Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lent - Why We Sacrifice

The quick answer is: Because Jesus willfully did penance for 40 days in the desert, we willfully offer up something for the 40 days of Lent (which does not count the Sundays).. We make this offering in remembrance of His offering. The penance we do we use as an opportunity to think upon Jesus' time in the desert - a time of fasting and prayer. 

What Do We Give Up?
It can be anything, but should be something we would normally partake in every day. Some give up coffee or soda, others give up meat, or type of meat. Sometimes we give up something which is a healthy choice for us - like giving up chocolate or desserts of any kind. Then, when we would have partaken in that - we think on Christ. It is a way to bring our hearts and minds to Him. Whatever we give up does not have to be severe, it just needs to be something we would miss so that out thoughts can be directed to Him. 

Don't Play the Martyr
Others can know what you've given up - but it isn't something you should constantly remind them of. As much as possible, this should be a private sacrifice between you and Jesus.

Forty Days? It Doesn't Add Up!
If you count out all the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, it's more than 40 days. and the reason for that is Sundays are "feast days" and thus not intended to be a day of penance so don't count the Sundays and you have 40 days of Lenten observation. This also means that whatever it is you have offered up for Lent does not have to be offered up on Sundays of Lent.

Meatless Fridays
While the Friday penance throughout the rest of the year doesn't HAVE to be abstinence from meat anymore (it still CAN be, and in my humble opinion, SHOULD be), during Lent, as faithful Catholics, we MUST abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It must be pointed out, we don't give up meat on Fridays because it is sinful, there is no sin in eating meat, the sin would be the violation of Canon Law - which all faithful Catholics must abide by. 

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Christmas Season is Over

Christmas for 2017-2018 is officially ended with Candlemas - which was Feb. 2nd. 


Candlemas Day

Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple on this day. The Holy Spirit had revealed to the just and devout Simeon that he should not die before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. In the temple the old man glimpsed Jesus in Mary's arms and blessed God, knowing that at last he had seen the Savior, "a light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory of Thy people Israel."
But only after the Savior's Passion and Crucifixion would the light win for men the final victory over bodily and spiritual death. Simeon therefore said to Mary, the co-redeemer of mankind, "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:35). May we, too, after having shared the redemptive sufferings of Christ attain the final grace of presentation in the holy temple of God's glory.
Easter is a bit earlier this year than most, so we are now in the preparatory weeks for Lent, this Sunday is Sexagesima Sunday:
Traditional Propers for Sexagesima Sunday
Vestments:  Violet
Psalm 43: 23-26

Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. -- (Ps. 43. 2). We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us. V.: Glory be to the Father , and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
COLLECT -O God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do: mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
2 Corinthians 11: 19-33; 12: 1-9

Brethren, You gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in the past. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea: in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. For such a one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: my grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Psalm 82: 19, 14

Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy Name: Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth. V.: O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.
Psalm 59: 4, 6

Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. V.: Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved. V.: That they may flee from before the bow: that Thine elect may be delivered.
GOSPEL Luke 8: 4 - 15
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: The sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell away among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.
Psalm 16: 5 - 7

Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be not moved: incline Thine ear, and hear my works: show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.
SECRET - May the Sacrifice offered to Thee, O Lord, ever quicken us and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
Psalms 42: 4
I will go in to the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.
POST COMMUNION - We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God, to grant that they whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments, may worthily serve Thee by lives well-pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .

Monday, December 25, 2017

Keep Mass in Christmas!

While we're quick to remind others to 
"Keep Christ in Christmas," 

Do not forget to 
keep Mass in Christmas!  

It is the Christ Mass!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent

This is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - and this year it is also the LAST DAY of Advent!  Tomorrow is the Christ Mass!  Joy to the world! Peace unto men of goodwill (not the mistranslation of "goodwill, peace to men").

Today marks the closing of the shortest possible Advent Season, and tomorrow starts the Christmas Season. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" start on December 25th, Christmas Day, and go through January 5th. January 6th begins Epiphany (which is also a Christmas Season). Christmas can actually be celebrated all the way to February 2nd which is Candlemas - and in the lectionary Candlemas is the last time for the liturgical year that the Nativity of our Lord is mentioned in the readings. So, don't be in too much of a hurry to take down your Christmas decorations!

Don't forget!  While every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, so is tomorrow!  The Christ Mass is one of the highest of all the feast days - second only to Easter Sunday. The way we explained this to our children when this happens is "You don't HAVE to go to Mass two days in a row, you GET to!"

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Third and FINAL Week of Advent

"What?"  You say?  "Advent has FOUR weeks, not THREE!"

Well, yes - but not THIS year, nor several more to follow. This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - but Monday is Christmas!  This means that the "Fourth Week of Advent" is really just a single day! Monday begins the Season of Christmas! I say several more years to follow because the Fourth Week of Advent will only gain a day per year (excluding Leap Year) eventually getting us to a full week after the Fourth Sunday of Advent - which, of course, will put Christmas on a Sunday and that won't happen again until 2022.

Many of you may be scratching your heads over the statement that Monday begins the Season of Christmas. Many think the Christmas Season begins when Santa Claus rides in on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and lasts until Christmas Day.  Well - they are wrong!  The current season, which begins four Sundays before the Christ Mass, is Advent. The Season of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and lasts through at least Epiphany (January 6th). The older tradition is that Christmas lasts through Candlemas - in which the Nativity is read about for the last time in the liturgical year. Candlemas is on February 2nd and is the 40th day of the Christmas/Epiphany Season.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dec 22 O Antiphon - O King of Nations

We pray:
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.
O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.
See Haggai 2:8: Et movebo omnes gentes,et veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus. Compare the Greek πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
  • "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
We sing:

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dec 21 - O Oriens - O Morning Star

O Oriens

We Pray:


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
(Note: A literal translation of the Latin yields "O Rising Sun", but the poetic "O Morning Star" or "O Dayspring" is often preferred.)
The phrase 'O Oriens' comes from Zach. 3:8 : τὸν δοῦλόν μου Ἀνατολήν and servum meum Orientem. This should be compared with the Hebrew tzemach. Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

And we sing:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


And a special shout-out to my little brother!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dec 19 and 20 - O Root and O Key

I didn't get Day 3 posted yesterday, so posting both 3 and 4 today:

O Root of Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1
  • "On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious." Isaiah 11:10
Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Also compare Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O Key of David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
  • "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7
  • "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Dec 18 - O Adonai

Today is the second day of the O Antiphons and we sing:

[Verse 2]
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud, and majesty and awe

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

And we pray:


O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Third Week of Advent

Don't just deck the halls, deck your SOUL.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

O Antiphons

Today begins the O Antiphons!

Do you have a tradition to celebrate and recognize the O Antiphons?  In our family we set up a "Jesse Tree" and each day, starting with today, December 17, we hang a different "O" from the O Antiphons. 
"The importance of O Antiphons is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah...
If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, Tomorrow, I will come. Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, Tomorrow, I will come. So the O Antiphons not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion." (What Are the O Antiphons)

Isaiah 11:1-2:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.

The O Antiphons are put to verse in a very popular Advent carol, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." (Play the YouTube video at the top of this article).

Day One we sing:

[Verse 6]
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things, far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

And we pray:

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.


O Antiphons - Wiki - Retrieved from: 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Retrieved from:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Naked Man Nativity Scene

Well, that's what many are calling the Vatican Nativity Scene shown below:
Click on for larger view
At first glance this scene does not even appear to be a Nativity Scene. If you look a bit more closely though, you can find the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the Three Wisemen, the Angel and the Star - but what of all the other "noise" around the scene? I have to agree with Patrick Madrid in his Tweet:
Who's in charge of designing/approving Vatican manger scenes? This year's naked-guy rendition is just bizarre. Jarring, discordant & chaotic, it's not even Baby Jesus-centered. Yes, the extra bits are meant to depict works of mercy, but why? They don't belong in a Nativity scene. 

Certainly the Season of Advent is a good time to practice Corporal Works of Mercy and we should incorporate these into our Advent penance - but the Nativity Scene should be centered on the Incarnation, the Baby Jesus. Traditionally, all the figures in the Nativity Scene - even the animals, are looking at the Baby Jesus -  in the Vatican Nativity Scene can you find ANY of the figures looking at the Baby Jesus? Not the Angel, not Joseph, not even the Blessed Virgin are looking upon the newborn Christ-child. See a traditional example below:

For those reading who may not know, or know all the Corporal Works of Mercy, here's a list:

So yes, there is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and the Corporal Works of Mercy are good to meditate upon, or more importantly DO, but to clutter up the Nativity scene with these other figures detracts from the Nativity. I can certainly see where it can be argued that one of the reasons Jesus came into the world was to not only preach, but DO Corporal Works of Mercy, but again there is a time and place for everything. What are your thoughts? Please share them below this article. Should the Nativity Scene be used to promote the Corporal Works of Mercy?

Friday, December 15, 2017


This is a great little video putting the Palestinian, Jewish, Arab conflict over a small patch of land in the Middle East which several religions refer to as "The Holy Land."