Archive for November, 2005

Who was Saint Andrew?

November 30, 2005

Catholic Exchange

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Andrew, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, was the first disciple of our Lord. Prior to coming to Jesus, Andrew had been a follower or disciple of John the Baptist. One day while walking with John, Jesus passed by. St. John, seeing Jesus, pointed Him out to Andrew and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Realizing that John was saying that Jesus was the Messiah whom they had all been awaiting, Andrew immediately went after Jesus. Turning and seeing Andrew following Him, Jesus asked him, “What do you seek?” whereupon Andrew inquired where Jesus was staying. Jesus replied, “Come and see.” Andrew soon brought his brother, Simon Peter (St. Peter), to Jesus to also become His disciple.

Andrew and his brother, Simon Peter, were fishermen and one day while repairing the fishing nets in their boat with their father, Jesus came by and asked them to go with Him. They immediately left their father, their boat and their occupations, and followed our Lord Jesus who told them, “I will make you fishers of men.”

It is believed that after the Ascension of Jesus, Andrew went to Greece to preach the Gospel. According to a very ancient tradition, Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross to which he was tied, not nailed. He is said to have suffered for two days before dying on the cross.

St. Andrew is the patron saint of Russia, though it is uncertain whether he actually preached there, and the patron saint of Scotland, where tradition says that St. Rule brought his relics in the fourth century. He is also the patron saint of fishermen. His feast day is November 30.

Saint Andrew

November 30, 2005

Feast Day: November 30

Read about St Andrew here:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Wikipedia

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First Sunday in Advent

November 27, 2005

wellsprings.org

The Wellspring >>Advent Resources page has lots of links for you to explore.

Gospel: Mark 13: 13: 33-37

A new Liturgical Year opens today and we embark on Year B with the evangelist Mark as our guide.

We do not begin at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, however – that will come next week The opening Gospel of the Year is taken from near the end of the Gospel – just before Mark begins the account of Jesus’ passion.

For those who see Advent as a time of preparation leading up to Christmas – and, this year, to the new Millennium – this seems a very odd choice. In fact, it is a powerful reminder of what Christmas actually celebrates – and what the Millennium or Jubilee celebrates – the Coming of God into the world.

Advent comes from a Latin word – advenire – which means to come to… Advent, then is a time to think about “advents” – comings to – and to reflect on three comings-to in particular:

The Coming of God to the world as a human baby

The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time

The Coming of God into the world today.

Marks’ Gospel could be described as the bluntest of the Gospels! He makes his point in straightforward language – “be on your guard” – “stay awake” – “he must not find you asleep”.

This is not a Gospel offering tranquil and comfortable living. This is a Gospel that is urgent – challenging those who admire Jesus and who are impressed by what He says and does to take the extra step – into His footsteps and to follow the way of discipleship.

We do not know where our discipleship will lead – nor when Christ will return. Jesus insists that we must not allow not knowing these things to lull us into a false sense of security.

We are the doorkeepers – the ones left in charge. Our responsibility is to stay awake – even when others seem to be sleeping – so that we are ready to welcome Christ into the world when He comes.

We are also alert to the coming of God into our lives today – in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body – in those in whom Christ is hidden – in the Spirit who is within us…

What does it mean for me?

What does “staying awake” in matters of faith mean to you?

Do you look forward to the Coming of Christ?

© 2005 Wellspring

Advent Calendar devoted to Mary

November 27, 2005

Here is the Advent Calendar from the Mary Page.

“During the first fourteen days of Advent, we will explore what the Scriptures say about fourteen women of the First Testament and their parallels to Mary. Then we will look more closely at Mary as chosen daughter of Israel, at the Annunciation, and at the Visitation. Finally, we will concentrate on Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, as the Catholic Church anticipates his birthday in the so-called O’Antiphons.”

Instructions on page.

>>Mary Advent Calendar

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Online Advent Calendar

November 27, 2005

I wish I had thought of this last year. Just bookmark (make a favourite) the following link and return to it every day to open the daily door. The image below is a peek at what it looks like. And it won’t let you look ahead either! You click on the date to open the door and then click on the little picture to make it larger. You can look at the first one today.

>>ADVENT CALENDAR

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First Sunday of Advent – Mass Readings

November 27, 2005

EWTN

Sunday, November 27, 2005
First Sunday of Advent (Blessing of Advent Wreath after homily)

First Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7
Psalm: Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?St. Augustine

THE PRESENTATION of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

November 20, 2005

Lives of the Saints

November 21

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Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to God, His divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some among the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the Temple, to be brought up in quarters attached to the Temple, attending the priests and Levites in their sacred ministry. There were special divisions in these lodgings for the women and children dedicated to the divine service. (III Kings 6:5-9) We have examples of this special consecration of children in the person of Samuel, for example. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25 ff.) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity.

It is an ancient and very trustworthy tradition that the Blessed Virgin was thus solemnly offered in the Temple to God at the age of three by Her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. The Gospel tells us nothing of the childhood of Mary; Her title Mother of God, eclipses all the rest. Where, better than in the Temple, could Mary be prepared for Her mission? Twelve years of recollection and prayer, contemplation and sufferings, were the preparation of the chosen one of God. The tender soul of Mary was adorned with the most precious graces and became an object of astonishment and praise for the holy Angels, as well as of the highest complacency for the adorable Trinity. The Father looked upon Her as His beloved Daughter, the Son as One set apart and prepared to become His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His undefiled Spouse.

Here is how Mary’s day in the Temple was apportioned, according to Saint Jerome. From dawn until nine in the morning, She prayed; from 9:00 until 3:00 She applied Herself to manual work; then She turned again to prayer. She was always the first to undertake night watches, the One most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, Her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day She appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after Her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world. Mary will be their eternal Model, their dedicated Patroness, their sure guide on the paths of perfection.

Reflection: The consecration of Mary to God presented all the conditions of the most perfect sacrifice: it was prompt, generous, joyous, unregretted, without reservation. How agreeable it must have been to God! May our consecration of ourselves to God be made under Her patronage, assisted by Her powerful intercession and united with Her ineffable merits.

Sources: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Solemnity of Christ the King [A] 2005

November 20, 2005

Catholic Web

**Lots of good links on this page

Fr. Charles Irvin

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Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28; Matthew 25:31-46

The Church is not driven by worldly ambition to dominate. Rather it is motivated to do just one thing, the work of Christ under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For Christ came among us to bear witness to the truth and not to condemn, to serve and not be served, to seek out and save the lost. The kingship of Christ has nothing to do with the power, luxury, splendor and pretentiousness associated with the principalities and powers of this world. The kingship of Christ comes to us with something ancient, an image we have lost, namely the metaphor of the shepherd-king. That ancient calling, that ancient role, was rich. It had a depth that we moderns are barely able to fathom. Perhaps it is now beyond our reach.

But maybe not. If you’ve read C. S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe you’ll remember the children who entered a land ruled by a lion named Aslan. While visiting the Beaver family, Mr. Beaver tells them about the mighty lion king Aslan, mighty and yet benevolent, who provides for all of the animals while keeping order in his kingdom. “Oh,” cries one of the children, “is he quite safe?” “Safe?” replied Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? He strikes fear in your very soul. His roar is filled with power. Safe? No, not safe. But Aslan is good.”

As you perhaps know, Aslan is C. S. Lewis’ analogue for Jesus Christ. Mr. Lewis is attempting to overcome our tendency to take God too lightly. All too often we’re guilty of the sin of presumption, vainly taking God for granted, assuming that of course He will forgive us for anything we do. True, Christ is meek and mild, comforting, tender, inviting, and nurturing. And so are shepherds. Nevertheless shepherds are often weather-beaten, gnarled, and often scarred from fighting off wolves and others beasts that would ravish the sheep. Furthermore shepherds separate out the goats from the sheep, something that requires them to be seemingly harsh judges.

Today’s reading from the prophet Ezekiel throws light on God being mighty, powerful, and fearsome while at the same time caring for the lost, the plundered, the beaten-down, and the exiled. Ezekiel used the imagery of the shepherd to describe God. In Exekiel’s time, everyone would have instantly recognized the analogy. The shepherd would be their only protection; they were defenseless. God’s might and tenderness, both, were needed.

We just heard a portion of Psalm 23. If you go to Psalms 25, 26 and 27 (especially 27) you will hear our Lion King comforting us with words of tender, loving care. Perhaps in them we may feel the full impact of Christ’s inaugural address when at the beginning of His public ministry He declares:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

If today you are feeling lost, defenseless, injured, and discouraged, then open up your hearts. Your shepherd king comes for you.

If, however, you are feeling smug, self-satisfied, and dismissive about your Church, your religion, and your God, then perhaps you should feel some unease. Ezekiel, the prophet, has the word of the Lord for you: “The sleek and strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. As for you, I will judge between one sheep and another.”

Shepherds have tender hearts, but have leathery skins, sharp eyes, and voices that cannot be ignored without putting yourself in peril. Shepherds lie down at night across the opening to the stone-hedged sheepfold and thereby put their bodies on the line so that wolves would have to pass over them to enter the sheepfold. Shepherds, in other words, are “tough cookies”, not to be trifled with.

Today, the last Sunday in the Church’s liturgical year, we are confronted with the Lion King who is our final judge. He has loved us with great passion. With all the more passion He defends us from spiritual forces on high that seek to devour our souls. The greater the love, the greater the passion.

The opposite of love is not anger and wrath — it is apathy and indifference. And God, our Lion King Shepherd, is anything but apathetic.

Let me review for you the gospel accounts for these last three Sundays in the Church’s liturgical year. Two Sundays ago we heard of the foolish virgins who neglected to provide themselves with oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom came to celebrate his wedding the foolish ones found the door slammed in their faces.

Last Sunday we heard of the servant who received a considerable amount of money but because he was fear driven he neglected to do anything with the talents he was given and buried them instead.

Today we hear of people who neglected their spiritual vision and failed to see Christ in those around them, in those who needed His love, care, and concern. They are surprised to find themselves damned to eternal punishment.

Did you hear the common word used in describing these last three gospel accounts? It’s neglect. With all that God has given us, and with all that God has done for us, including sending us His only Son, we have received countless treasures, talents, abilities and powers. What have we done with them? To repeat, the opposite of love is not anger and rather – it is apathy, indifference, and neglect. And our Lion King Shepherd is anything but neglectful and apathetic.

The mystery of evil is that you and I have been given the power to resist God, to go off on our own way, to live life “my way”, and to ignore God’s loving care. The astounding mystery is the fact that even though God is omnipotent, all-powerful and infinitely loving, we can cancel out all of His power and make our own choices. using our own powers of free will and simply dismiss him, wandering off on our own way. It’s quite possible for us to tune out the voice of our one, true shepherd. In doing so we bring down upon ourselves our own self-generated disasters. People who no longer pray are usually heard saying, “My life seems so meaningless. What’s the purpose for my living? Just who am I anyway?”

So, then, is Christ safe? Who said anything about Him being safe? But he is good. How have we responded?

Mass Readings

November 20, 2005

EWTN

Sunday, November 20, 2005
Christ the King (Solemnity)

First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

The faults of children are not always imputed to the parents, especially when they have instructed them and given good example. Our Lord, in His wonderous Providence, allows children to break the hearts of devout fathers and mothers. Thus the decisions your children have made don’t make you a failure as a parent in God’s eyes. You are entitled to feel sorrow, but not necessarily guilt. Do not cease praying for your children; God’s grace can touch a hardened heart. Commend your children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When parents pray the Rosary,at the end of each decade they should hold the Rosary aloft and say to her,”With these beads bind my children to your Immaculate Heart”, she will attend to their souls.– St. Louise de Marillac

‘Inner Sun’

November 13, 2005

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise–
think on these things.

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Click to view – ‘Inner Sun’ mandala from >>here

This beautiful mandala is called ‘Inner Sun’ and represents to me the philosophy of the above biblical verse. As an aside, today I read an article that said scientists had decided that our genetic make-up determined to a large extent out inner psychology–even whether we experienced a lot of loneliness. The theory is that in caveman times, those most anxious about surviving with what resources they could gather would isolate themselves away from the group so that they could be sure of hanging on to their possessions. This trait has followed us down through our history and makes sense if you think about people who are selfish and greedy as opposed to people who take a vow of poverty, give away all that they have and spend their lives being of service to their fellow men. Getting back to the mandala, however–the very term ‘Inner Sun’ strikes me as a premise we need to incorporate into our personalities in order to combat the negativity in the world. I know that many people have no problem with seeing positive aspects and attributes everywhere they go. For some of us, this is very difficult, if not impossible–and that makes for a lot of unhappiness and anxiety. St Paul’s words offer a concrete way to help ourselves keep on an even keel in our thinking. By thinking on true, honest, pure, lovely, pure, virtuous and good things, we can counteract the negativity we get bogged down in which makes ourselves and others so miserable. Our positive focus can become our ‘Inner Sun’.