Saturday, December 21, 2019

A New Christmas Story

Foxwood Tales by Cynthia and Brian Patterson

Chapter One

It was the Saturday before Sunday, and we were already afraid of Monday, because Christmas Eve was on Tuesday, and we thought we had to work that day, but we are retired and no longer work.

Today, instead of cleaning or getting the house ready for Christmas, I stared outside, waiting for the solar lights to come on at dusk.  The 'seed' lights are woven through an artificial garland of pine and woodland greens, with real pine cones, arching over the Madonna relief, mounted on the trellis.  It is the only light in the garden, until Sunday night, when the Christmas lanterns are lighted.

Inside, the Christmas tree is up, lighted and decorated of course, and Christmas candles in every window, although I need to tidy up, dust and clean, but I keep putting it off.

Oh look!  The solar lights came on!  Maybe I'll continue to stare at them for the rest of the evening.  It is so Christmassy!  The rabbits come out to look and marvel, along with all the other critters in the yard, while they weave the ivy strands into wreaths and garlands for their little cottages.  Since I enjoy watching the rabbits play in the garden, I've been putting off spraying repellent upon the hedge - which keeps the rabbits from devouring the bark.  They've trampled the snow, so it looks as if a series of guests had been wandering all over the yard and garden.  I prefer the snow to be undisturbed, but rabbits do as they please.

Perhaps the rabbits are trying to convey a message?  Maybe the messy snow is a reflection of the interior of my house?  I suppose I really do need to clean.

Which reminds me of a story I can't remember.  When I was little there was a children's book about a mouse who didn't keep house.  The home kept getting dirtier and dirtier until it blew up.  That's all I can recall, but I wonder if it blew up when she tried to light the oven?  I know.

I have to clean my oven too.

Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Today: "The Expectation of the Parturition of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

A little feast from the old Calendar.

The feast or commemoration seems to have originated in Spain, establishing the Marian character of Advent, if you will.  The Expectation of the Birth of the Lord, pondered by Mary ever virgin, Mother of God.  

This Feast, which sometimes goes under the name of Our Lady of O, or the Feast of O, on account of the great antiphons which are sung during these days, and, in a special manner, of that which begins O Virgo virginum (which is still used in the Vespers of the Expectation—see below, together with the O Adonai, the antiphon of the Advent Office), was kept with great devotion in Spain. - Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger

The Marian character of Advent.

The Expectation says it all, Our Lady expected the Messiah, as revealed to her by the Angel Gabriel.  It makes me think, how in our times we are in a sort of Marian era.  As if Our Lady is calling us to expect the Messiah, the return of Christ.  She exemplifies the conduct and disposition of soul we ought to cultivate in ourselves.  Full of hope, with a love 'beyond all telling', going within to meet him.  I don't know, of course, but it is good for me to take refuge in Our Lady.

"The Virgin, weighed
With the Word of God
Comes down the road:
If only you will shelter her." - John of the Cross 

From Marialis Cultus.

3. During Advent there are many liturgical references to Mary besides the Solemnity of December 8, which is a joint celebration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, of the basic preparation (cf. Is. 11:1, 10) for the coming of the Savior and of the happy beginning of the Church without spot or wrinkle.[11] Such liturgical references are found especially on the days from December 17 to 24, and more particularly on the Sunday before Christmas, which recalls the ancient prophecies concerning the Virgin Mother and the Messiah[12] and includes readings from the Gospel concerning the imminent birth of Christ and His precursor.[13]
4. In this way the faithful, living in the liturgy the spirit of Advent, by thinking about the inexpressible love with which the Virgin Mother awaited her Son,[14] are invited to take her as a model and to prepare themselves to meet the Savior who is to come. They must be “vigilant in prayer and joyful in…praise.”[15] We would also remark that the Advent liturgy, by linking the awaiting of the Messiah and the awaiting of the glorious return of Christ with the admirable commemoration of His Mother, presents a happy balance in worship. This balance can be taken as a norm for preventing any tendency (as has happened at times in certain forms of popular piety) to separate devotion to the Blessed Virgin from its necessary point of reference — Christ. It also ensures that this season, as liturgy experts have noted, should be considered as a time particularly suited to devotion to the Mother of the Lord. This is an orientation that we confirm and which we hope to see accepted and followed everywhere. - St. Paul VI, Marialis Cultus

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

There are four Marian Dogmas.

Virgin birth.

Do you know them?

Sometimes I wonder how many Catholics know the four Marian Dogmas. I expect those who want a fifth Marian dogma would know them well. It seems to me that they also know that Catholic Tradition has always recognized Our Lady as co-redemptrix and mediatrix - without making a dogmatic proclamation.

That said, there is one dogma that I truly believe many Catholics do not understand, receive, or accept. The perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As St. John Paul II expressed it:
"“Mary was therefore a virgin before the birth of Jesus and she remained a virgin in giving birth and after the birth. This is the truth presented by the New Testament texts, and which was expressed both by the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553, which speaks of Mary as ‘ever virgin’, and also by the Lateran Council in 649, which teaches that ‘the mother of God…Mary…conceived [her Son] through the power of the Holy Spirit without human intervention, and in giving birth to him, her virginity remained incorrupted, and even after the birth her virginity remained intact.” - General Audience of Jan 28 1987
These are the four Marian Dogmas:

The Divine Motherhood; Mother of God.
Perpetual Virginity; virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus.
Immaculate Conception; Our Lady was conceived without original sin.
Assumption of the BVM; Our Lady was raised body and soul into heaven, she did not undergo the corruption of the tomb.

This is our faith.

Loving Mother of the Redeemer,
who remains the accessible Gateway of Heaven,
and Star of the Sea,
Give aid to a falling people
that strives to rise;
O Thou who begot thy holy Creator,
while all nature marveled,
Virgin before and after
receiving that "Ave" from the mouth of Gabriel,
have mercy on sinners.

Isaiah 7:14