With Mary waiting,
As the pregnant moments pass,
I share her secret with the world.
The Hour comes at last.
A Child is to be born.
A virginal womb has received
Eternal Life for all
By act of God conceived.
Her "Fiat" brought Him
To this consecrated chamber,
This pure and holy abode.
God’s Love called Him forth
To save a sinful world in woe.
In Mary, peace abides.
Outside the world complains,
‘They register, number, own us.’
‘We’ll be taxed yet again.’
Joseph, a Son of David,
Knows he must obey,
So with Mary astride and by his side,
They travel and they pray.
Now, I walk beside them
To Bethlehem’s gate,
Where doors are barred
And a full Inn fate.
A cave receives the weary, hallowed guests.
Lowly beasts share their place of rest,
And warm the air against a night
Grown cold as human hearts.
The Holy Couple, in humble, gracious joy,
Embrace the Father’ s Will.
O, Time of Waiting, the Virgin is with Child!
I wait on tip toe with Creation
To see the Babe so mild.
O, Infant, cradled in a womb so pure,
Soon, You will know her arms of love,
And, too soon, know
The chilling thoughts of men.
God speaks but One Word,
And celestial sphere ‘s
Take up the song
To sing the whole Night long.
Angelic voices summon shepherds
and "Men of Good Will" as well.
The poor of heart receive a Savior
Who’ll ravage the gates of Hell.
Hidden Mystery of Ages,
One day an ass will bear
You, Son of David,
As Jerusalem proclaims Your fame.
For now a donkey
Carries the Salvation
Prophets long proclaimed,
Emmanuel, HaShem, the Name.
©2011 Joann Nelander
From a treatise against the heresy of Noetus by Saint Hippolytus, priest The manifestation of the hidden mystery
There is only one God, brethren, and we learn about him only from sacred Scripture. It is therefore our duty to become acquainted with what Scripture proclaims and to investigate its teachings thoroughly. We should believe them in the sense that the Father wills, thinking of the Son in the way the Father wills, and accepting the teaching he wills to give us with regard to the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way that he intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.
God was all alone and nothing existed but himself when he determined to create the world. He thought of it, willed it, spoke the word and so made it. It came into being instantaneously, exactly as he had willed. It is enough then for us to be aware of a single fact: nothing is coeternal with God. Apart from God there was simply nothing else. Yet although he was alone, he was manifold because he lacked neither reason, wisdom, power, nor counsel. All things were in him and he himself was all. At a moment of his own choosing and in a manner determined by himself, God manifested his Word, and through him he made the whole universe.
When the Word was hidden within God himself he was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible. First God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before to God alone and not to the world, God made him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God. All things came into being through him; but he alone is begotten by the Father.
The Son gave us the law and the prophets, and he filled the prophets with the Holy Spirit to compel them to speak out. Inspired by the Father’s power, they were to proclaim the Father’s purpose and his will.
So the Word was made manifest, as Saint John declares when, summing up all the sayings of the prophets, he announces that this is the Word through whom the whole universe was made. He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being; not one thing was created without him. And further on he adds: The world was made through him, and yet the world did not know him. He entered his own creation, and his own did not receive him.
See here: Tubok’s book
Advent candles lit within my being,
Prayer like a torch,
Calling on the Spirit,
To light the lamp of vigil
And illuminate my soul.
Thanksgiving, a spotlight,
Setting blessings all aglow,
While praise as a million votives
Ring Your manger in the night.
Though my soul be steeped in sorrow,
For the sin that went before,
My tears You turn to shining crystal
As the sea before Your throne.
O, Sun of Justice,
In Heaven you replace the shining stars.
Banish all darkness here below,
As once Your Star lit Earth’s long night
Alight all holiness,
As a rainbow green with Life,
Arches ’bout the celestial throne,
While incandescent angels
Sing with haloed headed saints.
Because You come,
This earthy life’s Tomorrows
Are bedecked in Hope
As You knock at ready virgins’ door,
The Promise ever before me,
You stand, an open door.
I, Bold Abandonment,
Before the throne of grace,
Sainted souls gleaming like electrum
Flashing love’s arrows as lightning.
Advent becomes Christmas in my soul.
By Joann Nelander
\”O\” Antiphons, a Family Prayer
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
Reciting or singing the â€œO Antiphonsâ€ have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church. We, at Divineoffice.org made our mission to perpetuate this ancient tradition, to inspire families to gather in prayer and people around the word to join a community of prayer.
Let us remember that, in the Middle Ages, it became traditional to ring the great bells of the church each evening when the â€œOâ€ Antiphones were being sung. Honoring this beautiful catholic tradition, this evening, at Vespers time, gather your loved ones and let us all pray, with one voice, to our Lord Jesus Christ who is to come.:
To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.
Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces his human descent by bringing his ancestral line down to his mother’s husband, Joseph. On the other hand, Luke traces his parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.
No doubt the Son of God in his omnipotence could have taught and sanctified men by appearing to them in a semblance of human form as he did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance he engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when he accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before him. But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold the coming of one who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs who had gone before him. No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh. The divine nature and the nature of a servant were to be united in one person so that the Creator of time might be born in time, and he through whom all things were made might be brought forth in their midst.
For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful humanity, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
65. But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to γένοιτο [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.
66. And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.
67. And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.
From a spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross, priest
Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.
For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.
Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.
Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth—to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God. The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.
Quoting Benedict XVI:
“There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals.”
(This worldview) “presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone, in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view.”
“Society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth”
The “world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises.”
Your baptism has made you a temple. Make room in the inn of your heart- open the door this Christmas to an eternity with Christ Jesus
What of tears?
What of feelings of deep emotion?
What of the thoughts that seem to interfere
When one encounters the One to Whom we pray?
Don’t let them get in the way.
What is a poor body to do,
But quake before the awesome Presence?
What better use of tears
But to purify the vessel.
Allow the thoughts to bathe therein,
Outside the city
And realms of sin,
In the arms
Of One Who loves you
Through and through.
Pope Benedict XVI:
“Llife is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose!” he proclaimed.”
“Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness, and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy.”
“There is also something sinister which stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives.”
(Address to Youth – Sydney, Australia, July-2008)
Advent is upon my soul.
Divine gift of season,
I listen for the cry of a First Born Son,
Begotten before Time begun,
And enfleshed in the Virgin’s womb.
I come to her,
Who is the Ark,
Your Mercy Seat.
Kneeling beside her,
In these pregnant moments,
I lay my head upon her lap.
Her wonderment, and awe,
In steadfast contemplation,
Inspire angels’ songs.
I hear their reverent voices
In my night.
Their chorus bids me come.
Come to the stable of simplicity.
Leave the noisy city for a deserted place,
The Wilderness, whose hidden way
Leads to the waiting manger,
Now, in expectant readiness,
For the Food, that will feed
The hungry world.
My Advent prayer,
Come, O Holy Infant!
Come to my straw
©2010 Joann Nelander
All men are candles,
Burning on some altar.
Some disappear into nothingness,
Before worldly idols,
Unable to sustain their spark
Beyond the veil,
Others light the heavens
As they are consumed
On the altar of Love,
Creature with Creator.
When my wax is spent,
I pray I am not distracted
By my sin.
When I melt
Into the arms of God,
May it be that Love,
That lit my flame,
Outshines my imperfections
In holy consummation.
Burn candle, all alight
Warming with mercy rays the night,
To Penetrate hearts of friend and foe,
To soothe and mend wounds,
With the Uncreated Light
That set creation into being.
Now and forever,
I cast myself
Into the flame,
The furnace of His Sacred Heart.
Passing through pierced side,
One with the Virgin,
Holy angels and expurgated saints of ole,
Melted in union,
I am formed anew in Christ,
With the Father and Spirit,
Candle, altar and Salvation might.
© 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved
Teresa Monaghen, of Pro Sanctity and Fr. John Sianchuck, C.Ss.R., a Ukranian Byzantine priest do a great job of explaining the Western and Eastern understanding of this great mystery.
Take a listen to the discussion posted above, that Bruce and I had with Teresa Monaghen, from Pro Sanctity and Fr. John Sianchuk, C.Ss.R., a Ukrainian Redemptorist priest discuss the difference and similarities of Western and Eastern understanding of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.
491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
- The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137
493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. ”
The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews “God’s Philosophers”
by Tim O’Neill
For years I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a website on Medieval science and technology to bring the recent research on the subject to a more general audience and to counter the biased myths about it being a Dark Age of irrational superstition. Thankfully I can now cross that off my to do list, because Hannam’s superb book,Hannam’s God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science
has done the job for me and in fine style.
The Christian Dark Age and Other Hysterical Myths
One of the occupational hazards of being an atheist and secular humanist who hangs around on discussion boards is to encounter a staggering level of historical illiteracy. I like to console myself that many of the people on such boards have come to their atheism via the study of science and so, even if they are quite learned in things like geology and biology, usually have a grasp of history stunted at about high school level. I generally do this because the alternative is to admit that the average person’s grasp of history and how history is studied is so utterly feeble as to be totally depressing.
So, alongside the regular airings of the hoary old myth that the Bible was collated at the Council of Nicea, the tedious internet-based “Jesus never existed!” nonsense, or otherwise intelligent people spouting pseudo historical claims that would make even Dan Brown snort in derision, the myth that the Catholic Church caused the Dark Ages and the Medieval Period was a scientific wasteland is regularly wheeled, creaking, into the sunlight for another trundle around the arena.
The myth goes that the Greeks and Romans were wise and rational types who loved science and were on the brink of doing all kinds of marvelous things (inventing full-scale steam engines is one example that is usually, rather fancifully, invoked) until Christianity came along. Christianity then banned all learning and rational thought and ushered in the Dark Ages. Then an iron-fisted theocracy, backed by a Gestapo-style Inquisition, prevented any science or questioning inquiry from happening until Leonardo da Vinci invented intelligence and the wondrous Renaissance saved us all from Medieval darkness.
The world was without form and void, and God said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1). Therefore, the first of the first things is Light. I capitalize the word "Light" because we are talking about the Light of Lights; the source and beginning of all things is Light.
Physicists tell us that energy is simply Light in various different forms or expressions. Atheists like to point out what they consider foolish about the creation story in Genesis: "How can you believe this when Light is created first, but the sun, moon and stars that give the Light are only created on the fourth day?"
They have missed the theological point. They have been too literal and fundamentalistic about the text. Light is created first because there is a Source of Light that is greater than the sun, moon and stars. This is why the story of Genesis is echoed in the last book of the Bible, where we are told that in heaven there is no sun or moon because "The Lamb is the Light in the city of God."
There’s the answer to the riddle! Christ the Lamb is the Light. The Son is the Source of the Sun. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is the Light of the World.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/the-four-first-things/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-12-814:07:01#ixzz2mubkU52s
the Vatistream, set to go live just before Francis shows up
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.
Beginning today, for I am of today, my now, I will be this mountain of the the Lord of hosts, for He dwells in me and walks with me. This encounter is in me for the world.
Beginning today, my now, for the past is but a recorded memory, I will feed the hungry with choice fare, the very best I have, starting with a smile at the breakfast table and an encouraging word to feed the hearts of those gathered in my present.
Beginning today, my now, for the future is but a hope, a promise, a dream…I will part the veil. I will share my Communion with the world, first by prayer and then by the sharing of faith, truth, wisdom and the work of my hands.
Beginning this day, the only time in which I live, the Lord of this mountain, shall wipe tears from weary faces by my hands and cast a large net to embrace the earth that it may be ever blessed. I will place my entreaties at the feet of the Lord of hosts that He might once again multiple the loaves and fishes and gather up the left overs to supply for generations yet unborn.
“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!” Pope Francis
Click on image for an Advent Retreat Special
“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!” Pope Francis