feast of saint
Chapter 15, verse 32
32 Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for FEAR they may collapse on the way.”
This chapter of Matthew records the feeding of the four thousand. Some would say that God has no fear but here we see that Christ was afraid for the welfare of the multitude. He knows our needs and is concerned about them. After all, “I am the good shepherd… I know my sheep, and mine know me.” (John 10:14)
Christ knows that even if our hearts desires are in the right place and we have perfect self-control we must acknowledge the legitimate needs of the body. We are both spirit and body; the perfection of the creator, which the fallen angels despise. We must care for both, because both are the gift of God.
Christ says, “They have been with me now for three days and have had nothing to eat”. I suggest that we follow His advice starting this week if we can participate in Mass sometime during our midweek so we may not collapse along the way.
I also suggest now would be a good time to look for a retreat of three days in which you can be with the Lord knowing He will not send you away hungry.
To drop everything for a weekend, and spend time in solitude (and maybe silence!), prayer and reflection is the perfect antidote to our busy, distracted lives. As we look forward to a frenetic holiday season, with Thanksgiving around the corner, this may be the perfect time for a spiritual retreat. If things are a little too busy now, consider scheduling a retreat for after Christmas, when you are ready to make the most of it.
Spiritual retreats are not just for priest and religious. In fact, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops urges lay people to take advantage of opportunities to go on a retreat: “In the midst of your busy lives, a retreat opportunity affords you time of silence and clarity that cannot be found in the world.”
These 12 Catholic retreat centers offer all that, and more – each is a beautiful setting that will inspire you and put you in the perfect frame of mind a fruitful spiritual repose.
1. The Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Located in an old stone mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Point Retreat House offers Jesuit retreats based on the exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
2. New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California
Since 1958, the monks of New Camaldoli Hermitage, have welcomed guests to experience the peace their location, overlooking the Pacific Ocean affords their Benedictine community every day. [Note: Due to extensive repairs to Highway 1 necessitated by a major rockslide, access to the Hermitage is currently somewhat limited, but they are welcoming guests again.]
3. The Shrine of Saint Therese of Lisieux in Juneau, Alaska
At this national shrine operated by the Catholic Diocese of Alaska, retreatants come to enjoy the natural beauty of the oceanside location, and the freedom from modern distractions. Depending on their preference, guests can stay in log cabins or a small hermitage with no running water or electricity.
4. The Monastery of Bethlehem in Sullivan County, New York
Located in the Catskill Mountains two and a half hours from New York City, the Monastery of Bethlehem offers beauty, silence and solitude from its location amidst acres of forest. “The colors of the hills and the stillness of the lakes offer rest and relief to weary spirits,” promise the monastic sisters who operated the retreat center.
5. St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts
The community of Trappist monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey invites guests to get a taste of the monastic life at this beautiful bucolic setting. Retreatants are welcome to join the monks for the Liturgy of the Hours and for Mass, and at conferences given by the monks.
6. Cormaria in Sag Harbor, New York
Cormaria is a Catholic Retreat House set on 18 waterfront acres in the historic whaling village of Sag Harbor, New York. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary consider inclusive hospitality their vocation and invite guests of all denominations to “come away and rest a while.”
7. Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California
Villa Maria del Mar, a beachfront property overlooking Monterey Bay in the Pacific Ocean, is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
8. Serra Retreat in Malibu, California
Located on top of a 26-acre knoll in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and with views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Serra Retreat is a place of uncommon beauty. Operated by the Franciscan Friars, the retreat center offers private retreats and themed retreats, including those based on the 12-step recovery program.
9. Loyola on the Potomac in Faulkner, Maryland
This Jesuit retreat house overlooks the Potomac River and is surrounded by 235 acres of rolling woodland. Ignatian weekend retreats are available.
10. Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Guests at the Jesuit-run Our Lady of Oaks Retreat House enjoy sitting in the shade provided by old oak trees in the central courtyard of the beautiful Spanish mission style estate. Retreats are based on St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises.
11. Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana
Founded by monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland in 1854, Saint Meinrad Archabbey offers a beautiful and tranquil spot for prayer and spiritual growth. Benedictine monks lead three-day retreats during the weekends and during the week.
12. Longlea Conference Center in Boston, Virginia
Located on 843 acres next to the scenic Blue Hills of Virginia, Longlea offers silent retreats conducted by priests of Opus Dei for either men or women. Mothers with young babies are welcome — each year two retreats are designated to accommodate infants.
Devotion Promulgated by the Pious Union of St. Joseph
Every Wednesday is dedicated in a special way to St. Joseph. Make the Nine First Wednesdays [in a manner similar to the Nine First Fridays of the Sacred Heart] in honor of St. Joseph for a happy death, for yourself and your dear ones. As charity is one of the best ways to be worthy of the grace of a happy death, offer your First Wednesday Mass and Communion and devotions in honor of St. Joseph in a special way for the salvation of the dying, most especially for an undying sinner who is to lose his soul without the grace of final repentance.
Lord permits St. Joseph to take from His Divine treasury with full hands in
order to give souls the treasures of Divine grace and mercy, like Joseph, the
son of Jacob, who took corn from the granaries of the King of Egypt to feed his
brethren and all who had recourse to him. From the heights of Heaven, the King
of Glory speaks to us the same words as Pharao spoke to the starving people of
Egypt: "Go to Joseph."
The Go to Joseph Prayers
In the miseries of this vale of tears, to whom shall we have recourse, O
blessed Joseph, if not to thee, to whom thy beloved spouse Mary entrusted all
her rich treasures, that thou might keep them to our advantage? "go to my
spouse, Joseph," Mary seems to say to us, "and he will comfort you,
he will deliver you from the misfortunes which now oppress you and will make
you happy and contented" Have pity on us, therefore, O St. Joseph; have
pity on us through that love which thou didst cherish toward a spouse so worthy
are fully conscious that we have offended the justice of God by our sins and
deserve His most severe chastisements. Not what shall be our place of refuge?
"go to Joseph," Jesus seems to say to us; "Go to Joseph, in whom
I was well pleased and whom I had for My foster father. To him, as to a father,
I have communicated all power, that he may use it for your good according to
his own desire." Pity us, therefore, O blessed Joseph, pity us, for the
great love thou didst bear toward a Son so admirable and so dear.
Unhappily the sins we have committed call down upon the heaviest scourges: this we must confess. In what ark shall we take refuge in order to be saved? Where shall we find the blessed rainbow that shall give us comfort and hope in the midst of our afflictions? "Go to Joseph," the Eternal father seems to say to us: "Go to him who took My place on earth with regard to My Son made man. I entrusted to his keeping My Son, who is the unfailing source of grace; therefore, every grace is in his hands." Pity us, then, dear St. Joseph, pity us by thy great love for Almighty God, Who has been so generous to thee.
St. Nicholas Feast Day (270–343)—December 6
From the ninth century in the East and the eleventh century in the
West, Nicholas has been one of the most popular saints in Christendom and in
Christian art and is the patron of many countries, dioceses, churches, and
cities. He was a Greek bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). According to
folklore, he may have saved three girls from prostitution, restored to life
three children who had been killed, and saved three unjustly condemned men from
death. While some sources say that he may have been imprisoned during the
Diocletian persecution, there is no historical certainty that he suffered
persecution for his faith. Likewise, while some sources place him at the
Council of Nicaea in 325, it is uncertain if he attended. His charity to the
poor is commemorated in modern times by those who follow the tradition of
stuffing a boot or a stocking with gifts on his feast day. “Santa Claus” comes
from the Dutch form of his name, “Sinterklaas.” He is the patron saint of
sailors, merchants, and children.
Choose some of the recommended activities — a
puppet show, a party, a visit from "St. Nicholas." Make sure to
include in all the activities the story of St. Nicholas, virtues to imitate,
and his significance in the Advent season. Read how different countries Celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas.
To enhance your feasting, purchase a copy of the
CD by the Anonymous 4 Legends of St. Nicholas. This is medieval music, all in honor
of St. Nicholas, done by four female vocalists.
There are numerous recipes to enhance this
feast, anything from a soup to dessert, so have fun in the kitchen trying
St. Nicholas did his charitable works secretly.
Suggest that your children do one hidden act of kindness in imitation of the
· From the Netherlands we have the most popular recipe, speculaas (or St. Nicholas Cookies; Speculaus; Speculatius; Kris Kringle Cookies; Dutch spice cookies). You can find tips for using special speculaas cookie molds by Gene Wilson. Try these sites for St. Nicholas Cookie cutters or molds: House on the Hill, HOBI Picture Cookie Molds, Rycraft, and St. Nicholas Center. You could also use Nativity Cookie Cutters, like these from Cookie Craft.
There are three stages of man: 1st you believe in Santa Claus; 2nd you don’t believe in Santa Claus and 3rd you become Santa Claus!
Food and Drink
It should always be remembered that like Lent, Advent is a period of penitence and sacrifice. Prior to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, in fact, the Roman church observed a fast (albeit one much less demanding than the Lenten fast), and prior to Vatican II it continued to require fasting during the Advent Embertide. It is therefore a salubrious custom to practice some kind of abstinence (e.g. giving up a favorite food) during Advent as a sober reminder of the season. Yet because it anticipates the Nativity, Advent cannot help but be suffused with joy as well. Traditional treats, especially on St. Nicholas Day (December 6) and during the "Golden Nights" (December 16 to 24), have long been a part of Advent observance. These hints of celebration have nothing to do with the ungodly bacchanalia of the annual Christmas party at the office or on the block and can therefore be made part of a holy preparation for the Lord.
· Cookies: traditional treat during Advent, especially on St. Nicholas Day and during the octave before Christmas. Springerles or Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse) are popular in Germany, Diples ("folds," for the infant Jesus' swaddling clothes) in Greece, and Speculaas cookies (on St. Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands.
· Drinks: there are special holiday drinks to toast the imminent arrival of the Christ Child. Eggnog and Rum pots are especially popular during the Octave before Christmas or the Golden Nights (see Customs), while Swedish mulled wine or Bishop's wine is drunk on St. Nicholas Day (December 6).
Fruitcake: alcoholic content and heavy
texture, fruitcakes are the preferred winter treat for many adults. Again, the
kind of fruitcake will various according to nationality. Do not use this
as a frienemy gift!
On the eve of the St. Nicholas party the treats served are the exchange of gifts, genuine Dutch cookies and Bishopwyn (bishop's wine). For children the wine is grape juice. But the grownups welcome the mulled Bishopwyn. With the people of the Netherlands, let us toast his memory with Bishopwyn and tell the beautiful legends of the charity of St. Nicholas. To give gifts in secret so that people would render him no thanks was surely a saintly act.
bottle of Claret
· 4 inches stick cinnamon
Break cinnamon into small pieces. Simmer wine and spices for about five minutes. Strain wine. Serve hot.
Recipe Source: Family Advent
Customs by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota,
Tree Scriptures (The Symbols Are Only Suggestions)
December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun,
moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols:
tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols:
tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols:
ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword,
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols:
bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush mountain
of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE
ONE-THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
"Christ . . . makes man fully manifest to man himself and brings to light
his exalted vocation" (GS 22 # 1).
Endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human
person is from his very conception ordered to God and destined for eternal
beatitude. He pursues his perfection in "seeking and loving what is true
and good" (GS 15 # 2).
man, true freedom is an "outstanding manifestation of the divine
image" (GS 17).
is obliged to follow the moral law, which urges him "to do what is good
and avoid what is evil" (cf GS 16). This law makes itself heard in his
having been wounded in his nature by original sin, is subject to error and
inclined to evil in exercising his freedom.
who believes in Christ has new life in the Holy Spirit. The moral life,
increased and brought to maturity in grace, is to reach its fulfillment in the
glory of heaven.