Ave Verum…Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
We’ll have plenty of political topics then. No doubt.Since politics is not the answer to everything(not by a long shot)we are going to focus on Christmas themes,the Catholic faith and personal matters.
A nice change. I would like to delve into iconography here too.The minds eye has a picture of Jesus and Mary’s physical appearance.The artist renders them as he/she sees them from their culture and background.It may not even necessarily be how they looked in history. It is how we see and relate to them.As evidenced by the many images posted in the blog.
Icons,on the other hand, are not meant be reproductions.They are not the minds eye of what we perceive Jesus and Mary to have actually looked like.Each part of an icon has a spiritual meaning. This is how we should see Jesus and Mary and icons focus us there. Icons are a window into heaven. They are the artists rendition of the spiritual realm in the physical world.We,as Christians,are icons.
My good friend Kaiser West can tell you a great deal about Byzantine Icons-she’s a Byzantine(Eastern)Catholic.When you get a chance read her blog.
When I first ran into Catholic icons i was taken aback.We are so accustomed to Western or Americanized art that icons can throw you for a loop. They seem strange at first glance but over time the beauty of them keeps drawing you back. So we’ll talk about icons over the Christmas season as well as various rites of the Catholic Church.
Monday I’m going to add another recipe.The frosting for the cookies we just made. I’ll have the aide get a photo of them when they’re decorated.
It’s a simple shortening recipe.
We’re thinking about making chocolate turtles minus the peacans.Nuts are just too expensive and they’ll taste just fine without them.
If we end up making those will post up a recipe and photo of course.
If you have any special prayers this Christmas let me know.I’ will be glad to include your intentions in my daily rosary.
Any questions re Catholicism? Be glad to respond.
Finally, please,please,please be sure to visit this website.Our aide is searching for her sister and we’re hoping they reunite for Christmas.All the info is there as well as a contact form.
Share it with everyone. The further out the word goes the more likely the message will reach here.Here’s the link=> http://boxerpaw6.wix.com/search4sister-susan
it’s been a long day and I’m sure you’ve had one too.For now,
Good night,God bless and
The story of the origin of the Christmas creche rests with the very holy man, St. Francis of Assisi.
In the year 1223, St. Francis, a deacon, was visiting the town of Grecio to celebrate Christmas. Grecio was a small town built on a mountainside overlooking a beautiful valley. The people had cultivated the fertile area with vineyards. St. Francis realized that the chapel of the Franciscan hermitage would be too small to hold the congregation for Midnight Mass. So he found a niche in the rock near the town square and set up the altar. However, this Midnight Mass would be very special, unlike any other Midnight Mass.
St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) in his Life of St. Francis of Assisi tells the story the best:
It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Grecio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [St. Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff. Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem. A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvellously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep. This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles which afterwards confirmed its truth. For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles.
I know sometimes it’s difficult to have faith in God,to believe He really exists.With sadness and pain in our own lives and seeing the news from across the world you can sometimes wonder.
How could God exist and permit so much suffering? Isn’t He interested? Could He not stop it? We know one day He will.
We also know He taught us. To some it’s a stumbling block.How could a MIGHTY God become so small,humble and low?
How could He become man and come into the world as a baby?
God who is so great could stoop this low?
If it’s not true then all the suffering of the world is for naught.He shows the way.
It is by becoming small that HE allows us to approach Him and it is by becoming man that He becomes humility.It is HUMILITY that makes us great. If we don’t have humility then we have pride. Jesus becomes man because God is truly humble and that makes God as great as any being could be.It also means God is Love. True Love. Jesus shows us that we can endure and offer up suffering because if we don’t then nothing makes sense.The world wouldn’t make sense.He permits it because we would not know what real evil is otherwise.Then He calls us to be martyrs.
Martyr means ‘witness’ .It is the definition of martyr.It doesn’t mean killing yourself or murdering other people-it doesn’t even mean being murdered ourselves.It means God calls us to be witnesses to Him and we can witness to God by our lives-although we may be called to witness to God by giving up our lives.
God would never sanction being a witness to Him by committing murder.He never said kill other people to become a martyr.He calls us to be a witness to Him-a martyr-by our lives and giving our lives if it comes to that.
Jesus never taught anyone to murder for His sake.In fact He said to love,even our ENEMIES.
This is why some of the horrendous acts we see in the world are vile to us. God PERMITS evil but calls all of us to be holy(good). If God didn’t permit evil then He would not have given man the second greatest gift next to life itself-FREE WILL. He sent Jesus to show us the way but not by force.It’s not God that creates evil. It’s man. He will judge all these evil acts at the end if we do not repent. He showed us that He will forgive by the greatest act of love any man has ever given.He willingly suffered and gave up His life-no one could take it from Him.He had to give it up Himself.An innocent for the guilty.
This is why Christians know God is great. He was truly humble and truly loving and without Him we cannot make sense of suffering in the world.
He also expect us to alleviate the suffering of others. He shows us because He was willing to become man,to lower Himself for us. For this He was glorified or as He said that the humble would be exalted.We know this because He sits at the right hand of the Father and will return-not as He did the first time-but in GLORY.
It is why I would not dismiss the teachings of Christianity and the truth of the Catholic Church.
It is the ONLY way to make sense of the world we live in.
Otherwise we just question without answers.
A religion that does not teach its followers to love-to aspire to love as much as Jesus did-creates followers who become animals.Those who do not believe in God-atheists-will never have an answer for the good and evil in the world.They will question how Christians can believe in God but will never make sense of the world when it appears to be, more often than not, senseless.It’s why the cross of Christ is a victory. He didn’t die for a few-He died for EVERYONE. Why would God create a world and man if it not for love? You can’t put a limit on God’s love and say;He could not do this.
Pls say this prayer for a special request for a very dire situation.Thank you! Prayer to Obtain a Favor Through the Intercession of Archbishop Sheen
(For Private Use Only)
Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. In every age, You raise up men and women outstanding in holiness, whose faithful service has contributed significantly to the mission of the Church. In this very way, You used the life and work of Your servant, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen. He inspired great numbers of Catholics and other people of good will to grow in virtue and lead lives pleasing to You and of service to their brothers and sisters in need. He encouraged them to embrace the ‘Gospel of Life’ by recognizing that in all its circumstances, ‘Life is worth living.’
If it be according to Your Will, Eternal Father, glorify Your servant, Archbishop Fulton John Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession (mention your request here). I make this prayer confidently in Jesus’ Name, through the merits of His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Born in Spain in 1542, John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver’s daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love — God.
When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness. It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.
After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some members of John’s own order kidnapped him. He was locked in a cell six feet by ten feet and beaten three times a week by the monks. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God — and God brought John his greatest joys in that tiny cell.
After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out a window using a rope made of stirps of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilization. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns. From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God’s love.
His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic, who lived by the beliefs that “Who has ever seen people persuaded to love God by harshness?” and “Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.”
John left us many books of practical advice on spiritual growth and prayer that are just as relevant today as they were then. These books include:
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul
WORKS OF ST JOHN OF THE CROSS ONLINE:http://www.jesus-passion.com/John_of_the_Cross.htm
and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ
Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like “a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air.” He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.
“What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom — your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won’t find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.” — Saint John of the Cross
In His Footsteps:
John of the Cross believed it was just as dangerous to get attached to spiritual delights as worldly pleasures. Do you expect to get something — a good feeling, a sense of God — from prayer or worship? Do you continue to pray and worship when you feel alone or dry?
Saint John of the Cross, in the darkness of your worst moments, when you were alone and persecuted, you found God. Help me to have faith that God is there especially in the times when God seems absent and far away. Amen
An extraordinary (not so extraordinary when you consider other winners like Hitler and Stalin) accolade for Pope Francis, for Time Magazine to name him the Person of the Year.
He is the third pope in church history to receive the honour, the other two being Pope John XXIII in 1962, and Pope John Paul II in 1994, interestingly both these popes being canonized by Pope Francis next April in the same ceremony.
But what is so remarkable here is that this has happened to Pope Francis, in less than twelve months on the job, a remarkable index on how a Vicar of Christ has had such an impact not just on Catholics, but on people of all ideological persuasions, in such a short time. As they said today, this man has brought the papacy \”out of the palace, and on to the streets\”.
Of course, part of the adulation for Jorge Bergoglio is that he is perceived as someone who has thrown off the shackles of the past, and wants to make the Catholic Church more like other institutions in the wider society.
I believe a case can be made against this thesis, but I am not overly worried about this perception either.
For starters, Pope Francis is a boon to evangelization. It has not been for some time that Catholics have been able to hold on to something, seen as so inspiring, particular after the abuse crisis which has lost the Church major credibility.
Even if the likes of Jane Fonda and Elton John approve of this pope, perhaps in the long run that will be to our advantage. It gives a Vicar of Christ, a captive audience.
And when it is time to say really tough things, he will be listened to.
When Our Lord started his public ministry, many of his new followers had a false conception of Jesus. They believed him to be an earthly Messiah who would liberate them from Roman occupation. Even his apostles believed that, until He told them that \”the kingdom of God is within you\”. And what about in St John\’s Gospel Chapter 6, when He gave His discourse on the Bread of Life. Many people who heard this found this teaching about eating His Body and drinking His Blood very challenging, and \”they no longer walked with Him\”.
Jesus then said to Simon Peter, \”Will you also depart from me?\” He answered, \”Master, where shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life\”.
The same will happen with Pope Francis. Many of his new admirers will no longer walk with him, (when confronted with the reality of Catholic teaching and practice) but some may have received the grace of conversion, when considering a man who in so many of his actions, is so Christ like.