Sunday, January 08, 2023

Communion of Saints

 

The Communion of Saints

        How do we define th Communion of Saints as mentioned in the Apostles Creed? Well, first, let us look at the Creed. The origin of the Apostle's Creed dates back to, as the title explicitly states, the Apostles. In a 4th century commentary by Rufinus (Commentarius in symbolum apostolorum) he states the long accepted belief that the Apostles themselves wrote the Creed shortly after Pentecost, in Jerusalem before they split up to go out and preach. The oldest existing writing comes to us in a letter Marcellus of Ancyra wrote to Pope Julius about 341 AD (Logos Staff, 2022).

        Below is the Creed in its present form and is not only used by Catholics, Eastern and Western, but also widely used by many, if not most, Protestant churches too (though some Protestant groups change the word "Catholic" to "Christian." Those that retain "Catholic" or "catholic" express that it means "universal" - which the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is that universal church - though Christendom has gone through several splits and schisms as well as heretical divisions. Still the Body of Christ in His Church is not divided - those who have separated from that One, True, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church while they may be retaining a portion of the truth, the fullness of truth is only found in the One Church which Jesus Christ Himself founded and left His Apostles to lead and spread it throughout the world.

        The phrase "the Communion of Saints" is generally retained throughout the Christian professions which have retained the Apostles Creed. It references not only those Christians living today, but also all those faithful Christians who have gone before us and live now in Heaven. Those who have gone before us we refer to as "the Church Victorious" (or "Triumphant") and we, here and now, are "the Church Militant" and then there is "the Church Suffering" (which are those who have gone before us, but are in a state of cleansing or purging, aka: Purgatory). These three communities are what make up the Communion of Saints (Staff, 2016).

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of
Heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord  Who was conceived by
the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered
under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell;  the third day He
arose again from the dead;  He ascended into
Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God
the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion
of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection
of the body, and life everlasting.  Amen.

And for some Scripture references which support the concept of the Church Triumphant, or saints in Heaven: 

Mark 9:4-5

And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Old Testament saints, Moses and Elijah were physically present, alive, and conversing with Jesus Christ at the Transfiguration).

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Revelation 5:8

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

Revelation 8:3-4

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.

References

Catholic Encyclopedia, (1912). Communion of Saints: The doctrine expressed in the Apostles' Creed. Catholic Answers. https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/Communion-of-Saints

Logos Staff (2022). The Apostles' Creed: Its history and origins. Logos.  https://www.logos.com/grow/the-apostles-creed-its-history-and-origins/ 

Scripture Passages: New International Version, from https://www.biblegateway.com

Staff, (2016). Our Church: Suffering, Militant, Triumphant.  Diocesan. https://diocesan.com/church-suffering-militant-triumphant/



 

 


Saturday, January 07, 2023

Epiphany Door Chalk Blessing

With Epiphany comes the tradition of marking the entry door to your home with blessed chalk. Typically your parish will have some blessed chalk available, or you can bring some and have your priest bless it.

The initials C+M+B are surrounded by the current year, for example, this year it is 20 C+M+B 23.

The initials have 2 different meanings, 

1) The names of the 3 Wisemen: Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar.

2) In Latin the phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.”

The plus signs (+) represent the Cross.

The tradition is centuries old (still looking for a more precise date) and has its roots in Exodus where it is prefigured by the marking of the doors by the Israelites while they were in captivity in Egypt. In the prefigurement, they were passed over by the Angel of Death (Passover) and in the modern tradition we pray for blessings on our home and all who enter it.  

The blessing of your door should take place sometime on or about the Feast of Epiphany (February 6th, or the Sunday after February 6th) and can be done at any time during the Season of Epiphany, which lasts up till Ash Wednesday - and the start of Lent.

Prayers for the blessing of the door:

On entering the home,

Leader(Priest, if present, or father of the family) : Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who dwell herein.

All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

All Pray: The Magnificat. During the Magnificat, the room is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. After this is completed,

All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

Leader: Our Father. . .
And lead us not into temptation

All: But deliver us from evil.
Leader: All they from Saba shall come
All: Bringing gold and frankincense.
Leader: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come to You.

Leader: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Leader: Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee—Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.

All: And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendor of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

Leader: Let us pray.
Bless, + O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

After the prayers of the blessing are recited, each room of the home is sprinkled with Epiphany water and incensed. The initials of the Magi are inscribed upon the doors with the blessed chalk. (The initials, C, M, B, can also be interpreted as the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house”.)  

(Source:https://onepeterfive.com/the-chalking-of-the-doors-an-epiphany-tradition-explained/)

Another prayer:

May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.

God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.

(Source:https://onepeterfive.com/the-chalking-of-the-doors-an-epiphany-tradition-explained/)

Friday, January 06, 2023

It Is Now The Season of Epiphany

EPIPHANY!

Epiphany has begun! Traditionally this is the celebration of the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East. Though just 13 days after the ChristMass, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, they more likely showed up a year or two later. This is witnessed by the Slaughter of the Innocents, the First Christian Martyrs, as when Herod ordered the slaughter, it was not just for the infants and young babies, but for any male child two years old and younger:

Matthew 2:16 - Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

The feast day for the Holy Innocents is December 28th for most of Christendom. Eastern Orthodox celebrate on December 29th, and the East Syrians on January 10th. 

This is actually a period of dual seasons, as Christmastide runs through Candlemas, the celebration of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Epiphany takes us all the way to Lent.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Twelfth Night!

Christmas Season begins with the First Mass of Christmas - the Midnight Mass, and thus it is the First Day of Christmas. Some would argue that "Boxing Day"is the First Day of Christmas - but there are a couple problems with that. 1) Boxing Day is primarily a British holiday, not much of a global celebration beyond the British Commonwealth and was originally for giving gifts to servants whom had served their employers well, or to the poor in general - it is not a Christian celebration. 2) January 6th begins a new season, the Season of Epiphany - so in the Christian liturgical sense, December 25th begins the 12 days of Christmas with January 5th being "Twelfth Night" and the last day of the Christmas Season - sort of (see below).


OK, we say "sort of" because technically it is "Christmastide" all the way through Candlemas, February 2nd, which is the Feast of the Presentation at the Temple as well as the ritual cleansing of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which she really didn't "need" - but she "needed" to fulfill the Law - and she did. But the point of this article is the 12 Days (Nights) of Christmas - which end on January 5th.

So, when do you take down your Christmas decorations? Well, Twelfth Night is a good night to do so, but in some homes (mine being one of them!) we leave them up until February 2nd - and we have a Nativity Scene year round. 

So, a Blessed 12th Night to you and your family! 

Merry Christmas!

May God richly bless your 2023!

Monday, January 02, 2023

ACTS Website is Moving!

My provider since 1998 is retiring! Therefore I am moving www.a2z.org and www.americancatholictruthsociety.com to a new provider - the transfer process has begun, but there is nothing on the new host yet, so stay tuned here for updates!

This blog is NOT moving!



Saturday, December 31, 2022

In Blessed Memory of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

 

Just a few days ago Pope Francis encouraged us all to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict, as his health condition had worsened - today Pope Francis has announced the death of Pope Benedict. 

 
The modern era of two popes (one emeritus) has ended. Though the two had their differences, clearly Pope Francis enjoyed his time with Pope Benedict.
 
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
 
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Cheeseburger Friday! Dec 30th!

 

Solemnity of the Holy Family

This year the Feast of the Holy Family would have fallen on Sunday, January 1, but since January 1, on the modern liturgical calendar, is the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God (traditionally, it is the Feast of the Circumcision) the Marian feast takes precedence and the Solemnity of the Holy Family is moved to December 30th.  So, when it comes to this Friday - this means there is no penance! I like to call these special Fridays "Cheeseburger Fridays" - several posts have been made here on Cheeseburger Fridays. Now, before you accuse me of irreverence, I like to draw attention to Cheeseburger Fridays because it gives you yet another opportunity for an ice-breaker to discuss your faith! Those who know you likely know you offer up a penance on every Friday throughout the year - but what they may not know is that it is not EVERY Friday, for if a solemnity falls on a Friday, we are not to do penance.

This also gives me the opportunity to remind all my fellow Catholics - you are STILL required to do some sort of penance on ALL Fridays throughout the year that are not solemnities! This is not simply a Lenten tradition - it is Canon Law! Canon 1250 is the one that expressly states this and Canon 1251 is the one that tells us "unless it falls on a solemnity." Canon 1251 goes on to tell us we do not HAVE to stay with the offering up of meat on Fridays throughout the year (in Lent, it still HAS to be meat) but it needs to be something equivalent, and you cannot be hit-or-miss on it. Pick something and stick with it! For me and my house, we stick with the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. 

Why stick with meat? 

Because 1) it is easy to remember! 2) not eating meat on Fridays USED to be synonymous with Catholicism - and ever since the requirement was modified (again, NOT eliminated) it has become less clear that Catholics still have this practice - and to be honest - many do not observe this at all anymore, but in their ignorance - they commit a mortal sin! OK, in order for it to truly be a mortal sin, you have to be aware it is a sin and choose to do it anyway... well, if you are reading this, you do not have that excuse anymore! I urge you to not merely take my word on this - research the topic, as I have, and realize and start recognizing this required Catholic tradition. Back to the count, 3) if it has to be equivalent to abstaining from meat - why struggle to find something different?! Stick with abstaining from meat!

WHY DO WE DO THIS?

Just like every Sunday is like a "little Easter," every Friday is to be thought of as a "little Good Friday." In abstaining from meat on Fridays we should think of WHY we do this - and it is to unite us, in a small way, to the Sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us on the Cross on that first Good Friday. Even on a "Cheeseburger Friday," we can think about Christ's suffering and death - and be thankful to Him for this great gift He gave to all who believe in Him.

The Solemnity of the Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family continues the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph with the flight into Egypt. It usually falls on the Sunday after Christmas. This year, though, the celebration of the Holy family falls on Friday, Dec. 30. This is because the Sunday after Christmas this year is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. (Source: Click Here). Traditionally, and still in the Extraordinary Rite, January 1st is the Circumcision of Jesus.

In JMJ,

Scott<<<

(Updated December 31, 2022)

Happy 5th Day of Christmas!

 On the Fifth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

5 Gold Rings!

4 Calling Birds


3 French Hens

2 Turtle Doves


And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

(You had to be born before the 1970's to get this one!) 

And a reminder! Christmas lasts at LEAST until January 5th, with the Season of Epiphany starting on January 6th - BUT - Christmastide lasts all the way through February 2nd - Candlemas!



Sunday, December 25, 2022

The 8th and Final Day of Hannukah and 1st Day of Christmas!

The 8th and Final Day of Hannukah


And, as it works out this year (it doesn't always), 

it is also ChristMass Day!

On the First Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me...

A partridge in a pear tree!
 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Hannukah - Day 7

Day 7 of Hannukah!


And remember, to keep the Han in Hannukah!


OK, that one was just to make you smile!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Day 6 of Chanukah

 Chanukah, Day 6


The Festival of Lights

O Emmanuel - Last Day of the O Antiphons!

 Last Day of the O Antiphons!

 O Emmanuel 


From the Vespers of today:


 And the verse from O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.