Saturday, December 16, 2023

 

Saturday of the Second Week in Advent

Las Posadas 

Job, Chapter 33, Verse 7

Therefore, FEAR of me should not dismay you, nor should I weigh heavily upon you.

 

Although this is the young man Elihu speaking to Job and contradicting him, yet if we just look at the verse alone; could it be Christ is speaking to our hearts? Are you afraid to believe? Are you unsure of your ability to carry the burden of true religious convictions? Assuage your fears and begin, yesterday was our Lady’s commemoration of her assumption into heaven. She is the first of the warrior saints to enter heaven. She is our mother and wants us to entertain the same joys of eternal life. 

Las Posadas[1]

Here is a wonderful description of the tradition of the nine-day custom Posadas, that commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

·         Banuelos are the big crisp fried cakes that Mexicans have for Christmas Eve supper. They are eaten either plain, with cinnamon and brown sugar syrup, or sometimes with honey. But before supper there is the traditional Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Cock, at the village church. And for nine consecutive nights before that, there are the posadas to commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for lodgings.


·         The word, posada, means an inn. To the humble Mexican the re-enactment of the Holy Family's quest for lodgings is a ritual of deep religious significance. The posadas, which start on the sixteenth of December and end on Christmas Eve, take place at different houses each night. Since Christmas, to the Mexican, is a community rather than a family affair, relatives and friends in a neighborhood often club together to defray posada expenses. The climax of each is the breaking of the Pinata.

·         Pinatas are pottery jars, filled with trinkets, candies, and miniature toys. The jars are ingeniously decorated with bright paper to represent birds of paradise, dancing girls in gaudy ruffled skirts, or clowns with grotesque costumes and chalk white faces. Since Christmas is not a time for gift-giving, pinatas, with their bright baubles and inexpensive trifles, are as important to Mexicans as Christmas trees to their neighbors, north of the Rio Grande.

·         Posada ceremonies begin after dark on December 16. They start with a procession of pilgrims, led by two children. With poles on their shoulders, the little ones support a platform. with figures of Joseph, the Virgin riding a small burro, and a number of protecting angels. Green branches and paper stars adorn the platform. Each member of the procession has a lighted candle. As the pilgrims approach the door of the house assigned to the first posada, they chant traditional verses in which Joseph wakens the master of the place and asks for lodgings for Mary. From behind closed doors the master threatens beatings unless the company moves on. Once more Joseph pleads for admittance. At first, the owner of the house scoffs, but finally, convinced of his guests' identity, he joyously opens the door and bids the pilgrim’s welcome. Then everyone kneels before the Nacimiento, or miniature manger — often loaned to, the host for the evening — and offers prayers and Christmas hymns. When the religious ritual ends, there are refreshments. Then the children start a gay little song: 

"Scatter the candies, scatter the sweets, for we are children who want to eat."

 

·         Generally, the pinata is suspended by a long rope or pulley cord hung from a tree in the patio. Each child in turn is blindfolded, given a stout stick, and told to break the jar. But just as Lola or Jose is about to hit, a yank on the rope takes the pinata out of reach. This tantalizing performance continues for some time while everyone — except the blindfolded victims shouts, jeers, and claps. Finally, the pinata is shattered. With shouts and whoops, the guests drop to all fours and dart about after the booty, scattered in every direction.

·         In this mingled atmosphere of religious fervor and childlike enjoyment, posadas and pinata-breakings continue until Christmas Eve. Then the search for lodgings ends and the Babe is born, with great rejoicing on the part of the pilgrims. Shortly before midnight, they sing nine Ave Marias and address a song to the Virgin, telling her that the night of her confinement is at hand.

·         At some posada’s small children, dressed as shepherds, stand at either side of the Nacimiento on this last night. Two of the guests, acting the parts of godfather and godmother, walk between the shepherds with an image of the Baby Jesus. As the pilgrims kneel, they chant a litany to lull the Little One to sleep.

·         At midnight on Christmas Eve everyone surges into the churches to celebrate the Mass of the Cock. After the service, whistles blow, fireworks explode, bells ring, and magnificent processions form, for Jesus' birth is the occasion of unbounded demonstration.

·         In the midst of the happy tumult families hurry home to, supper. For the poor there are special holiday foods such as tonight bean soup, revoltijo, a traditional dish made with shrimp, potatoes, chili, and prickly pears, and a salad of nuts and fruits. Then come the Banuelos, the festal fried cakes that are puffed, brown, and delicious. 

Activity Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960 

May the coming of our humble Lord help us to focus on our loyalties that are due to our God, Church, Nation, family and neighbors during this season and our own journey of life! 

It is nine days before Christmas. Today start a Christmas Novena with your family or someone you love.

Spiritual Crib[2] 

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. 

·         6th day, December 16th. THE HAY—Meekness Prepare a soft little bed of Hay for the Divine Infant by practicing this beautiful virtue. Do not yield to anger today; and speak very kindly to such as are repulsive to you. When tempted to speak harshly, say this little prayer instead. O Jesus meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

                        CHAPTER ONE-THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

Article 4-THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS

I. The Sources of Moral

1750 The morality of human acts depends on:
- the object chosen;
- the end in view or the intention;
- the circumstances of the action.
The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the "sources," or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.

1751 The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience.

1752 In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one's whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one's neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it.

1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus, the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).

1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.

Daily Devotions

·         Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: For the Poor and Suffering

·         Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

·         Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·         "Golden Nights" (December 16 to 24)

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         The "miracle of Januarius"

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary





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