There are two considerations that Our Lord brings to my heart and soul in this Gospel, that He desires we reflect upon.
First, the Blessed Mother was pregnant with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. She was newly married. The trip to Elizabethís was not an easy one, and she would be gone from her own home in Nazareth for quite some time, leaving not only the town of her birth, but the home she dearly loved and the husband she loved so chastely and divinely. She went to perform a service for her cousin, thinking, as she did throughout her entire life, of others, never herself. Hers was a selfless act of exquisite charity, and that same exquisite charity belonged also to Joseph, who lovingly sent her on her way, accompanying her part of the way, before returning to continue his labors as a carpenter in Nazareth. Mary did not go to gloat over her own Divinely Incarnated Child, for she was never one to boast or brag. She went because someone needed her, because she wanted to work for Elizabeth, to be there for her when her own child would be born.
Second, look at the humility with which the two cousins met one another. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, went rushing out to meet Mary. She was so grateful for her arrival, that she was there for her. But, to Elizabethís great surprise, as she neared Mary, the Holy Spirit informed her of Maryís pregnancy, of the Incarnation, that the child in Maryís womb was indeed the Son of God. Elizabeth, in perfect humility and understanding and trust, accepted the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and exclaimed, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who trusted that the Lordís words to her would be fulfilled."
What joy is expressed here from Elizabeth to Mary, from the as yet un-born John in his motherís womb. If there was a cause for abortion-rights advocates to pause and reconsider, this passage should help. The "baby" also enlightened by the Holy Spirit recognized the "baby" in Maryís womb as the Son of God, the Messiah, and the un-born John the Baptist leapt with joy in Elizabethís womb. And the humility in Elizabeth! She cried out with joy unto God and told Mary how blessed was she among all women, the same words we say in the "Hail Mary."
Just as Elizabeth was expecting only her young cousin to come and help out around the house and to help her prepare for the birth of her child, Elizabeth received so very much more because of her faith and her trust in God. "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
Let us ponder these words as we enter now the final week of Advent, crying out with joyful trust that, on Christmas Day, the Infant Jesus shall spiritually, mystically come into our hearts and souls, given unto us that day by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us recognize this great mystery and trust that in all things Godís Will is absolutely perfect and our correspondence to His Perfect Will is that which brings us the joy and peace that only He can give, for not only Christmas, but every single day. That Jesus is born we shall exclaim on Christmas Day at Holy Mass! Let us also strive to exclaim that every day, by having Jesus live and dwell in us by our trust, our love, our faith and hope in Him that keeps us going frequently to the Sacraments, so as to have our souls filled with sanctifying grace, so He may be King forever of our hearts and souls unto Eternity.
The work itself, though demanding and wearing, was not the major source of her distress. It seems that the workplace today (and I have heard this from several other persons) is becoming more immoral each day and with that, it is becoming more PAGAN.
Why do I say immoral? I say that, for one instance, because many companiesí administration reflect respect for homosexual acts and expect its employees to to have similar respect.
Why do I say PAGAN? I say that because employees are being asked to greet customers with "Happy Holidays!" not "Merry Christmas!" The request is explained away as "We donít want to offend those who are not Christians."
In my sisterís case, her response was: "But the majority of us here ARE Christians. Why should the MINORITY rule?" This was one more "attack" on Christian Faith that frustrated my sister.
The expression "Happy Holidays!" and other greetings that withdraw the word "Christmas" is prevalent. Whether itís the news media (newspaper or television), advertisements of various kinds, or whatever - the stress is on not saying "Christmas!" Note it yourself! The next time you go shopping, look particularly for signs around the store that express a Christmas wish. Note how many times the greeting eliminates the word "Christmas."
This elimination offends me and should offend any Christian who claims to know and love Our Lord, Jesus. After all, Christmas IS Our Lordís Birthday. It IS the primary reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place --- or should be.
Eliminating the word "Christmas," is one more influence of the evil one. Out of sight IS out of mind. How tricky the devil is and how subtly he can work to slowly, but surely destroy Faith.
But let us recall that Our Lord said: "He who professes Me before men, I will profess before My Father. He who denies Me before men, I will deny before My Father" (Matthew 10:32-33).
Please do not get caught up in the secular greetings. It is PAGANISTIC and DIABOLICAL to secularize Christmas. If you are afraid to offend anyone, if you are ASHAMED of professing Christís Name in "Christmas," then I would not want to stand in your stead when you will have need of Jesus defending you before the Father.
Iíll never stop saying: "Merry Christmas!" I pray you wonít either! Hereís wishing you a Holy, Happy New Year! And, O yes, --- a Merry CHRISTMAS! God bless you!
Because of this lack of faith the true meaning of the Nativity is still foreign to too many because today's liberal media - the false prophets of today - convey a mundane message to the public. Faith doesn't sell. Secular and sensational do! Yet, what was more sensational than the birth of the Messiah? Sadly, the true meaning why Jesus came into this world, to bring Peace to men of good will and to redeem the world as the chosen Savior, charging us to love one another, is still lost on most today. Today His glorious birth is scorned upon while lighting the White House Christmas tree or Rockefeller Plaza get top attention along with reporting the latest injunction against a town by the ACLU to prevent a creche scene. The poor atheists are the victims and the majority who believe in Jesus as the Son of God - that Christ is the reason for Christmas - are held up for ridicule. You see the real reason why Jesus came into this world, to bring Peace to men of good will and to redeem sinners everywhere for all time, is still lost on the makers of news today.
This misinformation, manipulation of the facts, and apathy are the main reasons we began publishing the Daily CATHOLIC on a daily basis Monday through Friday seven weeks ago. It is our hope that eventually, through the generous donations of benefactors who believe such a publication is necessary and helpful, we will be able to offer the Daily CATHOLIC in Spanish, French, Polish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Quite possibly, down the road, even offer a Japanese and Chinese version. We also hope, that if we can garner enough donations to cover all costs of publishing on the web, we will be able to either lower the subscription price even more or, better yet, offer it free to all in cyberspace. But these factors are all contingent on generating enough contributions to keep the Daily CATHOLIC going strong. If you can help in any way, you will be furthering God's Will that we reach every corner of the earth as He commanded in Mark 16: 15, "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature."
If you would like to know more on how you can help, click on BE AN ANGEL to make a tax-deductible donation in helping us spread the Word and the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Any amount will help us immensely in furthering our mission for Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Your contribution and telling others of the benefits of receiving the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday will go a long way in offsetting the apathy of so many lukewarm Catholics and the false gospel of many purveyors of doom in the secular media who thrive on Catholic-bashing. Your assistance will make a statement that you do care about standing up for the true faith and doing all you can to help bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which will usher in the glorious new Advent - the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated and prayerfully accepted.
On behalf of all at the Daily CATHOLIC and the CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK and MIR-A-CALL Center, we wish all a Blessed Christmas and a grace-filled New Year. Our humble gift to you is our prayers for each of you and your loved ones, which we spiritually place on the patten at the Offertory at Daily Mass. May God richly bless you during this season of Gaudete and may His loving Mother Mary ever shield you in the safe harbor of her protective and Immaculate Mantle in the new year and beyond as we all sail together on the new flagship of this ministry's fleet - the S.S.Daily CATHOLIC - which was commissioned on the feast of All Saints this year. As we navigate over the evangelistic seas of the world-wide web, may we all be guided by the beacons of the two pillars described by Saint John Bosco in his vision - the Holy Eucharist and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in prayerful hope of all arriving safely, when our voyage is complete, at our port of destination: Heaven! With your help and support, many more will join us on this life cruise toward everlasting life. We can all start by putting the capital "C", which stands for Christ, back in Christmas and spreading it to all in cyberspace through the sea of evangelization asked for by the Holy See and Jesus' special Vicar of Christ. To all, Peace and blessings.
Our sixth "bone to pick" with dissenters is on Indulgences, tying in with our topic which we will cover next week in "Catechism Capsules." There has been a misconception that Vatican II threw out indulgences because they were "superstitious" and out-moded. Wrong! In fact the Vatican II documents make it very clear that indulgences are still very much in vogue as we highlight just what was decreed at the Second Vatican Council below and continue next week in this same column taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, Part Six, pages 62-79 on the APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ON THE REVISION OF INDULGENCES (Paul VI, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 1 January, 1967).
INDULGENCES ARE FOUNDED IN DIVINE REVELATION:
1. The doctrine of indulgences and their practice have been in force for
many centuries in the Catholic Church. They would appear to be solidly
founded on divine Revelation, (1) handed down "from the apostles". This
(tradition "...makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy
Spirit," and "as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing
towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God
are fulfilled in her."(2)
2. The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. Godís holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. (3) Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments. (4) This is why the faithful have always been convinced that the paths of evil are strewn with many stumbling blocks. They bring to those who follow them adversities, bitterness and harm. (5).
In fact, in granting an indulgence the Church uses its power as minister of Christís Redemption. It not only prayss, It intervenes with its authority to dispense to the faithful, provided they have the right dispositions, the treasury of satisfaction with Christ and the saints won for the remission of temporal punishment. (38)
Next week we will treat the Benefits of Indulgences and focus on Partial and Plenary indulgences from the Vatican II documents.