volume 9, no. 2
January 2-4, 1998
They came bearing gifts
The traditional feast of Epiphany was originally celebrated on January 6th, since that was the numerical day when the Twelve Days of Christmas concluded, but in recent years the feast has been changed to the first Sunday in January. No one knows exactly when these eastern monarchs arrived at their intended destination. Some historians argue they never reached Bethlehem but met the Christ-child in Nazareth for the Holy Family had returned home and it took months, some say a year, for the magi to reach their goal, following the star which astronomers claim could have been visible in the night skies for nearly a year and a half. Wherever they did finally alight, they came bearing gifts - the finest and most expensive of those times: gold, frankincense and myrhh. Nothing was too fine for this Heavenly King to Whom the earthly kings bowed in humility. They knew intuitively Who this new-born babe was and, only through perseverance and faith were they able to finally give of their wealth. They were also obedient to the Divine Will for they heeded the angel's warning not to return to King Herod. Also obedient to God in all things were Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory Nazianzen, and Saint John Neumann whose feasts are also celebrated this weekend. LITURGY OF THE DAY
This weekend we complete the Twelve Days of Christmas
Friday is the ninth day of the octave of Christmas, Saturday the tenth day, Sunday the eleventh day, and Monday the twelfth and final octave day of Christmas. The verses of the popular Christmas carol "Twelve Days of Christmas" were, in truth, a mini-catechism in code for Catholics who were not allowed to practice their faith openly during the time after the Reformation up to the French Revolution. The "True Love" refers to God the Father and each gift is truly a Divine Gift that helped Catholics persevere and perpetuate the tenets of the One, True Faith in the face of great harassment.
Friday, January 2
"On the ninth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, nine ladies dancing."
The nine ladies dancing is not about partying but rather the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5: 22 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modedesty and continency." These fruits helped Catholics to practice the virtues and remind fellow Catholics how to stay out of harm's way as far as their souls were concerned.
Saturday, January 3
"On the tenth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping."
The ten lords a-leaping symbolize the Law of God - the Ten Commandments. It was not a leap to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Protestants, who were persecuting the Catholics of those times and countries, also believed in the Ten Commandments, but the reference to "lords" was in reference to the rich and powerful for they were the ones who could change the laws that governed persecution and curtailment of the Catholic Faith. Yet it was the "lords" who were lax in obeying God's laws and Catholics wanted to remind their fellow Catholics that no matter how wealthy or spoiled the princes were, faith and perseverance was more important by reminding them of the law of ages.
Sunday, January 4
"On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eleven pipers piping."
The eleven pipers piping stood for the Eleven Faithful Apostles who stuck with Jesus when seemingly all others had abandoned Him. They were referred to as "pipers" for they indeed were sent out to all corners to spread the Gospel as Our Lord had commanded and, like the "Pied Piper of Hamlin" they attracted many to the One, True Faith. It was a way for Catholics to remind their fellow faithful to keep this in mind during the hard times for all but Saint John were persecuted and martyred for the faith. If they remained faithful to their Faith and to Jesus, they too would one day enjoy the same rewards of Heavenly bliss.
Monday, January 5
"On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming."
The twelve drummers drumming represented the Twelve Points of Belief in the APOSTLES' CREED It's interesting that Catholics chose drummers for their symbolism for to keep reminding each other of the twelve points of the solid creed known as the Apostles' Creed for this was their profession of faith and there was a constant need to keep hammering home this point or should we say "bang the drum" so fellow Catholics would get the "beat" and get into a rhythm of their religion, encouraged by all Jesus promised and professed in the Creed.
PROVERB OF THE DAY"By Me, kings reign, and lawgivers establish justice; by me princes govern, and nobles; all the rulers of the earth." |
Proverbs 8: 15-16
FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY
Earthly royalty honors Heavenly Royalty
with a Catholic slant
Pope reaches out to people of Assisi this weekend
The Holy Father will spend the weekend in the mountain regions of Umbria, reassuring and commiserating with the faithful there after the devastating earthquakes that rocked this region last month. Besides innumerable building damage, many treasured artworks were badly damaged including those at the famed Basilica of Saint Francis high on the hill in Assisi. Assisi to read more.
The wall between East and West is still an obstacle as Russian Patriarch snubs Pope
During the time of the year when eastern rulers humbled themselves to bow before the Christ-child, the Eastern Orthodox Church is more prideful - especially in Russia where their Patriarch Aleksei
II says he's not sure he will meet with John Paul II as was reported by the press. He cited problems that have to be worked out before he could give a definite commitment, leaving the Western Church wondering. Orthodox to read more.
Stay of execution for timed embryos escape death down under...but for how long?
There's definitely trouble down-under as the debate heats up over frozen embryos being destroyed after a certain time-limit. Catholic officials accused officials of minimizing the "human element" and further eroding the value of human life by saying "destroy" the embryos rather than "killing them" which is what they are doing. The whole process of in-vitro fertilization is in question for that is not the way God designed procreation.
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This weekend is the perfect time to renew those resolutions
The first editorial for 1998 deals with resolutions. Not the typical "New Years Resolutions" we keep breaking, but the ones the Blessed Mother has been pleading for us to keep: Prayer, Conversion, Fasting, Penance and frequent participation in the Sacraments...the same resolutions she has been repeating over and over in Medjugorje for sixteen and a half years. CATHOLIC PewPOINT
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
God's holy day has dawned for us at last; come and adore the Lord. Today the Bridegroom claims His bride, His Church since Christ has washed her sins away in Jordan's waters' the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice, for Christ has changed water into wine, alleluia. God's holy day has dawned for us at last; come and adore the Lord.
Medjugorje Monthly Message for December 25th
Dear children! Also today I rejoice with you and I call you to the good. I desire that each of you reflect and carry peace in your heart and say: I want God in the first place in my life. In this way, little children, each of you will become holy. Little children, tell everyone, I want the good for you and he will respond with the good and, little children, good will come to dwell in the heart of each man. Little children, tonight I bring to you the good of my Son Who gave His life to save you. That is why, little children, rejoice and extend your hands to Jesus Who is only good. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, MEDJUGORJE
To review past articles in text, click on Archives.
To read the graphics version of the November issues, NOVEMBER ISSUES
To read the graphics version of the December issues,
To read the graphics version of the January issues,
- We return to our regular features
The Vicar of Christ speaks
We present our Golden Chalice Award to the Significant Site of the Week
Father Valenta's column
...and much, much more in our third issue for 1998!
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