In Defense of Mother Church

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st john  St. John         

st james the greater in courtyard St. James the Greater

St. James is called “the Greater” in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle James.  He is the brother of St. John the Evangelist.

The two youths were fishing with their father when Jesus came by and invited them to follow Him.  They were present at the Transfiguration, and were near Christ in His Agony in the garden.

After the dispersion of the Apostles, St. James preached the Gospel in Spain and then returned to Jerusalem, where he was the first of the Apostles to drink the cup of Christ’s sufferings.  By order of Herod Agrippa he was beheaded at Jerusalem around the feast of Easter, in the year 44.

St. John became the “beloved disciple” and the only one of the Twelve who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the Cross, whence the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother.

St. John’s later life was passed chiefly in Jersusalem and at Ephesus.  He founded many Churches in Asia Minor.  He wrote the fourth Gospel and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him.  Tradition relates that, brought to Rome, he was by order of Emperor Domitian cast into a caldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Patmos for a year.  He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow Apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

mary with infant jesus gray background

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when the angel appeared and said ”You’re doing a little of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said “Have you read the specs on this order?”

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;

Run on black coffee and leftovers;

Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;

A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointing love affair;

And six pairs of hands.

The angel shook her head slowly and said “six pairs of hands ... no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” says the Lord.  “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she ask, ‘what are you kids doing in there?’  when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goes up and says, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.

“Lord” said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, “come to bed. Tomorrow...”

“I can’t” says the Lord, “I’m close to creating something so close to Myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick. Can feed a family of six with one pound of hamburger... And get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly.  “It’s so soft,” she sighed.

“But tough!” said the Lord excitedly.  “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her fingers across the cheek.  “There’s a leak,” she pronounced.  “I told you we were trying to put too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “it’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride.”

“You’re a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber.  “I didn’t put it there.”

   Erma Bombeck

praying family

This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen and is so true: I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said,’This is the Receiving Section.’ Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received. I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world. Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, “This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.” I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth. Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. “This is the Acknowledgment Section”, my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed. “How is it that there is no work going on here?” I asked. “So sad,” the angel sighed. “After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.” “How does one acknowledge God’s blessing?” I asked… “Simple,” the angel answered. Just say, “Thank you, Lord.” “What blessings should they acknowledge?” I asked. “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s healthy.” “And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.” “If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.” “If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world…” “If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.” “If your parents are still alive and still married….you are very rare.” “If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you’re unique to all those in doubt and despair…..” Ok, what now? How can I start? If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

peter image for website

You are Petros (Kephas), and on this rock I will build my Church. (Mt. 16:18)

• Son the Jonah.

• Brother of Andrew.

• Born in Bethsheba.

• Married

• “Protos” which means “first” (always listed first on list of Apostles).

•Received the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven •Mentioned 182 times in Scripture (John is next mentioned 34 times in Scripture) • Jesus preached from his boat • While Jesus was there, Peter witnessed two miraculous harvests of fish • He attempted to walk on water • Was told by Jesus, “Get behind me, Satan”  • Cut off Malchus’ ear • Denied Christ three times    Healed Aneneas at Joppa... and raised Tabitha • Was first to enter the empty tomb of Christ • At Pentecost, 3,000 were brought into the Church... announce the Great Proclamation  “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” • Told to feed His lamb and tend to His sheep; spokesperson for Apostles.

Tradition holds that around 65 A.D., persecutions of the followers of Christ by the emperor Nero began in earnest.  First, he had self-acknowledged Christians arrested and tortured.  Based on information from them, large numbers of others were condemned. Their methods of death were varied:  some dressed in wild animal skins, they were torn to pieces by wild dogs; or they were crucified and made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight.  Because of these persecutions, Christians in Rome feared that the Catholic Church would become extinct if anything happened to St. Peter and urged him to go into hiding.

Upon leaving Rome, St. Peter was said to have been confronted by the Risen Christ. It was in this setting that St. Peter asked Christ, who was walking towards him carrying a cross, “Why are you coming here?” The Lord replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified again, since St. Peter seemed intent on running away. Ashamed, St. Peter immediately turned back to Rome. He was soon captured and kept chained to a column nine months in a dungeon called the Tullian Keep.  The guards were continually changed, as they were converted almost as soon as they were assigned to him. In the year 67 A.D., St. Peter was crucified upside down at his own request; for he stated that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Savior. After St. Peter was put on his cross,  he continued to preach for three hours.  St. Peter’s tomb is located directly below the main Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy.

st helena statue

I am not sure many people do!  Do you?  You see, many people knew my son, or they did back in the day.  Today, he is for the most part forgotten; me?  Well, they knew me only as - his mother.  If we had met back then, you would most assuredly know him, and for the most part, you would know of me as well.  You see, we lived in the middle of the 3rd Century (year 250)... my son, was the ruler of the world.  Do you know of him, he was, for the most part, ruler of the world!  His name was Constantine the Great!  And of course, I am his Mother... I was a devout Christian.

One day, he told me of a dream, in which he saw a heavenly manifestation, a brilliant light in which he believed he described the cross or the monogram of Christ.  Strengthened by this apparition, he advanced courageously to battle, defeated his rival and won the supreme power.  It was the result that gave to this vision its full importance, for when the emperor afterwards reflected on the event it was clear to him that the cross bore the inscription: HOC VINCES (in this sign wilt thou conquer).  For what it is worth, the monogram of Christ is something you see the Priest wear in Church on Sundays, in particular your Fr. Mark and Fr. Howard.  You see, in the Greek language, the first 3 letters of the word ‘Christ’ are written with the letter X (which is our “Ch”), followed by the letter P (which is our “r”)... ‘Christ!’  Watch what Father wears next Sunday; anyway, before I digress he came to me about Him... I told him everything that I knew!  My son sent me on a mission to collect all the relics of this God, Jesus Christ, which I cold find.  And boy, did I find some... I was so blessed to find so many wonderful relics, that you can see even today!  I found the Cross of our Savior, I found the inscription that was placed above His head (INRI), I found one of the nails used in His hands, and I even found part of the Crown of Thorns.  And last but not least, I found the steps Christ walked upon, in receiving His judgment from Pilate.  You can see below, or in person at my Church, Santa Croce in Rome.

Do you know me!  I am often times portrayed holding a large cross in my hands.  I pray that if you do not know me, that you will come to know my Savior, and yours, Jesus Christ!  You will find him in my Church here in Amite, you see... My name is St. Helena!

donkey donkey cross on back

No matter what their color, almost all Miniature Donkeys share the distinctive mark of a cross that extends down their back and across their shoulders.  While genetics account for this coloration, poet Mary Singer has a more touching explanation:

The Donkey’s Cross

“Bring me a colt of a donkey,” was the Master’s request.

A young donkey was brought to Jesus to bring Him to Jerusalem.  A week later Jesus was ordered crucified.

The little donkey so loved the Lord that he wanted to help Him carry the cross.

But alas, he was pushed away.

The sad little donkey waited to say goodbye until nearly all had left.

As he turned to leave, the shadow of the cross fell on his back  and shoulders.

And there it has remained, a tribute to the loyalty and love of one of the humblest of God’s creatures.

 

When a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you.  But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself.  He abases himself.  And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.

But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand in God’s presence?  He is the great God, who is today and yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the place where we are, the city the wide world, the measureless space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than a paricle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely high.  He is so great, I so small, so small that beside Him I seem hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance.  One has no need to be told that God’s presence is not the place in which to stand on one’s dignity.  To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hears still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.

Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture, an empty form.  Put meaning into it.  To kneel, in the soul’s intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.  On entering a Church, or in passing before the Altar, kneel down all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God.  It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you kneel it will do your soul good.

-Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs, “Kneeling” (Translated by Grace Branham)

cricket on street for website

Two friends were walking along a busy Manhattan street during the lunch hour, and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, one of them said, “What an interesting place to hear a cricket.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” his friend said, “I heard a cricket.”

“That’s crazy,” said his friend.

The man, who thought he had heard a cricket, listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.

“That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have superhuman ears!”

“No,” said the man who heard the cricket. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”

“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. Then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within 20 feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the man who heard the cricket. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”

guardian angel tamer elsharouni

O Most faithful companion, whom God have appointed to watch over me, my guide and protector, ever at my side, what thanks can I offer you for your love, your constancy, and your innumerable benefits?  You watch over me in sleep You console me in sorrow, You raise me when I fall, You ward off dangers, You prepare me for the future, You withdraw me from sin, you urge me to good, You move me to do penance, and reconcile me with my God.  Already, perhaps, I should have been thrust into hell, unless You by your prayers had averted from me the dreadful wrath of God.  Desert me not, then, I beseech thee; encourage me in adversity restrain me in prosperity, protect me in dangers, and assist me in temptations, lest at any time I yield to them.  Offer to the Divine Majesty all my prayers and sighs and works, and obtain for me the grace to die in the friendship of God, and so to enter into life eternal.  Amen.

 st valentine image

Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated with “courtly love.”

Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test.

St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision.

Judge Asterius was humbled and obeyed Valentine’s requests. Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates.

St. Valentine was later arrested again for continuing to try to convert people to Christianity. He was sent to Rome under the emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II). According to the popular hagiographical identity, and what is believed to be the first representation of St. Valentine, the Nuremberg Chronicle, St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during Claudius’ reign. The story tells that St. Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Both acts were considered serious crimes. A relationship between the saint and emperor began to grow, until Valentine attempted to convince Claudius of Christianity. Claudius became raged and sentenced Valentine to death, commanding him to renounce his faith or be beaten with clubs and beheaded.

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14.

 Many Are Healed By Jesus

 

THE POEM OF THE MAN-GOD BY MARIA VALTORTA

60. Cure of Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law.

3rd November 1944

  ...Come in, Master...

  Peace be to this house.  How is the patient?...

Her temperature is very high.  The doctor has seen her and he said she is tool old to get better and that when the disease goes from the bones to the heart, and gives a temperature, one dies, particularly at an old age.  She will not eat any more... And... she is so restless!  She complains, and shouts, and cries, and curses...

  Be patient, as if she were your mother and God will grant you merit for it.  Take Me to her.

  Rabbi... Rabbi... I don’t know if she will be pleased to see You.  She does not want to see anybody...

   Jesus walks across the kitchen and opens the door wide.  Standing on the threshold, He pronounces His sweet, solemn greeting: Peace be with you.  He goes in, although He gets no reply.  He goes near a low bed on which there is lying a little old woman, grey-haired, thin, panting because of the high temperature which causes her wasted face to flush.

   Jesus bends over the little bed, smiles at the old woman:  Are you in pain?

   I am dying!

   No.  You will not die.  Do you believe that I can cure you?

   Why would You want to do that?  You do not know me.

   For Simon, who asked Me... and for you, to give your soul time to see and love the Light.

   Simon?  It would be better if he... How come Simon thought of me?

   Because he is better than you think.  I know him and I am sure.  I know him, and I am happy to satisfy him.

   Would You cure me, then?  I will not die, then?

   No, woman.  You will not die as yet.  Can you believe in Me?

   I believe, I believe.  It is enough for me not to die!

   Jesus smiles once again.  He takes her hand.  Her hand, wrinkled and with swollen veins, disappears in the younger hand of Jesus, Who stands straight up, and takes the attitude He normally assumes when working a miracle.  He shouts:  Be cured!  I want it!  Get up!   and he lets her hand go.  And her hands falls down without any complaint, whereas before, notwithstanding Jesus had taken it very gently, she groaned when it was moved.

   There is silence for a few moments.  Then the old woman cries out:  Oh! God of our fathers!  But there is nothing wrong with me!  I am cured!  Come!  Come!  Her daughters-in-law rush in.  Look!  says the old woman: I can move and I feel no pain!  And I am no longer feverish!  Feel how cool I am.  And my heart no longer feels like the blacksmith’s hammer.  Ah!  I am not dying any longer!  Not one word for the Lord!

   But Jesus does not mind.  He says to the oldest daughter-in-law: Dress her that she may get up.  she is fit to be up.  And He makes for the door.

   Simon, mortified, says to his mother-in-law: The Master has cured you.  Have you nothing to say to Him?

   Certainly.  I wasn’t thinking of that.  Thank You.  What can I do to thank You?

   Be good, very good.  Because the Eternal Father has been good to you.  And if it is not too much trouble for you, allow Me to rest in your home today...

   Master!...

   Yes, Peter>

   I feel humiliated.

   ...She is not the first, and will not be the last who do not feel immediate gratitude.  But I do not seek gratitude.  All I want is to give souls the chance to save themselves.  I do My duty.  Let them do theirs.

jesus commands the unclean spirits copy

Father Richard Woldum of Los Angeles, California was ordained in 1979. Shortly afterwards he was assigned as hospital chaplain for one year to St Joseph’s Hospital in Alton, Illinois. This is his account.

One morning I received a call to come to the emergency room to see an 11-year old boy named Johnny who was dying. I found him on a breathing machine, his head swollen very large.

Johnny’s parents told me that he had been riding his bike on a gravel road near his home when a truck came flying over the hill and hit him head-on. The collision caused him to be thrown into the nearby field. When the ambulance arrived the medics found his head cut wide open with half his brains scattered in the field. They literally picked up the pieces of his brain, shoved them into his head, and took him to the hospital.

When I asked Johnny’s parents if he had been baptized, they said, ‘No.’ They informed me they attended no church but prayed at home as a family. I asked them if they would like me to baptize Johnny. They glanced at each other as if to say, ‘It couldn’t cause any harm,’ then said to me, ‘Go ahead.’ They also said if I wanted to I could baptize him into the Catholic faith. That night, with the parents and two nurses as witnesses, I baptized Johnny.

The next morning I was doing communion rounds when my beeper went off. Johnny’s doctor wanted me in the intensive care unit. ‘What you do last night?’ he asked in broken English, as I met him outside Johnny’s room. I explained to the doctor, a Buddhist, that I had baptized Johnny (with the permission of his parents) so that he could go to heaven. When I asked him why he was so concerned, he informed me that the boy’s swelling had disappeared. The doctor was still convinced that the boy would die, however; or if he lived, remain a vegetable, never moving, talking or even moving his eyes.

That night Johnny’s parents thanked me for baptizing him. I then explained about the anointing of the sick, and asked if they would like Johnny to receive that sacrament. With their agreement and in their presence, I anointed Johnny.

The next morning during communion rounds the doctor again paged me on my beeper. He met me at the door of intensive care and directed me to Johnny’s room, explaining on the way that he had heard from the nurses that I had again prayed for Johnny.

Then he pointed to Johnny’s eyes and asked, ‘What you do?’ I saw that Johnny’s eyes were moving. ‘It is just the power of Jesus through prayers for the sick,’ I responded. He gave a faintly sarcastic grin and said, ‘It no matter. Boy no talk or move. He remain vegetable.’

It was now the third night, counting the night of the accident. I suggested to the parents that they permit me to give Johnny the sacrament of confirmation. They agreed.

The following morning his legs and arms were moving. The doctor said to me in front of the parents, ‘I no longer in control.’ He was simply unable to explain what was happening. The parents turned to me and said they wanted to become Catholics. I recommended that they wait and see what happened to Johnny before making a final decision.

That evening when I explained to them about the Eucharist, they said they wanted this for Johnny too. I gave him some Precious Blood with an eye dropper. The next morning he was making sounds.

When I checked in on Johnny upon my return, I learned he had been transferred to the third floor, which was the surgery unit. I went upstairs to see him, fearing that he had gone back to surgery. He was sitting on his bed, talking to his mother.

After his recovery they took another x-ray of his head and found that the part of his brain that had spilled out in to the field had grown back.

When I eventually talked to Johnny’s parents about becoming Catholics, they informed me they would continue praying at home. The doctor in the case started looking into Christianity. Three nurses converted to Catholicism.

 MOTHER MARY IN PAVILION

My soul is tortured by frightful things suggested to my imagination by Satan. … I went up to the oratory of Our Lady to implore her not to let me fall. She came, at once, very motherly and said:

"My daughter, I will give you a lesson of very great importance: the devil is like a mad dog, but he is chained, that is to say, his liberty is curtailed. He can, therefore, only seize and devour his prey if you venture too near him, and that is why his usual tactics are to make himself appear as a lamb. The soul does not realize this, and draws nearer and nearer, only to discover his malice when in his clutches. When he seems far away, do not relax your vigilance, child; his footsteps are padded and silent, that he may take you unawares."

She gave me her blessing and went away.

jesus reaching in

I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine.  Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish.

Ask My Spirit to control your mind so that you can think great thoughts of Me.  Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered.  Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark.

The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work in the situation.  Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention.

Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life.

twowolvesweb

An old Cherokee was speaking with his grandson.

He said, “A fight is going on inside me.  It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The Cherokee’s grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

adoration of the magi peter paul reubens for website

...Let us now follow the Magi to Bethlehem: it is there that we shall especially see the manifestation of the depth of their faith.

The marvellous star leads them to the place where they were at last to find Him Whom they had so long sought. And what do they find ? A palace, a royal cradle, a long train of attentive servants ? No, but a poor dwelling. They seek a king, a God, and they see only a Babe on His Mother’s knee; not a Babe transfigured by Divine rays as the Apostles were later to see the God-Man, but a little Child, a poor weak little Child.

However, from this Little One so frail in appearance, invisibly went forth a divine power : Virtus de illo exibat. He, Who had made the star arise to lead the Magi to His cradle, now Himself enlightened them. He inwardly filled their minds with light and their hearts with love. And so it was that in this Child, they recognised their God.

The Gospel tells us nothing of their words, but it makes known to us the sublime act of their perfect faith: “And falling down they adored Him”: Et procidentes adoraverunt eum (Ibid. 2:2).

The Church would have us associate ourselves with this adoration of the Magi. When, during the Mass, she gives us these words of the Gospel narrative to read, she causes us to kneel down, to show that we, too, believe in the Divinity of the Babe of Bethlehem.

Let us adore Him with deep faith. God requires of us that, as long as we are here below, all the activity of our inner life should lead to union with Him by faith. Faith is the light which enables us to see God in the Virgin’s Child, to hear God’s voice in the words of the Incarnate Word, to follow the example of a God in the actions of Jesus, to appropriate to ourselves the infinite merits of a God in the sorrows and satisfactions of a Man suffering like ourselves.

Through the veil of a humble and passible Humanity, the soul enlightened by a living faith ever discovers God; whereever she encounters this Humanity-whether it be in the humiliations of Bethlehem, upon the roads of Judea, on the gibbet of Calvary, or under the Eucharistic species- the faithful soul falls in adoration because it is the Humanity of a God. At the feet of Jesus she listens to Him, in order to obey and follow Him until it shall please Him to reveal Himself in the beauty of His Infinite Majesty, in the holy splendours of the Beatific Vision.

The attitude of adoration in the Magi translates in eloquent language the depth of their faith; the presents that they offer are likewise full of signification. The Fathers of the Church have laid stress on the symbolism of the gifts brought to Christ by the Magi. In ending this conference, let us stay to consider the depth of this symbolism: it will be a joy for our souls and food for our devotion.

As you know, the Gospel tells us that having found the Child with Mary His Mother, “opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:2). It is evident that, in the intentions of the Magi, these gifts were meant to express the feelings of their hearts as well as to honour Him to Whom they were brought.

EWTN: The Ephiphany, Authored by Dom Columba Marmion

Canada Geese in a snow storm

There was once a man who did not believe in either the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it, and was skeptical even about God. He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her religious observances.

“It’s all nonsense -- why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It’s such a ridiculous story,” he said.

One snowy day, she and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window... And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear.

He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, “How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety.”

At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words reverberated in his mind: If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them. Then, at last, he understood God’s heart towards mankind... and he fell on his knees in the snow.

virgin and child 5 copy

Was the night before Jesus came and all through the place,
Not a creature was praying, not one on their face.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care,
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not one ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap,
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!
The light of His face made me cover my head,
It was Jesus returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand,
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late,
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear,
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call,
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

jesus on bike

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

But later when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike and Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable…it was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts up mountains and through rocky places, and at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”

I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared”, He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord’s and mine.

And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met and I found that in giving, I received and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it, but He knows bike secrets – how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks and fly to shorten scary passages.

And I’m learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places. I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breezes on my face with my delightful constant companion, Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says, “PEDAL!”

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