UNBORN WORD of the day


“Be little, very little…”
December 19, 2007, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Advent, Unborn Jesus

unless-you-become-like-a-child.png

On one occasion, when Jesus was preaching the Gospel message as an adult, he encountered a lack of faith. He looked up to heaven and called out: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will” (Mt 11:25 26). This time, he did not employ children but babies to illustrate His point. Jesus Himself points towards infancy.

Saint Josemaria Escriva once quipped in reference to “spiritual childhood”: “Be little, very little. Don’t be more than two years old, three at the most.” This half serious, half playful advice is thought provoking. There almost seems to be a progression here that suggests we not only become like children, but especially like “little” children, if not outright babies! And if trusting dependence upon God our Father is baby like, then why not become as trusting as unborn babies?

Unborn Jesus was content to dwell serenely within the womb of His mother for nine months, trusting in God the Father and relying on both for His needs. In this He serves as an example for us. (Just as thirty years later He slept quietly in a boat during a turbulent and terrifying storm, so these two images show us how Jesus trusted God the Father during the everyday events of life, as unborn baby and adult.) This trusting attitude was tied to His complete confidence in the will of God the Father.

Unborn Jesus had been entrusted to His mother as every other unborn child is. Truly, in every unborn child within the womb we witness the epitome of entrusting one life to another. And every unborn child should enjoy complete security and peace within the womb of his or her mother, just as Jesus did. As Pope John Paul II observed, “The God of the Covenant has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters, according to the law of reciprocity in giving and receiving, of self giving and the acceptance of others. In the fullness of time, by taking flesh and giving his life for us, the Son of God showed what heights and depths this law of reciprocity can reach.

From Unborn Jesus Our Hope

JUST 5 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



THE HUMILITY OF JESUS – He emptied Himself….
December 19, 2007, 12:48 am
Filed under: Advent, Christmas

180px-madonna_del_parto_taddeo_gaddi_chiesa_di_san_francesco_di_paola_firenze.jpg

As Jesus nears Bethlehem we can contemplate His life within Mary’s womb. Pride was the great sin of our first parents – but right at the beginning, in the womb, Jesus shows us the way of humility.

“We cannot contemplate this stage of Our Lord s life without being struck first of all by the humility and self-abasement of it, by the way in which in some sense He annihilated Himself that He might do His Father’s Will. St. Paul says : “He emptied Himself…. being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 11.7) . He stripped Himself, robbed Himself of all that He possessed: Semetipsum exinanivit.

We know that Mary, His created Home, was chaste and pure, that no breath of sin had ever touched her, that the Holy Spirit Himself had overshadowed her and had undertaken the preparation and the adornment of the earthly Tabernacle of the Word ; but pure and holy though she was, Mary was only a creature and He was the Creator. He was God and she was one of the human race. His place was on the highest throne of Heaven and yet “He abhorred not the Virgin s womb” but there lived hidden from the sight of all, like any other infant and yet wholly unlike, because He had full possession of His faculties and intelligence.

In the manger He will be seen, and so will be loved, pitied and worshiped ; there will be many consolations which will go far to lessen and soften His humiliations, but here, He is alone, hidden ; His very existence not even suspected. He has annihilated Him self, made Himself nothing. He could have taken our nature, had He so wished, without all these humiliations ; why then did He despise not the Virgin’s womb?

Because this is to be His principle all through His life, He will love “unto the end”. He will leave nothing undone that He could possibly do. He came to do His Father’s Will and He will do it thoroughly. He will bear all the humiliations because He wants to be my Model and to teach me that there is only one way of learning humility.”

Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi

JUST 6 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



THE SCOUNDREL AND THE BABY JESUS
December 18, 2007, 12:22 am
Filed under: Advent, Christmas

jesus_nativity.jpg

Imagine you are a scoundrel. C’mon…we are all scoundrels sometimes, even if just for a few minutes at a time.

Well anyway, imagine that there was a scoundrel who lived in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. A scoundrel who had a conscience…and his conscience bothered him a lot. This winter he was particularly nasty. One night an angel appeared to him in a dream and said to him “Go out to Bethlehem tomorrow night to the fields where the sheep graze and someone will speak to you there. They will direct you to a cave and God will meet you there.”

The next night he fearfully does as the angel commanded him, not sure if he would even live another day. He was terrified of meeting God face to face. The hours go by and he distracts himself making small talk with the local shepherds. It gets colder. Suddenly:

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:9-14)

They hurry towards the caves and find one aglow with soft light. They gather ‘round the entrance to the cave, the scoundrel hanging back in the shadows. No one is speaking. The scoundrel gets up his nerve and quietly moves forward into the light. He sees a man half kneeling, half crouching forward, and beside him a woman who is kneeling in prayer. ‘Where is God and where is the baby?’ he wonders. He moves closer, and suddenly he sees the baby lying there in the manger. He is given an inspiration; that God and the baby are One! The baby turns His head slightly and looks up at the scoundrel. Then in the depths of his soul the scoundrel hears the words: “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”

Most of the words spoken that Silent Night were spoken in the depths of souls.

JUST 7 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



Advent Joy: A sermon without words
December 16, 2007, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Advent

visitation4.jpg

Joy was the hallmark of St. John the Baptist’s first meeting with the Lord at the Visitation (Luke 1:39-45). Since Mary had kept her secret to herself, the unborn John was the first human being to bear witness to the Messiah! Why did God choose an unborn baby? Indeed, and why not? No physical human eyes whether adult’s or child’s could have seen the one week old Unborn Jesus. And how did unborn John bear witness? With a joyful leap!

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. …For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” Luke 1:41-44

There are many ways to preach the Gospel. The sheer joy and leap of this unborn baby is like the first Gospel sermon ever preached. John in his mother’s womb teaches us that, even without words, joy is a great way to introduce Christ to others. Let us spread joy: a joyful smile, a pleasant word, a cheerful disposition, a happy meeting, a merry gathering and even, if need be, a joyful leap. During the Advent and Christmas season we can imitate John and introduce others to Christ through our joy.

JUST 8 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



Say Merry Christmas! Not Happy Holidays
December 14, 2007, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Christmas

merry-christmas-print-c10113231.jpeg

Happy Holidays:Merry Christmas!

In recent years many organizations have pointed out that different chain stores have banned the words Merry Christmas and instead have replaced them with the bland and ‘inoffensive?’ Happy Holidays. My mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary Peate sent us another letter – she has noticed that this is a pattern in her local paper too. Whenever they can they use the words Happy Holidays to replace Merry Christmas. She wants to start a movement , “Let’s all say Merry Christmas – not Happy Holidays”. Here’s what Mary wrote:

Let’s all Rally Round the wassail bowl and raise our cups in a Christmas salute to those hard-working pressured types at the Burlington Free Press who write the headlines in that paper. Lets toast them for their earnest, dedicated, and always successful efforts to avoid using the word Christmas, even when the story is about Christmas.

You can see the fruits of their labors in the first section of the December 3rd edition. On the Front page we read: Pomerleau Holiday Party Celebrates Families. I bet the invitation issued by Mr. Pomerleau called it a Christmas Party. I understand that Mr. & Mrs. Claus were at the party too. I have no doubt they responded to the invitation with ‘we would be delighted to come to your Christmas Party Mr. Pomerleau’.

On the front page of Section B we see the heading; Colchester Celebrates Holiday Season With Song. Reading that I thought, “Bet the songs they sang were Christmas songs and carols. Especially since the caption below the picture states, ‘Dozens of people turn out for the annual Christmas tree lighting and caroling at the Colchester meeting house afterward’.

Since when has Christmas become a dirty word? Was it when the campaign began a few years back when people were urged to say, ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’? If so it must have been one individual who started it all, in that case I intend to take it on myself to start a campaign to bring back Merry Christmas. Even the stores we go to to buy our Christmas presents wish us Happy Holidays. Do those words convey the same warmth as do Merry Christmas called out cheerily as people have been doing for decade after decade. Why change a good thing? I intend to be a pest about this business this year.

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours. I hope you have a lovely time; stay in a good frame of mind; visit the crèche; say a prayer; sing Happy Birthday to Jesus; show off your pipes singing a Christmas Carol.

Thank whoever gives you a gift sincerely, enthusiastically and gratefully. Just think of what went into the process it had to take to find its way from the gifters hand to your hand: Earning the funds to pay for it; deciding what to buy; going out and getting it; wrapping it; and delivering it to you. This year being a tough one for everyone, a little gratitude would be all the more welcome.

And you kids with a Christmas tree in your living room, thank your mom and dad for all the hard work, time, and talent they put into making Christmas day a good one that you’ll remember and maybe will wax nostalgically about when you’re an adult. Don’t let those so-called politically correct freaks spoil your fun or your Christmas. Have a Merry one!

Love,

Mary Peate

JUST 10 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



Advent – a time to ‘ponder all these things in our hearts’.
December 12, 2007, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Advent

virgininprayer1.jpg

In those days Mary arose and went with hast into the hill country, to a city of Judah. Luke 1:39

After receiving the Angel’s message Mary set out on a three to four day journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. We are not told whether relatives or friends accompanied her. Perhaps she traveled with a caravan heading towards Jerusalem. But if she was traveling in a group for all or part of the journey, we will assume that she was not doing a lot of talking.

Rather she had hours upon hours to ponder in her heart all that had happened to her and the message that had been delivered to her. In the quiet of her thoughts and prayers a stream of realization flowed swiftly, carrying her along, and almost overflowing its banks. Father Faber presents the scene: “Like a new pulse of impetuous gladness, the Babe in Mary’s Bosom drives her forth. With swift step, as if the precipitate gracefulness of her walk were the outward sign of her inward joy, and she were beating time with her body to the music that was so jubilant within….”

Advent is a time to rediscover the joy of Christ’s coming into the world as our Savior. Like Mary let us capture moments of interior silence (even in days filled with activity). Let us ponder these things in our hearts to once again rediscover their true meaning.

God gives us this time of Advent to participate in Mary’s joy – the joy she felt when she found herself expecting the long awaited Messiah. For we too are expecting His joy and a renewal of His love at Christmas. Advent is a time to rediscover the saving power of the infant Christ born so long ago in Bethlehem – a time to regroup within ourselves and rediscover His presence in our souls.

JUST 12 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



The Perfect Advent image: Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 11, 2007, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Advent

ind_virgen.jpg

Today December 12th is the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is not surprising that her feastday comes in this time of Advent because Our Lady of Guadalupe is truly the perfect Advent image.

Father Frank Pavone points out that “In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.” Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pro-life Movement

We know she was with child in this image because she wears a black belt which was the Aztec Maternity Belt.

On January 23, 1999 in a homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe John Paul II called the “Basilica of Guadalupe, the Marian heart of America”.

He went on to say:

“The Apostle Paul teaches us that in the fullness of time God sent his Son, born of a woman, to redeem us from sin and to make us his sons and daughters. Accordingly, we are no longer servants but children and heirs of God (cf. Gal 4:4-7).

Therefore, the Church must proclaim the Gospel of life and speak out with prophetic force against the culture of death. May the Continent of Hope also be the Continent of Life!

This is our cry: life with dignity for all! For all who have been conceived in their mother’s womb, for street children, for Guadalupe! To you we present this countless multitude of the faithful praying to God in America. You who have penetrated their hearts, visit and comfort the homes, parishes and Dioceses of the whole continent.

Grant that Christian families may exemplarily raise their children in the Church’s faith and in love of the Gospel, so that they will be the seed of apostolic vocations. Turn your gaze today upon young people and encourage them to walk with Jesus Christ.

O Lady and Mother of America!”

virgen-de-guadalupe.jpg

JUST 13 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!