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Tuesday, January 1, 2019


January


Creeks, rivers, and other forms of moving water, including ice, manifest the flow of life itself. A gurgling stream or rushing river, even in midwinter's rest, is the sign that new life is coming forth, even when it is not yet perceptible in a snow-covered landscape. Our life in Christ begins through the saving water of Baptism; since this is so, we have an obligation to protect and save the water. Water pollution is widespread, denying safe drinking water to millions of people.

Overview of January[1]

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first eight days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white. The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color changes to green — a symbol of the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. In the first part of January we continue to rejoice and celebrate Christ's coming at Bethlehem and in our hearts. We have the wonderful feasts of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary's highest title, and then we follow the Magi to the crib as they bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on Epiphany. Finally, we reach the culmination of this season with the Baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. With a touch of sadness, we take down our decorations and enter into Ordinary Time where we will devote ourselves to the mystery of Christ in its entirety. This is a time of growth and an opportunity to allow the dignity of Sunday to shine forth prolonging the joy of Easter and Pentecost. The opening days of January may be cold and nature bleak, but the domestic church still glows warm with the peace and joy of Christmas. We dedicate the New Year to Mary on the January 1st Solemnity honoring her as Mother of God; and on January 6, the Solemnity of Epiphany, we rejoice with her, as her Son is adored by the three Wise Men. Herald John, who ushered in the Advent season, is present once again to close Christmastide on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (The First Luminous Mystery), and to open the Season of Ordinary Time. He points to Jesus, the Lamb of God who unites time and eternity in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and even January’s diminishing darkness seems to echo St. John’s prayer: “He must increase, and I must decrease.” In this liturgical season the Church eagerly follows Our Lord as he gathers his apostles and announces his mission. At Cana’s wedding feast (The Second Luminous Mystery) he performs his first public miracle at the request of his Mother, and his disciples saw his glory and believed in him. We, his present-day disciples pray for a like faith as we contemplate the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb and the unique role of the Blessed Mother in the plan of salvation. May we wholeheartedly obey her words of counsel: “Do whatever he tells you.”


Stay at an Ice Hotel?[2]

Dates Vary With Location

There are several locations with accommodations made of ice, Norway, Quebec, Alaska and Sweden to name a few. Regardless of the temperature outside, the air in the Icehotel is always between 17- and 23-degrees Fahrenheit. The bedrooms have blocks of ice as beds, covered with fur, skin, hides and sleeping bags so you’ll stay toasty warm.


FEAST OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD/NEW YEARS DAY

Exodus, Chapter 9, Verse 27-30
27 Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! The LORD is the just one, and I and my people are the ones at fault. 28 Pray to the LORD! Enough of the thunder and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer.” 29 Moses replied to him, “As soon as I leave the city I will extend my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail so that you may know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.”

This was the seventh plague of God on the Egyptians and of course Pharaoh had closed his ears and heart to God. Thunder was to the Egyptians the voice of God, but they did not listen nor did the hail melt the ice of their hearts to the true God. Because God loves us, He sometimes permits plagues in our lives that will bring about an exodus from our sin and a melting of our heart. When we are poor in spirit it is then that we can draw near to the Lord.

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mt. 19:16-22)

Today might be a good day to make a poor man’s feast.

Poor Man’s Feast[3]


Recipe originally uploaded to YouTube by 91-year-old cook and great grandmother, Clara, who recounts her childhood during the Great Depression as she prepares meals from the era.

DIRECTIONS

·         Prepare the vegetables: Dice the onion. Peel the potatoes and dice into cubes no larger than 1/2 inch.
·         Heat the oil in a 12" non-stick skillet over medium heat.
·         Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once.
·         Add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
·         Add the sliced wieners and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

INGREDIENTS

·         3 tablespoons vegetable oil
·         1 medium onion, diced
·         2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced small
·         5 hot dogs, sliced into rounds (about 10 oz)
·         8 ounces tomato sauce
·         1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
·         2 teaspoons sugar

 Solemnity of Mary

For Catholics, today is a holy day of obligation to honor Mary the Mother of God the second Eve:  who is the first example of courage. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  (Luke 1:30-31)

On my 2006 visit to Israel my wife and I visited and had Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes.  I remember our Priests were a little miffed with the little sister who worked there.  She was upset with us because it was a warm day and some in our group had taken off their sweaters and their arms were exposed. She was focused on the rules, as Christ pointed out to the Pharisees who were focused on the outside of the cup being clean rather than the inside being clean.  Similarly, the beatitudes of our Lord seek to not do away with the rules (10 commandments) but points at our inner dispositions.  I think Church of the Beatitudes which an octagon is (eight sided) best represents how me should seek to best conform our hearts and our dispositions to be more like that of Christ.  On the floor of the Church of the Beatitudes are eight mosaics with words in Latin.  They reflect the dispositions of our Lord which we are to emulate.

·         Temperantia (Temperance is a spirit of moderation and personal restraint; to keep ourselves in balance physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally).
·         Lavs Tibi Christi (Praise God in all that we do).
·         Charitas (a heart that burns with love of God and benevolence toward others).
·         Ivstitia (Justice.  Christ compels us to not ignore others, to understand others, not to rationalize and/or justify our questionable acts, do right even at risk of ourselves, and to pray for others).
·         Prvdentia (forethought or prudence. Those who are Prudent are far from indecisive, for their bold decisions bear no streaks of doubt. Prudence disposes us to have a true care and concern for the health and wellbeing of others).
·         Fides (Faith in God; to trust Him; to give yourself as He gave Himself).
·         Spes (Hope.  We must hope in the good news of Christ and trust ourselves in the church as we would a ship upon the waters).
·         Fortitvdo (fortitude and courage.  We must have the courage to allow Christ to increase in us).

Christmas Calendar[4]

Read-We close out the Christmas octave—the eight days following the birth of Christ—with a day honoring Mary as the Mother of God. Take time to read about the Mother of God today.

Reflect-"With his Mother's flesh God clothed himself, / Since from Virginity he was made man." — Prudentius, Hymn of the Divinity of Christ, 435-436

Pray-January 1 is also the World Day of Peace. There are a number of prayers for peace to choose from—pray one today.

Act-Visit the US Catholic bishops' Action Center. . . today to find out ways you can advocate for peace around the world.

8th day of Christmas[5] The Eight Maids a milking is a sign for the eight beatitudes.  Today would be a good day to reflect on them.
  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
  3. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
New Year's Day[6]

New Year's Day marks the start of a new year on the Gregorian calendar.  The Gregorian calendar was first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and began to be used in Britain and its colonies in 1751. It is a solar calendar which maintains synchrony with the tropical year.  This holiday is celebrated every year on January 1st.

New Year's Day Facts

·         Baby New Year is the most common symbol associated with this holiday.  He is a toddler dressed in a diaper, hat, and sash bearing the numbers of the New Year.  The myth states that he matures into an old man during the course of the year.  On December 31st, he hands his hat and sash to the new Baby New Year.
·         In early Roman calendar New Year was celebrated on March 1st. The new celebration of New Year on January 1st started in Rome in 153 BC. The New Year was moved to January because it was a month when two newly elected Roman consuls began their tenure, which reflected the beginning of civil year.
·         In medieval Europe celebrations of New Year on January 1st were not always observed. Sometimes it was celebrated on Dec. 25th, March 1st and March 25th (The Feast of the Annunciation).
·         Gregorian calendar came into force in 1582, which replaced the Julian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. After adoption of Gregorian calendar, January 1st was restored as New Year’s Day.

New Year's Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Visit Times Square and watch the ball drop in New York City to celebrate the New Year.
·         Sing Auld Lang Sine and kiss a loved one at the stroke of midnight.
·         Make new resolutions for the upcoming year and let go of what happened in the previous one.
·         Take advantage of New Year's Eve skiing at a local ski hill near you. Usually the hills are less crowded and offer discounts on this holiday.
·         New Year – means new trails to hike. Go hiking on a New Year’s Day to make a good start from day one and get motivated.

49 Godly Character Traits[7]

During this Christmas season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness

Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:24)

373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists", to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.

394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

Complete My Joy[8]


An Apostolic Exhortation to the Husbands and Wives, Mothers and Fathers of the Diocese of Phoenix

Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is Gods doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
PHILIPPIANS 1:27-2:2

·         So, in this 15th year of my service to you as your bishop, and the 50th anniversary of our founding as a Diocese, I seek in this exhortation to, in a way, visit your home.
·         Throughout this Jubilee Year, I shall be praising God for all of the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers of the Diocese of Phoenix. Over these past 50 years, countless faithful Catholics have surely attained the goal of their liveseternal salvation. Credit here is due to the rich mercy of God, to the dedicated priests and religious who have served our Diocese so well, and to you and the many faithful families who have livedand continue to liveyour vocations with generosity and even, at times, heroism.
·         I thank the Lord for each of you. I call upon the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of our Diocese, to assist me in encouraging and challenging you to deepen your relationship with Jesus ChristWho is the source of hope and love for every vocation. Your taking up this mission in a renewed way during this Year of the Family will do much to complete my joy in you as your spiritual father.

How to read this Exhortation

I ask that you read through this exhortation prayerfully and slowly, with a listening heart. In this way, you can receive what the Lord has for you, fitting for your own journey and your familys journey. Many of you, though from strong and intact families, have yet to hear family life presented as a beautiful, noble and joy-filled life that can certainly be lived with Gods grace. Others of you give thought regularly to your familys mission and are looking for a challenge; I trust you will find it.

I also am keenly aware that for many, the family pain that you experienced, or are experiencing now, has injured the hopes that such happiness in a family could be attainable. Do not be afraid. Great hope remains in Jesus Christ who has overcome the world. If this place of suffering is where you find yourself at this time, you may profit by reading chapter four first, on suffering, sin and healing.

The Way[9] Mortification

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

The eyes! Through them many iniquities enter the soul. — What experiences like David's! — If you guard your sight you have assured the guard of your heart

Daily Devotions

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Devotion to the Holy Face Day 7


[1]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/months/01.cfm
[2]https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/travels-best/photos/awesome-things-to-do-in-january
[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/recipes/view.cfm?id=1656
[4]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/christmas/christmas-january-1.cfm
[6]https://www.wincalendar.com/New-Years-Day
[7]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-Tcharacter-qualities/
[8]https://family.dphx.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-Complete-My-Joy-Apostolic-Exhortation-English.pdf
[9]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

Monday, December 31, 2018


ST SYLVESTER-NEW YEARS EVE

Exodus, Chapter 9, Verse 20
Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried their servants and their livestock off to shelter.

Even Pharaohs servants when they heard the word of God took action. Blessed are we that hear the word of the Lord!

Today we are a community living in the fulfillment of faith in Christ and He asks us to do something unthinkable, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Mt. 4:19)

This gospel is read to-day because it is by practicing what it contains that the saints have gained the eternal kingdom.

Explanation of the Eight Beatitudes[1]


I. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “The poor in spirit are:

1. Those who, like the apostles, readily forsake all earthly things, and for Christ s sake become poor.

2. Those who, happening to lose their property by misfortune or injustice, suffer the loss patiently, in resignation to the will of God.

3. Those who, like Jesus (Matt. viii. 20), are content with their poor and humble position, seek no higher or happier one, and would rather suffer want than enrich themselves by unlawful acts, by fraud or theft.

4. The rich and noble who set not their hearts upon the riches and greatness of the world (Ps. Ixi. 11; i. Cor. vii. 30), but who use their riches and influence to relieve the misery of the needy and oppressed.

5. Finally, the truly humble, who, convinced of their weakness, their helplessness and misery, think lowly of themselves, and regard themselves but as beggars, who are always in need of the grace of God. To all these, therefore, in whose hearts the world has no place, there is assured, as their inheritance, the kingdom of heaven; here the kingdom of grace there the kingdom of glory.

II. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.” That man is rneek who does not murmur against God for sending afflictions upon him, who is not angry at men who do him injury, but who rather suppresses impatience, anger, envy, and revenge, nay, who seeks to recompense the evil done him by his neighbor with good. Such a one is greater than he who takes by storm fortified cities (Prov. xvi. 32); he possesses an unfailing fountain of peace, quiet, and cheerfulness; by his meekness prevails over the most hostile minds, is by such means truly a ruler upon earth, and will one day, for his portion, obtain heaven, the land of the living, there to enjoy eternal peace.

III. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” By them that mourn we are not to understand such as grieve and lament over a death, a misfortune, a loss of worldly goods, or the like; but those who are grieved that God should be in so many ways offended by themselves and by others that His Church should be so heavily oppressed, and thereby so many souls lost that have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only evil really to be grieved for is sin, and the tears shed on account of sin are the only tears that are profitable, for they shall be recompensed with everlasting joy.

IV. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill.” Hunger and thirst denote the most ardent longing after those virtues which constitute Christian perfection; such as humility, meekness, the love of God and of our neighbor, penance. Whoever longs for these virtues as the hungry man does for food and drink and prays to God for them with perseverance and earnestness, shall have his fill that is, he shall be enriched with them, and one day shall be satisfied with eternal happiness.

V. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful here spoken of are: 1. Those who willingly forgive the injuries done to them. 2. Those who have compassion on their poor neighbors, and, according to their ability, sustain them by alms. These shall obtain mercy that is; God will forgive them their sins and endow them abundantly with the goods of this world and of the world to come. Thus, God deals with us as we deal with others (Matt. vii. 2).

VI. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. The clean of heart are those who preserve with care the innocence with which they are invested at holy Baptism, or seek to regain it, when lost, by penance; those who keep their hearts and consciences unspotted from all sinful thoughts, particularly from all unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and acts, and who endeavor in all things to have a pure intention directed to God alone. They shall see God, that is, they shall know Him even here upon earth, for as the eye that is to see must be clean, so only souls that are pure and unstained can behold God. But further, our knowledge is like our hearts; the purer the heart the clearer and greater is the knowledge of God. But in the world above they shall see, know, and possess Him as He is. “What blessedness! Strive, therefore, to keep your heart clean.”

VII. “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” By peace-makers we are to understand those who have peace with themselves, that is, a quiet conscience, and who endeavor to maintain peace among others, or to restore it when broken. Such are called the children of God, because they follow God, who is a God of peace (Eoin. xv. 33), and Who even gave His only Son to reconcile the world with Him (Korn. v. 10), and to bring down upon earth that peace which the world itself could not give (Luke ii. 14; John xiv. 27).

VIII. “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Hereby all those are declared blessed who, on account of the true faith, of virtue, of the fear of God, of purity, are persecuted, calumniated, and even put to death, and who bear all this with Christian patience and constancy, nay, with joy. Thus, have the saints done, and thereby they have gained the heavenly crown. Do we desire to be crowned with them; we must also suffer with them. And in truth, if we would apply ourselves zealously to virtue, occasions will not be wanting to us, for c all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (n, Tim. iii. 12).

Christmas Calendar[2]

Read: The Christmas season carries on into the New Year and ends with the Baptism of the Lord (January 8th this year). Take time to read about how you can carry the joy of Christmas with you into the New Year.

Reflect: "For me, the important thing is to open my heart in each moment, to remember that my own inadequacy is where God will meet me, always beginning again." Reflect on a Catholic News Service columnist's ideas for her New Year's resolutions as you begin to plan your own.

Pray: It's New Year's Eve! Say this Prayer for the New Year today.

Act: Make a list of faith-based New Year's resolutions for 2019 and pray about them at Mass tomorrow.

Seventh Day of Christmas[3] Seven Swans a-Swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
    1. wisdom
    2. understanding
    3. counsel
    4. fortitude
    5. knowledge
    6. piety
    7. fear of the Lord
Also, the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith [Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony]

Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas - Day Seven[4]

The last day of the year is also the feast of St. Sylvester — bishop of Rome in 314. Constantine gave him the Lateran Palace, which became the cathedral church of Rome. Many legends exist about Sylvester. He supposedly cured Constantine from leprosy and later baptized him on his deathbed. New Year's Eve, along with its innocent gaiety, is really a day for serious reflection. On the eve of the civil New Year the children may join their parents in a holy hour, in prayer and thanksgiving for the gifts and benefits which God has given them in the past year, and to pray for necessary graces in the forthcoming civil year.
Saint Sylvester/New Year’s Eve[5]

The night of the Holy Saint Sylvester, the last night of the year, has always been the night of fun. Every year Berlin hosts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in all of Europe, attended by over a million people. The focal point is the Brandenburg Gate, where midnight fireworks are centered. Germans toast the New Year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne. The saint of this day, Pope Sylvester I, according to legend is the man who healed from leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

Sylvester I and Constantine

Sylvester was a Roman, the son of Rufinus. He was ordained a priest by Marcellinus. Chosen Pope in 314, he continued the work of organizing the peacetime Church so well begun by St. Miltiades. Sylvester saw the building of famous churches, notably the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, built near the former imperial palace of that name. It is quite probable too that the first martyrology or list of Roman martyrs was drawn up in his reign. St. Sylvester died in 335. He was buried in a church which he himself had built over the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. His feast is kept on December 31.

Bleigiessen ("Lead pouring") an old German New Year tradition[6]

In many of the German-speaking areas the change of the year is celebrated noisily and merrily. Guests are invited, and groups attend a "Sylvester Ball." There is eating, drinking, dancing and singing. It may be accompanied by the popular "Sylvester" custom of Bleigiessen. A small piece of lead will be melted over a flame in an old spoon and dropped into a bowl of cold water. From the shape you can supposedly tell your fortune for the coming year. For instance, if the lead forms a ball (der Ball), that means luck will roll your way. The shape of an anchor (der Anker) means help in need. But a cross (das Kreuz) signifies death. At midnight, when the old year is almost gone, and the New Year is about to start, glasses are filled with champagne or wine, and toasts and hugs go with wishing each other "ein gutes neues Jahr". Some go out into the streets and listen to the bells ringing throughout the land. Others participate in shooting in the New Year or put on their private fireworks.

St. Sylvester's Day Celebrations[7]

The day that celebrates the first pope to enjoy civic peace is appropriately marked by family customs petitioning peace for the New Year. On New Year's Eve it was traditional in France and other countries for the father to bless all members of the family, and for the children to thank their parents for all of their love and care. In Spain, it was considered good luck to eat twelve grapes at the twelve strokes of midnight. Services thanking God for the blessings of the year and seeking blessings for the new one were not uncommon, and neither were special Sylvester treats.

Last 10 Things[8]


Today would be a good day to review the 10 Last things in preparation for the New Year. The Four Last Things refer to death, judgment, heaven and hell.  The 10 Last Things as a phrase does not exist, but all are found in Scripture and Tradition.

So, when is Jesus coming back to earth? The answer:  At the end of the world. When is the end of the world? Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”—Mt 25:13. A theologian of Scripture here in the USA said he believes one reason why so many men have left the Catholic faith for Protestantism is because the Catholic pulpit is silent on the apocalypse. It’s sad, especially since we have the clearest and richest tradition. Although we’ll be discussing no specific dates, the Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) both name the ten things that must come at the end of the world:

1.      The Gospel must first be preached to the whole world.  The extent of the level of the orthodoxy of the proclaimer is not clear, nor is it clear if every person or simply every nation will have heard the truth of Christ and His Church before the end of the world.  At least every land will have heard the basics by the second coming of Christ.

2.      The Jews will return to the Holy Land and ultimately enter the Catholic Faith. Obviously, the first of these has happened (1948) and the second has not yet happened.  I had thought that the first was only a vestage of Protestant dispensationalism, but I recently discovered in Yves Dupont’s Catholic Prophesy that Saints like Alphonsus Liguori had taught that the Jews must return to Israel before Christ’s second return.

3.      The Great Tribulation and Apostasy. Before the end of the world, CCC 675 speaks of “the Church’s ultimate trial” which will be both “apostasy from the truth” and “persecution.” Perhaps this one has been fulfilled. Indeed, many Catholics have apostatized, formally or informally. However, many Catholics and other Christians are being persecuted for following Christ. Since Christ’s birth, there have been 70 million Christian martyrs. Of these, the past hundred years have witnessed the majority— 45,500,000 of all 70,000,000 martyrdoms! Granted, most of these were Orthodox at the hands of communists; it’s still persecution of Christians. Jesus said this tribulation would also be accompanied by an increase in earthquakes (Mt 24:7.) Even CNN admits a marked increase in earthquakes the past 100 years.

4.      The Anti-Christ or the man of lawlessness. Although there have been many anti-Christs (1 John 2:18) we’re going to have to experience the big one, “the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”—2 Thess 2:3-4. See CCC 676–680.

5.      The Restrainer. Mercy is defined as the divine limit to evil. The anti-Christ will deceive so many people that God will send someone to limit evil. His name in the Bible is “The Restrainer.” (I know “the Restrainer” sounds like the coolest Marvel Comic book hero. But he’s right in the Bible, which might explain why our Protestant brothers and sisters speculate about him more than Catholics.) Anyway, this mysterious good-guy will come along at the end of the world as an agent of Divine Mercy so that the man of lawlessness doesn’t win. “Only he who now restrains it will do so until [the man of lawlessness] is out of the way.”—2 Thess 2:7. Some Catholic theologians speculate the Restrainer will be St. John the Baptist or St. Michael the Archangel. But he is unknown at this point.

6.      Widespread disturbances in nature. “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”—Mt 24:29-30

7.      Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There’s an actual “day and hour” (Mt 24:36) to Christ’s return to earth. This day has definitely not yet come. “As the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”—Mt 24:27. Once, at a lunch, a priest with several impressive degrees snickered at me for taking these words literally. Then, I have to wonder: If Jesus doesn’t return with power, maybe he’ll return on a My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic Princess Twilight Sparkle Charm Carriage Playset? (That’s an actual toy at Target! I have to wonder who named that…An 8-year-old girl in love with a cutie named Mark who was allowed to combine her eleven favorite words randomly?) Anyway, my point isn’t to rally tough-guy fundamentalism. I just can’t imagine a fitting middle ground between Christ coming as a baby and then coming in glory. Unless…Jesus comes strolling into Seattle with corduroy pants and a Dockers short-sleeve at His awful second coming. For my part, I’ll believe the Apostle’s description of the last day: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”—1 Thess 4:16. See CCC 681 and the 13th century hymn Dies Irae, “Day of wrath and doom impending…heaven and earth in ashes ending.” Google it. The rest of it gets even more terrible, in the ancient Latin sense of the word.

8.      Final Judgment. The Church teaches that every one of us on earth will be judged by Christ at the end of life, be it our particular judgment or the general judgment. The particular judgment is what you will experience if you die before Jesus returns in glory. It’s simply your judgment when you come before God a bit after cardiac arrest. A great Spanish priest described that moment as a 2-dimensional instantaneous download of your entire life, replete with Christ’s judgment of you (heaven or hell). The general judgment, or the Last Judgment, however, is what everyone will experience when Christ returns to earth. This will also affect those who have already died. For everyone, it will be like a 3-dimensional instantaneous download of every good and evil action committed by every person on the planet (Luke 8:17) and how it affected you and vice-versa. In short, during your death and/or Christ’s return, your chance for mercy will be done. That’s what the confessional is for. On judgment day, you will answer for any unconfessed sins, and you will see how every one of your actions affected the whole world, for better or for worse. I’m not trying to scare you. This is Our Faith: You matter. See CCC 1021 and CCC 1038–1041.

9.      Resurrection of the Body. Simultaneous to #5, everyone will get their body back. It will be physical, spiritual and hopefully glorified. I write “hopefully” because even those even in hell will get a body back for eternal torture (John 5:29.) Happily, 100% of those in purgatory will go to heaven and also get their glorified body back. But most adult Catholics think of heaven as an amorphous reality for the soul…kind of like a nursing home hot tub where billions of doped-up soul’s stare in a smiley bliss. Rather, let’s consider Jesus’ resurrection: He could eat fish but walk through walls; He shined with glory, but He had wounds. In fact, the four Catholic doctrinal points of the resurrection is that your new body will be: 1) Glorified (like Jesus at the Transfiguration), 2) Agile (not subject to gravity. I promise I’m not making this up.), 3) Subtle (from the Latin, meaning the body will obey the soul as the essential form of the body…meaning you won’t accidentally burp in your new body.) and 4) Impassible (unable to suffer.) Does this all sound just a little fantastic? CCC 996 says: “From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition. On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body.” Wait. No other point met with more opposition? What about contraception and same-sex marriage? You see, the resurrection of the body is the foundation of all other Catholic morality since “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”—2 Cor 5:10. Apparently, man’s notion of once-saved always-saved doesn’t fool God. See CCC 988–1019.

10.  New Heavens and a New Earth. First, this earth will burn (2 Pt 3:10.) Then God will make a New Heavens and a New Earth (Is 65:17.) Where else did you expect to use your new body? Notice that the physical reality of eternity is already found in the Old Testament. For the Jews, the “age to come” will not be any more nebulous than this age. But it will be an era of peace. That era of the Messiah’s peace will permeate so deeply into creation that even the lion will lie down with the calf. (Show off that Bible trick at parties since 99% of you thought I should have written “lamb.” You’re wrong! See Isaiah 11:6.) There’s a solid section on the New Heavens and the New Earth in CCC 1042–1060. Finally, since I made fun of a goofy notion of heaven in #5, I really should highlight all of Christian history’s most beautiful description of heaven. It’s composed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John. This description of heaven spans from Revelation 21 to 22 (the last two chapters of the Bible) but here’s my favorite, the beginning of the end, literally and eschatologically: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more.—Rev 21:1-4a

49 Godly Character Traits[9]

During this Christmas season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Patience vs. Restlessness


Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)

30 "Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice." Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, "an upright heart", as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. And man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2772 From this unshakeable faith springs forth the hope that sustains each of the seven petitions, which express the groanings of the present age, this time of patience and expectation during which "it does not yet appear what we shall be." The Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes."

The Way[10] Mortification

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

Let us drink to the last drop the chalice of pain in this poor present life. What does it matter to suffer for ten years, twenty, fifty... if afterwards there is heaven for ever, for ever... for ever? And, above all — rather than because of the reward, propter retributionem — what does suffering matter if we suffer to console, to please God our Lord, in a spirit of reparation, united to him on his Cross; in a word: if we suffer for Love?...

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Devotion to the Holy Face Day 6



[1]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[3]http://www.holytrinitygerman.org/xmascustoms.html#twelvedays
[4]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-12-31
[9]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-Tcharacter-qualities/
[10]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm