Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Prepare The Chair

This seemed so long ago.

And with the Most Reverend John C. Wester's installation as the 12th. Archbishop of Santa Fe on June 4, 2015, it left the Diocese of Salt Lake city without a shepherd.

Until today.

Rocco Palmo at his 'blog breaks the news for which we have been waiting for the past 20+ months. The Intermountain Catholic, the diocese's official newspaper, also has a post on its website (note the date).

And we will have to wait an additional 8 weeks.

The installation will take place March 7.

Monday, January 09, 2017

January 2017 Morning Offering Prayer Inention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:

Christian Unity.  That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord's  teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.

A reflection for this intention is found here.

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You will notice there is only one intention, rather than the traditional two. From the website:
Starting in 2017 the Pope will present only one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than the two presented before this year. He plans, however, to add a second prayer intention each month related to current events or urgent needs, like disaster relief. The urgent prayer request will help mobilize prayer and action related to the urgent situation. The Apostleship of Prayer will publish these urgent prayer intentions on this website as soon as we receive them from the Vatican.
So, there will be no more Universal Intention or Evangelzation Intention for the time being. Now, I happen to be a proponent of  "if it isn't broken, don't fix it; but do check to see if it is broken". I am wondering myself, "Is this change really necessary?"

I will be posting the updated intention only if I discover it myself.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Every Knee Should Bend

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
Phil. 2:6-11
In my 2016 Christmas Eve Reflection, using this passage as a focal point for a phrase, I had wondered if people have forgotten that Jesus is God. With at least 70% of the faithful not believing in the Real Presence (depending on the poll you have seen), it is no wonder why one may see such casual, if not irreverent behavior, during Communion. Many people, using lex orandi, lex credendi as a starting point, question the posture of standing and receiving the Sacred Host on the hand versus kneeling and receiving on the tongue, saying this contributes to the lack of reverence.

I made mention I genuflect as I pass by the Tabernacle outside of Mass, praying the "Jesus Prayer" as I pause there. I also bow my head at the mention of the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and during the recitation of the Gloria Patri, as is/was customary. I do that to remind me of the very thing I decry, to give witness to the fact that He is here among us.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. You may not see it on your calendar, as it was seemingly removed and then restored. In keeping with a positive take on the 2nd. Commandment, there are two prayers you can use to honor "the name which is above every name."

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The first is one of the six officially approved litanies of the Church. The Litany of the Holy Name invokes titles associated with Jesus. A partial indulgence is gained for its recitation.

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, Son of the living God,
R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
Jesus, brightness of eternal light.
Jesus, King of glory.
Jesus, sun of justice.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, most amiable.
Jesus, most admirable.
Jesus, the mighty God.
Jesus, Father of the world to come.
Jesus, angel of great counsel.
Jesus, most powerful.
Jesus, most patient.
Jesus, most obedient.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Jesus, lover of chastity.
Jesus, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls.
Jesus, our God.
Jesus, our refuge.
Jesus, father of the poor.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful.
Jesus, good Shepherd.
Jesus, true light.
Jesus, eternal wisdom.
Jesus, infinite goodness.
Jesus, our way and our life.
Jesus, joy of Angels.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles.
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, light of Confessors.
Jesus, purity of Virgins.
Jesus, crown of Saints.

V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.
V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you." Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.

Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love.
R. Amen.

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The other is a very familiar prayer at the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Divine Praises are recited as the Sacred Host is being returned to the tabernacle. It can also be used to make reparations for blasphemy and profane language.

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.

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Perhaps one or both of these can be your New Year's resolution in terms of the spiritual life.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hail, Theotokis!


Fish Eaters presents the Akathis Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Originally posted 1/1/2011.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.
Re-posted 1/1/2015.
Re-posted 1/1/2016.

Another New Year's Indugence

For those of you who were unable to gain the indulgence from singing "Te Deum" last night, fear not.

You have another opportunity today.

Singing the hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus", as it does on Pentecost Sunday, also carries with it a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

You will find the words and a familiar translation here.

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Originally posted 1/1/2016.

Perpetual Resolution


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Originally posted 1/1/2007.
Re-posted 1/1/2013.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.
Re-posted 1/1/2015.
Re-posted 1/1/2016.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year; Old Song



The sands runs out of the hourglass known as 2016. A new time piece is in place. With it comes the hope and optimism that what is ahead will be better that what was left behind. Then, an old familiar tune to an old familiar poem by Robert Burns start to play. We join in singing both verses and chorus:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

May our eternal God grant us abundant blessings in this new year. May He show us what it important in this life so as to be with Him in the next. May the coming twelve months bring  Him glory and praise.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

The Best New Year's Hymn


New Advent provides the background to this hymn.

The website FishEaters.com provided the Latin and English.

From The Handbook of Indulgences:
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who recite the hymn, Te Deum, as an act of thanksgiving.  The indulgence will be a plenary one if this hymn is publicly recited on the last day of the year.
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Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae!
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

V. Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum.
R. Et laudabilis, et gloriosus in saecula.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Santo Spiritu.
R. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.

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O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Thee, the Father, all the earth doth worship.
To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Full are the Heavens and the earth of the majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles praises Thee,
The admirable company of Prophets praises Thee,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Thee, the Holy Church throughout the world doth confess:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
Thou, O Christ, are the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thou, we believe, art the Judge to come.
We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance!
And govern them, and exalt them forever.
Day by day we bless Thee
And we praise Thy Name forever: yea, forever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have trusted in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee I have trusted; let me not be confounded forever.

V. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
R. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever.
V. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost.
R. Let us praise and magnify Him for ever.


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Originally posted 12/31/2011.
Re-posted 12/31/2012.
Re-posted 12/31/2013.
Re-posted 12/31/2014.
Re-posted 12/31/2015.

Farewell Speech For 2016

What a tumultuous year. (And I think that may be the kindest thing that could be said about the previous twelve months.)

Pick your subject. The 2016 United States Presidential election (and the nominating process leading to it). The seemingly sudden spate of deaths to notable celebrities these past 366 days. The increase of tension between opposing factions no matter what the topic. "Peace on earth" was nothing more than a wishful thought at times.

Even in my own private life, the ups and downs were as turbulent. A job in February didn't work out. A return to a seasonal position from last year was more physically taxing, as a severe back muscle spasm in August required a trip to the emergency room, where a MRI revealed a slight disk bulge between the 4th. and 5th. lumbar vertebrae, causing even more personal concern about what type of work could I do. Even a stint selling Christmas trees for a local store just seemed to demand more of my body. While the status quo is status quo, the plan to "Go Forward" had more reverse motion.

I must say, however, that completing my "Propers Meditation" was a success, even if it was just sticking with it. It is said that everyone has a book in them. Consider what I did a very rough first draft.

But 2017 will come with all its fanfare. As it should. And whether we are ready or not for it. We should cherish the chance to begin anew as we display a new calendar. The question is whether we have learn from those things that defeated us. Have we, and are we, in the words of author Matthew Kelly becoming a better version of our selves with the help of God's grace? (Of course, we need to define "better".)


So, where does one go from here? Where else? Toward God. Toward Jesus Christ. St. Peter had it spot on:  "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) It is only "through Him, and with Him, and in Him" where we will find fulfillment.

2017 comes soon. Could it be worse than what came before? Possibly.

But, in our eternal optimism, in hoping with hope, we look for better.

May we find it.

As the lyric in the song "Send In The Clowns":  "Well, maybe next year."

Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016 Christmas Day Card


May the Word made Flesh bring you and yours joy today and always. May the Christ Child bring peace on earth and to your home. May the newborn King of Kings and Lord of Lords bestow His love upon all now and forever.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Proclamation Of The Birth Of Christ

Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono:
A diluvio vero, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo:
A nativitate Abrahae, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo:
A Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo:
Ab unctione David in regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo:
Hebdomoda sexagesima quinta juxta Danielis prophetiam:
Olympiade centesima nongentesima quarta:
Ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo:
Anno imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo:
Toto urbe in pace composito:
Sexta mundi aetate:
Jesus Christus aeternus Deus, aeternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piisimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursus mensibus, in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus homo:
NATIVITAS DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI SECUNDUM CARNEM!

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The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine:
From the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven:
From the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen:
From Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten:
From David's being anointed king, the year one thousand and thirty-two:
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel:
In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad:
From the building of the city of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty-two:
In the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus:
The whole world being in peace:
In the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since his conception having passed, In Bethlehem of Juda is born of the Virgin Mary, being made Man:
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH!

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The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. 
When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy,He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
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NOTES:
Originally posted as "Behold, I Bring You Good News"; 12/24/2005.
Linked in "Repeat The Sounding Joy"; 12/24/2006.
Re-posted 12/24/2007.
Re-posted 12/25/2008.
Re-posted 12/24/2009.
Re-posted 12/24/2010.
Re-posted 12/24/2011.
Re-posted 12/24/2012.
Re-posted 12/24/2013.
Re-posted 12/24/2014.
Re-posted 12/24/2015.

2016 Christmas Eve Reflection

The Second Reading of the Feast of the Nativity--Mass During the Day:
Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

Hebrews 1:1-6
I had a bit of a problem for this year's Christmas Eve Reflection. I just simply didn't have a topic for the longest time. Then inspiration came. (Thank you, Holy Spirit.)

The past two years have seen the use of "lectio divina" on the two readings from St. Paul's letter to Titus found in the Christmas Masses. I continue in the same vein, this year using the passage from the opening of the letter to the Hebrews. While sentence structure may not allow for many short snippets, there will be ample opportunity to mine much insight.

"In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets." Even since Eden, when Adam and Eve disobeyed (did not hear) the word of God and His instruction, God has taken the initiative to re-call humanity to Him. The pre-prophetic time of  the Old Testament is replete with God speaking to the crowing of His creation, especially His encounters with Abraham and Moses, when covenant and Law were given to the Chosen People. Even the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel was another opportunity for listening. Then came the prophets, a more direct bearer of God's word. They spoke of the love of God, the need of repentance, and the promise of redemption. Even the prophet who bridged Old and New Testament, St. John the Baptist, continued to deliver this message. But their words were only an echo of the Word.

"In these last days." These words ring as true today as they did in the 1st. Century. While we live in the here and now, we are coming to end of time, whether our own death or the end of the world. Our salvation awaits us if we but just listen for and to the Word made Flesh.

"He has spoken to us through the Son." "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) To begin the fulfillment of the promise of redemption, God the Father sent into the world through the Holy Spirit, via the Blessed Virgin Mary, His only begotten Son, through Whom the world was made. It is His birth we celebrate today, in spite of the attempt the secular world to minimize, if not eliminate, this Word from our vocabulary.

And how the Second Person of the Trinity has spoken. We hear of  His Life, Death, and Resurrection as articulated by Him through the Evangelists. We continue to hear the Word through His Bride, the Church which He established. It was this Couple which brought us Sacred Scripture, so we could continue to listen to what He said. It is through His Bride the Sacramental Life He established is administered. As our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, spoke back over two millennia, He continues to speak to us today and until "the life of the world to come".

"Whom he made heir of all things."As Son, He is heir to all the Father has created. Through the Son, we have become co-heirs. We will share the Trinitarian Life, the Beatific Vision promised to us if only we heed the voice at His Baptism and Transfiguration and "listen to Him" and the Church whose authority is from Him.

"And through whom he created the universe." Not only is Jesus the rightful heir to what His Father has created, He helped created what is to become His. Recall the refrain in the creation story, "And God said." It is no coincidence St. John opened his Gospel with the same phrase which opened Genesis. The re-creation of the world had to be like its creation. The Word had to be spoken; "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

"Who is the refulgence of his glory." Glory can only reflect glory; Light can only reflect light. As St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, we only see dimly now. But even in that dimness, we see Him as He truly is.

"The very imprint of his being." Like Father, like Son. "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father." Of the same substance. People complained about the use of that word when the Roman Missal was more accurately translated in 2011. As Jesus said, "The Father and I are one." End of argument.

"And who sustains all things by his mighty word." We return to Genesis. God creates and sustains with His Word. That Word last infinitely and eternally. And that Word holds all in the palm of His hand. "Of the Father's love begotten, 'ere the world began to be."

"When he had accomplished purification from sins." There is no redemption without sacrifice. There is no re-birth without death. There is no Resurrection without a Nativity. There is no Easter without a Christmas. The Incarnate Word had to be born, become "like us in all things but sin" so as to reconcile us to the Father as the Father willed.

"He took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high." "He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty." Thus we complete the story of Jesus' earthly life in these brief sentences in the first half of this reading. He came, lived, died, rose, and ascended. He did the will of His Father.

"As far superior to the angels." How can the angels, created by God, be superior to Jesus, Who is God? That was Lucifer's downfall. That was ours. But unlike Satan, we have been redeemed. We only need to cooperate with the grace of God to make it happen.

"As the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs." Hearken to another Second Reading, this one from Palm Sunday:
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2:8-11
Jesus--A variant of Joshua--God saves. Emmanuel--God is with us. This is the name the Christ Child inherited. This is the name which should be reverenced, as should His Real Presence. Have people forgotten that Jesus is God? I wonder about that at times. (And, just in case you think I don't practice what I preach, I do genuflect in front of the tabernacle as I pass it and bow my head when I hear the Holy Name.)

"For to which of the angels did God ever say:  You are my son; this day I have begotten you?" Does this sound vaguely familiar? It is the Introit for the Feast of the Nativity--Mass During the Night (Psalm 2:7). The announcing of the birth of our Savior bring not only joy to the world, but also awe, so much so the heavenly host were inspired to sing the first Gloria.

"Or again:  I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?" From the First Reading of the Solemnity of St. Joseph (2 Samuel 7:14a), this confirms the house of David is to be the royal lineage. It is from this house St. Joseph came and thus "legitimizes" Jesus as a rightful heir to the throne. But is goes much deeper than that. The Kingdom of God has now come to earth and is to be established, which Christ as its Ruler.

"And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world." Is there not an echo of the Last Judgement in this phrase? Is there not also an echo of the admonition of St. James in his letter? Re-born by baptism, works sustained in faith, the new firstborn are those who are like Nicodemus, who heard the Word and acted upon it.

"He says:  Let all the angels of God worship him." Psalm 97:7b is referenced here. Creatures can only worship a Creator. Worshiping themselves is a form of idolatry, which an angel (or a human) loyal to God would never do. And being able to see God as He is (as we hope to do as well), they can do nothing but adore Him.

Tonight we adore Him, albeit veiled in flesh. But this is only so we can be "caught up in the love of God we cannot see." Our God is here. "Come and worship...Christ, the newborn King."

Hodie Christus natus est.

Soon To Blossom

For the past three Advent seasons the Holy Family Catholic Church Choir has sung an arrangement by David Ashley White of a 16th. Century German folk song originally used as part of pilgrimages before Christmas. It is the first three verses which are commonly used today, thank to a translation by Henry S. Drinker.

1. Maria walks amid the thorn,
Kyrie eleison.
Maria walks amid the thorn,
Which seven years no leaf has born.
Jesus and Maria.

2. What 'neath her heart doth Mary bear?
Kyrie eleison.
A little child doth Mary bear,
Beneath her heart He nestles there.
Jesus and Maria.

3. And as the two are passing near,
Kyrie eleison,
Lo! roses on the thorns appear,
Lo! roses on the thorns appear.
Jesus and Maria.

The imagery of barrenness, lifelessness, and death miraculously being revived makes it a great contemplative point for the past four weeks. Much like St. John the Baptist in Elizabeth's womb recognizing the Christ Child in Mary's, life recognizes life.

Soon the barrenness of this Advent will pass.

Ero cras.