was another article at Catholic Culture titled The Catholic Origins of Manliness.

Christ’s manliness transformed man’s understanding of manhood, and it is this transformation that, through the development and mediation of the Catholic
Church, became a new Western ideal. This is obvious when we consider two areas typically associated with manly life: chivalry and sports.

Chivalry began as an attempt by the Church to curb the anarchy and bloodshed of feudal conflict in the Middle Ages, but it ended as something much more. The so-called Truce of God limited violence by prohibiting, on pain of excommunication, armed engagement every Thursday through Sunday and during the holy seasons of Advent and Lent. This pious restraint was sharpened by the Crusades, which upheld a new code of knighthood aimed not at personal glory (Achilles again) but the protection of the weak and oppressed. When a knight was consecrated or “dubbed,” the bishop prayed that he would become a defender of “churches, widows, orphans, and all those serving God.” This was obviously the instantiation of an important biblical virtue (Judas Maccabeus, the Old Testament prototype of the medieval knight, is described in II Maccabees 2:38 as providing for the widow and orphan), as was the care extended to another group: women.

Though the chivalrous regard for the welfare of women would later become subject to all sorts of romantic distortions (hence the parodies of love-stricken knights in Chaucer and Cervantes), even here there lies the kernel of a uniquely Christian insight. When St. Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25), he is essentially telling them to put the welfare of their spouses high above their own, even to the point of death. Today the concept of “ladies first” is more often than not condemned as quaint or chauvinist, but when it is properly understood and practiced it reflects this Christ-like conversion of male power and aggression to the selfless service of others. It presupposes that if a Christian man is designed to rule, he is to exercise that rule paradoxically by serving, just as Christ exercised his lordship paradoxically by humbly washing the feet of his apostles (John 13:4–16). This insight is well-reflected in the famous medieval legend of the Holy Grail as told by Chr├ętien de Troyes. When Perceval the knight is about to part from his mother, her last words to him are: “Should you encounter, near or far, a lady in need of aid, or a maiden in distress, make yourself ready to assist them if they ask for your help, for it is the most honourable thing to do. He who fails to honour ladies finds his own honour dead inside him.” Over time, several customs developed from this transfiguration of male honor. Simple gestures such as opening doors or pulling out a chair for a lady bespeak a gentleman’s humble respect for women and a recognition of his responsibilities. Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the practice of tipping one’s hat to a lady. Given that a man’s hat is a traditional symbol of his rank and authority, the gesture is essentially a ritual acknowledgment of the fact that his position is in some crucial respects ordered to the service and regard of women.

Read the rest of the article here.

05 December 2007

Catholicism and Manliness

There appeared in Crisis magazine an article called the The New Catholic Manliness by Todd Aglialoro.

It is a source of no small irony that, even as radical feminists within and without the Church have railed for two generations against patriarchy and phallocentrism, it can be quite plausibly said that the post-conciliar Church in this country has, for all intents and purposes, been run by women. Consider a Sunday in the life of a typical American parish. Father Reilly, once his mother's darling, says Mass before a congregation disproportionately representative of widows (both the traditional and the football kind), soccer moms flying solo, and budding young liturgistas. At the elevation of the Host, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (80-20 female) and altar servettes gather around the sanctuary to lend him moral support. After Mass, he enjoys a donut in the church basement while regaling the ladies of the Hospitality Guild before heading back upstairs to sit in as the token male at a meeting of parish CCD teachers. Later that afternoon, Sister Dorothy fills him in on the doings of the confirmation class, peace and justice committee, RCIA candidates, and youth group. At dinner he lingers over the new pastoral letter from his bishop, urging the flock to get more in touch with the God Who Nurtures. Finally, in the evening, he pokes his head into the weekly gathering of the Divorced and Separated Support Group, whose overwhelmingly female members and leaders thank him for his solicitude.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps. (Father probably wouldn't have checked up on his catechists like that.) But common experience nonetheless bears out the point: We may yet have a male-only clergy and hierarchy, but where the rubber meets the road — in those mundane areas of church life where laity and institution most commonly interact — the flavor is feminine. Whether you want to speak in terms of liturgy, ministry (lay and clerical), religious education, or sheer congregational numbers, official ecclesial power may not rest in the hands of women, but considerable unofficial influence clearly does, and has for some time. And we in the Church have been subject to its effects.


Read the rest of the article here.

03 December 2007

St. Pius X on Separation of Church and State

In the previous post I quoted the position Martin Luther held regarding the relation between a ruler and the Church. In his 1905 encyclical Vehementer nos, St. Pius X writes:

That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of Human societies, and preserves their existence as he preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the pleas that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies...
It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another... Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and duties of men.

Martin Luther on the Christian as a Ruler

You are a prince or a judge..., you have people under you and you wish to know what to do. It is not Christ you are to question concerning the matter, but the law of your country....Between the Christian and the ruler a profound separation must be made.... Assuredly, a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. As a ruler, he is not called a Christian but a prince. The man is a Christian, but his function does not concern his religion....Though they are found in the same man, the two states or function are perfectly marked off one from the other, and really opposed.
Martin Luther

JFK and The Separation of Church and State

H/T Deacon's Bench
As Mitt Romney faces about his religious beliefs and politics, The Boston Globe has re-printed a speech from J.F.K defending himself against those who were concerned that he would put his faith before his politics. Read his speech and then read an essay by Colleen Campbell on The Enduring Cost of John F. Kennedy's Compromise. As we approach another election year the debate continues over the role of the Church in politics. Many Catholics support the commonly held interpretation of the separation of Church and State but our society is will continue its collapse until it accepts the social Kingship of Christ.

02 December 2007

Latin Mass at St. Walburga's







St.
UPDATE: The Latin Mass at St. Walburga's has been cancelled and replaced by one at Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale.
Walburga's in Fletcher/Rogers/ Hassan Township, MN where a Tridentine Mass was held today
and will be held the 1st Sunday of ea. month and hopefully eventually on a weekly basis. A beautifully simple country Church built by German immigrants in 1883. The sign out front says Mary Queen of Peace which is the name for the parish of the joint churches of St. Martins and St. Walburga's in Rogers.

1st Sunday of Advent

Throughout Advent the Church bears constantly in mind the twofold coming of our Saviour: His birth at Bethlehem which will enlighten the world until the end of time, and His return at the last judgment when He comes to "condemn the guilty to the flames, and call the just with a loving voice to heaven" (Hymn for Matins).
The whole of today's Mass is a preparation for this double Advent of mercy and justice. Some parts of it can be applied equally to either, (e.g. the Introit, Collect, Gradual, Alleluia), while others refer to our Divine Redeemer's lowly birth, and others again, (e.g. the Epistle and Gospel), to His coming in the splendour of His power and majesty. The same welcome will be given to us by our Lord when He comes to judge us, as we give to Him now when coming to redeem us. Let us prepare for the Christmas feast by holy prayers and aspirations and by reforming our lives, that we may be ready for the last great assize upon which depends the fate of our soul for all eternity. And all this with confidence, for those "who wait upon the Lord will never be confounded." (Introit, Gradual, Offertory).
In former times, on this First Sunday of Advent, all the people of Rome made the station at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, to be present at the solemn mass which the Pope celebrated, surrounded by his clergy. This particular Church was chosen because it is Mary who gave us Jesus and because relics of the crib in which the Blessed Mother placed her Divine Child are preserved in this Church. Taken from St. Andrew's Daily Missal.

01 December 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Today is the 1st day of December and you know what that means? Yes, instead of the countdown to the countdown of the 25 days of Christmas we can actually begin the countdown to Christmas. I think next year we should move Thanksgiving another week earlier which will give us an additional 7 days of the countdown to the countdown. If you are bothered by the obsessive commercialism of the "Shopping Season" the Church gives us the perfect antidote. Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, a sort of "mini-Lent" if you will, that helps us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas which is of course the Nativity of our Lord whose birth is the mystery of the Incarnation, the dogma of the Word made flesh. It is tremendously important but often overlooked or not fully understood. It implies three separate beliefs: 1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ; 2) The Human Nature of Jesus Christ; 3) The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. St. Athanasius wrote an excellent treatise on this topic, On the Incarnation of the Word, which you can read online at New Advent or purchase from a Catholic bookstore.

Be the Catholic Who Jesus Want You To Be

H/T to Guard Duty for spotting this article.

Excerpt from an essay, “Faith, Reason, Islam and the West” by Father J. Patrick Serna, Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Catholic Men’s Quarterly.
* * *
So what do we do? Do we sit on the sidelines, which send more people to the hottest parts of hell, according to Dante? No. We must be the Catholic men and women who Jesus wants us to be. We must be filled with a passionate love for Jesus, His Church, and His Mother. If we are filled with that love, then we will pray more. If we pray more, preoccupy ourselves with living in a state of grace and preach more with our lives than our mouths, then the world will be transformed. God’s Grace will transform this sad world of ours if and when we decide to cooperate with that Grace. Catholicism has always held to the belief of Faith AND Good Works. We must show God that we want to change ourselves and the world with more than just words… if we show Jesus in our actions that we wish to cooperate with His transforming Grace, then moral decadence in Christendom will be reversed, as will the Islamic threat to world civilization.
Full article here.

Disclaimer

This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.