Saturday in the Octave of the
FEAST OF JUAN DIEGO-CHRISTMAS CARD DAY
Job, Chapter 21, Verse 9
Their homes are safe, without fear, and the rod of God is not upon
With the current
political climate of today-North Korea, Kenya, Venezuela, Sanctuary Cities,
Gangs etc.; we may not be feeling safe in our homes. We may feel God’s rod is
upon us. Yet, we learn that God does not wish to destroy us but bring about the
best in us. The wages of sin are usually destruction, but God is mercy. As in
the parable of the wheat and tares God allows the weeds to grow with the wheat.
We often ask with Job, “Why do the wicked keep on living, grow old, become
mighty in power? Mercy!
Zophar & His Asps
Zophar decides to beat a dead horse.
He tells Job that the wicked get what they
deserve from God.
For good measure, he adds that the venom of asps
will poison people's stomachs and kill the sinners. Well that's graphic.
Job Refutes Zophar
Job sticks to his guns.
The wicked, he says, go unpunished all the time.
Not that he's cool with that. He prays for the sinners' destruction, and then
tells Zophar to stop being so depressing.
LORD, your God, shall you fear; him
shall you serve, and by his name shall you swear."
Evil in our Time
The North Korean cult of
personality surrounding its ruling family, the Kim family, has
existed in North Korea for decades and can be found in many examples of North
Korean culture. The personality cult began soon after Kim Il-sung took power in 1948, and was
greatly expanded after his death in 1994. While other countries have had cults
of personality to various degrees (such as Joseph Stalin's in the Soviet
Union), the pervasiveness and extreme nature of North Korea's personality cult
surpasses that of Stalin or Mao Zedong. The cult is also marked by the
intensity of the people's feelings for and devotion to their leaders, and the
key role played by a Confucianized ideology of familism both in maintaining the cult and
thereby in sustaining the regime itself. The cult of personality surrounding
the Kim family requires total loyalty and subjugation to the Kim family and
establishes the country as a one-man dictatorship through successive
generations. There is even widespread belief that Kim Il-sung "created the
world" and that Kim Jong-il controlled the weather. Korean society,
traditionally Confucian, places a strong emphasis on
paternal hierarchy and loyalty. North Korean authorities have co-opted portions
of Christianity and Buddhism, and adapted them to their own uses, while greatly
all religions in
general as they are seen as a threat to the regime. An example of this can be
seen in the description of Kim Il-sung as a god, and Kim Jong-il as
the son of a god or "Sun of the Nation".
Time to Get Serious About Fatima
The world's gone mad. Take
the attack in Nice, France, let alone the regular atrocities and outrages
perpetrated by ISIS upon their neighbors or the persecutions of the Church in
China and North Korea, and the list could go on. But it's pointless to compare
tragedies, to try to determine who's most wounded, who is most in pain. Rather,
it's time and long past time to apply the solutions we've had all along. I'm
talking, of course, about the message of Fatima, specifically Our Lady's calls for
the daily Rosary for peace in the world and the Five First Saturday’s devotion.
My fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a
story that a priest ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest
was attending an international gathering of Christians from across the world,
attended by foreign dignitaries. The ambassador from Japan approached the
priest, verified that the priest served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and
then said, "War is your fault." The priest was surprised and asked
what the ambassador meant. The ambassador said, "You Catholics, all of you
— we do not have peace in the world. It is your fault." The priest said,
"Ambassador, why do you blame us?" The ambassador said, "I've
read about this. The Lady came to you at Fatima, right? That's what you
believe? She told you what to do to secure peace in the world. Well, there's no
peace in the world, so obviously you Catholics haven't done it." The
priest had to acknowledge that the ambassador was correct, but still tried to
protest, saying, "Isn't peace everyone's responsibility?" The
ambassador was vehement. "No, she came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists.
Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it is your responsibility."
been given the answer. Pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world and invite
others to pray with you. At college, there would occasionally be "sit ins
for peace." A number of my fellow students, passionately convinced and
righteously indignant though they were, would go and sit outside the student
center with signs. That was their sit in for peace. It always massively
frustrated me because here we were, a Catholic school, armed with a whole host
of powerful prayers and devotions, and there they were just sitting. If they'd
just bothered to pray the Rosary, their protest would have meant a great deal
in this world and the next. Why not
arrange for a Rosary for peace at your colleges and universities, if not every
day, then at least every Saturday, traditionally set aside as Our Lady’s Day?
Why not revive the tradition of family and neighborhood Rosaries, offered
specifically for the intention of peace in the world? What about having a
regular Rosary for peace at your parish, maybe even before Mass with the
permission of your pastor? And as we come up on the 100th anniversary (May
13-Oct. 13, 2017) of Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima in 1917, let's embrace
the whole message of Fatima.
• Make the Five First Saturdays devotion
• Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart, and encourage others to do the same.
• Become invested in the Brown Scapular.
• Do penance for your sins and on behalf of poor sinners everywhere. Don't just sit there — the world is in trouble, and we have the answer.
St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaeological and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions. Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley. When he was 50 years old, he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries.
On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true.
On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was wintertime, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac. With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus. Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbor.
He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City. The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.
Things to Do
Read Pope John Paul II's homily at the canonization of St. Juan Diego.
Meditate on Our Lady's beautiful words to St.
Juan Diego: "Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little
son; let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your
heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety
or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and
protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the crossing of my
arms? Is there anything else that you need?"
Cook some Mexican dishes for dinner and bake a
Rose Petal Pound Cake or other rose theme for dessert in honor of St. Juan
From the Catholic Culture Library:
For music for Juan Diego's and Our Lady of
Guadalupe's feast, see www.savae.org. The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble have two
cds of authentic music by Mexican medieval composers. Very beautiful!
· Visit Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas for detailed accounts on the apparition to Juan Diego.
Way back in
1843, the first commercial Christmas card was created in England by Sir Henry
Cole, a civil servant who was responsible for the idea of sending greetings
scribbled into the now familiar cards we get around the season of good
cheer. Christmas Card Day honors its inventor on the 9th of December. The first
ever commercial Christmas card showed a family raising a toast, and in the
following year’s designs showing flowers or depicting the promise of spring
were favored. Lithograph firm Prang and Mayer started selling their whimsical
Christmas cards, often featuring children or cartoon animals, across the pond
to America in 1874. By 1880, Prang and Mayer were producing a massive five
million cards a year. With so many designs, shapes and sizes, some Christmas
cards have become collector’s items which have been known to shift at a pretty
penny at auction. One of the world’s first cards, commissioned by Cole and
produced by J. C. Horsley, saw the hammer come down at £22,250 in 2001. Another
one of Horsley’s cards sold for almost £9000 in 2005 – and if you want to see a
big collection of these coveted cards you can drop by the British Museum to see
Queen Mary’s early 1900s collection.
seasonal cards are posted all over the world and can be found in hundreds of
thousands of designs. The most popular messages you’ll find inside a
Christmas card are ‘seasons greetings’ and ‘merry Christmas, and a happy new
year’ – but many also stick to religious roots by featuring a short biblical
verse or a religious blessing.
How to Celebrate Christmas Card Day
got time, it’s always nice to make handmade cards to send out. Get hold
of some glitter and a dab of glue and see what you can come up with. The
recipients are sure to appreciate it – or if you have children, get them
involved in making cards for friends and family! With the advent of e-mail,
it’s easier than ever to send Christmas wishes to friend and family across the
world – e-cards appeared in the 90s and are frequently used in place of
physical cards, so you’ve got no excuse nowadays not to send those season’s
greetings. But since nothing beats the real thing, perhaps now is the right
time to send out those Christmas cards so they all get to your family and
friends before the last post on 23rd December! And if you don’t celebrate
Christmas, you could always send out some cheery cards to celebrate the coming
of the new year!
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
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols:
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols:
bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols:
baby in basket, river and rushes
of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE
ONE-THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Article 2-OUR VOCATION TO BEATITUDE
III. Christian Beatitude
1720 The New Testament uses
several expressions to characterize the beatitude to which God calls man:
- the coming of the Kingdom of God;
- the vision of God: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"
- entering into the joy of the Lord;
- entering into God's rest:
shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold
what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to
reach the kingdom which has no end?
1721 God put us in the world to
know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us
"partakers of the divine nature" and of eternal life. With
beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the
1722 Such beatitude surpasses
the understanding and powers of man. It comes from an entirely free gift of
God: whence it is called supernatural, as is the grace that disposes man to
enter into the divine joy.
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
It is true,
because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that "man shall
not see me and live," for the Father cannot be grasped. But because of
God's love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he goes so
far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him.... For
"what is impossible for men is possible for God."
1723 The beatitude we are
promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our
hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches
us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or
power, or in any human achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as
science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the
source of every good and of all love:
All bow down
before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive
homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure
respectability.... It is a homage resulting from a profound faith ... that with
wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a
second.... Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world - it may be called
"newspaper fame" - has come to be considered a great good in itself,
and a ground of veneration.
1724 The Decalogue, the Sermon
on the Mount, and the apostolic catechesis describe for us the paths that lead
to the Kingdom of heaven. Sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we tread
them, step by step, by everyday acts. By the working of the Word of Christ, we
slowly bear fruit in the Church to the glory of God.
Ballet Arizona takes the Symphony Hall stage in grand fashion with this holiday classic. Celebrate the joy and wonder of the season with Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker as Tchaikovsky’s cherished score is masterfully performed by The Phoenix Symphony. Follow Clara’s wintry adventures as she battles mischievous mice and charms the Sugar Plum Fairy. Whether this is your first Nutcracker or your 101st, this heartwarming tradition never fails to enchant and draw smiles from all!