· Wednesday in the Octave of Christmas
FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS-CARD PLAYING DAY
1 John, Chapter 1, Verse 5-9
5 Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we acknowledge our sins, he is FAITHFUL and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
Light is to be understood here as truth and goodness; darkness here is error and depravity. To walk in light or darkness is to live according to truth or error, not merely intellectual but moral as well. Fellowship with God and with one another consists in a life according to the truth as found in God and in Christ. Denial of the condition of sin is self-deception and even contradictory of divine revelation; there is also the continual possibility of sin’s recurrence. Forgiveness and deliverance from sin through Christ are assured through acknowledgment of them and repentance.
Feast of the Holy Innocents
THE account of the martyrdom of these children is given in the gospel of to-day. The Church justly honors them as martyrs, since they confessed Christ, if not by the mouth, yet by their death, which they suffered by reason of Herod s hatred against Christ.
The Introit of the Mass reads: “Out of the mouth of infants and suckling’s Thou hast perfected praise, because of Thy enemies, O Lord. O Lord, how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth.”
O God, Whose praise the martyred innocents confessed on this day not by speaking, but by dying mortify in us all the evils of vices, that our life also may confess by actions Thy faith, which our tongue proclaims.
EPISTLE. Apoc. xiv. 1-5.
In those days I beheld a Lamb standing upon Mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty-four thousand having His name, and the name of His Father written on their fore heads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers, harping on their harps. And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the ancients: and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand, who were purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were purchased from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb: and in their mouth there was found no lie: for they are without spot before the throne of God.
GOSPEL. Matt. ii. 13-18.
At that time: An angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee: for it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the child and His Mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the Wise Men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men-children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the “Wise Men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
What persons are like Herod?
All those who destroy children, in body or in soul; for example, unmanly men who are cruel to their wives while with child, who strike them, incite them to anger, or terrify them; heedless parents who neglect their little ones, who do not take pains to keep them clean and healthy; those corrupt and godless women who destroy the fruit of their shame either before or after birth, and while yet unbaptized. But more cruel than all these, and even than Herod himself, are they who scandalize little children by impure conversations, by indecent songs, by acts of impurity in their presence, or by inciting them to the like; for thereby they plunge the souls of the children into destruction.
In many religious communities, Innocents' Day was the traditional feast for the youngest members. In keeping with the upside-down spirit of Twelfth night, the youngest novice had the privilege of sitting at the first place or even of being abbot for a day. Feast of the Holy Innocents is a day for the younger members of the family or religious community. Some kind of "baby food" -- such as a hot cereal with sugar and cinnamon -- is generally served to them. In the family, the youngest member is also the "celebrity" of the day, especially if he is a baby. Customs like decorating the crib or blessing the baby are appropriate ways of observing the feast. Today, on the day in which little ones shed their blood for Christ, was the festival for choirboys and students.
Feast of the Holy Innocents - Day Four
The Holy Innocents saved the Child Jesus from death by King Herod by the shedding of their own blood. The Holy Innocents are the special patrons of small children, who can please the Christ Child by being obedient and helpful to parents, and by sharing their toys and loving their siblings and playmates.
The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children. From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion. But parents can simply sign a cross on the child's forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say: May God bless you, and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mind—the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who didst embrace and lay thy hands upon the little children when they came to thee, and didst say to them: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs, and their angels always see the face of my Father," — look with a Father's eye upon the innocence of these children and their parents' devotion, and bless them this day through our ministry. By thy grace and goodness let them make progress in desiring thee, loving thee, fearing thee, obeying thy commandments — thus coming to their destined home, through thee, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.
Today I will ask the Lord to bless all my seven children! (Claire, Christopher, Candace, Dara, Rachel, Nicole and Vincent) Also my stepchildren! (Kelly, Ryan and Nathan)
Four Calling Birds
Today in the song the 12 days of Christmas the 4th day we sing of the Four Calling Birds which represent the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. During the upcoming year it would make a worthy project to read them all. These gospels will help us to be persons of courage.
Read: Read today about the Holy Innocents who were put to death by King Herod.
Reflect: The observances of the Christmas season illuminate many key themes for the faithful. Meditate today on this one:
"The sacredness of human life and the wonderful event that is every birth, since the Word of life came amongst men and was made visible through his birth of the Virgin Mary (see 1 Jn 1:2)."
Pray the Rosary for life today.
Act: Add an intercession for life that has particular meaning for your family to the mealtime blessing today.
Card Playing Day
The holiday season has come and gone, and the end of the year is in sight. You know what you need to do now? That’s right, you need to sit back and play out a few rounds of solitaire, or maybe get the family together for a night of Texas Hold’em, Slap Jack, or War. Whatever your pleasure, Card Playing Day is a chance to wind down from all the kerfuffle of the season by engaging in a card game or three. Playing cards are thought to have first been introduced to the world in China before spreading across the globe to India, Persia, and ultimately every corner of this… sphere. Ok, so that corner thing never has made sense, unless you’re talking about a rectangular playing card, which thankfully we are! A whole pack of them in fact. Playing cards have always been the last bastion of entertainment in inclement weather, and thus were a favorite of the winter holidays. After all, before the invention of television and electricity, what was one to do when you’d heard all of Uncle Joe’s story, and couldn’t possibly bring yourself to lay your eyes on another dog-eared novel? That’s right, you play cards! There are numerous games that exist in the world, hundreds from every culture imaginable. Some games are unique to a particular region, or at least distinct to it (Like Baccarat) or can be found in variations all over the world while clearly being recognizable (like poker). Others still involve the use of playing boards as a utility in keeping track of points, such as cribbage. Card Playing Day is an opportunity and excuse to return to this age-old form of entertainment, and to spend a little time alone, or connecting with your family.
How to celebrate Card Playing Day
Well, the simplest way to celebrate Card Playing Day is, of course, to participate in the aforementioned past-time! However, if you’re really looking to make an experience out of Card Playing Day, you may consider trying to learn a variation of a game you already know, or even learning a completely new card game altogether. There’re countless games out there you can learn, and if the game you know has lost its appeal, it’s time to learn another one! We also suggest getting out there and investing in a new deck of cards, there are limitless variations on style and theme, and a new deck can make a new game even more fun!
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
I. The Name of the Lord is Holy
2142 The second commandment prescribes respect for the Lord's name. Like the first commandment, it belongs to the virtue of religion and more particularly it governs our use of speech in sacred matters.
2143 Among all the words of Revelation, there is one which is unique: the revealed name of God. God confides his name to those who believe in him; he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. the gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. "The Lord's name is holy." For this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it.
2144 Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. the sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion:
Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not? . . . I say this, then, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the class of feelings we should have - yes, have to an intense degree - if we literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of feelings which we shall have, if we realize His presence. In proportion as we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them, is not to realize, not to believe that He is present.
2145 The faithful should bear witness to the Lord's name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2146 The second commandment forbids the abuse of God's name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.
2147 Promises made to others in God's name engage the divine honor, fidelity, truthfulness, and authority. They must be respected in justice. To be unfaithful to them is to misuse God's name and in some way to make God out to be a liar.
2148 Blasphemy is
directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God
- inwardly or outwardly - words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking
ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one's speech; in misusing God's
name. St. James condemns those "who blaspheme that honorable name [of
Jesus] by which you are called." The prohibition of blasphemy extends
to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also
blasphemous to make use of God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce
peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. the misuse of
God's name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.
Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin.
2149 Oaths which misuse God's name, though without the intention of blasphemy, show lack of respect for the Lord. the second commandment also forbids magical use of the divine name.
[God's] name is great when spoken with respect for the greatness of his majesty. God's name is holy when said with veneration and fear of offending him.
Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· Read-Theodore Dresser’s (died today 1945) writer of “Sister Carrie” a Novel about the killing of childlike innocence.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896