Packing Christmas Away

Today we celebrate the last official day of Christmas, and for me the closing of this season carries with it a tinge of sadness.  The idea of carefully packing away all of my beautiful Christmas decorations leaves me feeling a little blue.  I know our house will look very plain and empty without all of the greens, reds, and golds…the very visible signs of hope and of the promise fulfilled in Christ’s coming.

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This Christmas was very special for me because I think it was the first time ever in my cradle catholic life that I paid close attention to what God was trying to say to me during both the Advent season and the Christmas season itself.  I believe that this preparation allowed me to continue to see all the signs of Christ’s coming everywhere I looked, well after December 25th.  I’m very thankful for that.

Yesterday at Mass we celebrated the last Sunday of Christmas, and it felt so very fitting that it fell on the Feast of the Epiphany—the day we celebrate the Wise Men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.  I was lucky enough to cantor at this particular Mass, and it was special because it allowed me to sing the words from Psalm 72: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.  Every nation on earth will adore the Christ-child; the one who is High Priest, Prophet, and King over all the world.

It was also incredibly special because it gave me the opportunity to notice things that I usually don’t. Right before the Gospel Reading Father incensed the psalter.  We read about this kind of offering in Scripture often, and it is carried on in the Tradition of the Mass.  It is a reminder through our sense of smell that our prayers and daily sacrifices, united with the Words of God and his passion, are lifted up to heaven together in oblation to God in the Mass.  Yesterday in Mass I got a unique visual of this, because as Father began his homily I saw the incense resting above the altar, and fanning very, very slowly to the giant crucifix behind it.  I could almost see the Lord smelling it…taking in a deep breath as he hung on the cross in the most perfect offering.  It was as if he was breathing in deeply the beautiful fragrance and offering of the Mass and exhaling it all back.  It was a stunning image, and one I think perfectly captured the reality of the Mass.     

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After this vision, I was called back to Father’s homily in which he spoke of the three Wise Men.  He told us of their journey to see the Messiah who was to be born, and how they went out of their way to follow the star which shone brightly in the sky.  Father reminded us that their journey was treacherous, but despite the obstacles they would face, they showed immense courage.  They allowed the bright shining star to lead them on an unknown journey—a journey which they hoped would take them to see the King.  And it did. It led them to a tiny baby resting in a humble and meager manger: a poor and lowly image that nonetheless radiated such beauty and profound light.  All they could do was kneel in thanksgiving, offering their finest gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to their King.

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The gifts that the Magi brought the Lord are deeply rooted in significance and meaning.  The three gifts pointed to and foretold just who the baby in the manger was: the gold was a gift associated closely with royalty and endurance; the frankincense had medicinal purposes; and the myrrh was an embalming and anointing element.  Through these three gifts, the Magi were acknowledging that Jesus was a King whose kingdom would never end, that he would take on the role of High Priest, and that his life and death would significantly be involved in our salvation (the True Prophet who brings the Good News).

This got me thinking about Christmas in our culture today and what it seems to have become all about.  The center focus has greatly shifted away from Christ, moving more towards other things like Santa Claus, goofy Christmas songs, and the countless hours of prepping and buying, storing and wrapping, giving and receiving gifts with one another.  One has to sit and wonder if this is what Christ wants of us during the Christmas season.20170109_120103

Yesterday, though, I couldn’t help but think that the practice of gift giving isn’t too far off from what God wants us to realizeHe doesn’t necessarily want us to focus on the material goods, but he wants us to understand what it means to be given a gift, and in return pour ourselves out in love for one another as a gift to each other.   In Christ, we receive the greatest gift of all: we receive the gift of salvation and the divine opportunity to enter into communion with the Lord; to know him, to love him, and to put him on for ourselves through the Holy Spirit.  Yesterday I realized in a deeper sense that the Christmas season doesn’t just end abruptly, but rather ends with a calling.  Through the guidance of the Christmas season we are brought into the New Year with the most perfect gift of Christ’s love, then sent forth to carry his light and his love out into the world. Christ perfectly lived out his calling to be priest, prophet, and king, and in doing so he gave us the capacity to live this out in our own lives today.  We are called to daily make an offering of our lives to one another and to the Lord in a gift of love; we are called to boldly proclaim God’s goodness to the world; and we are called to become kings like Christ, masters of our own desires and selfish whims, and people who seek always to prioritize and will the good of the otherIn this three-fold way, we become Christ’s light in the world, a gift to one another.  Through Christ, we become the visible signs of the promise fulfilled.

I think just as there is a time for all seasons, it is fitting to pack up and store our Christmas supplies away.  Just as Christ walked forward in his life and resolutely journeyed towards Jerusalem, we too have to go forth and live our lives day by day.  We cannot live in the Christmas season forever.  We have to encounter all the joys and celebrations, and obstacles and pains that come with a New Year.  Hopefully, though, as we continue on in this journey we remember to merely store the Christmas decorations in the dark and dank basement of our homes…not the spirit of Christmas itself.  That, we should remember to save and store in the inner recesses of our hearts.

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January 01: Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God!

Last night we went to the Vigil Mass for this Holy Day, and while the cantors began singing Hail Mary, Gentle Woman, I couldn’t help but think how very fitting it was that we were at a Vigil to celebrate Mary’s motherhood just one week after celebrating the Christmas Vigil.   It’s just the gift that keeps on giving.

Mary is known in the tradition of the faith as the Theotokos which literally translates to “God bearer,” making her the Mother of God.  Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Virgin Mary is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer.” (CCC 963)

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As Catholics, we honor and revere our blessed Mother and count her as incredibly special…but why do we refer to her as the “Mother of God”?  Some people are greatly shocked that we honor her with this title, but I think this stems from a misunderstanding of the teaching.

So, where does the title “Mother of God” come from and what does it mean?

This teaching is both essential to the faith (especially to our salvation), and to understanding who Jesus was.  The reality of Mary as Mother of God surrounds and protects the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, who is God made flesh.

Let’s break it down a bit:

What makes a woman someone’s biological mother? Two things: Carrying the child within her womb, and contributing to the baby’s genetic makeup.  So, to say that Mary is the Mother of God is to acknowledge the fact that she carried the baby Jesus within her womb and contributed to his human nature.  Scripture clearly reveals this in Luke 1:26-38 and Galatians 4:4. Now of course Mary’s motherhood also extends in other deep ways, but this title first and foremost references her role in carrying, birthing, and raising our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Acknowledging Mary’s motherhood of Jesus is important because it tells us that he is one person with two natures.  If we denied that Mary is the Mother of God and said that she is merely the Mother of his human biological nature, then we would end up dividing Jesus’ person hood in two, and this is impossible; Jesus’ human nature is inseparable from his divine nature.  Jesus is one person, God, with the First and Third members of the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Holy Spirit and to separate the two would be to separate his very person.  God created Mary specially for being the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, who has two natures: one human and one divine (this is the “hypostatic union”).   

Now, this is not to say that Mary gave Jesus his divine nature or person hood.  Jesus is fully divine–fully God–simply because he IS God, the Word made flesh.  What Mary did give Jesus was a nature identical to her own: an immaculate human nature. 

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She gave birth to a Son who was truly God, making her the Mother of the God.  

The denial of Mary as Mother of God also greatly complicates and damages our salvation.  If Jesus was separated into two persons then which died on the cross for us:the human or the divine?  If it was the divine alone, we’d be saying that God himself could be put to death (which clearly doesn’t work).  If it was the human alone, then our redemption is compromised because no mere human death could bring about salvation for all of mankind.untitled

As mentioned above, Sacred Scripture supports that Mary is the Mother of God.  Sacred Tradition is also especially rich with quotes from many early fathers of the faith.  Here are a few:

  •  “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).
  • “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Peter of Alexandria, Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).
  • “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (Athanasius, The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

And even the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, had something to say about it:

  • “She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, the human nature of Jesus, but also the Mother of God.   It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.  Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: the Mother of God.  No one can say anything greater about her though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on trees.” (Martin Luther, Commentary on the Magnificat)

Amen?

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This reality is honestly so very beautiful.  God, in his infinite Wisdom, brought the Woman Mary into his life in a very special and familial way.  She was the one who would be there with him, loving him in a perfect motherly way, at every significant moment in his incarnate life.

It just goes to show us that our God is truly a God of love…a God for the family.

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Seven Quick Takes: More on Advent, The Domestic Church, and Family Activities before Christmas

Linking up with Kelly for the first time in a really long time for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

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Advent so far has been wonderful.  I think the concerted effort to be more aware of what this season is all about is paying off, because I find myself a bit more at peace during this hectic time of the year than I normally am.

The week of the 5th kick-started the craziness of the season for me and my family.  We hosted two parties in one week at our house, and have since celebrated three feast days (Saint Nicholas, Mary’s Immaculate Conception, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe).

I have always wanted to be more mindful of the Feast Days in the Church, and seeing the beautiful and thoughtful things that other Catholic moms put together for their families has always left me feeling a bit #inadequate.  Sometimes the pressure to be the “perfect” mom is ridiculous–especially the perfect “Catholic” mom– and I love what Simcha had to say about her family’s celebration of the Immaculate Conception. (“Pant, pant”…just get their butts to Mass.)

The biggest thing I took from her article was that we don’t have to put together these elaborate things for our family for them to get the most out of these special days.  We just need to put our focus on what really matters, and we need to continue striving to share the faith with our kids in the best ways we know how.

So we’ve begun doing that and it has been awesome, and really alleviated the silly guilt that comes from being so very un-pinterest worthy most of the time.

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This new outlook on building our domestic church came just in time, because in the craziness of hosting people at our house on the 5th, I completely forgot to weave together the narrative of Saint Nick’s legendary stories to Eli and stick carrots and other such things in his stinky little shoes before Saint Nicholas’ Feast Day the next day .  I did buy coins and carrots and had a whole thing planned out, but completely forgot in the rush of all things. #Momfail

But I rolled with it. Who really cares?  I mean, I may not be Martha-friggin-Stewart, but that’s okay.  And let’s be honest, Eli (and certainly Lucia) didn’t even notice.

I decided to nix the whole plan and just work with what we normally do every night, which is sit together as a family and eat dinner.  I parked our ol’ Santa Claus “Saint Nick” down with us for dinner,

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gave Eli a few details about his life (Lucy nodded along, too), said a quick prayer in honor of him, ate dinner, and afterwards celebrated by eating chocolate coins and drinking eggnog by our tree. It was wonderful and simple and I think Eli got the general jist of what is really so special about the jolly old man, Santa Claus.  It’s not so much about getting the presents and toys he brings as it is about the character of the real man (a saint) who existed; a man who lived for the Lord, and loved and gave without reserve.

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We also celebrated with our friends this Advent season, on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The group gathered together and came up with this great idea to make tilmas (an idea one of the girls got from Catholic Icing), eat cookies, watch a movie about Juan Diego’s vision of Mary, and carry red roses up to Mary in honor of this day.   It was so fun and I am so glad that my kids are making friends in the Church.

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One of the parties I hosted was for Joey’s 30th Birthday!  It is becoming kind of a tradition to have a Christmas party at our house for him every year, and I think this 3rd year was our best.

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We changed the entertainment up this year (from our usual white elephant game) by playing the seran wrap game, and it was such a hit!  Highly suggest it for your family parties—except instead of candy we purchased a bunch of small gifts (chotchkies and stuff) for people to win.  Funny enough though, most of the grown men were vying for the big league chew packets of gum.

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A friend gifted me the Blessed is She Advent journal this year and I am absolutely loving it!  It is probably a bit late to buy the journal for this Advent, but you can also buy it and download a digital copy of it if you are interested!

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This year I wanted to make something that I could gift to people, and I settled on these caramel candies.  I was super nervous about making these because my history with baking is not the greatest, so I only assumed candy-making would be worse.  With only a minor hiccup (a big caramel spill, because my pan wasn’t big enough) I came out unscathed and they came out delicious!  Be happy I don’t have pictures of the process, though, because it wasn’t very pretty.  The recipe I followed was super easy, albeit a tad time consuming (took me an hour and a half to make).  Try making them for Christmas! They don’t disappoint!

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Eli had his very first Christmas program yesterday.  It was priceless.  I especially love how he pretty much “watermelon-coconuted” the whole thing, and clapped for himself at the end.  At-a-boy, you little cutie. At-a-boy.

That’s it for me this week! Hope you have a wonderful week, and if you are traveling for Christmas–safe travels!!!

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The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is a very special Feast Day in the Church, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  Not only is today a Feast Day, it is a Holy Day and all the faithful are called to go to Mass to celebrate the most holy conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To honor our Blessed Mother, here are a few facts about her Immaculate Conception:

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Though conceived without sin, Mary’s conception was a human one.   Unlike her Son Jesus (who was conceived by the Holy Spirit), Mary was conceived by two human parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim.

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Mary was conceived in a special way, without the stain of original sin, making her Immaculate.  Original Sin is the state all of humanity is born into, a result of the great Fall of Adam and Eve.  It is a deprivation of sanctifying grace (a habitual gift given to us by God,  that perfects our souls and enables us to live with God and act by his love), and as such leaves the human nature corrupt.(This is why Baptism is so essential—especially for infants—because through it we receive sanctifying grace).  Mary, however, received God’s sanctifying grace the moment she was conceived in the womb, and was preserved from the defects of original sin by the grace of Christ.

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Scripture gives us a window into the very special disposition of Mary’s soul.  In Luke 1:28, the Angel Gabriel greets Mary with a particularly special greeting, “Hail, full of grace (or, “favored one”), The Lord is with you!”  This greeting was a unique one, which hardly translates well in our English language.  However, the Greek expression for “Hail, full of grace” more aptly expresses the quality of Mary’s state of being.  In Greek the greeting is “chaire kecharitomene,” (a passive participle expressing an action completed in the past with an application in the present) which reads in English as “Hail, you who have been perfected in grace!”  This indicates that Mary was graced by God in the past, but continues to live in a state of sanctifying grace in the present.  Thus, Mary’s Immaculate state was not a result of the angel’s visit, but she was endowed with sanctifying grace from the moment she was conceived.

 

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As a human, Mary was still in need of Redemption, but she was saved in a special and unique way.  Mary, too, was a descendant of Adam and thus subject to the necessity of contracting original sin.  However, God intervened, preserving her from the stain and corruption of Original Sin from the moment she was brought into existence.  She was thus redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—through anticipation (or in other words, preemptively).

 

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The following analogy might help you understand this a little more:

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Aren’t we all sinners? A quick thought if Romans 3:23 is popping into your head right now: Children before the age of reason are incapable of sinning (because sin requires the ability to reason and intend sin), and both the angels and souls in heaven are without sin.  Mary’s blessedness doesn’t take away from the glory of God, but rather, it demonstrates his great glory by showing us the work he has done in sanctifying creation.   Sinning doesn’t qualify us to be human—it is just what we are working with when we are brought into the world in our fallen condition.  It is in fact when man is without sin that he is living most fully the life that God created him to be.  Mary, chosen as the one to carry the Christ child, was preserved from sin and created exactly the way that God wanted her to be.

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Why was the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception defined so late? The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854, which is a long time after the birth of Mary.  Why did the Church wait so long to publicly declare her Immaculate Conception?  Though this delay signifies that the doctrine was merely invented, we must remember that the Church never issues definitive proclamations on teachings of the faith until a.) they either have to (to confront and avoid false teaching on the matter), or b.) to expand and clarify the teaching so that the faithful may better understand it.  The reason this particular doctrine wasn’t issued until 1854 is because the faithful at that time were desiring that this doctrine (taught, maintained, and believed to be true since the beginning) be officially proclaimed.  They did this in hopes that it would inspire a deeper devotion to Jesus through her, and help the faithful have a better understanding of her.

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Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant.  When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he announced to her that the birth of her Son will happen by the power of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35) This “overshadowing” of the power of God is a reference to the Shekinah of the Old Testament—the Hebrew term for God’s presence among his people. This presence overcame the company of the people in the form of a great cloud, and overtime ended up overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark was the way in which God’s presence was always visible to the people, so that they could know with certainty that God was indeed with them.  The Ark contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments (on which were written the Word of God), the manna God gave the people for sustenance, and the budding staff of Aaron, who was the high priest of the people.   The Ark which held all of these three things foreshadowed the New Ark, Mary, who (overshadowed by the Shekinah of God) carried within her womb the Child of the Promise: the very Law and Word of God itself, the true Bread of Life, and the great High Priest sent to redeem all of humanity.  Thus, it makes perfect sense that the New Ark be preserved from sin and sanctified from the beginning of her creation.

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All of these facts point not just to the awesomeness of Mary, but more importantly to the awesomeness of God who created her, so blessed and full of grace.

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*The featured image at the top of the post can be found and bought by the artist on her etsy account here. 

 

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

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Today’s Mass celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.  I was reading in the Magnificat, and I wanted to share a quote included in today’s readings from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

Jesus of Nazareth…is so intrinsically king that the title ‘King’ has actually become his name.  By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the King…God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom.  The kingdom was a result of Israel’s rebellion against God… The law was to be Israel’s king, and, through the law, God himself…God yielded to Israel’s obstinacy and so devised a new king of kingship for them.  The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself.  This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind, God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways …the feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.

I love that last line.  I love the image of a God who “writes straight” on our “crooked lines.”  How often in my life do I feel crooked.  Crooked, and so unholy.  Always so much more ready to submit myself to the world than my God.  Yet God, all-merciful and all-loving, continues to reach down to us in our weaknesses and in our failures and look upon us kindly, and bless us when we are undeserving.  He continuously calls us back to himself; to He who is the source and summit of all of our deepest desires.  What a generous and loving King we have.

In connection with this feast of Christ the King, the Psalm for the day is one of my very favorites, Psalm 23.  Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar psalms, and is often said or sung at funerals.  It never really occurred to me just how precious this psalm is until I read it as a prayer, closing my eyes to imagine the Lord, our King, taking my hand and leading me as he led the inspired King David.

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

In God, we lack nothing.  If we place all of our trust in him, all of our hope…how can we have fear?  He is the answer to our deepest desires; he hears us when we call him; he is by our side when we are suffering or afraid.  Like a good shepherd, he watches over us and cares for all of our needs.

In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul.

I love this verse.  This image is so perfect because it paints a clear picture of our caring Father, our God.  He knows what we need, even when we don’t.  In all the hustle of the world, and in everything we tangle ourselves up into, we have a God who knows our needs, who whispers in our heart to rest in him.  I love imagining the Lord bringing us to a safe place—a green pasture—and leading us to peace.  It is such a beautiful image.  Sometimes we need to allow God to lead us, especially when we are afraid.  In this verse I have imagined myself wearing a blindfold over my eyes, giving all of my trust to God.  It is so hard to completely submit ourselves over to God, but uniting ourselves to him is the answer to our restlessness.  The image of “still waters” is also very beautiful.  It calls to mind the reality that often times we try to quench our thirst in waters that are chaotic; waters that don’t completely satisfy us and leave us thirsting for more.  Yet God leads us to still waters, where we are given all that we need in Him. Just as we thirst for him, he thirsts for us.  He wants us to be filled in and through him alone, who is living water.

He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.

This is a great reminder for ourselves that it is in God alone that truth is found.  Not in myself, not out in the world.  He alone is good, and all other goodness is a mere fraction of all that he is.  This line reminds us that he wants to walk with us in our journey.  He wants to guide us forward, pointing us towards the good so that we may have an easier time uniting our souls to him, and so that we may be a witness to others.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.

There is so much evil in this world.  I think sometimes it is much easier to see the evil than the good.  So many people are suffering, and there is such a lack of hope permeating our culture.  There is no denying that evil is real.  There is a cosmic battle taking place in our world, and we have to choose a side.  But where evil exists, there is the Lord standing with his rod and staff, protecting us and casting down all evil that seeks to harm us. He gives us hope in the resurrection, and hope for eternal life and even when we are faced with trial in this world he is there to help us persevere, until we rest in peace with him forever.

 You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

I love this verse because when we choose the Lord, when we place our trust in him, he invites us to his banquet, and seats us in honor. When we take him as our King, he brings us into his Kingdom, not as subjects or slaves, but as sons and daughters.  I love picturing the Lord actually setting a table, and anointing our heads.  It is a beautiful reminder of all the goodness that the Lord seeks to give us, how he is our King, and he shares all of his riches with us. It’s also a good reminder that the Lord knows each and every one of us.  He has gone ahead and prepared a place for us, and waits to invite us into his Kingdom, and clothe us in his purple and gold raiments.

 Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.

There is no greater goodness than God.  All happiness on earth that we may find is fleeting, unless it rests and has its foundation in him.  He calls each and every one of us to enter into a relationship with him; to hear his voice and answer his call.  He wants to establish his kingdom for all of us on earth, that we might have authentic freedom: freedom for the good.  Our world today seeks to be united to a kingdom where freedom is an absolute.  Freedom means doing whatever makes “me” happy, and means being “free from restrictions”.  In this mentality, freedom runs the risk of being separated from Truth.  Having authentic freedom means seeking God on our own accord, and ultimately clinging to him—the one who is the culmination of man’s blessed perfection; the King who has, as Saint Paul says, loved us and given himself up for us.  This is also a reminder that there is more beyond life as we know it.  Our goal should be heaven and uniting ourselves with God in his heavenly Kingdom, and we should never lose sight of that.  We should daily call ourselves to conversion, so that we may one day be blessed enough to “dwell in the house of the Lord for endless days.”

On this day as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, may we all be united in the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “Lord Jesus, make us yours.  Live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love.”  May our freedom be found in the King, who gives us truth, and truly sets us free.

Just a reminder…

Just a friendly bloggyhood reminder that today is a Holy Day. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

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A lot of people do not understand why we Catholics venerate Mary with such great love.  We have a deep love for the Mother of our Lord because we believe that Mary is the greatest model of faith that we have.  Because Mary was completely faithful to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, she is the Church’s model of faith and charity.  She gave herself to God loyally at the annunciation, and she maintained that unwavering faith all the way to the cross.  We believe that as she was taken up into heaven, she did not lay aside her mission as “mother”, but by her intercession, continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation, and continues to draw us closer to her son.

The feast today celebrates the assumption of Mary, and recognizes that in her, we have an eschatological icon of the Church.  In her, we can see and contemplate what the Church now is here on earth and what she will be in the end of her journey; the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and the beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.  Mary shines forth beautifully (all through the merits of Christ) as a sign of hope and comfort to all the faithful people, until the day of the Lord shall come.

Lauren