TWELFTH NIGHT evening prior to epiphany
30 I urge you, [brothers,] by our
Lord Jesus Christ and by the LOVE of
the Spirit, to join me in the struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf,
31 that I may be delivered from the
disobedient in Judea, and that my ministry for Jerusalem may be acceptable to
the holy ones, 32 so that I may come to you with joy
by the will of God and be refreshed together with you.
was asking for the prayers of his friends in Christ and so I ask your prayers
also for the success of this ministry. Our church is great in that we have a
multitude of assistance from others if we only ask. Christ tells us to ask, and
we shall receive. Be not afraid nor humble enough to ask if you are struggling.
Did not our Lord accept the help of Simon in carrying his cross; if our Lord who
had the assistance of legions of angels humbly accepted Simons help, should we
act proud when we know we need help; so, I ask your help with this ministry.
The Twelfth Night
But what exactly are the Twelve Days of Christmas? They are the days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany that constitute an unbroken period of joy and celebration. Epiphany is considered the twelfth day of Christmas (in fact it is sometimes called "Twelfth Day") while the Eve of Epiphany is called "Twelfth Night." Shakespeare's play, "Twelfth Night," takes its name from the Vigil because during this period festivals (such as the Feast of Fools or the Feast of the Ass) used to be held in which everything was turned upside-down -- a little like the reversed identities of the characters in the play. These "preposterous" observances, incidentally, were a joyful mimicry of the inversion of almighty God becoming a lowly man, of the King appearing as a humble infant.
The twelve nights of
Christmas were primarily a time of rest from unnecessary labor and joyful prayer. On each of these
nights the Christmas tree lights and the Christmas candle would be lit, while the family
would gather around the manger to recite prayers and sing carols
and hymns. Similar services are held in some churches during these nights as
of Christmas is represented by the Twelve Drummers drumming in the song which
of course represents the twelve points of the Apostles Creed. It is
interesting to note that these 12 points are indeed pointing to the abode of
God and that our Lord is the gate of heaven.
believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father
will come again to judge the living and the dead.
believe in the Holy Spirit,
holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting.
the 12th Station of the Cross Jesus dies. Today would be a good day
to do the Eucharistic Stations of the Cross.
Activities for the Twelfth Day of
At the time of St. John
Neumann's episcopate there was a strong anti-Catholic sentiment in Philadelphia
and having had two churches burned and another barely saved, priests were
advising the Bishop, not to proceed with introducing the 40 Hours of
continual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, believing it would
somehow increase the hostility already directed against the Church. The Bishop
had a decision to make and then something happened to make up his mind to
proceed with the devotion of the 40 Hours of Adoration:
One night, he was
working very late at his desk and fell asleep in his chair. The candle on the
desk burnt down and charred some of the papers, but they were still readable.
He awoke, surprised and thankful that a fire had not ignited. He fell on his
knees to give thanks to God for protection, and heard His voice saying,
"As the flames are burning here without consuming or injuring the writing,
so shall I pour out my grace in the Blessed Sacrament without prejudice to My
honor. Fear no profanation, therefore; hesitate no longer to carry out your
design for my glory." He introduced the practice of 40 Hours Devotion at
the first diocesan synod in April 1853, and the first devotions began at St.
Philip Neri Parish, an appropriate place since that St. Philip had begun that
very devotion in the city of Rome. The holy Bishop then introduced the program
for the whole diocese, so that each parish would have Forty Hours Devotion
during the course of the year. He wrote a booklet for the devotions and
obtained special indulgences for the faithful attending them. The Forty Hours
Devotion was so successful it spread to other dioceses. At the Plenary Council
of Baltimore in 1866, the Forty Hours Devotion was approved for all Dioceses of
the United States. Excerpted from St. John Neumann and the 40 Hours Devotion
by Joseph Mary
We suggest that today
would be an excellent time to make a family holy hour (or holy half hour) at an
adoration chapel or in your parish church. If you can't make a visit to the
Blessed Sacrament your family can pray this litany at home. The activity can by
brought to conclusion by singing Christmas carols and enjoying Christmas
cookies and the Christmas bread, Vanocka.
St. John Neumann - Day
Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 20, 1811. Since he had a great desire to
dedicate himself to the American missions, he came to the United States as a
cleric and was ordained in New York in 1836 by Bishop Dubois. In 1840, John
Neumann entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He
labored in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1852, he was consecrated bishop
of Philadelphia. There he worked hard for the establishment of parish schools
and for the erection of many parishes for the numerous immigrants. Bishop
Neumann died on January 5, 1860; he was beatified in 1963.
Day Twelve activity (Visit to the Blessed Sacrament)
Day Twelve recipe (Vanocka)
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.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY
Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and
thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in
which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes
personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one
person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a
woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person
and the integrality of the gift.
integrity of the person
2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the
powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the
person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates
neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.
2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in
self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear:
either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be
dominated by them and becomes unhappy. "Man's dignity therefore
requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a
personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere
external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all
slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what
is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the
means suited to this end."
2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal
promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so:
self-knowledge, practice of an ascetic adapted to the situations that confront
him, obedience to God's commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and
fidelity to prayer. "Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered
together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into
2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal
virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the
senses with reason.
2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can
never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at
all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in certain periods,
such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.
2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through
stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. "Man day by day builds
himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and
accomplishes moral good by stages of growth."
2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it
also involves a cultural effort, for there is interdependence between personal
betterment and the improvement of society." Chastity presupposes respect
for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information
and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.
2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from
God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort. The Holy Spirit enables one whom the
water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.