Friday, December 31, 2010
Today is the seventh day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. Sylvester I, pope and confessor. He ruled the Church during the reign of Constantine when the Arian heresy and the Donatist schism had provoked great discord. He convoked the first Ecumenical Council of Nicaea.
Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holyday of obligation. The Divine Office notes: He called the weekdays feria, because for the Christian every day is a "free day" (the term is still in use; thus Monday is feria secunda.).
Thursday, December 30, 2010
It would be ideal if we could devote several days of the Christmas octave to quiet contemplation, entering ever more deeply into the sweet and profound mystery of the Incarnation; yet much of the time is devoted to the saints. All the more precious, therefore, is this day, an unencumbered Christmas day.
God became Man. Utterly incomprehensible is this truth to our puny human minds! That the eternal God whom heaven and earth cannot contain, who bears the world in His hand as a nutshell, before whom a thousand years are as one day — that this eternal, omnipotent God should become Man! Would it not have been a tremendous condescension if for the redemption of mankind He had simply sent an angel? Would it not have proven His loving mercy had He appeared for a mere moment in the splendor of His majesty, amid thunder and lightning, as once on Sinai? No, such would have shown far too little of His love and kindness. He wanted to be like us, to become a child of man, a poor child of poorest people; He wished to be born, in a cave, in a strange land, in hostile surroundings. Cold wind, hard straw, dumb animals — these were there to greet Him. The scene fills us with amazement; what other can we do than fall down in silence and adore!
Labels: The Sixth Day of Christmas
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Today’s saint was a deacon and the chancellor of England. He was also a good friend of King Henry II who thought he would be able to use this friendship to his advantage. He nominated Thomas to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, but he soon found out that his friend was a man of integrity who served God first. At one point, in a fit of rage over the Archbishop’s opposition to his plans, he shouted "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four of his knights took these words literally and killed the Archbishop in his own cathedral.
We’re praying that our experience of suffering may help us better understand the pain of others and reach out to help them, and also that the world may open its doors to Christ and to His gospel of peace, brotherhood, and justice. On Saturday we will celebrate the annual World Day of Peace for which Pope Benedict has written a message entitled "Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace." Let us pray for all who are suffering from religious intolerance and persecution as we reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s message.
My thoughts turn in a special way to the beloved country of Iraq, which continues to be a theatre of violence and strife as it makes its way towards a future of stability and reconciliation. I think of the recent sufferings of the Christian community, and in particular the reprehensible attack on the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baghdad, where on 31 October two priests and over fifty faithful were killed as they gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass. In the days that followed, other attacks ensued, even on private homes, spreading fear within the Christian community and a desire on the part of many to emigrate in search of a better life. … I offer heartfelt thanks to those Governments which are working to alleviate the sufferings of these, our brothers and sisters in the human family, and I ask all Catholics for their prayers and support for their brethren in the faith who are victims of violence and intolerance. … It is painful to think that in some areas of the world it is impossible to profess one’s religion freely except at the risk of life and personal liberty. In other areas we see more subtle and sophisticated forms of prejudice and hostility towards believers and religious symbols. At present, Christians are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith. Many Christians experience daily affronts and often live in fear because of their pursuit of truth, their faith in Jesus Christ and their heartfelt plea for respect for religious freedom. This situation is unacceptable, since it represents an insult to God and to human dignity; furthermore, it is a threat to security and peace, and an obstacle to the achievement of authentic and integral human development.
Labels: St. Thomas Becket
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Today is the third day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist. Born in Bethsaida, he was called while mending his nets to follow Jesus. He became the beloved disciple of Jesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse. His passages on the pre-existence of the Word, who by His Incarnation became the light of the world and the life of our souls, are among the finest of the New Testament. He is the evangelist of the divinity of Christ and His fraternal love. With James, his brother, and Simon Peter, he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. At the Last Supper, he leans on the Master's breast. At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts His Mother to his care. John's pure life kept him very close to Jesus and Mary in years to come. John was exiled to the island of Patmos under Emperor Domitian.
Patron: Against poison; art dealers; authors; bookbinders; booksellers; burns; compositors; editors; engravers; friendships; lithographers; painters; papermakers; poisoning; printers; publishers; tanners; theologians; typesetters; writers; Asia Minor; Taos, New Mexico; Umbria, Italy; diocese of Cleveland, Ohio; diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Symbols: Cup or chalice and serpent (cup or sorrow foretold by Jesus); eagle rising out of a cauldron (refers to being a martyr of spirit, but not in deed); serpent entwined on a sword; grave; Prester John seated on tomb, with book, orb, and sword; eagle on a closed book; scroll of his Gospel; scroll of the Apocalypse; nimbed eagle; book.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
In this photo provided by Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI greets people invited for a lunch inside the Vatican's main audience hall, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010. Lasagna, veal and cake were on the menu Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI invited about 250 poor people to join him for a post-Christmas lunch and denounced as "absurd" new attacks on the faithful around the globe. Joining the pope and his guests were some 250 nuns, seminarians and priests of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity order, which runs soup kitchens around Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI invited about 250 poor people to join him for a post-Christmas lunch.
In this photo provided by Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI salutes a nun during a lunch inside the Vatican's main audience hall, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI has your hand kissed during a lunch inside the Vatican's main audience hall, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.
In this photo provided by Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child during a lunch inside the Vatican's main audience hall, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010.
'May the birth of the Prince of Peace remind the world where its true happiness lies; and may your hearts be filled with hope and joy, for the Saviour has been born for us,' said the Pope during his Christmas speech, the Urbi et Orbi message. The Pope also denounced the situation of Christians in China and asked God to 'inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all'.
"May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of "God-with-us" grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all". READ MORE
Labels: URBI ET ORBI 2010-12-25
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
This is the holy night.
How much fatigue during the long journey to Bethlehem; how much suffering in the face of each refusal to open a door to them; how much trust in the Father who is leading them by the hand to the fulfillment of his great plan of love! A plan which is carried out by the concourse of unexpected circumstances which prepare for the occurrence of this extraordinary prodigy.
The merciful action of a shepherd who points out a nearby cave; the opening of one single door upon a poor and bare shelter; the human bustling about to make the place more hospitable; above all their perfect acceptance of the will of the Heavenly Father, who has prepared a crib of poverty and of cold for his only begotten Son who is being born.
But sweet to his Heart, the Heart of a new born Child, is the warmth of Mary's love, and a soft cradle Mary's arms which entwine Him with boundless tenderness, and her motherly kisses become precious pearls and a regal mantle for Him the cloths with which He is enfolded.
All at once, the darkness is penetrated by a most lively light which comes pouring down from heaven, the silence resounds with the sweetest of sounds and of heavenly harmonies, the solitude becomes populated with inumerable cohorts of angels while the night opens up to the birth of a day which knows no setting.
This is the Holy Night!
This is the night which has conquered all darkness forever!
This is the night which opens upon an announcement of joy which comes from heaven; a Saviour is born to you who is Christ the Lord!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
(Zenit.org).- The various Christmas celebrations and liturgies presided over by Benedict XVI will be available live to viewers worldwide via the Internet.
People across the globe will be able to view Mass with the Pope on Friday (Christmas Eve), his address and blessing "Urbi et Orbi" ("To the city of Rome and to the World") on Christmas Day, and Mass for the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1.
This new service will be available to users through the Web pages of Vatican Radio, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and the Pope2you site.
Live commentary on the events is being offered in six languages: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
As well, a Chinese commentary will be available for the Christmas Eve Mass, and an Arabic commentary for the Jan. 1 liturgy.
The Vatican Television Centre and Telecom Italia are also collaborating to provide the technology to effectively allow users to access these events.
A press release from Vatican Radio noted that the service will be offered on a platform that "provides fast and effective distribution of multimedia content, making it available via web and iPhone all over the world."
It added, "The use of this platform guarantees top quality distribution of multimedia content to vast numbers of people simultaneously, including service continuity and high quality images."
The service will also use "Smooth Streaming" technology to offer the best possible quality to viewers.
"The Saviour", Pope Benedict went on, "comes to incapacitate the work of evil, the things that still keep us distant from God, restoring us to our ancient splendour and our original paternity. ... His coming, then, can have no other aim than that of teaching us to see and love events, the world and everything that surrounds us, with the eyes of God Himself. The Word, by becoming a Child, helps us to understand the way God acts, that we too may be capable of allowing ourselves to be transformed by His goodness and infinite mercy.
"In the night of the world, let us still allow ourselves to be surprised and illuminated by this coming, by the Star which, rising in the East, has inundated the universe with joy", the Pope added. "Let us purify our minds and our lives from everything that contrasts with this coming - thoughts, words, attitudes and actions - spurring ourselves on to do good and to help bring peace and justice to our world for all men and women, and thus to walk towards the Lord".READ MORE
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The release of Fr. Robert Barron's CATHOLICISM Project is looming closer and closer. The Word on Fire team has finished filming, and their post-production work should be wrapping up in time for a Fall 2011 release. Watch the video below--it's definitely worth the nine minutes--to experience the longest preview yet released to the public:
In a world marred by sin, where hopes for the future perish under the weight of uncertainty, the Lord must be relied upon, so that the faith of man can be reawakened. The words of the Pope this morning in his traditional Christmas greetings to heads of the Roman Curia. Benedict XVI looked back on the year coming to an end, and began by recalling cases of sexual abuse committed by some priests. It was a "humiliation", he said, that must be humbly accepted "as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal." He added that a "new resolve must be found to be faithful and good," repairing "as much as possible the injustice that has occurred" and showing a "capacity for repentance." READ FULL ADDRESS
Parishes in Northern Ireland, performing at charity concerts in Stockholm and a new CD rising up the charts in Australia.
Would that be the universal Church? Well it is The Priests at the very least.
And they are the hugely successful singing priests from Ireland, Fr Eugene O'Hagan, his brother Fr Martin and friend from school days, Fr David Delargy.
They have already produced three best selling CDs. The first one, The Priests, included Catholic favourites like Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus. READ MORE