The Gifts of the Magi

On this feast of the Epiphany, I would like to share a blog from Father Gregerson, a priest from the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He does such a wonderful job of explaining the beauty as well the meaning behind the celebration. I do hope you have a wonderful feast day and enjoy his blog.

Father Gregerson

Why do you all think that Christmas is such a big deal? We can imagine this question being posed by someone who doesn’t know much about Christianity – maybe someone from China, Iran, or North Korea. But that same question would actually be posed to us by the earliest Christians themselves! To them, today’s feast of the Epiphany was much more important.

This ranking of the feast of the Epiphany over Christmas can be seen in the Church’s liturgy. If you follow the Church’s liturgical calendar, you will have noticed that the octave of Christmas is interrupted by the celebration of several feast days (St. Stephen, St. John, the Holy Innocents, and others), while the days between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are free of any saints’ days, because the octave of the Epiphany traditionally ranked so high as to exclude any other celebrations. (Such is the case…

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Beginning the Year For God

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On this eleventh day of Christmas and this fourth day of the ‘New Year,’ we are still in the Christmas season and should still be  following the star… following the path of the Wise Men in their journey towards the Baby Jesus. Even though Christ’s birth happened over two thousand years ago, we still have an opportunity to visit Jesus and pay homage to Him by attending First Friday Mass and making a Holy Hour in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Many people have started their New Year with resolutions aimed at bettering themselves, or more particularly aimed at bettering their bodies. Of course, this is well and good, but as faithful Catholics we need to remember that everything we do should direct us to God. We need to look at our resolutions with eyes of Faith. Sure, we should work at maintaining good health, and of course we should try to kick those habits which do our physical bodies harm, but we mustn’t neglect the health of our soul.

These past couple of weeks the liturgical calendar has been filled with feasts and holy days that aim to help us grow closer to the Lord… aimed at helping us prioritize where our focus in this life should be. In our quest for a better body,  too often we overlook those things that aid our spiritual health and instead focus on those that only aid the physical. We sign up for gym memberships or start new diets geared at eating healthier, all the while ignoring the eternal nature of our souls.

This weekend as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, why not try to make it to Mass for First Friday or at least spend some time at the chapel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Missed it? Well tomorrow is First Saturday and many parishes have a special Mass in honor of Our Blessed Mother. It would be a great time to start making your faith a priority. For more information on this First Saturday devotion click here.

If you really want to make some resolutions this year, start with your heart… I mean soul. There are so many opportunities to grow in the Faith. There is so much more to being Catholic than just attending Mass on Sunday. Why not make the resolution to learn more about the Catholic saints? They are the ones who lived life right. Through all of their difficulties, they kept their eyes on God. We can do the same. Remember, each of us was created by God for greatness.

As these first few days of 2019 unfold before us let us make a resolution to love the Lord with all of our heart. Without holding anything back. Sounds a bit radical, I know. Perhaps that might be a bit much… but perhaps, if we don’t, it won’t be enough. All I know for sure is that if you make a resolution to just learn a little more about the Faith and actually read the Truth you will see how the Catholic Church helped shape the world… You will see how the Catholic Church is the vessel in which the Lord continues to pour His Mercy over the world.

Knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church is so important in that it helps us recognize the Church’s role in keeping the world from spinning headlong into the abyss of hell. Don’t fall for the lies of the world, because contrary to what the secular world would have you believe, being Catholic… truly Catholic and embracing the Faith and Her teachings with a heart that is open to the Will of God, will do far more for you than all the diets in the world and all the hours spent at the gym. I guarantee. You will be glad that you did… because in the end, God will reward you. His Love for you will not be outdone.

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Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

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Jesus… God made man… the Savior of the world. The Savior of the human race. He is the One that brings man salvation, security and peace… Jesus. It is the name above every other name, and it should be forever on our lips … “Jesus, i trust… Jesus, i love… Jesus, i need… You.” These are the utterances that should get us through our days… not cursings and blaspheming His name.

In Jesus, we can see the Love that comes from the Father’s heart. In Jesus, God wished to show man His Love. A perfect Love like no other. Thus, Jesus is the Love of God, so much so, that it is His name that gives rhythm to our beating hearts. It is His name that gives steadiness to our breath when we are unable catch it or hold it on our own. Jesus... the very source that gives strength to our weakness, and lightness to our dark.https://www.speroforum.com/site/article_images/sampleHoly_Name_of_Jesus2.jpg

Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, let us contemplate Christ. Not only as the tiny babe lying in the manger, wrapped in the glow of Christmas tide and the warmth of swaddling clothes, let us also contemplate the living Christ hidden under the humble  guise of ‘bread and wine’… present in the Eucharist…forgotten in so many tabernacles around the world…

On this Feast of the Most Holy Name, let us unite our hearts to His. Let us keep Him alive in our thoughts… in our words and in our actions. So that God will use the Name of His Dear Son to purge our souls of sin and help cleanse our hearts of the vices which dwell there.

After all, Jesus is the Divine Physician, He will heal our wounds and fill our heart with charity and love so that we may become more like Him on this earth. He has the power to chase away the evil and cleanse our soul. If we love Jesus with our hearts and contemplate Him with our mind He will heal us…mend us…in our body and in our soul.https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d5/ba/7c/d5ba7cbcab8d0ef7509f32bf06590a80.jpg

Prayer to the Most Holy Name of Jesus (by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.)

Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills the breast! Yet sweeter far Thy face to see And in Thy presence rest.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than Jesus’ name, The Savior of mankind.
O hope of every contrite heart! 0 joy of all the meek! To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show The love of Jesus, what it is, None but His loved ones know.
Jesus! our only hope be Thou, As Thou our prize shalt be; In Thee be all our glory now, And through eternity.
Amen.
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January 1st- The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

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Below is an article from http://www.catholicreadings.org, it is quite beautiful in the explanation of Our Dear Mother. Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy.

The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

No one falls in love with a nature. We fall in love with a person. A woman loves a man, not mankind. And a mother pinches the pudgy little cheeks of a new born baby, not the cheeks of a new born nature. St. Mary gave birth to a little person, a baby, unlike any other.

In that little person a human nature united with a divine nature at the moment of conception. So St. Mary was the mother of the person Jesus, and the person Jesus had two natures, one fully human and the other fully divine. St. Mary was, then, the mother of Jesus’ human nature and of his divine nature. She was both the mother of a man and the mother of God. Two false extremes must be identified and rejected here.

Jesus was not really and truly only a God who just faked being a man. Nor was he really a man who just pretended to be a God. Jesus the man did not wear his divinity like a cloak that he could remove from his shoulders when he walked in the door. And the Son of God did not wear a fleshy human mask to conceal the radiance of his real divine face.

Jesus was fully God and fully man in a mystery of faith we call the hypostatic union. And because a woman is a mother to a person, not a nature, Mary is the mother of God. This has been the constant doctrine of the Catholic Church since the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.

St. Mary has many titles under which we honor her. Today’s Solemnity commemorates the utterly unique, and unrepeatable, bond she shared with Jesus, a bond no other saint can claim. Jesus and Mary probably even looked very much alike, as hers was the only human DNA in his body.

What a beautiful thing that our God did not float down from heaven on a golden pillow. How good that he was not forged from a fiery anvil. How just that he did not ride to earth on a thunderbolt. Jesus could not redeem what he did not assume. So it was fitting that he was born like all of us – from a mom. We honor Mary today for her vocation as mother.

If she had disappeared from the pages of the gospel after giving birth to Jesus she still would have fulfilled her role in salvation history. She was obedient. She was generous. She allowed God to use her, body and soul, to write the first chapter of man’s true story, the story of the Church. Like all true stories, the person comes first. A life is lived. The book comes later.

God’s Mother gives us our mother – Holy Mother Church, who washes our souls in the saving waters of baptism and thus adopts us into God’s family. The Motherhood of Mary gives the world Jesus. Jesus gives us the Church. The Church then brings us into God’s family where Mary is our mother, Jesus our brother, and God our Father. This is the family of the Church. What pride to be members of so noble a family.

Today’s Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Quote:

O Mother of God, you birthed the one who created all. Within you was He whom the universe cannot contain. How beautiful the mystery. How exalted your vocation that precedes and makes possible the apostles’ own. At home with husband and child you bounced on your knee the one who spins the world on his finger. How beautiful the mystery. Help us start this new year with wonder more than resolutions, with eternal gratitude more than mundane goals.

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

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Fourth Day of Christmas- Feast of the Holy Innocents

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As we continue our journey through this season of Christmas, we come to the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Feast that honors all of the young children who were slaughtered by King Herod in his attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. Many parishes will have a special Mass said on this night to honor all the innocent children who were martyred for Christ. Many of these masses incorporate all children who have been lost due to abortion, still birth or miscarriage. Even those who suffered some other form of untimely death.

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During the Mass the priest reads several prayers and then invites those who have added names to the list to come and light a candle as the list of each child is read. Those who wish to pray for a lost child, lights a candle and sets it in a bucket filled with sand that is placed near the feet of the infant Jesus, as He is laying in the manger. There is beauty wrapped in the sadness… and it reminds us, that all life is sacred. As we watch the candles flicker and the light grow, we are reminded of all that has been lost.

From those first babies who were murdered… those who were martyred for Christ... to the countless children who are lost each year… each day, to abortion.  As we listen to the prayers of the faithful, we are also reminded that even though a child may be lost to this life, Jesus Christ came so that we might have eternal life…. and as we sit mesmerized by the flickering flames and the soft glow… we are filled with hope. Filled with the Hope that only Christ can give, and even though there is aching in our hearts from losing something, because of our Faith, we know that God is good and that He is indeed the very Light that came to fill the world. A world that would be engulfed in darkness without Him. And we are reminded of the sacredness of life. All life. And as we process to leave the church, we look back at that tiny babe lying in the manger and at the candles burning low, and we know… we realize… that Christ has held each one tender babies close to His heart and filled them with His Light, and that Hope is enough to send us out into the dark night with the flame of Christ’s Love flickering in our own hearts… Merry Christmas.

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The Third Day of Christmas

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Firstly, happy third day of Christmas! As a kid it used to seem to odd to me that at Mass we used to talk about the twelve days of Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, but in the secular… or rather the ‘non- catholic’ world, they talked about the twelve days before Christmas. It seems that almost everyone else on the planet, (at least here in the states) that Christmas is done… put away until next year. Even the ‘Christian’ radio stations are done with Christmas music… heck, most people will use this weekend to take down all of the decorations and trash the tree. But it is not over yet.

Don’t let the world fool you. Don’t let your joy at the birth of Our Dear Lord and Savior be diminished by the world… celebrate! Keep the Child Christ in you hearts and in your sight. As with the birth of any babe, linger there at the Creche when you take the children to Mass… linger in the true beauty of the season… don’t rush off just yet. The world and all its bitterness and decrepity can wait. Savor the mystery of God made man… savor the knowledge that God loved each one of us so much that He became man… like us in all things but sin, to save us from our sin. Allow yourself the joy that comes from this Truth about God… The Truth about Christmas… and celebrate! Tomorrow we can get back into more serious tidings… God Bless.

 

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Merry Christmas… Jesus Christ is Born

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Because God so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son so that man who had grown to have a love for power… would grow to know the power of Love… His Son Jesus Christ… Who is Love Itself.  Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her King! Merry Christmas!

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