TUESDAY

December 23, 1997   vol 8, no.58

SECTION ONE

To print out SECTION TWO, click here



"Twas the night before Christmas..."

      Date-wise the night before Christmas is tomorrow, but today is actually the 174th anniversary of Clement Moore's now-famous poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas" which is its real name, not "Twas the Night before Christmas." It shows how the media have tried to manipulate this wonderful Christian season which some call "too Catholic" to suit the neanderthal nabobs who promote secularism, while forgetting the true reason for the season. Peace is at the heart of Christmas for that is what the new born babe came into this world to give us and which His angels clarioned from on high: "...Peace among men of good will." The Mother of God reminds us in her Lesson/Meditation to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart with Lesson #65, entitled: Living the Seventh Beatitude as Peacemakers. Click on THE HIDDEN WAY

Lessons/Meditations from Our Lord and Our Lady to


the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart

Lesson/Meditation #65:

LIVING THE SEVENTH BEATITUDE AS PEACEMAKERS

(Imparted on January 30, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lord)

      Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I am with you, as I am for all of my children. Little ones of my Immaculate Heart, in all of the messages God has permitted me to give to you, they are all centered upon being a peacemaker. If you have faith, if you pray, fast and sacrifice, if prayer comes from your heart then you are truly a peacemaker.

      Look at the people of my beloved Medjugorje. Is this not considered an Oasis of Peace although war rages everywhere around it? Why does peace remain there even though there is such hatred elsewhere? Because, little children, my people have understood my Messages and now possess my Divine Son’s Peace and live His Peace. God, Who gives His Peace to the humble, little ones also protects this haven of Heavenly Peace because of the goodwill of the people.

      Thus, each of you must learn from this example. Each of you must carry Bethlehem in your heart. You must carry each of the mysteries of the Rosary in your heart. You can not be a peacemaker if your heart is not in union with God and His Most Perfect Will.

      In your heart place those Messages I have given at God’s command to all the world which help you to draw closer to my Divine Son. It is important that you live my Messages and do not become curious or overly-concerned about the many signs of these end times. Yes, God allows me to speak to my children through many messengers because time is so short and His only desire is for all His children to be in the Refuge of His Sacred Heart. Therefore, if one message awakens your soul, then rejoice and live that message, and do not seek more, for God shall not abandon you.

      My Messages are the way to being a true peacemaker, for it must begin with a full act of your will to surrender to God’s Will. By prayer from the heart, you offer your life in union with my Divine Son’s Passion and cause Mercy and Peace to be poured out in abundance on countless souls.

      God sees your heart. He hears the petitions of a humble heart, and does not spurn them. Thus it is that the cloistered nun, the hermit, the housewife and mother, the father who goes off to a routine job every day to earn his living; children who are obedient to parents and all in proper authority; everyone who daily unites their duties to my Divine Son’s Sacred Passion is a peacemaker, the quality of which shall be known only in Heaven.

      O! I long to help you, but my time among you comes to an end. Heed my words and live them, for then as true peacemakers you shall be called ‘children of God.’

      I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!

NEXT WEEK: Lesson/Meditation #66:

THE ESSENCE OF THE EIGHTH BEATITUDE: "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

"...And all through the house..."

      ...Not a creature was stirring for they had such little faith. In today's column by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F., he emphasizes the importance of "Operational Christianity" so that we will be stirred to becoming better, more devoted committed Catholics. He explains this in his overall work which we bring you entitled, "FAITH: KEY TO THE HEART OF GOD." Click on KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Eighteenth installment: Operational Christianity

      In John 1:12 we read: "As many as received him, he gave them power to become the children of God." Receiving or appropriating salvation to oneself requires acknowledging not only that Jesus is the Savior, but that He is my Savior. In the words of St. Augustine, "He loved each of us as if there were only one of us." Until we grasp that kind of redemptive love, we’re not born again. Once we do, we are "faith-disposed" to make a personal commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior. By being sorry for our sins and asking the Lord’s forgiveness we become eligible to receive the benefits of redemption and we are placed securely on the path to heaven.

      That is the initial act that unfortunately many Christians never complete. For that matter, the vast majority of Christians in the world’s, 22,800 Christian denominations are not born again Christians. Certainly far less than 50 percent of Christians are born again Christians. That is a tragedy because it means that they haven’t moved into what we might call operational Christianity. Pope Paul VI decried this fact in his apostolic letter on evangelization in the seventies. He said that unfortunately most Christians are sacramentalized (baptism, matrimony, eucharist, etc.) but are not evangelized. They have not received the basic gospel message, the full effect of the completed baptism. He said we shouldn’t try to evangelize the world and make converts and persuade people to come into the Kingdom of God if we ourselves aren’t deep into the Kingdom.

      So we have to get back to the personal commitment to Christ where we not only know about Jesus but we know Jesus. You can know about Him by reading the Bible, listening to sermons, studying the historical facts of His life, but that is all theological knowledge of limited spiritual value. If knowledge about Jesus, about God, was sanctifying, then every theologian would be a saint since they know more about God academically than anyone else. But being a theologian does not make one a saint. It is not knowing about Him, it is knowing Him, that interpersonal relationship, that one-to-one closeness - the feel of His personality, the feel of His friendship, that intimacy that comes from faith and is developed through continued faith. That is the first level of that faith.

      Obviously we’re talking of person-oriented faith, part of the virtue of faith. The charismatic gift of faith, as we have explained, deals only with expecting an answer to prayer, solving life’s problems. The virtue of faith is directed primarily to God. Belief in a person in the context of a personal relationship. Belief in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. "He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my rock of salvation, my shield…" (Psalm 144:2) Not our, not the, but my. Personal.

      This concept is overlooked in a great deal of Christian preaching and practice. Most people don’t relate to the Lord Jesus in a personal way. For them, it is not cultivated as a friendship relationship. It is an historical relationship. Jesus is regarded simply as an historical figure who set up a system of ethical and religious norms 2,000 years ago. There is no acknowledgment of a personal relationship with Him.

      The key element about the virtue of faith is that it starts with a focus on a person. Then it spills over secondarily into what the person says or reveals—revelation of truths or doctrines.

      When Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council in the sixties, he said there was something missing in the Church’s catechetical system, especially in terms of how we receive God’s revelation. It is characterized by the concept of faith. It had been formerly defined as believing in all the truths God has revealed directly through the Church. That’s not wrong, it’s just incomplete. And there is a wrong emphasis in that definition.

      A commission was established that wrote a document called the Decree on Revelation. It took them four years to write one sentence. The sentence was revised five times before it was deemed acceptable. It said, in effect, that there are two aspects to the virtue of faith: a primary faith that is a belief in a Person, God, as the Revealer of truth. The one through whom He reveals directly is Jesus ("No man comes unto the Father but by me..."), and a secondary faith that focuses one’s belief on what that Person has said or revealed - namely teachings, doctrine. For years the secondary faith had been emphasized while the primary fait was less emphasized.

      We never neglected primary faith. We’ve always believed in Jesus, but when it came to the practice of faith, we tried to exert secondary faith I our practice of the virtue. Now the emphasis is where it belongs: we must believe in Jesus. He is the One. We must believe in God who is epitomized in the contactable figure of the divine-human being, Jesus - the contact point between man and God.

Next Week: Loving the Revealer


"...In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there..."

      The hopes of the Magisterium and Holy Father are that the faithful will abide by the Instructions passed down last month on the proper procedures for laity in assisting the priest. As we near the completion of bringing you this entire 37-page document in installments, we present today the 22nd installment with part one of the Conclusion. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

Twenty-third installment: CONCLUSION
part one

The Holy See entrusts this present document to the pastoral zeal of diocesan Bishops in the various particular Churches and to other Ordinaries in the hope that its application may produce abundant fruit for the growth, in communion, of sacred ministers and the non-ordained faithful.

The Holy Father reminds us that, "the particular gift of each of the Church's members must be wisely and carefully acknowledged, safeguarded, promoted, discerned and co-ordinated, without confusing roles functions or theological and canonical status". (114)

While on the one hand the numerical shortage of priests may be particularly felt in certain areas, on the other, it must be remembered that in other areas there is currently a flowering of vocations which augurs well for the future. Solutions addressing the shortage of ordained ministers cannot be other than transitory and must be linked to a series of pastoral programmes which give priority to the promotion of vocations to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. (115)

In this respect the Holy Father notes that in "some local situations, generous, intelligent solutions have been sought. The legislation of theCode of Canon Law has itself provided new possibilities, which however, must be correctly applied, so as not to fall into the ambiguity of considering as ordinary and normal, solutions that were meant for extraordinary situations in which priests were lacking or in short supply". (116)

The object of this document is to outline specific directives to ensure the effective collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in such circumstances while safeguarding the integrity of the pastoral ministry of priests. "It should also be understood that these clarifications and distinctions do not stem from a concern to defend clerical privileges but from the need to be obedient to the will of Christ, and to respect the constitutive form which he indelibly impressed on his Church". (117)

The correct application of these same directives, in the context of a living hierarchial communion, is advantageous to the lay faithful who are called to develop the rich potentiality of their specific identity and the "ever greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one's proper mission". (118)

NEXT ISSUE: The Final Installment - Conclusion part two


"O Come, O come, Emmanuel"

     We wait in joyful anctipation of our New-born King. The readings for today and tomorrow reflect this as well as today's CHRISTMAS NOVENA PRAYER.

EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS NOVENA:

TUESDAY, December 23, 1997

Tuesday, December 23:
Final Tuesday of Advent


WEDNESDAY, December 24, 1997


December 24: CHRISTMAS VIGIL


PRAYERS & DEVOTION

For the Advent Novena Prayer and all prayers up until today, click on ADVENT Novena Prayers

December 23, 1997

PROVERB OF THE DAY

"But the path of the just is like shining light that grows in brillance till perfect day."

Proverbs 4: 19

Medjugorje Monthly Message for November 25th

    Dear children: Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything. Little children, today also I invite you to rejoice and be joyful Christians, responsible and conscious that God called you in a special way to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God. Therefore, pray, pray, pray that your heart may open and be sensitive for the Word of God. Thank you for having responded to my call!

For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE


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December 23, 1997 volume 8, no. 58         DAILY CATHOLIC


December 1997