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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Lucy

Advent really doesn’t seem like such a difficult time of penance as Lent does. Lent, which is the time of preparation before Easter, is a much more somber season, for it looks toward the death of Christ on the cross, and though it ends with the blossoming of Easter, the Crucifixion very much influences the tone of the season. Advent is very joyful, anticipating the birth of Christ. It is a very special time before Christmas when we prepare for the coming of Christ with extra little sacrifices and deprivations that help us to deny ourselves and leave our hearts ready for God, and it is simply peppered with so many different feast days.

We just celebrated St. Nicholas’ feast day on the sixth of December, followed closely by the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December eighth.

Yesterday on December twelfth we celebrated the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the patron saint of the Americas as well as being the special patroness of the unborn. I’m not going to speak very much about this feast day, for Maria at Fire, Fleet, and Candlelight has done a post on her already and included a magnificent video that is simply amazing and full of details. However, I will include the spiritual adoption prayer that goes with this picture I’ve included here, for it is a beautiful prayer that any person can pray for the life of any one unborn child who is in danger of abortion.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion. The name I wish to give my baby is:________

Jesus, may your peace and your love embrace the hearts, minds and souls of the family, friends and love ones who encourage this abortion and lead them all to your sacred and Eucharistic heart.”

____________________________________________

December thirteenth is the feast of St. Lucy.

Not very much is known about this saint, but there are some facts that are certain. Lucy was born at the end of the third century in a place called Syracuse in Sicily, of noble parents. Her father was a Roman, and because of her name Lucy’s mother Eutychia is believed to be of Grecian blood.

Her father died while she was still young and Lucy lived with her mother. From a very young age Lucy consecrated her virginity to God, but she kept this vow a secret even from her mother. Her great love of God inspired in her the desire to give her wealth to the poor. Eutychia was not so like-minded and Lucy was unable to fulfill this desire.

When Lucy was a young woman Eutychia developed a hemorrhage, which she suffered for several years. During this time Lucy bargained with her: If they went and prayed before the relics of St Agatha (a virgin who had been martyred 52 years ago during the Decian persecution) and Eutychia was healed, then Lucy would be granted full liberty to dispose of the wealth as she willed. Eutychia agreed, and they travelled thence.

By the grace of God Eutychia was cured, and Lucy was free to distribute her wealth as she saw fit. Unfortunately, there was a young pagan gentleman who fancied Lucy, and when he saw her giving her entire fortune to the poor he flew into a rage and accused her before the pagan governor Paschasius of being a Christian. At that time Diocletian was the Roman Emperor and one of the cruelest persecutors of the Christians. Because Lucy refused to relinquish her faith she was subjected to a number of torments. First she was ordered to be dragged to a brothel, where it was hoped she would lose her purity, but God made her immovable and the guards were unable to shift her. Afterward, sticks were gathered underneath her and flames were kindled about her, but God spared her the heat and torment of fire. Seeing that they availed nothing they at last killed her by thrusting a sword into her throat.

She died about the year 304.

Her name is inserted in the Canon of the Mass.

Most paintings of St. Lucy show her depicted holding a small dish with eyes laid within it. There are different variations about the meaning of this symbol. One story tell us that, during her persecution, her eyes were cruelly defaced or torn out. Another says that Lucy herself plucked them out in an effort to dissuade her pagan suitor. In each story, God rewards her by restoring her eyes to her, more beautiful than ever. Because of this she is the patron saint for those who suffer diseases of the eye. Some attribute the meaning of her name to the reason she is invoked as the patron of eye diseases, for her name is derived from the Latin word lux, which means light.

Lucy’s feast day is still associated with lengthening days and sunlight, for according to the Julian Calendar her feast day of December thirteenth did fall on the shortest day of the year, and after that date the days grew longer. With the change to the Gregorian Calendar, which is the calendar we go by today, the shortest day of the year falls on the twenty-first.

There are many traditions associated with St. Lucy’s day. The most well-known is the celebration kept in Sweden. On this day one of the daughters of the family, either oldest or youngest, is chosen as St. Lucia, and she arises in the morning before her parents do. Clothed in a white gown with a scarlet sash about her waist, and wearing a green wreath crowned with four, seven, or nine candles she bears a tray of coffee and pastries called lussekatter (Lucy Cats) to her parents.

Penitents.Org
Fish Eaters
Catholic.org

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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Two Feast days

This was a very special week for us over in “Catholic Land.” On December 6th we celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, the holy bishop the rest of the world knows as Santa Claus, and on December 8th we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

First, St. Nicholas. He is an amazing saint. He was born during the third century in a village known as Patara. Both his parents died when he was very young, and he used the inheritance they left him to tend to the poor. He  became a bishop when he was still quite a young man, and he was well-known throughout his land for his generosity and love of the poor.

He was alive during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian and suffered for his faith even to the point of exile and imprisonment. However, he remained steadfast and proved his faithfulness soon after at the Council of Nicaea, where the heretic Arius wrongfully proclaimed that Jesus Christ was not God but a mere creature only, created by God the Father. Unable to endure this slight against the Christ, St. Nicholas rose up and struck Arius across the face! He was punished for this act of violence by having his Pallium and Gospels stripped from him, and was imprisoned for a brief while, but he was released after Christ and the Blessed Virgin visited him in his cell and restored him his Pallium and Gospels.

He is a wellspring of many legends and tales, and it would seem that men of all classes have taken him for their special patron.

He died in Myra on December 6th, AD 343.

Cantuar.blogspot.com
Legends of St. Nicholas: St. Nicholas Center

Now for the Immaculate Conception!

The Immaculate Conception is the term that is applied to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to her alone. It is a term that proves to the world that from the very moment of conception, from the very instant that she was first formed within her mother’s womb, she was immaculate, without sin.

Some people think that this term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb, and others think that this means our Lady was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost as Christ was conceived within her womb, but both of these are incorrect. It means that she was conceived from the very first without that stain of Original Sin which has tainted mankind since the fall of Adam and Eve. She alone of all creatures is the only one conceived without sin.

There are very few religions that tolerate our Blessed Virgin. They simply cannot accept the fact that she was the Mother of God and a sinless woman. If she were without sin, would that not make her equal to God? Why would it? God created Adam and Eve without sin, and he created the angels without sin. Yet he gave them free will, the right to do what they will. He will not tyrannize his creations. He seeks to win them through love. Some creations reject that love, as in the case with Lucifer. He committed the First Sin. He called that first cry into the world, “I will not serve!” Through his malice he caused Adam and Eve to commit the first sin on earth, and now we are all tainted with that sin. Yet we were created sinless!

Catholic.com has a gorgeous analogy that they provide, which I’d like to share here:

“Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.”

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was officially defined in 1824 by Pope Pius IX. A doctrine is formally defined when there is a controversy surrounding a certain teaching, or when the magisterium wants to show the faithful the importance to some already-existing belief. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not instituted because of any widespread doubts concerning the truth of our Lady’s conception. It was instituted because Pius IX hoped the definition would inspire others in their devotion of her.

Catholics truly love Mother Mary. She is our sweet mother. She will do all she can to save us from the fires of hell and lead us to heaven with her Jesus. She gives us many ways and means to do penance and attain heaven. One of her most powerful prayers is the Hail Mary, a gentle prayer that she gave to St. Dominic (but that is a story for another day!)

Here is the prayer down below. A good virtue to acquire is to say this pray three times in the morning and three times at night, as a safeguard against impurity. There is another prayer you can say between the Hail Mary’s, if you’d like, but they are mostly optional. The important prayer is the Hail Mary. If you so desire, by all means please say this prayer as fervently as you can to our dear Mother Mary.

THE HAIL MARY

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Prayer that can be said between Hail Mary’s: “Oh most holy and immaculate Virgin Mother of God, keep my body pure and my soul holy. Oh most holy, Immaculate Heart of Mary, keep me this day from mortal sin.” –

Fish Eaters: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Catholic.com: The Immaculate Conception

God bless!!

 

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Second Week Of Advent

I wish you all a very beautiful continuation of Advent, and hope you had a lovely Sunday break.

Today was a beautiful day. We (meaning me and my family) took a little jaunt down to Markleeville and had a wonderful time browsing all the little handcrafted things that were on display today. The folks at Markleeville had put on “The Magical Markleeville Christmas Faire,” which was quite fun. They had a bunch of little things, like candles and wood carvings, and some utterly gorgeous jewelry for sale. There was an abundance of hot cider everywhere, which was yummy, and we were able to go through the Markleeville museum, check out their very old (and VERY cold) jail, as well as the very awesome blacksmith shop.

There was also Christmas caroling, which was jolly. A couple of women gathered a group of folk together, including me and my sisters and parents, and we sang a bunch of traditional Christmas songs. I think that was the best part of the day, standing with a bunch of total strangers and singing the glorious words from O Come, all ye faithful: “God of God, Light from Light Eternal, Lo! He abhors not the Virgin’s womb,” and “Silent night.” As we sang they lit the town Christmas tree, which was rather hard to see in the sunshine. It would have made more of a statement if the tree had been lit at night. Then you could have seen the whole thing light up, and that would have been rather gorgeous. Oh well. 🙂

They also had a Santa Claus who was seeing all the children and listening to their wish lists. We took the little girls to see Santa, and since they were both so very shy Santa saw both of them at once, and that seemed to help relax them. He asked them what they liked for Christmas, made sure that the rest of us older girls were behaving (we got five-star ratings from the youngest girls!) and gave them a little packet of Christmas candy. That was rather fun. 🙂

At the end, we made a Christmas wreath out of fresh pine boughs, pinecones, and some ribbons that were provided by the shopkeeper. Then that was that. We went off with our spoils, and all in all a lovely day was had by all.

PRAYER FOR EACH EVENING OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT:
O Lord, stir up our hearts we pray, to prepare the way of Thine only begotten Son, that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with pure minds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

God bless, and Merry Christmas!

 
 

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