Now We Matter

Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2018 New Year! 

Now We Matter

“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

It’s roughly 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. According to Google Maps, it would take about 34 hours to travel the dis­tance on foot, not counting stops for rest — nor does it consider marauding bandits, flash floods, washed away roads, and a full-term pregnancy.

But this is the journey that St. Joseph, the foster father of the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, this is the journey they make.

The journey is not their choice. Caesar Augustus has spoken, and, like it or not, impending birth notwithstanding, they make the exhausting 100-mile trek to fill out some government forms. St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary are, like poor and defenseless people of every place and time, at the whim of whatever Caesar or compassion-less bureaucracy directs. Continue reading

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

ProLifecorner-  “At length,” says Saint Peter Damian, in his Sermon for this holy Eve, “at length we have got from the stormy sea into the tranquil port; hitherto it was the promise, now it is the prize; hitherto labour, now rest; hitherto despair, now hope; hitherto the way, now our home. The heralds of the divine promise came to us; but they gave us nothing but rich pro- mises. Hence, our Psalmist himself grew wearied, and slept, and, with a seeming reproachful tone, thus sings his lamentation to God: But you hast rejected and despised us; you have deferred the coming of your Christ. At another time he assumes a tone of demand, and thus prays: you that sittest upon the Cherubim, shoiv yourself! Seated on your high throne, with myriads of adoring Angels around you, look down upon the children of men, who are victims of that sin, which was committed indeed by Adam, but permitted by your justice. Remember what my substance is; you didst make it to the likeness of your own; for though every living man is vanity, yet inasmuch as he is made to your Image, he is not a passing vanity} Bend your heavens and come down, and turn the eyes of your mercy upon us your miserable suppliants, and forget us not unto the end!

IMG_0689“Isaias, also, in the vehemence of his desire, thus spoke: For Sion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest, till her Just One come forth as brightness. Oh! that you wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down! So, too, all the Prophets, tired of the long delay of the Coming, have prayed to you, now with supplication, now with lamentation, and now with cries of impatience. We have listened to these their prayers; we have made use of them as our own, and now, nothing can give us joy or gladness, till our Savior come to us, and, kissing us with the kiss of his lips, say to us, I have heard and granted your prayers. Continue reading

The third Sunday in Advent

Gaudete Sunday- The third Sunday in Advent

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The third Sunday in Advent, so named from the opening word of the Introit in the Mass, “Gaudete” (Rejoice). When obtainable, rose-colored vestments are used, to symbolize the fact that the penitential observances of the season are suspended for the day in order to rejoice in the Redemption which is so near at hand.

Though each of those who are called have his own station in life, though the sons of the Church are separated from each other by the passage of the years, yet the entire body of the faithful, having a common origin in the baptismal font, are crucified together with Christ in His passion, are raised up in His resurrection, and in His ascension are placed with Him at the Father’s right hand — and so likewise are they all with Him born in this Nativity. For every believer, in whatever part of the world he may be, who is reborn in Christ, quits the evil path of his first origin, and by being born again is changed into a new man. For no longer is he considered as an offspring merely of an earthly father, but as belonging now to the seed of the Savior, who for this reason became the Son of man that we might have the power of becoming sons of God.  – Pope Saint Leo the Great

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Using Your God-Given Talents to Witness to Christ

Using Your God-Given Talents and Resources to Witness to Christ

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John was sent from God … He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.”

Thousands of French Jews during World War II owe their lives to a dry cleaner’s teenage apprentice.

Adolfo Kaminsky was 18. Barely escaping internment in a French concentration camp, his father had arranged for his family to adopt false identities and go underground. He sent Adolfo to pick up their new papers from a member of the French resistance. When the resistance member learned that Adolfo had worked at a dry cleaner’s, he asked Adolfo if he knew how to “bleach” ink. Adolfo said he did: with lactic acid. Adolfo showed him how to erase the permanent blue ink that marked official documents with the word “Jew.”

And so began the career of one of the greatest forgers in France during the war. Kaminsky forged perfect identity cards, passports, food ration cards, and birth and marriage certificates. Kaminsky went on to form a team of forgers who created a lab right under the nose of the Nazis in a narrow attic in Paris. The neighbors thought they were all painters. Continue reading

2017 Christmas decorations at the White House

2017 Christmas decorations at the White House

Merry Christmas to all of our readers. We have much to be thankful for this Christmas. I am especially grateful to God for a Christian president and vice president. May the example they set change hearts and minds in a positive way. Our first lady is classy and traditional, and has done a magnificent job in decorating the White House. Please pray for their success and safety. And enjoy this short video.

The Second Week of Advent

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

from the Prophet Isaias

Her time is near at hand, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose out of Israel, and will make them rest upon their own ground: and the stranger shall be joined with them, and shall adhere to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them into their place: the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall make them captives that had taken them, and shall subdue their oppressors. And it shall come to pass in that day, that when God shall give you rest from your labor, and from your vexation, and from the hard bondage, wherewith you didst serve before, you shall take up this parable against the King of Babylon, and shall say: “How is the oppressor come to nothing, the tribute hath ceased? The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the rod of the rulers, that struck the people in wrath with an incurable wound, that brought nations under in fury, that persecuted in a cruel manner. How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? How are you fallen to the earth, that did wound the nations: and you said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the North: I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. But yet you shall be brought down to hell into the depth of the pit.”

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Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25?

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25?

By Larry Plachno

Larry-150x1 blueNon-Christians frequently bring up the question of why Christmas is celebrated on December 25. It is a known fact that Jesus Christ was probably born in the summer and they suggest that Christians took advantage of existing harvest festivals, the date of the winter solstice, or the date honoring the sun god of the ancients. However, there is strong evidence that the day the “star” stood still over Bethlehem and the visit of the Magi with their gifts took place on December 25. Hence, there is ample justification for the celebration of Christmas and the exchange of gifts on December 25. If you give me a few minutes of your time I will try to provide the background on all of this and give you some interesting history as well as information on stars.

Today, when we talk about stars most people think about movie stars or rock stars. It was not always this way. When Christ was born people spent more time looking at the stars in the heavens. There was less pollution in the cities to block the view and the people did not have television, newspapers and cell phones to divert their interest. In those days prior to air conditioning it was not uncommon for people to sleep on their rooftops to get some fresh air and fall asleep watching the stars. Hence, it is not unexpected that stars are mentioned so prominently in the Bible.

Early work on tracking the movement of the stars was done by Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer, who is memorialized by having a crater on the moon named after him. His successor was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a German who became the Imperial Mathematician and Astronomer in Prague. By the early 1600s he had developed the laws of Planetary Motion that we still use today. Kepler did try to recreate the sky at the time of the birth of Christ but was not successful. One reason was he was looking at the wrong dates due to mistaken ideas on the dates for the birth of Christ and the death of King Herod. A second reason was that figuring out the mathematics of planetary motion had to be done manually at that time and was very time consuming.

It was Dionysius Exiguus (470-544), a monk from the area we now call Romania and Bulgaria, who had originally developed the method of numbering years that we still use today. He is remembered for doing substantial translations from Greek to Latin and he also wrote on elementary mathematics. In those days, there was not a calendar in every kitchen and numbering years was very informal. Some countries based years on dynasties or when a leader came to power. The only serious system used by some scholars was called AUC or Ab Urbe Condita (from the founding of the city), based on the founding year of Rome. But, since the Roman civilization was in decline while Christianity was on the rise, Dionysius Exiguus figured out how to start dating years with the birth of Christ. He was not that far off. Continue reading

The First Week of Advent

The First Week of Advent

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come. from the Prophet Isaias

Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely, learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord. If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow; and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

The Savior, who is so soon to be with us and to save us, warns us not only to prepare ourselves to appear before him, but also to purify our souls. “It is most just,” says Saint Bernard, “that the soul, which was the first to fall, should be the first to rise. Let us therefore defer caring for the body, until the day when Jesus Christ will come and reform it by the Resurrection; for, in the first Coming, the Precursor says to us: Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. Observe, he says not the maladies of the body, nor the miseries of the flesh; he says sins, which are the malady of the soul and the corruption of the spirit. Take heed then, thou my Body, and wait for thy turn and time. Thou canst hinder the salvation of the soul, and thine own safety is not within thy reach. Let the soul labor for herself, and strive thou too to help her, for if thou sharest in her sufferings, thou wilt share in her glory. Retard her perfection, and thou retardest thine own. Thou wilt not be regenerated until God sees his own Image restored in the soul.” Let us, then, purify our souls. Let us do the works of the spirit, not the deeds of the flesh. Our Saviour’s promise is most clear; he will turn the deep dye of our iniquities into the purest whiteness. He asks but one thing of us: that we sin no more. He says to us: Cease to do perversely, and then come and accuse me, come and complain against me if I do not cleanse you. O Jesus! we will not defer a single day of this holy season, we accept, from this moment, the conditions thou offerest us. We sincerely desire to make our peace with thee; to bring the flesh into subjection to our spirit, to make good all the injustice we have committed against our neighbor, and to hush, by the sighs of our heart-felt compunction, that voice of our sins which has so long cried to thee for vengeance.