See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, December 24, 2010

I think of Giotto's Nativity with this song.

What pilgrims do on Christmas Eve morning.

Lively anticipation.
.
I'm listening to Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, having finished my own prayers at dawn.  I love the anticipation of Christmas eve - nothing can restrain the Divine, and the Bambino Gesu embraces the soul who longs for him before the actual commemoration of his Nativity takes place.  Much like as some of the Church Father's tell us how Our Lady conceived Jesus in her heart long before the the Annunciation.  Over night new snow has covered everything, and so the nights great silence extends into day...
.
"When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word from heaven's royal throne bounded...  And as he alighted... he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth." - Wisdom 18: 14-16
.
Later, the pilgrim will follow the shepherds to the Christ Mass.
.
Wishing all of my readers and friends a very blessed Christmas...  happy and merry!  Thank you for all of your kindness and generosity towards me.  I pray the Little Jesus grant you every grace and blessing.

The 9th and Last Day of the Novena for Christmas.


Opening Prayer from Today's Mass.


Come Lord Jesus,
do not delay;
give new courage to your people who trust in your love.
By your coming, raise us to the joy of your kingdom,
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home for the Holidays!


.
This PSA has been brought to you by Luain Magic Turban.  Ladies, keep your hair looking perfect throughout the holiday season! 

...

The Magic Turban goes on after you shampoo and rinse and stays on for high style at your holiday parties and family get togethers.

...

NEW!  Don't want to be bothered to wash and set your hair?  Try our NEW Bedtime Style Wrap instead!
.
.
Available at all fine Fleet Farm Stores.

8th Day of the Christmas Novena



We are almost there...
.
O my Jesus, for many the road to Bethlehem is long, arduous and exhausting, much as it was for Our Lady and St. Joseph.  Though we see in the distance the lights of the little town and hear the festive songs of the marketplace, for many the arrival at our destination is a disappointment.  Enlighten our hearts - for darkness is not dark for you!  Make us understand that it is exactly our poverty and misery which attracts you most and prompted you to come down for our salvation.  You did not despise the poverty and meanness of the stable as the place of your birth; on the margins of respectability, amidst the dumb beasts.  Neither did you reject the poor illiterate shepherds who came to adore you...  O Infant God, help us to be steadfast in our faith, confident you will reject no one who comes to you.  Open our hearts to accept your merciful love... to believe in your love...  "Not pit is so deep, that your love is not deeper still."  Amen.
.
+Psalm+
.
Your ways O Lord make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

Good and upright is the Lord;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees,
The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.   Ps. 25


Art:  Arrival in Bethlehem, Luc-Olivier Merson, 1846-1920

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"I have lost my job and am facing eviction."


A very good friend of this blog sent me this news in an email:   "I have lost my job and am facing eviction.  Please pray."
.
So I ask all of you to implore the Infant Jesus and St. Joseph - who always finds a place to live and work for those most in need - to intervene and help our friend keep her place and find successful employment.  
.
+Prayer+
.
Dear St. Joseph, you found lodging and a means to support Our Lady and the Holy Infant Jesus, come to the aid of your daughter M. whose job has been lost and is facing eviction.  For the sake of the love you bear towards Jesus and Mary His mother, hear and grant our prayer.  Amen. 

7th Day of the Christmas Novena


Ransom captive Israel...
.
A long time ago, I went on pilgrimage, with very little money and hardly any provisions - just a change of clothes.  I was on my way to a Camaldolese hermitage to be a monk, so I thought.  I had left the world only a few months prior to my trip - all on fire with spiritual fervor.  I left behind friends and family - so I thought - although later I understood that the pilgrimage was not meant to be definitive... 
.
Anyway, while on the bus - I had decided not to hitchhike in the southern states and so I rode a Greyhound bus part of the way - I met a guy around my age, seated next to me.  He reminded me of my little brother, although he was kind of hillbilly, or so I thought.  We talked.  He noticed I prayed my rosary and asked me about it.  We talked well into the night about God and Jesus.  Then he fell asleep - his head falling upon my shoulder.  I didn't know what to do at first - then I fell asleep too.  I awoke the next morning and he was gone - he must have got off the bus during the night without waking me.  That was such a lonely feeling.
.
 
+Prayer+
.
Oh my Jesus, you came down from the bosom of the Father, homeless, friendless and forsaken, for our salvation.  Our faith embraces you in the disguise of your weakness, your humility and poverty, and we behold with great delight the new light of your glory...  Oh Divine Infant Jesus, open our hearts to the penetrating gaze of your merciful love - grant us your mercy and the healing we seek and need - or if it be your will, leave us as we are - only grant us your salvation, and free us from the power of sin and death.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

6th Day of the Christmas Novena



Jesus Christ, the true light that enlightens everyone.
.
1. Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, "the true light that enlightens everyone" (Jn 1:9), people become "light in the Lord" and "children of light" (Eph 5:8), and are made holy by "obedience to the truth" (1 Pet 1:22). - Veritatis Splendor
.
+Prayer+
.
O Infant God, all who approach you with simplicity feel the sanctifying influence of your presence and the warmth of your love.  Grant to us through your Holy Mother, a tender remembrance of your infancy so that we may experience more often the joy of your companionship and the strength of your virtues.  Amen.

Looking anew at Veritatis Splendor.



"Today, attention must be focussed anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience." - Benedict XVI
.
If this Encyclical, so long awaited, is being published only now, one of the reasons is that it seemed fitting for it to be preceded by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which contains a complete and systematic exposition of Christian moral teaching. The Catechism presents the moral life of believers in its fundamental elements and in its many aspects as the life of the "children of God": "Recognizing in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life 'worthy of the Gospel of Christ' (Phil 1:27). Through the sacraments and prayer they receive the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit which make them capable of such a life".10 Consequently, while referring back to the Catechism "as a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine",11 the Encyclical will limit itself to dealing with certain fundamental questions regarding the Church's moral teaching, taking the form of a necessary discernment about issues being debated by ethicists and moral theologians. The specific purpose of the present Encyclical is this: to set forth, with regard to the problems being discussed, the principles of a moral teaching based upon Sacred Scripture and the living Apostolic Tradition,12 and at the same time to shed light on the presuppositions and consequences of the dissent which that teaching has met. - John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor
.
"[T]he Catechism of the Catholic Church, contains a complete and systematic exposition of Christian moral teaching."
.
I'm always astonished when I hear or read of progressives who mock those who rely on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for authentic teaching as regards faith and morals, while they themselves exercise their so-called right to dissent from the truth - denying such things as 'natural law' when it comes to issues related to sexual morality especially. 

.
Today, however, it seems necessary to reflect on the whole of the Church's moral teaching, with the precise goal of recalling certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied. In fact, a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church's moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions. At the root of these presuppositions is the more or less obvious influence of currents of thought which end by detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth. Thus the traditional doctrine regarding the natural law, and the universality and the permanent validity of its precepts, is rejected; certain of the Church's moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to "exhort consciences" and to "propose values", in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices.
.
[...] Also, an opinion is frequently heard which questions the intrinsic and unbreakable bond between faith and morality, as if membership in the Church and her internal unity were to be decided on the basis of faith alone, while in the sphere of morality a pluralism of opinions and of kinds of behaviour could be tolerated, these being left to the judgment of the individual subjective conscience or to the diversity of social and cultural contexts. - ibid

Please pray for Michael


Our BFF Michael R is having brain surgery tomorrow - Tuesday, December 21.  Please remember him in your prayers.

Prayers and best wishes to you Michael - much love, Terry.

Image:  Michael of the Saints

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Pope of Christmas Past: "The Church's Garment is Torn".


Ghost of Christmas Past.

Pope Benedict in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia might be compared to the Dickens' Christmas Carol character, the "ghost of Christmas past".  In his extensive greeting, the Holy Father laments that amongst the great tribulations of the past year the worst seems to have been when the priestly sexual abuse scandal went global - right in the middle of the Year of the Priest. 
.
Under the mantle of the sacred.
.
"We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime."
.
The torn garment.
.
The Holy Father likens the Church to a vision of St. Hildegarde, wherein she saw the garment of the Church torn and her feet all muddied by the crimes of her ministers.  Pope Benedict asks where these sins came from, and what must be done to avoid them.  He cites the decadence of culture saying:
.
We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.

.
"In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.
.
... trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities...
.
We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity.
.
The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it.
.
Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.
.
In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today." - Source
.
One of the miseries of the Church.
.
So what about those priests who didn't get caught, didn't get sued?  What about those who comprise that segment in the Church the Holy Father refers to in Light of the World, as "one of those miseries of the Church"?    
.
h/t to Whispers in the Loggia

Quick Shots: Santa is the anti-Christ, the Feds are taking over the Internet, and zero tolerance in the Catholic Church - Oh! And my big fat Greek surprise comment!



Disney is evil.
.
As thousands of my readers and followers know, I am all about Santa, St. Nick, St Nicholas - even when he is mythically represented in those relatively corrupted forms, such as Father Christmas, or one of those fat burgermeisters in a red pantsuit.  But last night I caught a glimpse of the Disney - Tim Allen version of Santa and it was heresy - new world order crap.  Santa was NEVER married - he didn't work in an office - EVER!  He didn't have kids.  NO! NO! NO!  He did not have to get married.  Disney is the anti-Christ and Tim Allen's Santa is it's prophet.  No wonder kids are so screwed up.
.
The Feds are taking over the Internet - we are all going to be sent to concentration camps.  You knew it was coming:
.
Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government's reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling. - WSJ 

.
The Pope is asking what led to the global sexual abuse crisis in the Church.
.
Pope Benedict said Monday the Catholic Church must reflect on what is wrong with its message and Christian life in general that allowed for the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests.
.
"The psychological devastation of children, in which human beings are reduced to a marketplace article, is a terrifying sign of the times," Benedict said.

.
He said the underlying ideology of such rampant excesses stemmed from the 1970s, when "pedophilia was theorized as something that was in keeping with man and even the child," where nothing was considered good or evil in and of itself but only relative to the circumstances.
.
"The effects of such theories are evident today," he said.  He called for a renewed sense of morality, stressing absolute good and evil, to guide the faithful. - Source
.
N.B. - Stressing absolute good and evil - I think the trads and fundies have that one all taken care of.  What?
.
Oh!  Oh!  The end of civilized warfare - look what happened in ancient Greece - and the Greek army still wears skirts to this day!
.
The debate over gays in the military has been settled with a historic decision to allow them to serve openly, but big questions lie ahead about how and when the change will take place, how troops will accept it and whether it will hamper the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. - Source
.

5th Day of the Christmas Novena



Prayer to the Santo Bambino

.
Divine Bambino,

In my difficulties: help me

From the enemies of my soul: save me

In my errors: enlighten me

In my doubts and pains: comfort me

In my solitudes: be with me

In my infirmities: invigorate me

When others despise me: encourage me

In temptations: defend me

In difficult hours: strengthen me

With your Sacred Heart: love me

With your immense power: protect me

And, into your arms,

when I die: receive me.

Amen

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day Four of the Novena: Las Posadas


The novena Mexican style...
.
A posada varies according to the place, region, and community hosting the celebration. In church-sponsored posadas, a procession is held that is oftentimes led by older children or adolescents portraying Joseph and Mary. Sometimes they are accompanied by children dressed as angels and shepherds, who accompany them during their search for lodging and who lead a procession of parishioners. Often, peregrinos (pilgrims, represented by carved figures depicting Mary mounted on a donkey led by Joseph) are placed on a decorated and candlelit litter that is carried at the head of the procession. Participants join in prayer and song as they make their way to the first home, where the first verses of the posada, requesting shelter, are sung.
.
The homes that are visited are preselected, and members of that family as well as other parishioners wait indoors to respond in verse and song that there is no place for the travelers in their home. The same occurs on repeated visits to other homes, usually three or four. The tradition is that on the last visit the pilgrims are granted lodging. At the last site, usually the parish church, parishioners inside the church, who have been anticipating the arrival of the pilgrims, joyfully grant them lodging, singing a different chorus than in the prior visits.
.
The procession enters and gathers around the nativity scene, where all join and celebrate Christ's birth through prayer and song. After this, the community gathers, usually in the church hall, for traditional Christmas Mexican meal, tamales, and champurrado (a Mexican corn-based hot chocolate), and the children gather around for the breaking of the piƱata. - Taken from:  Las Posadas
.
+Prayer+
.
To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.

.
O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen. - Leo XIII
.
Today the Holy Father suggests that we prepare for Christmas by looking to St. Joseph.  Read what the Pope said here.


The dinner party...

I went out last night.
.
I went to my friends' house across town last night for a small dinner party.  It was very fun and the food delicious.  I stayed up much too late however.
.
Art:  Jonathan Walker, UK artist.