Monday of the Third Week in Advent
Matthew, Chapter 21, verse 26:
26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we FEAR the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.”
The chief priests and the elders of the people were master politicians during Christ’s time. Some of them were faithful in thought word and deed, but many were as Christ pointed out like marble sepulchers which are pretty on the outside but inside full of death and rottenness within. Many of them put on the airs of piety but in reality, were agnostic in nature.
Here we see the priest and elders were afraid of the people. I think in our time a similar thing occurred with Saint John Paul II’s struggle with communism in Poland. John Paul was a John the Baptist of his time. Poles like the Jews of the Baptists time identified with John Paul and were hungry for a chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the rule of the communists. I believe John the Baptist message to have been very similar to John Paul’s.
told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to
be fearless, and that God is
the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. 'Be not afraid,' he said. Millions shouted in
response, 'We want God! We want God! We want God!' The regime cowered. Had the
Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have
been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert
their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed
to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were
finished. Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what
turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire,
[and] ultimately to Communism."
Monday of the Third Week in Advent
Read: "Saint Francis of Assisi began the custom of the nativity scenes when he celebrated Christmas with his brothers at Greccio in 1223 with a Bethlehem scene which included live animals. This tradition quickly spread, and people began to construct their own nativity scenes in their homes. Children take a great joy in helping to set up a nativity scene. The crèche may be made from various materials. Simplicity and beauty go often hand in hand. You may set up your entire scene at the beginning of Advent, leaving the crib empty for the Christ Child to arrive on Christmas Eve. Or you may set up the scene slowly, day by day . . . Mary and Joseph can also 'travel' to Bethlehem, as they move slowly across your room every day until they reach the cave." (excerpted from "Celebrating Advent as a Family" foryourmarriage.org)
Reflect: "While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:6-7)
Pray: Add this "O Antiphon" to your daily or meal-time prayer today: "O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power." (Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, 76)
time to bless the family creche in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
(Based on your family's tradition, you may choose to hide the baby Jesus until
The traditional story of St. Lucy tells us that she was of noble Greek parentage, born in Syracuse, Sicily, and brought up as a Christian by her mother, Eutychia. Although Lucy, like Cecilia, wished to dedicate herself to God, Eutychia arranged for her a marriage with a young pagan. The mother, who suffered from hemorrhage, was persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, to offer prayers at the tomb of St. Agatha. Lucy accompanied her mother, and their prayers for a cure were answered. Then Lucy made known to Eutychia her desire to give her own share of their fortune to the poor and devote herself to God's service. Eutychia, in gratitude for her cure, gave permission. This so angered the young man to whom Lucy had been unwillingly betrothed that he denounced her as a Christian to the governor, Paschius. The persecutions instituted by the Emperor Diocletian were then at their height, and when Lucy steadfastly clung to her faith, she was sentenced to prostitution in a brothel. God rendered her immovable, and the officers were not able to carry her off to the place of evil. An attempt was then made to burn her, but boiling oil and pitch had no power to hurt her or break her strong spirit. At last, she was put to death by the sword. At Rome in the sixth century Lucy was honored among the other virgin martyrs, and her name was inserted in the Canon of the Mass. A reference to her sanctity occurs in a letter written by Pope Gregory the Great. In the Middle Ages, she was invoked by persons suffering from eye trouble, perhaps because Lucy (in Italian, Lucia) derives from <lux>, the Latin word for light. The first church writer to give an account of St. Lucy from her <Acts> was the English bishop St. Aldhelm of Sherborne at the end of the seventh century. This saint's relics are venerated at Venice and at Bourges, in France. She is patroness of Syracuse; her emblems are a cord and eyes.
Father Kenelm Digby Best knew her example of fearlessness when he penned in his book “A Priest’s Poems” on St. Lucy:
Flames might not harm her: Saint Lucy stood fearless, still as a statue's the neck which they smote: Scarcely another save, Lucy, was tearless. When the sharp dagger was plunged in her throat.
The customs surrounding the Feast of St. Lucy also illuminate the themes of Advent and Christmas. Lucy, whose name means light and whose association with light has made her the patron saint of the "light of the body" (the eyes), once had her feast fall on the shortest day of the year. (Before the Gregorian calendar was reformed in the Middle Ages, December 13 was the day of the winter solstice.) For all of these reasons, St. Lucy is honored with a number of customs involving fire. Lucy candles were once lit in the home and Lucy fires burned outside. In Sweden and Norway, a girl dressed in white and wearing an evergreen wreath on her head with lit candles would awaken the family and offer them coffee and cakes. She was called the Lussibrud (Lucy bride) and her pastry the Lussekattor.
The Feast of St. Lucy comes at a propitious time during the observance of Advent. Reminding us of the importance of light, the light of St. Lucy foreshadows the coming of the Light of the World at Christmas like a spark foreshadows the sun.
Things to Do
· Say a prayer to St. Lucy for those who are physically and spiritually blind.
· Read the Life of St. Lucy taken from Ælfric’s Lives of the Saints written in the 10th century.
Perhaps today would be a good day to put up some Christmas lights and drink Hot Cocoa
Hot Cocoa Day
” The superiority of chocolate (hot
chocolate), both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same
preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
We’re sad to say that President Jefferson didn’t quite hit the mark on this one, but we can all agree that he should have. Perhaps he should have included it in the American constitution to ensure that his good sense got passed on to the country he formed. It’s not too late to make this statement become true! Hot Cocoa Day reminds you that your options go far beyond “Tea or Coffee” when it comes to your morning hot beverage. Chocolate’s history goes far back into history, far longer than most people are aware. It first was found by European explorers in South America, where it had been being enjoyed for hundreds of years prior to their arrival. We have reason to believe that the reason the America’s didn’t make contact with Europe sooner is they didn’t want to share this delightful beverage with the rest of the world. The first origins of cocoa can be traced back to 500BC, but many archaeologists believe that this is only as early as we can trace it, and that coffee consumption predates even that august culture. Of course, the chocolate of those days was much different than that which we consume now, as sugar was not something that had found its way to the America’s. Instead, the beverage was flavored with vanilla and often with chili and was served at all temperatures dependent on the recipe being used. The Spaniards first found the flavor unpleasant and one an individual had to acquire. It would not be until it was introduced to Europe and had spent some time there as a luxury drink of the wealthy that it would be sweetened, and milk chocolate invented. It took until 1828 for a powdered chocolate to be made, and in that glorious moment of culinary history, both the chocolate bar and instant hot cocoa came into existence.
How to Celebrate Hot Cocoa Day
We think the best way to celebrate Hot Cocoa Day is to try every variety you can think of. Form a gathering of friends and have everyone bring their favorite recipe and all their favorite varieties. White and Dark, Milk and Bittersweet, there are as many different Hot Cocoa recipes as there are individuals! Our personal favorite is to make Hot Cocoa with 50/50 Milk and Sweetened Condensed milk and Dark Powdered Chocolate, followed by a sprinkling of cinnamon and shavings of dark chocolate on top. Rich and flavorful, it’s not for the timid.
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.
3rd day, December 13th: THE WALLS—Charity Today we must erect the Walls of our little stable by showing great love and kindness towards others, in spite of our feelings for them. Always to excuse their faults, and if that is not possible, at least the intention. Take no offence at anything and show great kindness to such as put your patience to the test. Pray much for the Poor Souls and for poor sinners. Visit the tabernacle.
· Today is the Day of the Horse-take a ride; bet on the ponies or watch a movie about horses. My grandson’s name is Philip which means, lover of horses.
· Jesse Tree ornament: Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Monday: Litany of Humility
· Go to Mass
 Angelo M. Codevilla, "Political Warfare: A Set of Means for Achieving Political Ends", in Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008.)