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Sunday, December 12, 2021

 Worldwide Candle lighting Day[1]

For hundreds of years, lighting a candle has been a way to show respect for those that have died. This beautiful gesture shows that although someone may be gone from this world, their memory will endure, and the light of their flame will continue to inspire and guide others. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is a celebration of solidarity and memory. It’s a day on which people around the world gather to light candles for children who have died and to show that they will always be loved and never forgotten. The candles are lit at the same time in every time zone, meaning that a consistent warm glow passes around the planet for a full 24-hour day.

The History of Worldwide Candle Lighting Day

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day was a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friend. The Compassionate Friend’s Worldwide Candle Lighting Day started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance in honor of children who lived tragically short lives for any number of reasons, from sickness, to accidents, to war, but has since spread throughout the world. Nowadays, hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held in many different countries and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten. many organizations join in to observe this holiday, some f which are local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers, and remembrance services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand over the years since the creation of this special day. All of this just goes to show how necessary it was to set this day aside for this purpose.

How to Celebrate World Candle Lighting Day

As mentioned before, this day is celebrated with a quiet elegance: at 7 p.m. local time, people light candles for one hour to remember their loved ones. It is a moving occasion that bypasses geographical and cultural divides. As everyone lights their candles at seven pm local time, far-flung parts of the world get illuminated in turn, so that eventually the light has moved all around the globe. If you have experienced the loss of a child in your lifetime, this is a good moment to honor his or her memory by taking part in the candle lighting. You could also invite some close family members to spend this time with you and light their own candles for the late child.

This doesn’t only have to be a sad occasion, however. Children’s lives are mostly filled with fun and laughter, so reminiscing about all of the things the child you are honoring managed to enjoy before he or she passed may should serve to lighten the atmosphere up a little bit. Of course, nothing will ever make up for the loss of a child, but there is some solace to be taken in the fact that the child’s life was a good one, however short. No matter whether you’ll be lighting a candle at home or joining a gathering Worldwide Candle Lighting Day it is a way to show love and community.



Third (Gaudete) Sunday of Advent

Feast of our lady of guadalupe

 Isaiah, Chapter 12, Verse 2-4

2God indeed is my salvation; I am confident and UNAFRAID. For the LORD is my strength and my might, and he has been my salvation. 3With joy you will draw water from the fountains of salvation, 4And you will say on that day: give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; Among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. 

Indeed, the birth of Christ is the beginning of the salvation of his people, when in the morning the virgin gives him birth and he is born the angels proclaim His victory over death. 

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[1] 

A celebration involving all 

51. There is a need too to ensure that all those present, children and adults, take an active interest, by encouraging their involvement at those points where the liturgy suggests and recommends it. Of course, it falls only to those who exercise the priestly ministry to effect the Eucharistic Sacrifice and to offer it to God in the name of the whole people. This is the basis of the distinction, which is much more than a matter of discipline, between the task proper to the celebrant and that which belongs to deacons and the non-ordained faithful. Yet the faithful must realize that, because of the common priesthood received in Baptism, "they participate in the offering of the Eucharist". Although there is a distinction of roles, they still "offer to God the divine victim and themselves with him. Offering the sacrifice and receiving holy communion, they take part actively in the liturgy", finding in it light and strength to live their baptismal priesthood and the witness of a holy life. 

Third Sunday of Advent[2] 

THE nearer the coming of the Lord the more earnestly the Church calls upon us to rejoice; and to-day, therefore, at the Introit of the Mass, she sings in the words of St. Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.” (Phil. iv. 4-6.) “Lord, thou hast blessed Thy land; Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob”. 

Prayer. 

We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully incline Thine ear unto our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy heavenly visitation. 

EPISTLE. Phil. iv. 4-7. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord? It means to be glad in remembering the grace by which God called us to the true faith, and gave us the hope of eternal salvation, and to rejoice even in all our tribulations and adversities for the Lord’s sake, as St. Paul did (n. Cor. vii. 4). It also admonishes us to give a good example by modesty and an edifying life, and to fix our desires on God, Who will never fail us if we make our wants known to Him by prayer and supplication, and give Him thanks for benefits received. 

In what does the peace of God consist? It consists in a good conscience, such as St. Paul enjoyed. It is this peace, this tranquility of the soul, which sustained the holy martyrs in their agonies, and consoled others under persecution for Christ’s sake (St. Matt. v. 11, 12). 

Aspiration. 

O Lord grant that Thy peace, which Thou hast given us, and which the world knows not, may keep our hearts and minds in Thee. O wisdom! proceeding from the mouth of the Highest, and reaching to the ends of the world, who governest with power and grace, come and direct us all, that we may walk in the path of wisdom and of the peace which surpasseth all understanding. Amen. 

THE BEST REMEDY IN THE HOUR OF SORROW. 

In need, sorrow, and dejection the best means to relieve our distressed hearts is humble and confiding prayer, in which we can pour out our hearts before God, and give ourselves up to His love and mercy, as did Anna, the sorrowful mother of Samuel the prophet, Josaphat in painful uncertainty, Susanna falsely accused and condemned to death, and innumerable other servants of God. These all prayed to God and were delivered from their afflictions, receiving help and consolation. St. James therefore admonishes us, “Is any one of you sad? let him pray” (James v. 13); and St. Paul, in the epistle for this Sunday, encourages us not to be solicitous about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be known to God. Are you, then, sad and discouraged? Lift up your soul to God, and say with David, “Give joy to the soul of Thy servant, for to Thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul” (Ps. Ixxxv. 4). 

GOSPEL. John i. 19-28. 

At that time: The Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed and did not deny and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No. They said, therefore, unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? what sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood One in the midst of you, Whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, Who is preferred before me: the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 

Why did the Jews send messengers to John to ask him who he was? Because his baptizing and preaching, with his life of austerity and penance, made such an impression that the people took him not for an ordinary prophet, but for the Messias Himself. 

Why did the messengers ask John whether he was Elias or the prophet?

The Jews believed that either Elias or another of the prophets would return to earth to prepare the way for the coming of Christ; and from St. John’s denying that he was the Christ they concluded that he was either Elias or that prophet. 

Why did St. John say that he was not that prophet, but only the voice of one crying in the wilderness?

He said so out of humility; but he uttered no untruth, since he was not the prophet predicted by Moses (Deut. xviii. 15), but only the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” Make straight the way of the Lord”, as the prophet Isaias said (Is. Ix. 3). 

How do we make straight the way of the Lord?

By sincere penance, which consists not merely in going to confession, and making hollow resolutions, but in bringing forth fruits worthy of penance (Matt. iii. 8; Luke iii. 8). 

How do we bring forth fruits worthy of penance?

If we wish to bring forth fruits worthy of penance, we must endeavor to make amends for what is past and use all possible means to avoid in future those sins to which we have been most given; we must love and serve God as much as and more than we before loved and served the world. 

What was the baptism of John, and what was the effect of it?

It was a baptism of penance, for the forgiveness of sins; thus, it was a preparation for the Baptism of Christ, through which sins are actually forgiven, and the Holy Ghost received (Mark i. 4, 5). 

What are we further taught by this gospel?

We are taught to always speak the truth, like St. John; not to desire to appear more, or better, than we are; and, in particular, to make a good and sincere confession. We should, therefore, before confession often ask ourselves, Who am I? How do I live? How do I stand before God? How do I deal with my neighbor? 

We learn also from St. John to confess our sins without reserve, neither concealing nor excusing them; above all, we learn to be humble, for although he might have passed for the Messiah had he chosen to, he refused that honor, and held himself unworthy to loose the latchet of Christ’s shoe. 

Prayer. 

O Lord banish from my heart envy, self-love, and pride; give me grace so to know Thee and myself that, in contemplation of Thy majesty, omnipotence, love and wisdom, and other perfections, I may love Thee above all things, and in regarding my own nothingness, misery, and sins may always humble myself before Thee, and be little in my own eyes. Grant also that I may judge my neighbor with justness and tenderness, and love him as myself. 

Gaudete Sunday[3] 

A joyful warning comes from the Lord's heralds. "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. Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath. 

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)[4] 

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.[5]

Things to Do[6]

·        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.

Hope of the Aztecs[7] 

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[8]

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 Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph which was read and understood quickly by the Aztec Indians.

  1. THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN - She was greater than their dreaded sun-god "Huitzilopochtli".
  2. HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT MOON - She had clearly vanquished their foremost deity, the feather serpent "Quetzalcoatl".
  3. 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!
  4. THE BLUE√ĘGREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE - She was a Queen for she wears the color of royalty.
  5. THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK - Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son.
  6. THE BLACK BELT - She was with child for she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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

  1. The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.
  2. 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!
  3. There is no under-sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
  4. Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Poinsettia Day[9]

 “Conversely, the 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.

Spiritual Crib[10] 

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

Daily Devotions

·       Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Holy Priests, Consecrated and Religious.

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Go to MASS

·       Rosary




[2]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.

[5] Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the civilization of love.  Carl Anderson & Msgr. Eduardo Chavez.  http://www.secretsoftheimage.org/en/index.html

[9]https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/poinsettia-day/

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