Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year

I've been thinking a lot about my New Year's resolutions. Mostly, they involve spiritual improvements. It really helps when you examine your conscience nightly to see the areas where improvements can be made. I was tempted to ask my family members and very close friends to let me know what about me bothers or irritates them so I can improve that way. But I think I would only be looking for trouble if I did that.

The best thing I can do is to practice dying to self, and with that hopefully will come humility. I hope that I will not impose my will on others but do God's Will instead, in everything.

The other day for example many little things occurred, one after another, where I was either humiliated, or wrongly judged. Usually, this would bother me beyond belief but by the grace of God, this time I remembered to offer it up and unite it with Jesus' sufferings. What a difference that made! With this new year, I hope to be able to practice more and more humility.

It will take a lot of practice but my resolutions are:

1. To be more patient. To look at the crucifix and focus on Jesus' patience when I am about to lose my patience. This was the advice of two good priests in Hawaii.

2. To not take things others may say or do, personally or jump to conclusions. In order to not do that, I have to learn not to judge anyone because I do not know what's in their heart. This is advice from another good priest in Hawaii.

3. I will live for the day as if it were my last day on earth. By doing so I will try to avoid offending God by sinning in even the slightest way.

4. To be silent more often like our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. To not engage in frivolous conversations or God forbid, gossip.

Reading the Imitation of Christ helped me with numbers 3 and 4.

5. To follow the example of our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph in their parenting ways...loving their child with a quiet and dignified manner.

6. To pray the Litany of Humility daily...especially the following:
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
8. To be patient and kind to the members of my family as I am with those outside my family.

9. To read more books that will help me grow spiritually.

10. To knit more :-)

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

New Year Indulgences


The following is from A Catholic Life. So nice to have Seminarian Matthew posting again.
December 31 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Te Deum is recited publicly on the last day of the year. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.
Te Deum

O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all
believers.
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

January 1 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Veni, Creator Spiritus is recited on the first of January or Pentecost.
From EWTN

Come, Holy Ghost

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest,
Vouchsafe within our souls to rest;
Come with Thy grace and Heav'nly aid
And fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

To Thee, the Comforter, we cry,
To Thee, the Gift of God Most High,
The Fount of life, the Fire of love,
The soul's Anointing from above.

The sev'nfold gifts of grace are Thine,
O Finger of the Hand Divine;
True Promise of the Father Thou,
Who dost the tongue with speech endow.

Thy light to evr'y thought impart,
And shed Thy love in evr'y heart;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.

Drive far away our wily Foe
And Thine abiding peace bestow;
If Thou be our protecting Guide,
No evil can our steps betide.

Make Thou to us the Father known,
Teach us the eternal Son to own,
And Thee, whose name we ever bless,
Of both the Spirit, to confess.

Glory to Thee, Father and Son
And Holy Spirit, with them One;
And may the Son on us bestow
The gifts that from the Spirit flow!

From Adoremus

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feast Day of the Holy Family

Holy Family

Prayer for a Family

God of goodness and mercy,
to your fatherly protection we recommend our family,
our household, and all that belongs to us.
Fill our home with your blessings
as you filled the holy house of Nazareth
with your presence.
Keep us from sin.
Help each one of us to obey your holy laws,
to love you sincerely, and to imitate your example,
the example of Mary, your mother and ours,
and the example of your holy guardian, St. Joseph.

Lord, preserve us and our home
from all evils and misfortunes.
May we ever be resigned to your divine will
even in the crosses and sorrows
which you allow to come to us.
Finally, give all of us the grace to live in harmony and love toward our neighbor.
Grant that each of us may deserve by a holy life
the comfort of your Sacraments at the hour of death.

Bless this house,
God the Father, who created us,
God the Son, who suffered for us on the Cross,
and God the Holy Spirit, who sanctified us at Baptism..
May the one God in three divine Persons
preserve our bodies,
purify our minds,
direct our hearts,
and bring us all to everlasting life.

Amen.

From the New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Get Ready For the Epiphany Blessing

Wisemen
Last year I was not familiar with this beautiful custom of blessing our homes until that day, so I wasn't ready for it. (I didn't have any chalk in the house)

This year, I am posting it early enough for you to get chalk if you don't have any in the house.

My post from last year can be found Epiphany Blessing

I'd also like to post the actual blessing here:

20 C + M + B 08
May Christ bless this House…
All who dwell and pray in it…
And All Whom they Welcome in His Name
....................

BLESSING OF A HOME AT EPIPHANY

Let us pray, In the name of + The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.

V. On entering the house, the Magi found the Child Jesus with Mary his mother.
R. They did Him homage and presented to Jesus symbolic gifts: gold to the great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh as a foreshadowing of his suffering and death.

Let us pray, God, our Father, by the guidance of a star, You revealed Your only Son as the Savior of all nations. Grant that we who already know You by faith, may be brought to the contemplation of Your glory in our heavenly home. We ask this through Christ your Son, Our Lord. Amen.

All may recite the Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary (The MAGNIFICAT) by which Mary praised God at the time of her Visitation to the house of Elizabeth found in St. Luke's Gospel Chapter 1, verses 46-55.

V. Be enlightened, O Jerusalem, and shine forth …for Your light has come!
R. And upon you is risen the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
V. All nations shall walk in Your light and kings in the splendor of Your birth.
R. And upon You is risen the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
Now, a Reading of the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord
from St. Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 2, verses 1 to 12.
V. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, has appeared and been revealed to the nations.
R. The prophets foretold His coming, and the angels and shepherds adored Him.
V. The Magi rejoiced to find Him and they lay their treasures before Him.
R. All you nations and peoples, …come and adore Him!

All recite The OUR FATHER as all the rooms of the house are sprinkled with holy water …and also if possible with blessed salt.

Let us pray, Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through Your goodness we have received all benefits. Come, visit and bless + this house so that it may be a shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the Commandments, - and thanksgiving to God, + The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

May the love and blessings of God, + The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit, descend upon this house, all those who reside within it, and upon all those whom they welcome in the Sacred Name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and may God's grace and peace remain with all of them forever. Amen.

NOTE: The initials of the names ascribed by tradition to the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), and the numerals of the current year are to be written with the blessed chalk above all the entry doors of the house in the following manner:
20 C + M + B 08

(Some interpret the letters to stand for Christus Mansioni Benedicat! May Christ bless this house! )

Mahalo to my friend Becca for sharing this with me last year.

Pope Benedict is considering bringing back the prayer to Saint Michael.

St. Michael the Archangel
H/T to Ed of In God's Company
According to Father Amorth (the Vatican's chief exorcist), Pope Benedict is considering bringing back the prayer to St Michael: “I remember a meeting we exorcists had with the Holy Father last year, in which he implored us to follow our mission as exorcists,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying. Father Amorth has also revealed that the Pope is contemplating reinstating use of the prayer said to Saint Michael the Archangel, which was abolished in the 1960s, because it is believed to be the prime protector against evil."
Be sure to visit Ed's blog for the links to the accompanying articles.

Our Lady for Saturday

Mary and Jesus

Feast Day of St. Thomas Becket

St. Thomas Becket
December 29 (politicians)

Gracious Father, Saint Thomas was famed for his opulence and his status as the most powerful man in England second to the king. Everything changed when he became a priest to be consecrated archbishop. He completely turned his life around and began to live piously. He was soon opposing the king to defend the Church's rights. I ask him to pray for the conversion of our politicians today. O Lord, give them motivation to turn away from the love of money and prestige and to begin serving Your kingdom more than their earthly domains. Forgive them their sins and lead them to heaven. Saint Thomas, pray for us. Amen.
From Daily Prayers With the Saints for the New Millennium by Terry Ann Modica

This would be a good time to read Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot and/or watch Becket with Richard Burton.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents

It is impossible for Herod's henchmen to recognize with absolute certainty, among all the babies of Bethlehem and its vicinity, just which infant boy is Jesus Christ. Thus, seething with diabolical fury, Herod orders the massacre of all who resemble Jesus in gender and approximate age. This barbaric case of "mistaken identify" becomes the source of incomparable exaltation for the Holy Innocents. For there is no greater glory than for a person to be mistaken for Christ himself. Perhaps the Lord had this in mind later in life when he declares that only those who change and become like little children can enter the kingdom of God. In our childlikeness, we are most like Jesus Christ. The blood of the Son Jesus that cleanses us fro all sin beings to reach us and transforms us today in a powerful way through the blood of the martyred Holy Innocents.
From the Magnificat: Christmas Issue 07

On this feast day, let us remember the present day massacre of the holy innocents through the crime of abortion.

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.

I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

From Priests for Life

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Feast of St. Stephen

St. Stephen


Dear St. Stephen

I have been honored to be born n your feast day and to bear a variation of your name-
a name made famous by your heroic virtues.
Help me never to do anything to besmirch it.
Obtain God's grace for me
that I may grow in faith, hope and love,
and all the virtues.
Grant that by imitating you
I may initiate your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
Watch over me along the way of the rest of my life
and bring me safe to my heavenly home at my death.

Amen.

From the New Saint Joseph's Peoples Prayer Book

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Christmas was the beginning of "one world". Like His heavenly Father, Jesus, would have a chosen race-all mankind in the Catholic Church. The Church, to all appearances a mere organization, is really an organism-The Mystical Body of Christ, a Body living and breathing the life of God by grace. The cells of this Body are men, and it is meant to grow to "The fullness of Christ." That is why Jesus, the Head of the Mystical Body, did not come to earth full grown out of the clouds, but was born a Child.

Purity of mind and body is a personal precept and a social virtue. But it is much more. It is a bulwark of the Kingdom of God on earth.
From Fr. Patrick Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Happy Birthday Jesus
Shared by Barb

A Special "Birthday Cake" For Jesus

Put in a cup of humility,
A cup of love goes in too.
Add a cup of caring and sharing,
I'm making it just for you.
You're my Savior and redeemer
So I'll add my heart as well,
For dying on that cross for me
And saving my soul from Hell.
I'll put in lots of forgiveness
For my fellow man,
For many here on Earth
Refuse God's perfect plan.
I'll add a cup of "glad" and "thankfuls"
Because God has for me,
A perfect place in His kingdom
To live for eternity.
I'll add my cup of cheer as well,
And a cup or two of faith,
That my friends and family near to me,
Will enter in that pearly gate.
I'll stir it all up in my soul,
And offer it to my King.
For myself is all I have to give,
I haven't any other thing.
I'll ice it all over with my prayers,
To be a lamp so bright,
So others may see in me
God's perfect wondrous light.
Happy Birthday Jesus!

~ Author Unknown ~

Monday, December 24, 2007

White Christmas

Dedicated to our military.

Merry Christmas!



Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas Symbols

CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS


Introduction

Did you ever wonder what the Christmas tree, candy cane, wreath, etc. have to do with Christmas? Much of the Christian meaning behind the symbols of Christmas has faded from the memory of our society. Each symbol has had a fascinating and interesting beginning.

Christmas decorations were symbols of Christ in our homes and hearts. It is up to all of us to hand these symbols down to our children and children's children before they are lost in our deeply materialistic society.

CHRISTMAS

The word "Christmas" is a word that we hear and see often through the season, yet many are hardly aware of its origin. Christmas is a combination of two Latin words: Christus and missus. These two words mean: Christ is sent. Sent where? Into the world by the loving Father who wishes to give His children the most precious gift of all - His only Son.


THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas Tree For centuries the Christmas tree all lit up has brought joy and peace to millions of homes each season. There are several stories about the origin of the Christmas tree.

One story tells of the first Christmas tree shown in a miracle to an English missionary, Winfrid, later called St. Boniface. In the seventh century, while traveling through northern Germany, he came upon a group of people worshiping a sacred oak tree. He stood among the heathens and tried to convince them to stop worshiping the oak tree. He cut it down and as it fell to the earth it split into four parts and a young fir tree grew from the center. He told the people that this was the holy tree of life because it pointed toward heaven. He said, "Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child."

The tradition of the Christmas tree was brought to this country by immigrants from Germany. The tree is an "evergreen" and is one of the few trees that does not loose its leaves in winter. For this reason it is a symbol of everlasting life, the precious gift from Jesus to all believers. There is even a Christmas tree displayed in St. Peter's Square during the Holy Season celebrating the birth of Christ.

The Germans were probably the first to decorate Christmas trees. They used lit candles, nuts, candies wrapped in bright paper, fruits, toys, angels and stars. The Scandinavians trimmed their trees with little flags, then later also used nuts, apples and cookies.

THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE

Christmas Candle Candles have long been a part of the tradition of the Church. At Baptism the parents of the child are handed a small white candle and told: "receive the Light of Christ, may you keep the flame of faith burning brightly on this child who is a new creation." The candles we burn brightly at Christmas remind us of our own Baptism and our own adoption as God's children. They equally symbolize Christ who is our Light in the darkness.

At a wedding there is a candle ceremony whereby the mothers of the bride and groom come to the altar with a lit candle and present them to their children who are to be married. They receive the candles and light one candle on the altar showing they are soon to be united as one.

THE STAR


Christmas StarThe star is one of the most popular symbols of Christmas. Many people top their tree with a star or place a star that is brightly lit over their homes. It was the star which led the Magi to the humble crib of the new born King. The Magi were the first non-Jewish people to visit Christ and they represented all people outside of the nation of Israel. The star reminds us that we are invited to come to Christ and to offer our gifts and talents to Him. The Christmas Star is God's invitation to offer ourselves to the Father of all people and nations and to adore Him.

CHRISTMAS BELLS

Christmas Bells School bells call children to classrooms and church bells call millions of people to worship. Bells alert people to important happenings, saying: "listen, take notice!" Bells are also a favorite symbol of Christmas. "Silver Bells," "The Bells of St. Mary," and the little bell on the Christmas tree in the move "It's a Wonderful Life," are all part of our Christmas tradition. The bells of Christmas have a special meaning, for they sing out: "your Savior is at hand, your freedom from sin is here!" What a joyous message, what a beautiful sound!

SANTA CLAUS AND THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING

Santa Claus Christmas StockingSanta Claus seems to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas and there is a sad irony in this since he is really Saint Nicholas. During the 4th Century, St. Nicholas, a bishop of Turkey, was the real Santa Claus. According to legend, he would drop a bag of gold coins down the chimney into a stocking which a poor girl had hung by the fireplace to dry. Hence we have acquired the custom of hanging the Christmas stocking.

St. NicholasHe was generous to the poor and always gave gifts secretly. In imitation of him anonymous gift-giving at Christmas time began. In his life, Saint Nicholas reflected God's gift of grace to all. Today, this beautiful tradition has been grossly commercialized. All is not lost however, if we take the time to explain the Christian origin of this great historic figure we call Santa Claus.

THE WREATH


Christmas Wreath
In ancient Rome and Greece, athletes and heroes were rewarded with wreaths as trophies in sports or military battle. "To the victor goes the crown" meant that the winners received a wreath and were paraded before the people. Christ's victory over evil on the cross is also symbolized by a wreath. As Christians, we are reminded of the crown He wore, how He was paraded through the streets of Jerusalem for all to see and how He struggled with sin and death on the cross.

THE CANDY CANE

Candy CaneOn that sacred night when Jesus was born, in a stable near the hillside of Bethlehem, some shepherds were invited by the Angel to go and see the newborn Messiah of Israel. After Mary and Joseph, they were the first people on earth to adore this Infant Savior. Their crooked shepherd staffs have been memorialized in the candy canes which decorate our Christmas trees and fill the stockings of children.

ORNAMENTS

Christmas OrnamentDecorating the Christmas tree with ornaments comes from an old European custom when ornaments were made from cookies and bread. These were hung on the tree in thanks for "our daily bread." They meant a special Christmas treat for the children, too. Through the years these edible decorations began to be made of carved wood and blown glass. The tradition of edible decorations is still carried on when we give and share special Christmas breads and foods with friends and relatives.

THE APPLE


Apple
We often use apples to stuff children's Christmas stockings and to hang on our Christmas trees as decorations. Yet few of us realize that the apple also has a Christian meaning. It stands for the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate in the garden of Paradise and therefore, the first sin and the sin of all humanity. Although the apple recalls this sad event, it also reminds us of the happy outcome - the good news that Christ is the new Adam who has saved us from sin.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS


Christmas CarolsChristmas carols go back to St. Francis. A "carol" signified a dance rather than a song. It was St. Francis who led the people in joyous dancing around the Nativity scene.

HOLLY

HollyGarlands and sprigs of holly are used to adorn our homes, churches and public places. The colorful green leaves and red berries bring an air of festivity, yet they bear a deeper message than simple decoration. Long ago, the sharp thorns and red berries reminded Christians of the suffering for which the Infant Messiah was destined. They saw in the thorns the crown which would pierce His head. The berries reminded them of the blood He would shed.

Red and green are the colors most used at Christmas time. In the tradition of the Church these colors have special meaning. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ and the martyrs who loved God and remained faithful to Him. Green is the color of hope and has always been a sign of life and growth in nature. Love and hope are very much a part of the Christmas story, for God became human to prove His deep love for us and give us hope of eternal life.

THE CHRISTMAS SEAL


Christmas Seals
The Christmas Seal was started in 1903 by Anton Holmboe, a Danish postal clerk. It was started as a source of revenue for an anti-tuberculosis society.

CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas CardThe exchange of Christmas cards began in England in the 1800's. They were first introduced in the United States by Louis Prang, a German immigrant who settled in Massachusetts. Prang, called the "Father of the American Christmas Card", printed the first "Season's Greetings" in 1873.

My friend Mary Ann of Friends of the Poor Souls shared the following with me a few months ago.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fourth Sunday of Advent



Fr. Daren's Homily

Today the Liturgy presents to us just such a light in the figure of Saint Joseph, “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:19).
Click above link to read the homily in its entirety.

O Emmanuel

day 6

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blessed Mother

MOGPictured shared by Sue Cifelli.

MARIAN PRAYER OF CARDINAL NEWMAN

O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, let me dwell with you, cling to you and love you with ever-increasing love. I promise the honor, love and trust of a child. Give me a mother's protection, for I need your watchful care. You know better than any other the thoughts and desires of the Sacred Heart. Keep constantly before my mind the same thoughts, the same desires, that my heart may be filled with zeal for the interests of the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son. Instill in me a love of all that is noble, that I may no longer be easily turned to selfishness.

Help me, dearest Mother, to acquire the virtues that God wants of me: to forget myself always, to work solely for him, without fear of sacrifice. I shall always rely on your help to be what Jesus wants me to be. I am his; I am yours, my good Mother! Give me each day your holy and maternal blessing until my last evening on earth, when your Immaculate Heart will present me to the heart of Jesus in heaven, there to love and bless you and your divine Son for all eternity.

Prayer is from Concordia Ministries, a wonderful Catholic site I found today. Check out their Silence area.

Welcome Home!

B16 and Tony Blair
LONDON — Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who generally kept his religious views private while in office, has converted to Catholicism, church officials said Saturday.
Fox News Article

4th Sunday of Advent Wreath

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hawaii's Bishop's Christmas Message

Agnus Dei

From the Hawaii Catholic Herald
Happy Holidays!

There is so much controversy these days about this simple greeting, because it seems to make Christmas little more than a secular holiday. Few would deny the holiday’s historical roots in Christianity, but there is a prevailing attitude that the holiday has “matured” into a day for believer and non-believer alike. Christ is no longer the center of the observance for many.

While it would be easy for us to rail against this contemporary bow to secularism, we might also be challenged to scrutinize our own attitudes about our faith and ask if we ourselves have not planted the seeds of the separation of Christ from Christmas. Is our faith in Jesus simply belief in a historical person who lived an exemplary life, who died a sacrificial death, and who left us a legacy of teachings to guide us in life’s journey? Or do we also truly believe that Christ IS risen, that he is alive now, and that, even though he has ascended into heaven, he comes physically to earth as the living bread come down from heaven in the Eucharist? Do we go to the Eucharist simply out of obligation or tradition, or do we go to encounter the Lord of our lives? Do we view the Eucharist only as a series of rituals, or as an encounter with a living person whose love can transform us? Do we truly believe that the little Babe laid in a feeding box in Bethlehem, whose birth stirs up so much joy in us, is the same Jesus who is laid on the altar to feed his sheep today? Can we be filled with the wonder and awe of those down-to-earth shepherds who witnessed heaven singing to celebrate the joy of God-become-man? When we go to Mass do we find the experience dull or dreary unless the choir or the homilist brightens it up for us, or do we go with stars in our own eyes, stars that guide us to adore the King of heaven and earth? When we leave after having received the Eucharist, do we grasp the incredible wonder that the same Jesus who was carried in the womb of the Virgin until she brought him forth to the world is carried in us so that we can bring him forth in today’s world?

Yes, we should prefer “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” because it is more expressive of the truth we are celebrating. But “Merry Christmas” will only regain its meaning if we live the reality and not just the words. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The same Word takes flesh in us today, so that he can continue to touch the hearts of believer and non-believer alike. Can you see the star? Can you hear the angels singing?

Merry Christmas!
Mahalo Bishop Silva, for reminding us, your flock, of the true meaning of Christmas.

About the Judgment and How Sinners are Punished

The following is from the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis. I thought this was a good time to post this as we should all be purging our sins through the Sacrament of Confession prior to Christmas.

"...Much better to get rid of your sins now, prune away your bad habits here, than keep them to be paid for hereafter...

The more you spare yourself, and take corrupt nature for your guide, the heavier price you will pay later on...

The pattern of a man's sins will be the pattern of his punishment:

-red-hot goads to spur on the idle

-cruel hunger and thirst to torment the glutton

-see where the dissipated souls, that so loved their own pleasures, are bathed in hot pitch and reeking sulfur

-where the envious souls go howling like mad dogs, for very grief!

Each darling sin will find its appropriate reward:

-for the proud, every kind of humiliation

-for the covetous, the pinch of grinding poverty

Spend a hundred years of penance here on earth, it would be no match for one hour of that punishment. Here we have intervals of rest, and our friends can comfort us; there is no respite for the damned, no consolation for the damned.

Take your sins seriously NOW, be sorry for them NOW, and at the Day of Judgment you will have confidence, the confidence of blessed souls.

We shall see...what the true wisdom was:

- learning how to be a fool, and despised, for the love of Christ

-troubles endured with patience will be a grateful memory to us

-it will be the turn of the wicked to look foolish.

-See how all pious souls make merry, and the scoffers go sad

-how the body that was mortified shews fairer, now than if it had been continually pampered

-how rags are all the wear and fine clothes look shabby

-how the gilded palace shrinks into insignificance beside the poor man's cottage!

-the dogged patience you shewed here will do you more good than all earth's crowns

-you will get more credit for unthinking obedience than for any worldly wisdom...

-The devout prayers you offered, not the good meals you ate, will be your comfort then.

-The silence you kept, not the long chats you had, will be pleasant to think of then

-Saintly deeds done, not phrases neatly turned, will avail you then.

-A well-disciplined life of hard penitential exercise, not a good time here on earth, will be your choice then.

You have go to realize that all your sufferings here are slight ones, and will get off much worse sufferings hereafter...

Love God with all your heart, and you've nothing to fear; death or punishment, judgment or hell; love, when it reaches its full growth, is an unfailing passport to God's presence...Only, if a man doesn't make the fear of God his final consideration, his good resolutions won't last; he will walk into some trap of the devil's before long."

The Best Christmas Ever

Santa and Jesus
The following story was shared by my friend Chris S. I hope you take the time to read it to the end. It first appeared on Christmas Day, 2005.
Navy Reserve chaplain Ron Camarda didn't want to go to Iraq. But go he did, writing in his journal the names of the 2,000 troops -- some dead, many wounded -- he met along the way. His experience changed him and his message for the holiday.

By MARK WOODS, The Times-Union

To start to understand what happened last Christmas -- how a Catholic priest from Jacksonville ended up standing in an eighth-floor lookout in Fallujah, Iraq, singing Oh Holy Night with a Marine, tears streaming down both of their faces -- first you have to hear the other stories about the tears.
ARTICLE

How NOT to Discern Your Vocation

The following is from Travis over at Catholic Tube

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Panis Angelicus

As performed by Josh Groban.

Saintly Quote

Mary
The Blessed Virgin did not speak many words. She remained silent in the adoration of her Son; she lived on the contemplation of the ineffable mystery wrought in her and through her, and from the sanctuary of her Immaculate Heart a hymn of praise and thanksgiving rose up unceasingly to God. Let us then live in recollection and try to remain closely united to our Lord.
Blessed Columba Marion (1858-1923)

Thanks Sue!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Book! AB Sheen on Therese

sheenLook what I found at the Anchoress's blog! I wish I had seen this earlier, it would have been on my Christmas wish list. You know I love the Archbishop!

Like the Anchoress, I highly recommend the following book:ab sheen
I used some of the quotes for the Three Priests video.

And, speaking of Archbishop Sheen, remember his Family Retreat talks? Well, only one word to describe them........EXCELLENT!!! Last night's talk was on Confession. It was filled with anecdotes and compelling stories of people who were changed through the Sacrament of Confession. A few other of my favorites and ones I will watch again are The Devil, Kenosis and The Cross.

You can learn more about this must have DVD HERE

Ember Days

The following is something new I learned from Seminarian Matthew of a Catholic Life
For those who are able to do so, I highly encourage you to observe the ancient practice of fasting and partial abstinence on these days - this coming Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The following information is from Fish Eaters:

These times are spent fasting and partially abstaining (voluntary since the new Code of Canon Law) in penance and with the intentions of thanking God for the gifts He gives us in nature and beseeching Him for the discipline to use them in moderation. The fasts, known as "Jejunia quatuor temporum," or "the fast of the four seasons," are rooted in Old Testament practices of fasting four times a year:

Zacharias 8:19:

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace."

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as "Advent Embertide," and they come near the beginning of the Season of Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days' Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with Wednesday's Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2 :

"Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Planned Parenthood's Mockery Against Christmas



The following is from American Life League

Planned Parenthood’s “Choice on Earth” cards offend
WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Planned Parenthood’s ‘Choice on Earth’ holiday cards are its latest assault on Christianity,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American life League. “By changing the word ‘peace’ to ‘choice’, Planned Parenthood is effectively implying that Mary should have considered aborting Jesus.”

American Life League’s latest video report exposes Planned Parenthood’s continued assault on Christianity. The report goes from ‘Choice on Earth’ holiday cards to Planned Parenthood’s involvement in a 1973 comic book that depicts a sacrilegious rendition of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman posing as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“King Herod sent soldiers out to slaughter babies because he wanted to kill Jesus,” said Sedlak. “Two thousand years later, Planned Parenthood is still doing all it can to kill babies. That is what their motto ‘Choice on Earth’ really means.”

“Planned Parenthood continues to flaunt its anti-God, secular humanist agenda in its products and in our schools,” Sedlak concluded. “It is time for all Americans to stay away from this organization.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another Auld Lang Syne



Aloha Dan Fogelberg


Eternal rest grant unto him O lord and may your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Singer Dan Fogelberg, 56, dies of cancer

Christmas in Hawaii

m6
Dwarfs wishing us a Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou

Mele Kalikimaka

M4
Menehune giving us a shaka while riding the train

M3
Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus

m2
City Christmas Tree

Mi
Frosty and Family

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Well, I Know It's Not My Fault

I buy lots of books :-)

Originally from Ironic Catholic and H/T to Ma Beck where I saw it.

BTW, I don't remember seeing the disclaimer that No Actual Books Were Harmed in the Making of this Video" :-(

Advent Wreath - 3rd Week

What to Get Your Priest for Christmas

Priest
Let me preface this post by saying I wish we could afford to give each and every Catholic priest a gift for Christmas. They give so much to us by way of the sacraments. But one gift we can give is to remember to pray for them every moment you can. Good time to consider adopting one spiritually too!

Back to the post, this is always a concern for me. I don't want the gift to be too impersonal or too personal or something Father will not be able to use.
Well, if you are like me, it's Father Daren to the rescue! He shares a wonderful resource full of "do's" and "don'ts" when giving a present to a priest.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

OLOBS
O Virgin Mary,
our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,
you are the glory of the Christian people,
the joy of the universal Church,
and the salvation of the whole world.
Pray for us,
and awaken in all believers a vibrant devotion
for the most Holy Eucharist,
so that they may be worthy to partake daily
of this holy Sacrament of the Altar.

- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Poem For Friday

HB

The Early Morning

The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:
The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.
The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.
My brother, good morning: my sister, good night.

- Hilaire Belloc

From The Home Book of Verse for Young Foks, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

Three Ways to Fight the Devil

According to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, one can fight the Devil with the following three ways. It is because the Devil hates them!

1. The Holy Name of Jesus - Holy Name
Picture source: Moniales - Dominican Nuns


2. The Precious Blood of Jesus - PB

and the


3. Through our Blessed Mother of God - MOG