Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Feast of St. Stephen

The day after Christmas we're already celebrating the feast of a martyr. There are several martyrs feasts this week, one after the other: Stephen, John the Apostle, the Holy Innocents, Thomas a Becket.

It might seem like a downer coming so soon after the joy of Christmas day. But Jesus came to save us and he did that by giving his life for us on the cross. From the cradle to the cross. It's interesting that some of the Christmas carols actually note this. What Child Is This, for example, has these lyrics in one of the lesser-sung verses:

Sword, spear, will pierce him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail, the Word made flesh,
The babe, the child of Mary.

Or consider We Three Kings:

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

Or The Holly and the Ivy:

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.


But this is good news, because through his death, Jesus conquered death so that we might live forever.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Pope Benedict's Christmas homily

Here is a link to his beautiful words. If you don't have time to read it all, at least check out the second paragraph. Benedict says that God made himself small--a baby--so that we would not fear to approach him and that we would learn his love.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

O Come Let Us Adore Him

At our "midnight" (actually 8 PM) Mass tonight, we concluded a beautiful liturgy with the hymn "O Come All Ye Faithful." (Adeste Fideles). Something came over me while singing it, at the lines "Deum de Deum, Lumen de Lumine....genitum non factum." (We were singing it in English but the Latin words were there too.) Those are the words of the Creed. "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made."

All of a sudden, a glimpse of the mystery of the Incarnation just amazed me. Wow! God became a man. He became one of us. Why? To save us from our sins. This little baby lying in a manger is begotten of the Father--and begotten of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. I got a picture in my mind of people all over the world singing the same thing--praising Jesus Christ, God incarnate, our Savior, our Redeemer. Then I thought of all those who don't know him yet and I felt a great desire to make him known.

That's what our mission is all about as Daughters of St. Paul. To make Jesus Christ known. I felt grateful to God for the gift of my vocation. So that glimpse into the mystery of the Incarnation led me around back to gratitude for my personal vocation and God's gifts to me in sustaining me through it. Bl. James Alberione, our Founder, once said, "Everything leads to the Magnificat!"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Best Christmas Gift

The best Christmas gift isn't the one we get, but the one we give. It doesn't have to be a thing, but something done out of love for another person.
What is the best Christmas gift you've ever given or received?

Women Affirming Life breakfast

Last Saturday I attended a meeting of Women Affirming Life (thanks to Lisa for alerting me to this picture which was on Cardinal Sean's blog!)
Sr Christine is on the left and Sr Mary Frances on the right (I'm in the middle).
They had some excellent speakers who talked about promoting a culture of life. Two of the women were from the philosophy faculty at Boston College. It's very heartening to know that there are good faculty members like them who are doing their best to communicate to their students the Church's view on life issues. A group of young women from Boston College also attended.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Latin

Someone sent me this copy of Rudolph in Latin:

Rudolphus rubrinasus
Rudolphus rubrinasus fulgentissimo naso,
vidisti et si eum dicas quoque candere.
Omnes tarandi ceteri ridebant vocantes nomina;
non sinebant Rudolphum interessa ludentes.
olim crassa nocte Christi, Nicolaus it dictum:
“ Rudolphe, naso tam claro, agesne traham meam?”
Qui tum tarandis amor conclamantibus eum,
“ Rudolphe, rubrinase descendes historia!”



Please notice that in the sixth line, the Latin literally refers to "the night of Christ." That's who Christmas is really about--Jesus Christ, the Lord of the world!

Amen! Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Come, O Root of Jesse!

O root of Jesse, standing an ensign of the people, before whom even kings silent will remain, whom the Gentiles, too, shall beseech, come now to deliver us all; delay no longer (cf. Is 11).

Monday, December 18, 2006

Come, O Lord! O Antiphon

O Lord and leader of the house of Israel, who once appeared to Moses and spoke to him from a bush aflame, and on the peak of Sinai gave him the law; come now, bring us your redemption with your mighty outstretched arm (cf. Ex 3, 15, 24; Deut 5).

Christmas novena

Sr Anne at nunblog has posted a shortened version of the Christmas novena that we sing in community on YouTube. Check it out and pray along with us!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas novena

The novena for Christmas started yesterday, Dec. 16. It's a wonderful way to prepare spiritually for the feast of Christmas.

Come, O Wisdom!

"O Wisdom,
who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching out mightily from end to end,
and sweetly arranging all things:
come to teach us the way of prudence."

The O Antiphons

Starting on Dec. 17, the Church uses seven special antiphons in her liturgy. Called the "O" Antiphons (because each one starts out with "O"), they were written in Latin by an unknown author during the Middle Ages. Each one of them uses a special title for Christ and expresses the Church's longing for a Savior.

They are:

O Wisdom (sapientia in Latin)
O Lord (Adonai)
O Root of Jesse (radix)
O Key of David (clavis)
O Radiant Dawn (orient)
O King (rex)
O Emmanuel (Emmanuel)

The first letter of the Latin terms forms SARCORE, and read backward, it reads "ero cras," which in Latin means "tomorrow I will be!"

I'll post the full text of the expanded antiphon each day, because the current ones are a bit abbreviated.

Did you notice that our Advent hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is actually based on these antiphons?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

From the comments box--worth reading!

A man named David posted this in the comments box of one of the posts about having children. It's a wonderful testimony of faith and confidence in divine providence:



I've been meaning to follow up on my post with a story: be careful what you ask for!

The very night after I posted my comments, my wife told me she thought she may be pregnant. We confirmed this a couple of weeks later.

It has been a struggle to come to terms with this. My wife and I are both in our early 40s. Our three boys are 7, 5, and 2 and we were just beginning what we thought would be our post-infant years. Our lives are stressful and chaotic as it is; 2006 was particularly insane and we were both looking forward to a more peaceful 2007. But now we are starting over again with a 4th. To be honest, neither of us is sure how we will be able to manage this.

But when my wife showed me the positive pregnancy test, she apologized for the "mistake" (she had misread her calendar... I'll leave it at that). I explained that God doesn't make mistakes, that he sent us this baby on purpose. So instead of thinking about how our plans have been impacted by this baby, we are trying to focus on God's plan, and who this baby might be. I don't think either of us has made peace with this change quite yet, but I also know that the only path to peace is acceptance of God's will and a setting aside of our own will. We are placing our hope and trust in God.

So I'm asking for your prayers this Advent, as my family enters its own season of waiting for this new child that will arrive in early August... specifically:

-- for the health of my wife, who just turned 40 and has always had serious morning sickness, that she remain healthy, rested, and strong, and that she not suffer from morning sickness

-- for the health of our baby

-- that the baby is a girl, because my wife so dearly wants a daughter (but would never tell me so)!

-- for our three boys, that they be as supportive and accepting of their new baby brother or sister as they have always been of each other

-- for our family, that we work together in love to take care of this child and each other

-- for my wife and I to focus on the joy of knowing that God has reached out to us and entrusted us with another life, and in 2007 to find peace and serenity that seems to have eluded us in 2006

-- and, finally, for myself, that I overcome my own struggles, so I can lead my family with joy and strength without distraction over the coming year.

David

Sr Julia talks about Advent and Christmas books

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"My yoke is easy and my burden light"

Those words from today's Gospel are very consoling. All of us have burdens to bear. No matter what they are, we can always give them to Jesus. They won't necessarily go away, but he'll carry them for us. Just give him all your baggage.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Guadalupe movie

Since today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, if you've seen the new Guadalupe movie, please leave a comment with your opinion on it. I haven't seen it yet. Thanks!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Immaculate Conception

This is my favorite Marian feastday (and also my birthday!). God preserved Mary from sin.

Sometimes I used to think that it must have been hard for Mary to put up with all the sinful people around her. Yesterday in talking to someone, she helped me see it another way. We find it hard to "put up with" other people precisely because we are sinful and we don't always have the patience or other virtues needed to do it. It's not a question of "putting up with" people, but simply accepting them, just as they are. That's how God deals with us. He loves and accepts us just as we are. At the same time, he calls us to conversion and to grow in holiness, but loves us all along the way, not just when we arrive at a higher state of virtue.

So Mary, being sinless, would have known how to accept herself, first of all, and then to accept and love other people just as they are.

What do you think about this?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

St. Paul's Tomb

I just saw this article about Vatican archeologists unearthing St. Paul's tomb. Awaiting more information. For a Daughter of St. Paul, this is exciting news indeed!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Supporting Marriage

I just came across a good website on marriage and family issues from a Catholic perspective, by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse..

Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent A Time for Waiting

This year Advent is a short 3 weeks. It's a wonderful season that always goes by too fast.

Advent is divided into two parts. The first lasts until December 16, and the second is from Dec. 17 to 24.
The second part is the immediate preparation for Christmas and focuses more intensely on the Scripture prophecies about the coming Messiah.

Advent is all about waiting. In general, we are awaiting Christ's coming. We look forward to his final coming in glory, so the liturgy highlights this in certain ways. For the past two weeks we've already been reading the Book of Revelation at Mass. It provides a good transition into our Advent expectations.

But there is also a more immediate coming of Christ by grace into our hearts. Although he's already with us, grace can fill us more and more in different ways. So we pray for an abundance of grace as we prepare to celebrate his birth.

Friday, December 01, 2006

What accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

Philadelphia

The Inland North

The Midland

The South

Boston

The West

North Central

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

I'm originally from Long Island, NY, (or should I say "Lawn Guylan") so this came out fairly accurate.

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