Tuesday, January 3, 2006
7th Day of the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn
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Today is my 7th day of the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn. Please pray along with me if you have not as this novena can be started any time of the year.

And, thank you to everything that is still praying in unity with me including Darren. May God bless you.

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The Holy Name of Jesus
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 3
Double of II Class (1954 Calendar): January 2*

* According to the Traditional Catholic Calendar from 1911 and into the early 1960s, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus occurs on the Sunday of January 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th. When no Sunday occurs on these days, then the feast is celebrated on January 2nd. Before 1911, this Feastday was kept on the Second Sunday after Epiphany.

For the name of "Jesus" means "God saves." "At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:10-11)

Jesus Christ, The Great King of the World, knew rejection. He was rejected from the Inn in Bethlehem while still living in the womb. He knew cold as he lay in rags in Bethlehem. He knew hunger as the devil tempted Him in the desert for 40 days. He was rejected for His words on the Eucharist too. And He knew rejection - at the hour He needed them the most, all of his friends left Him to the Cross - only St. John would return.

Today let us recall Jesus Christ, who became like us, completely like us in all things but sin to be the sacrifice for our sins - our redemption. Let us honor His name, given to Him before His conception through the words of the angels. Read on the history of the Feast of the Holy Name.

"If you think the name "Jesus" continually, and hold it firmly, it purges your sin, and kindles your heart; it clarifies your soul, it removes anger and does away with slowness. It wounds in love and fulfills charity. It chases the devil, and puts out dread. It opens heaven, and makes a contemplative man. Have Jesus in mind, for that puts all vices and phantoms out from the lover." - Richard Rolle (†1349) A hermit, a mystic, and a writer of devotional works and biblical translations. Taken from The Form of Perfect Living and Other Prose Treatises, Thomas Baker, 1910 London
"The feast of the Holy Name is of comparatively recent origin, its first promoter was St Bernardine of Siena, who lived in the fifteenth century. This holy man established the practice of representing the Holy Name of Jesus surrounded with rays, and formed into a monogram of its three first letters, ihs.[3] The custom spread rapidly through Italy, and was zealously propagated by the great St John of Capestrano, who, like St Bernardine of Siena, was of the Order of Friars Minor. The Holy See gave its formal approbation to this manner of honouring the Name of our Saviour, and, in the early part of the sixteenth century, Pope Clement VI, after long entreaties, granted to the whole Franciscan Order the privilege of keeping a special Feast in honour of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

"Rome extended the same favour to various Churches; and, at length, the Feast was inserted in the universal Calendar. It was in the year 1721, at the request of Charles VI, Emperor of Germany, that Pope Innocent XII decreed that the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus should be kept throughout the whole Church; he also chose the Second Sunday after the Epiphany as the day, but as we have already explained, the feast is now fixed for the Sunday following the Circumcision."

Prayer:

O God, Who didst constitute Thine only-begotten Son the Savior of mankind, and didst bid Him be called Jesus: mercifully grant, that we who venerate His holy Name on earth, may fully enjoy also the vision of Him in heaven. Through the same our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, January 2, 2006
6th Day of the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn
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Today is the 6th Day of the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn. Think about the great joy you are bringing to at least one life. God does not forget our prayers, but He hears them. Let us pray in unity for the unborn, that they might be protected.

It's not to late to join either. A novena is a nine-day prayer. You can start any day of the year.
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Sunday, January 1, 2006
Read the Bible in One Year!
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Catholic Doors Ministry has a schedule up for reading the entire Bible in one year. What a great resolution this year - to read God's Holy Word from start to finish.

*Note: I do not endorse any other pages on the website of Catholic Doors Ministry aside from their list for reading the Bible in one year.

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5th Day of the Novena for the Protection of the Unborn
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Today is my 5th day of the Novena for the Unborn, but it still isn't too late to join in praying. Please do so if you are not yet praying along for the unborn.
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Feast of the Circumcision
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Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): January 1

Today is known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Today is also the Octave Day of Christmas and as a result, it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

On the Octave Day of Christmas each year (January 1st), we recall that Our Lord and Our Lady both perfectly observed the Law of Moses. On this day, the author of the Law subjected Himself to the Law and shed the first drops of His Precious Blood for our salvation.  In Old Testament Law, a child wasn't a son of Abraham or a true part of the family until his circumcision at 8 days of age.

Jesus respected the sacredness of the Old Law and submitted to its ceremony of circumcision. The rite officially incorporated Him into the Jewish religion and was a figure of Christian Baptism. The Savior came to complete the Old Law and to incorporate people of all nations into His Mystical Body through Baptism. From Him, the Head, they receive all the graces needed to live worthily as His members. We become "acceptable" to God in the measure that we are cleansed from sin, give God His due worship and obedience, and render our fellow men everywhere on earth both full justice and Christ-like charity.

From The Church's Year:

What was the Circumcision?

It was an external sign of the Old Law, by which the people of that day were numbered among the chosen people of God, as now they become, by baptism, members of the Church of Christ.

What is the signification of Circumcision in the moral or spiritual sense?

It signifies the mortification of the senses, of evil desires, and inclinations. This must be practiced by Christians now, since they have promised it in baptism which would be useless to them without the practice of mortification; just as little as the Jew by exterior Circumcision is a true Jew, just so little is the baptized a true Christian without a virtuous life. Beg of Christ, therefore, today, to give you the grace of the true Circumcision of heart.

Why did Jesus submit to Circumcision?

That He might show His great love for us, which caused Him even at the very beginning of His life, to shed His blood to cleanse us thereby from all our sins. Furthermore to teach us obedience to the commandments of God and His Church, since He voluntarily subjected Himself to the Jewish law, although He was not in the least bound by it, which ordered that every male child should be circumcised on the eighth day after its birth (Lev. 12:3).

Why was He named Jesus?

Because Jesus means Redeemer and Savior, and He had come to redeem and save the world (Mt. 1:21). This is the holiest, most venerable, and most powerful name by which we can be saved.

What power has this name?

The greatest power, for it repels all attacks of the evil Spirit, as Jesus Himself says (Mk. 16:17). And so great is the efficacy of this most holy name that even those who are not righteous, can by it expel devils (Mt. 7:22). It has power to cure physical pains and evils, as when used by the apostles (Acts. 3:3-7), and Christ promised that the faithful by using it could do the same (Mk. 16:17). St. Bernard calls the name of Jesus a "Medicine"; and St. Chrysostom says, "This name cures all ills; it gives succor in all the ailments of the soul, in temptations, in faintheartedness, in sorrow, and in all evil desires, etc." "Let him who cannot excite contrition in his heart for the sins he has committed, think of the loving, meek, and suffering Jesus, invoke His holy name with fervor and confidence, and he will feel his heart touched and made better," says St. Lawrence Justinian. It overcomes and dispels the temptations of the enemy: "When we fight against Satan in the name of Jesus," says the martyr St. Justin, "Jesus fights for us, in us, and with us, and the enemies must flee as soon as they hear the name of Jesus." It secures us help and blessings in all corporal and spiritual necessities, because nothing is impossible to him who asks in the name of Jesus, whatever tends to his salvation will be given him (Jn. 14:13). Therefore it is useful above all things, to invoke this holy name in all dangers of body and soul, in doubts, in temptations, especially in temptations against holy chastity, and still more so when one has fallen into sin, from which he desires to be delivered; for this name is like oil (Cant. 1:2) which cures, nourishes, and illumines.


The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord as explained by Dom Prosper Gueranger:

Our newborn King and Savior is eight days old today; and therefore the Son of Man must be circumcised on this day. This first sacrifice of His innocent Flesh must honor the eighth day of His mortal life.

The Child subjects Himself to this painful ceremony, to this symbol of one devoted to the divine service, in order that He may fulfill all justice.

Being now circumcised, He is not only a member of the human race; He is made today a member of God's chosen People. He receives, at the same time, His holy Name. The Name is Jesus, and it means a Savior. A Savior! Then, He is to save us? Yes; and He is to save us by His Blood. Such is the divine appointment, and He has bowed down His will to it. The Incarnate Word is upon the earth in order to offer a Sacrifice, and the Sacrifice is begun today.

This first shedding of the Blood of the Man-God was sufficient to the fullness and perfection of a Sacrifice; but He is come to win the heart of the sinner, and that heart is so hard that all the streams of that Precious Blood, which flow from the Cross on Calvary, will scarcely make it yield. The drops that were shed today would have been enough to satisfy the justice of the Eternal Father, but not to cure man's miseries, and the Babe's Heart would not be satisfied to leave us uncured. He came for man's sake, and His love for man will go to what looks like excess - He will carry out the whole meaning of His dear Name - He will be our "Jesus," our Savior.

But Our Lord's Circumcision and receiving of His holy Name are not the only mysteries to which this day's feast is devoted. Holy Church is mindful also today, on this great Solemnity, of the Blessed Virgin Mary's august prerogative as the Mother of God. Though a mere creature, Her divine Maternity made Her the cooperatrix with Jesus in the great work of man's salvation.

Thus today, also, we pour forth all the love of our hearts for the Virgin Mother and rejoice with Her in the exceeding happiness She feels at having given birth to Her and our Lord. During Advent, we contemplated Her as pregnant with the world's salvation; we proclaimed the glory of that Ark of the New Covenant, whose chaste womb was the earthly paradise, chosen by the King of Ages for His dwelling place. Now that She has brought Him forth, the Infant God, She adores Him, Who is Her Son. She has the right to call Him Her Child; and He, God as He is, calls Her in strictest truth His Mother.

Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin and Her prerogatives. Let us, on the contrary, be convinced that all the praise the Church can give Her, and all the devotion she can ever bear towards Her, are far below what is due to Her as Mother of the Incarnate God.

No mortal will ever be able to describe or even comprehend how great a glory accrues to Her from this sublime dignity. For as the glory of Mary comes from Her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God Himself in order to measure the greatness of Her dignity. It is to God that Mary gave our human nature; it is God Whom She had as Her Child; it is God Who, inasmuch as He is Man, gloried in rendering Himself subject to Her: hence, the true value of such a dignity, possessed by a mere creature, can only be appreciated in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfections of the great God Who thus deigns to make Himself dependent upon that favored creature. Let us therefore bow down in deepest adoration before the Majesty of our God; let us therefore acknowledge that we cannot respect, as it deserves, the extraordinary dignity of Her whom he chose for His Mother.

The same sublime Mystery overpowers the mind from another point of view - what were the feelings of such a Mother towards such a Son? The Child She holds in Her arms and presses to Her Heart is the Fruit of Her virginal womb, and She loves Him as Her own; She loves Him because She is His Mother, and a mother loves her child as herself, nay, more than herself: but when She thinks upon the infinite majesty of Him Who has thus given Himself to Her to be the object of Her love and Her fond caresses - She trembles in Her humility, and Her soul has to turn, in order to bear up against the overwhelming truth, to the thought of the nine months She held this Babe in Her womb, and of the filial smile He gave Her when Her eyes first met His.

These two deep-rooted feelings - of a creature that adores, and of a Mother that loves - are in Mary's Heart. The being Mother of God implies all this - and may we not well say that no pure creature could be exalted more than She? and that only God's infinite wisdom could plan such a work, and only His infinite power accomplish it?

A Mother of God! It is the mystery whose fulfillment the world, without knowing it, was awaiting for four thousand years. It is the work which, in God's eyes, was incomparably greater than that of the creation of a million new worlds, for such a creation would cost Him nothing; He has but to speak, and all whatsoever He wills is made. But that a creature should become Mother of God, He has had not only to suspend the laws of nature by making a Virgin Mother, but also to put Himself in a state of dependence upon the happy creature whom He chose for His Mother. He had to give Her rights over Himself, and contract the obligation of certain duties towards Her. He had to make Her His Mother, and Himself Her Son.

It follows from this that the blessings of the Incarnation for which we are indebted to the love wherewith the Divine Word loved us, may and ought to be referred, though in an inferior degree, to Mary Herself. If She be the Mother of God, it is because She consented to it, for God vouchsafed not only to ask Her consent, but, moreover, to make the coming of His Son into this world depend upon Her giving it. As this His Son, the Eternal Word, spoke His Fiat over chaos, and the answer to His word was creation; so did Mary use the same word Fiat: - let it be done unto me, She said. God heard Her word and, immediately, the Son of God descended into Her virginal womb. After God, then, it is to Mary, His ever Blessed Mother, that we are indebted for our Emmanuel.

The divine plan for the world's salvation included there being a Mother of God: and as heresy sought to deny the mystery of the Incarnation, it equally sought to deny the glorious prerogative of Mary. Nestorius asserted that Jesus was only man; Mary, consequently, he impiously raved, was not Mother of God, but merely Mother of a Man called Jesus. This blasphemous doctrine roused the indignation of the Catholic world, and the East and West united in proclaiming that Jesus was God and Man, in unity of Person; and that Mary, being His Mother, was, in strict truth, "Mother of God."

This victory over Nestorianism, won at the Council of Ephesus, was hailed by the Christians of those times with an enthusiasm of faith, which proved the tender love they had for the Mother of Jesus.

Prayer:

O God, Who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience her intercession for us, though whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of Life, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Saint for the Year Results
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Thank you to everyone that asked for and helped pass on word for the Saint for the Year project. As of right now I have posted all the results (except 2 that I just got today) for anyone that asked. All results were drawn randomly and I trust that we all can learn a lot from our saints as they all have one thing in common - they're in Heaven. And that is all of our goals.

See the Results page! Also, if you didn't see my original post, see the Saints for the Year post. I will still take requests for patron saints for 2006 if anyone is interested.

God Bless
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Beginning a New Year
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"Through Divine Grace we are at the beginning of a new year. God alone knows whether we shall reach the end of it, so we should spend it in reparation for the past and in preparing for the future with good resolutions. Good works go hand in hand with good intentions" (St. Padre Pio).

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Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
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Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Here is Pope Benedict XVI's homily for this Solemnity:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today's liturgy our gaze continues to be turned to the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, while with particular emphasis we contemplate the Motherhood of the Virgin Mary.

In the Pauline passage we have heard (cf. Gal 4: 4), the Apostle very discreetly points to the One through whom the Son of God enters the world: Mary of Nazareth, Mother of God, Theotokos.

At the beginning of a new year, we are invited, as it were, to attend her school, the school of the faithful disciple of the Lord, in order to learn from her to accept in faith and prayer the salvation God desires to pour out upon those who trust in his merciful love.

Salvation is a gift of God; in the first reading, it was presented as a blessing: "The Lord bless you and keep you!... The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!" (Nm 6: 24, 26).

This is the blessing that priests used to invoke upon the people at the end of the great liturgical feasts, particularly the feast of the New Year. We are in the presence of a text packed with meaning, punctuated by the Name of the Lord which is repeated at the beginning of every verse. This text is not limited to the mere enunciation of principles but strives to realize what it says.

Indeed, as is widely known, in Semitic thought the blessing of the Lord produces well-being and salvation through its own power, just as cursing procures disgrace and ruin. The effectiveness of blessing is later more specifically brought about by God, who protects us (v. 24), favours us (v. 25) and gives us peace, which is to say in other words, he offers us an abundance of happiness.

By having us listen once again to this ancient blessing at the beginning of a new solar year, the liturgy, as it were, encourages us in turn to invoke the Lord's blessing upon the New Year that is just beginning, so that it may be a year of prosperity and peace for us all. It is precisely this wish that I would like to address to the distinguished Ambassadors of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See who are taking part in today's liturgical celebration.

I greet Cardinal Angelo Sodano, my Secretary of State. With him, I greet Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and all the members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. I am particularly grateful to them for their commitment to disseminating the annual Message for the World Day of Peace, addressed to Christians and to all men and women of good will.

I also offer a cordial greeting to the many choirboys who with their singing add to the solemnity of this Holy Mass, during which we ask God for the gift of peace for the whole world.

By choosing the theme "In truth, peace" as the Message for the World Day of Peace, I wanted to express the conviction that "whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendour of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace" (n. 3). How can we not see in this an effective and appropriate realization of the Gospel just proclaimed, in which we contemplated the scene of the shepherds on their way to Bethlehem to adore the Child? (cf. Lk 2: 16).

Are not those shepherds, whom the Evangelist Luke describes to us in their poverty and simplicity, obedient to the Angel's order and docile to God's will, perhaps the image most easily accessible to each one of us of the person who allows himself to be enlightened by the truth and is thereby enabled to build a world of peace?

Peace! This great, heartfelt aspiration of every man and every woman is built day after day by the contribution of all and by treasuring the wonderful heritage passed down to us by the Second Vatican Council with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which says, among other things, that humanity will not succeed in "the establishment of a truly human world for all men over the entire earth, unless everyone devotes himself to the cause of true peace with renewed vigour" (n. 77).

The time in history when the Constitution Gaudium et Spes was promulgated, 7 December 1965, was not very different from our time. Then, as unfortunately also in our day and age, tensions of various kinds were looming on the world horizon. In the face of the lasting situations of injustice and violence that continue to oppress various parts of the earth, in the face of those that are emerging as new and more insidious threats to peace - terrorism, nihilism and fanatical fundamentalism - it is becoming more necessary than ever to work together for peace!

A "start" of courage and trust in God and man is necessary if we are to choose the path of peace. And it must be on the part of all: individuals and peoples, international organizations and world powers.

In the Message for today's event, I wanted in particular to call the United Nations Organization to a renewed awareness of its responsibilities in encouraging the values of justice, solidarity and peace in a world that is ever more marked by the vast phenomenon of globalization.

If peace is the aspiration of every person of good will, for Christ's disciples it is a permanent mandate that involves all; it is a demanding mission that impels them to announce and witness to "the Gospel of Peace", proclaiming that recognition of God's full truth is an indispensable pre-condition for the consolidation of the truth of peace.

May this awareness continue to grow so that every Christian community becomes the "leaven" of a humanity renewed by love.

"And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart" (Lk 2: 19).

The first day of the year is placed under the sign of a woman, Mary. The Evangelist Luke describes her as the silent Virgin who listens constantly to the eternal Word, who lives in the Word of God. Mary treasures in her heart the words that come from God and, piecing them together as in a mosaic, learns to understand them.
Let us too, at her school, learn to become attentive and docile disciples of the Lord. With her motherly help, let us commit ourselves to working enthusiastically in the "workshop" of peace, following Christ, the Prince of Peace.

After the example of the Blessed Virgin, may we let ourselves be guided always and only by Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever! (Heb 13: 8). Amen.


© Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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Catholic Resolutions 2006
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Everyone always makes New Years Resolutions, but how about we make some Catholic Resolutions too. How can we improve our relationship with Christ this Year? List the Top 3 things that you'd like to do.

2006 Catholic Resolutions:

1. Pray the Morning prayer of the Breviary each weekday
2. Pray the Rosary at least once a week
3. Visit other Catholic churches around me and meet other priests and people
4. Read the entire Bible in 1 year
5. Read the readings for Mass each morning
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