Saturday, December 29, 2007
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.
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.
December 29 (politicians)From Daily Prayers With the Saints for the New Millennium by Terry Ann Modica
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.
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
From the Magnificat: Christmas Issue 07
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.
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
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.
From the New Saint Joseph's Peoples Prayer Book
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
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.From Fr. Patrick Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 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.
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 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.
He 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.
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
On 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.
Decorating 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.
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 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.
Garlands 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
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.
The 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.