Thursday in the Octave of Christmas
ST. THOMAS BECKET-PEPPER POT DAY
2 Timothy, Chapter 2, Verse 1-7
1 So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to FAITHFUL people who will have the ability to teach others as well. 3 Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 To satisfy the one who recruited him, a soldier does not become entangled in the business affairs of life. 5 Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer ought to have the first share of the crop. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
This passage manifests a characteristic deep concern for safeguarding the faith and faithfully transmitting it through trustworthy people. Comparisons to the soldier’s detachment, the athlete’s sportsmanship, and the farmer’s arduous work as the price of recompense emphasize the need of singleness of purpose in preaching the word, even at the cost of hardship, for the sake of Christ.
St. Thomas Becket
Things to Do
· Some wonderful literature is based on this saint. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400) follows a group of 30 pilgrims traveling to the Canterbury Cathedral, the pilgrimage spot of St. Thomas Becket. T. S. Eliot wrote a play called Murder in the Cathedral based on St. Thomas' murder.
· Today would be a good time to gather with family and friends enjoy some Christmas goodies and spend an evening singing Christmas carols.
o The saints who are assigned immediately following Christmas are honored because of their special connection with Christ. December 29, the Feast of Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred in his cathedral by the soldiers of Henry II in 1170, is the true anniversary date of his death. Because of the great shock and sensation that this martyrdom caused at a time when all of Europe was Catholic, the Roman authorities, in the thirteenth century, deemed it appropriate to assign the celebration of his feast within the privileged days of Christmas week, thus adding him to the group of "Christ's nobility."
o In the Middle Ages, Christmas week also assumed the note of a hallowed time within the homes of the faithful. Many observances of a religious character were introduced locally and spread over large sections of the Christian population of Europe. For the farmers and their animals, it was a time of rest and relaxation from laborious work; only the necessary chores were done in stable and barn. Thus, the whole week became a series of holidays. More time than usual was spent on prayer and religious exercises. It is still the custom in many sections of Europe to light the candles of the Christmas tree every night while the whole family says the rosary or performs some other devotion, followed by the singing of carols.
o Carol singing from house to house is an ancient tradition in central Europe on the twelve nights between Christmas and Epiphany. The Poles call these nights the "Holy Evenings" (Stoiete Wieczory). Another widespread practice is the performance of religious plays portraying events of the Christmas story (such as the Nativity, the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, and the massacre of Bethlehem). In southern Germany and Austria many such plays are still performed in rural communities. Among the northern Slavs (Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks) a puppet theater (szopka) is in vogue; its religious scenes alternate with secular dramatic exhibits. In the cities of Poland children put on Christmas dramas (jaselka). A similar performance (Bethlehemes jatek) is done by children in Hungary; a representation of the manger is carried from house to house, little dramatic plays are enacted, and carols sung.
Read about St. Thomas Becket, once a royal chancellor of England. He was slain in his own cathedral for defending the Church from interference by King Henry II.
Reflect: Christ's kingdom is already present, but it is not yet fulfilled. The destruction of the last enemy, death, is still to come, and then, says St. Paul, God will "be all in all." This is why we pray "Thy kingdom come." When we pray "Thy kingdom come," we are praying for a kingdom of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love, and peace. Yet, let us also remember that for the sake of this kingdom many of our sisters and brothers are suffering persecution.
Pray: Becket gave up his life for the sake of justice. Pray today for the many Christians who still face persecution and death because of their faith.
Act: Take time to pray the Rosary for justice and peace today.
Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas - Day Five
Given the tempo of the liturgical season with its feasts it is easy to overlook that one saint who for many centuries was, after Mary and Joseph, the most venerated person in European Christendom.
Devotion to him spread like wildfire. He was enshrined in the hearts of men, and in their arts. In statues and stained glass, in song and story this good bishop was everywhere to be found France, Italy, Spain, Sweden. Many miracles were attributed to his heavenly advocacy. — Excerpted from Days of the Lord
Five Golden Rings
Today is the 5th day of Christmas the Five Golden Rings represent the five books of the "Pentateuch" [Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy].
Pepper Pot Day
Pepper Pot, a thick and spicy soup that is an American staple dish, especially in the southern regions of the United States. What is Pepper Pot? Well, it’s a soup that contains twelve different ingredients. Now that we know the ingredients for the Pepper Pot, let us look into the history of the day named for it, Pepper Pot Day, shall we? In the modern world of today, Pepper Pot Soup has many, many variations to it. But the soups true origins began on December 29th of 1777 during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army had been experiencing an exceptionally harsh winter during the battle of Valley Forge. The soldiers were low on food because the farmers in the area had gone and sold all their supplies to the British Army for cash rather than the weak currency that the Continental soldiers could offer them for their crops. Christopher Ludwick, a baker general of the Continental Army, gathered whatever food he could scrounge together to feed the cold and frail soldiers. The chef was able to find scraps of tripe, meat, and some peppercorn. He then mixed the ingredients together with some other seasonings and created the hot, thick, and spicy soup we now know as pepper pot soup. It quickly became known as “the soup that won the war.” The soup gave the soldiers the warmth and strength that they needed to push the enemies back through the harsh winter weather.
How to celebrate Pepper Pot Day
In order to celebrate this holiday, all we have to do is gather the necessary ingredients to make our own Pepper Pot Soup and share it amongst our friends and family. Pepper Pot soup is a great way to warm up on a cold and dark winter’s night, huddled around the fireplace and listening to stories narrated by family members who always have interesting stories to be told to everyone they can tell them to. Want to make your own? The ingredients are four cups of water, four tablespoons of chicken bouillon powder, two medium grated potatoes, two medium sized carrots which are also grated, two finely chopped celery stalks, one finely chopped onion, one and a half cups of finely chopped green, red, or yellow peppers, one half cup of all-purpose flour, two teaspoons of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, one more cup of water, and finally, six cups of milk.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION TWO-THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
CHAPTER ONE-YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND
Article 2-THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
II. Taking the Name of the Lord in Vain
2150 The second commandment forbids false oaths. Taking an oath or swearing is to take God as witness to what one affirms. It is to invoke the divine truthfulness as a pledge of one's own truthfulness. An oath engages the Lord's name. "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name."
2151 Rejection of false oaths is a duty toward God. As Creator and Lord, God is the norm of all truth. Human speech is either in accord with or in opposition to God who is Truth itself. When it is truthful and legitimate, an oath highlights the relationship of human speech with God's truth. A false oath calls on God to be witness to a lie.
2152 A person commits perjury when he makes a promise under oath with no intention of keeping it, or when after promising on oath he does not keep it. Perjury is a grave lack of respect for the Lord of all speech. Pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the holiness of the divine name.
2153 In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained the second commandment: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to you, Do not swear at all.... Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one." Jesus teaches that every oath involves a reference to God and that God's presence and his truth must be honored in all speech. Discretion in calling upon God is allied with a respectful awareness of his presence, which all our assertions either witness to or mock.
2154 Following St. Paul, The tradition of the Church has understood Jesus' words as not excluding oaths made for grave and right reasons (for example, in court). "An oath, that is the invocation of the divine name as a witness to truth, cannot be taken unless in truth, in judgment, and in justice."
2155 The holiness of the divine name demands that we neither use it for trivial matters, nor take an oath which on the basis of the circumstances could be interpreted as approval of an authority unjustly requiring it. When an oath is required by illegitimate civil authorities, it may be refused. It must be refused when it is required for purposes contrary to the dignity of persons or to ecclesial communion.
Thursday is the day of the week that our Lord gave himself up for consumption. Thursday commemorates the last supper. Some theologians believe after Sunday Thursday is the holiest day of the week. We should then try to make this day special by making a visit to the blessed sacrament chapel, Mass or even stop by the grave of a loved one. Why not plan to count the blessing of the week and thank our Lord. Plan a special meal. Be at Peace.