23 I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you LOVED them even as you LOVED me. 24 Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am, they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you LOVED me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. 26 I made known to them your name and I will make it known that the LOVE with which you LOVED me may be in them and I in them.”
It would be a good practice to make a prayer of praise to our God when we get up and when we go to bed.
For the evening prayer might I suggest sitting quietly before bed reflecting on Psalm 40:11 “Be still and know I am God.” Offer to our Lord your good works, and your failings, and praise Him for the graces He has given in regard to your concerns.
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
"Celebrating Mary is, first and foremost, remembering our mother, remembering that we are not and never will be an orphaned people. We have a Mother! And where there is a mother, there is always the presence and flavor of home. Where there is a mother, brothers and sisters may fight, but the sense of unity will always prevail. Where there is a mother, the struggle for fraternity will not be lacking. It has always impressed me to see, in different Latin American peoples, those struggling mothers who, often alone, manage to support their children. This is how Mary is. Mary is this way with us: we are her children: a woman who fights against the society of distrust and blindness, the society of apathy and dispersion; a woman who fights to strengthen the joy of the Gospel, who fights to give 'flesh' to the Gospel." (Pope Francis, homily on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016)
Mary had no fear of the world or man, yet, when the angel appeared, she was immersed in holy fear. Let us follow Mary’s example and bravely face the day saying YES to God.
Listen to Mary’s words of encouragement as she appeared to Saint Juan Diego.
"Hear me and understand well, my
son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart
be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am
I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your
health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not
grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
One wonders if Mary thought of these same affirmations during the angel’s visit of God the Father. Are you not happily within my fold! Are you not under my protection!
Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego just 12 years after the defeat of the Aztec empire by Hernan Cortes. Documents from that period indicate that the Aztec leadership was hatching a plot to reestablish themselves and renew the taking of human hearts as a sacrifice to their gods. Our Lady stopped that with her appearance to Juan Diego. In the space of 10 years after her appearance over 9 million Aztecs converted to the faith.
Things to Do
· Start a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
· If you live close to La Crosse, WI visit the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe; if not make a virtual visit.
· Read more about this title of Our Lady.
· Make a sacrifice, say a prayer or visit the Blessed Sacrament for an end to abortion.
· If your parish is having a pro-life Mass or holy hour try to attend.
· Have a party, which includes a procession and a special Mexican dinner to celebrate the feast.
· See Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe for ideas.
of the Aztecs
In 1910 Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Patroness of Latin America, and in 1945 Pope Pius XII declared Her to be the Empress of all the Americas. "Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament.
The End of bloody human sacrifice
Our Lady came to offer faith, hope and consolation to the oppressed natives of Mexico and to reconcile them with their Spanish rulers. She put an end to the bloody human sacrifice of the Aztecs and converted ten million natives in the next 10 years! After the conquest, the Spanish rule of the natives was so severe that a bloody revolt was imminent. Bishop Zummaraga prayed for Our Lady to intervene to prevent an uprising, to reconcile the Spanish and the natives and to bring peace. He asked that he receive roses native to his homeland of Castile Spain as a sign that his prayer would be answered. On December 9, 1531, Our Lady appeared to Blessed Juan Diego who was a recently converted Aztec. She asked him to go to the Bishop and request him to build a church for her on the barren hill of Tepeyac which part of Mexico City is now. Our Lady wanted to show her merciful love to all of her children. The prudent Bishop asked Juan to ask the Lady for a sign. Juan did so, and Our Lady promised to give him the sign. On December 12, Our Lady again appeared to Juan on Tepeyac Hill and told him to pick the Castilian roses which miraculously appeared there and bring them to the Bishop as a sign for him to believe her request. Juan gathered the roses into his tilma and brought them to the Bishop. He opened the tilma to show them and, to everyone's astonishment, the Image of Our Lady appeared on it. The Bishop then built the church as Our Lady had requested and ten million natives were converted and baptized to the one, true faith within the next 10 years. Human sacrifice ended in Mexico forever. Our Lady of Guadalupe, which means Crusher of the serpent's head, brought the light of the true faith, crushed the false gods of Mexico, and established an era of peace.
The Image as Pictograph
- THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN - She was greater than their dreaded sun-god "Huitzilopochtli".
- HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT MOON - She had clearly vanquished their foremost deity, the feather serpent "Quetzalcoatl".
- THE STARS STREWN ACROSS THE MANTLE - She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped. She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on December 12, 1531, for the stars that she wore are the constellation of stars that appeared in the sky that day!
- THE BLUEâGREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE - She was a Queen for she wears the color of royalty.
- THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK - Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son.
- THE BLACK BELT - She was with child for she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
- THE FOUR-PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB - She was the "Mother of God." The flower was a special symbol of life, movement and deity - the center of the universe.
- HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER - She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
- THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE-COLORED GARMENT - She is the "Queen of the Earth," for she is wearing a map of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.
The Image and Science
- The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.
- The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years! The tilma or cloak of Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!
- There is no under-sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
- Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
- The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown property of the surface and substance of which it is made.
- According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a modern-day photograph. (It was produced 300 years before the invention of photography.)
- The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
- Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is believed to be the images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan Gonzales, the interpreter and others.
- The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in the normal eye which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.
- The stars on Our Lady's Mantle coincide with the constellation in the sky on December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!
It is interesting to note that our Lady Mary manifested herself to the new world on or around the traditional Jewish feast of Hanukkah which she must have celebrated with Joseph and her son Christ.
Coming of the Lord and the Last Judgment
As Catholics, we are mindful and profess in our Creed that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. The Second Vatican Council's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" states, "Already the final age of the world is with us and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect" (No. 48). To try to grasp the when, what and how of this Second Coming and last judgment, we really need to glean the various passages in Sacred Scripture to see how our Church has interpreted them. They are united in one drama. Our Lord in the Gospel spoke of His second coming. He indicated that various signs would mark the event.
1. Mankind would suffer from famine, pestilence and natural disasters.
2. False prophets who claim to be the Messiah will deceive and mislead people.
3. Nations will wage war against each other.
4. The Church will endure persecution.
5. Worse yet, the faith of many will grow cold and they will abandon the faith, even betraying and hating one another.
6. St. Paul describes a "mass apostasy" before the Second Coming, which will be led by the "son of perdition," the "Man of Lawlessness," the "adversary who exalts himself above every so-called god proposed for worship." This "lawless one" is part of the work of Satan, and with power, signs, wonders and seductions will bring to ruin those who have turned from the truth.
7. However, "the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and annihilate him by manifesting His own presence." The Catechism affirms, "God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the last judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world" (No. 667).
8. Our Lord will come suddenly. "The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to the other" St. Peter predicts, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest" (2 Pt 3:10).
9. Death will be no more. The dead shall rise and those souls who have died will be united again to their bodies. All will have a glorious, transformed, spiritualized body as St. Paul said, "He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body...".
10. At this time, the final, or general judgment will occur. Jesus said, "Those who have done right shall rise to life; the evildoers shall rise to be damned". Our Lord described this judgment as follows: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, He will sit upon His royal throne and all the nations will be assembled before Him. Then He will separate them into two groups, as a shepherd separated sheep from goats" Here each person will have to account for his conduct and the deepest secrets of his soul will come to light. How well each person has responded to the prompting of God's grace will be made clear. Our attitude and actions toward our neighbor will reflect how well we have loved our Lord. "As often as you did it for one of My least brothers, you did it for Me". Our Lord will judge us accordingly. For those who have died and already have faced the particular judgment, their judgment will stand. Those living at the time of the Second Coming will receive judgment.
a. Those who have rejected the Lord in this life, who have sinned mortally, who have no remorse for sin and do not seek forgiveness, will have condemned themselves to hell for all eternity.
b. "By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love (Catechism, No. 678).
c. The souls of the righteous will enter heavenly glory and enjoy the beatific vision and those who need purification will undergo it.
We do not know when the Second Coming will occur. Jesus said, "As to the exact day or hour, no one knows it, neither the angels in heaven nor even the Son, but only the Father. Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come"
red plant itself burns a brighter red when set off by the green than when it
grows among its peers. In the bed I always reserved for poinsettia seedlings,
there was little to distinguish one plant from its neighbors. My poinsettia did
not turn scarlet until I planted it in new surroundings. Color is not something
one has; color is bestowed on one by others.”
― Arthur Japin
Poinsettia Day, a day to celebrate the ever-popular red flower used around the Christmas holiday season. When looking at a Poinsettia, all we can think of is “The Poinsettia is to Christmas like a pumpkin is to Halloween” But where is the Poinsettia from, and how did it become a Christmas staple? That’s why we’re here to find out what Poinsettia Day is all about! To find out where the Poinsettia flower originated from, we have to take a look in the past. In 1480 to his death, Aztec King Montezuma adorned his palace with Poinsettia or Cuetlaxochitl as it was known by the Aztecs, having his people cultivate the flower as a gift from the Gods. Poinsettia was served as a reminder of the sacrifice that the Aztec gods had made to create the universe and that the debt would be repaid in human sacrifices. The Aztecs used the Poinsettia’s sap to cure fevers and the leaves make a dye. Then, in the 17th century after the Conquistadors invaded Mexico, the blood red wild flower became a part of Christian ceremony for the first time when it was used in the nativity procession, the Fiesta of Santa Pesebre. It’s around this time that many legends originated, attempting to explain why the plant, beginning to be called “La flor de Nochebuena,” or Holy Night had acquired its bright and beautiful red color. After being discovered in 1828 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the poinsettia became a popular specimen among botanists. One Botanist in particular by the name of Wilenow, in 1833 he named the Poinsettia “Euporbia pulcherrima.” But after only four years another botanist by the name of William Hickling Prescott renamed the flower to “Poinsettia pulcherrima” in honor of the man who brought the flower back to be studied, Joel Poinsett.
How to Celebrate Poinsettia Day
To celebrate Poinsettia Day, the Poinsettia is displayed on the Dia de le Virgen, or Virgin’s Day on December 12th in Mexico. In the United States, there are parades that include Poinsettias to commemorate Joel Poinsett’s discovery of the plant in the month of December.
A special devotion that can be performed during Advent to prepare for the coming of the Infant Savior. It can be adapted for adults and/or children and applied as is appropriate to your state in life.
· 2nd Day, December 12th: THE FOUNDATION—Humility We lay the foundation of our little Stable by practicing the virtue of humility. Therefore, we may not excuse ourselves, either good or evil; make frequent acts of humility and perform at least one humble task. Clean the toilets
· Jesse Tree ornament: David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star