Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gifts From Our True Love - 12 Days of Christmas Keeping Truth Simple.

The Twelve Days of Christmas...begins Christmas Day until Epiphany, January 6th.

Here is an explanation of the song we love to sing, and forget lyrics to, at this time of year. No matter what challenges the "world" gives us, we find a way to remember the REASON FOR THE SEASON.

This is a basic catechism of our Faith. Nothing fancy, but THE key to help us understand the Mind of the Christ, and help us to Heaven to be with Him for eternity.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829 were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private.

It was illegal to be Catholic until Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England in 1829. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a coded-message, a memory aid. Since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment.

The authorities would not know that it was a religious song. "The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn their faith.

The better acquainted one is with the Bible, the more these interpretations have significance. The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…" The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself.

The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments. 3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.

7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments

11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

12th Day: The 'twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles' Creed:
belief in God  the Fatherthe Son  and the Holy Spiritthat Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man,  crucified,  died and  arose on the third day,  that he sits at the right hand of the father  and will come again,  the resurrection of the dead  and life everlasting.

This is the time of martyrs too, the Holy Innocents the first martyrs for Christ and St. Stephen, the first adult Christian martyr.

May 2009 be a year when we remember those who have suffered real losses for Christ.

Let us continue to bring real peace and justice to earth by valuing the sanctity of life.

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Keeping Your O" before Christmas, as Awesome Now As It Was Then.

This is a  Christmas Octave Novena from Catholic Media Coalition's Catholic Parents On-line.
A wonderful history lesson to keep us mindful of the Reason for the Season. 

There's time to jump into any novena...perfectionism is not for creatures, only the Creator.

The Mind of the Church...what a great place to be

What are the "O Antiphons"?

The "O Antiphons" refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours.

They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the "O Antiphons" is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community.

By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the "O Antiphons" was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, "Keep your O" and "The Great O Antiphons" were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the "O Antiphons" have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of "O Antiphons" is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Let's now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah's related prophecies :
O Sapientia: "O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation." Isaiah had prophesied, "The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord." (11:2-3), and "Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom." (28:29).
O Adonai: "O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free." Isaiah had prophesied, "But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips." (11:4-5); and "Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us." (33:22).
O Radix Jesse: "O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid." Isaiah had prophesied, "But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom." (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious." (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David's city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).
O Clavis David: "O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom." Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open." (22:22), and "His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David's throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever." (9:6).
O Oriens: "O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death." Isaiah had prophesied, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown." (9:1).
O Rex Gentium: "O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust." Isaiah had prophesied, "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." (9:5), and "He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." (2:4) .

O Emmanuel: "O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God." Isaiah had prophesied, "The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."
(7:14). Remember "Emmanuel" means "God is with us."

According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come."

Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, "Tomorrow, I will come." So the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Saunders, Rev. William. "What are the 'O Antiphons'?" Arlington Catholic Herald.
Reprinted with permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald.


Father William Saunders is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Sterling, Virginia. The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. Father Saunders is also the author of Straight Answers, a book based on 100 of his columns and published by Cathedral Press in Baltimore.
Copyright © 2003 Arlington Catholic Herald
What are the "O Antiphons"?

Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
 Mark 13:35-37

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Archdpdx $$$..Where it Goes / Advent - Our Anticipation, maybe this year, His Expectation?

Dear Advocates for Life, Third Sunday in Lent - Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday - Pink Candle... This Sunday, the penitential season of Advent gives way to the joyful anticipation of Our Lord's Second Coming. When Christ comes again...no more anticipation exists, only the stark reality of His Expectations of us. Pray that we have kept the Faith, His Faith, having our priorities straight. Catholic employees paid with Catholic funds will certainly have many expectations. A Heavenly audit will be at hand. After four years, the Archdiocese of Portland has released the "Annual Financial Report" for 2008. Attached are comparisons of 2003-2003 (fiscal year 2004) and 2007-2008. Of the almost eight million dollars in 2002; the almost nine million dollars in 2003 and the thirteen million dollars it took to run the Archdpdx in 2008; the Respect Life Office is not mentioned in any budget. In this Archdiocese, it seems that Innocent human life is not a priority. However, funding the Office of Justice and Peace, IS a high priority with a budget of at least $107, 000 with more being spent for perks, a general retreat fund, travel to other countries and general expenses. Remembering the questions asked by the new Justice and Peace director of her board when hired by Mary Jo Tully in 2007... 1. "Why does the Office of Justice and Peace exist?" 2. "What do we hope to accomplish?" 3. "What are the values that guide us while we do that?" ...obviously a Justice and Peace office was not a matter of life and death...and souls/lives would have been saved with a Respect Life Office. However, groups like the "Saul Alinsky" Community Organizing Metropolitan Alliance for the Common Good (MACG), dissident Call to Action (CTA) with a women priests, married priests focus, and the pro-homosexual/pro-abortion Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon connection are all connected to the Office of Justice and Peace, and firmly entrenched and protected by the Archdiocese. The 2002-2003 budget shows an Office of Marriage and Family Life but that office was eliminated when director Jay Wonacott left. There was also no replacement for the Pastoral Services when Father Michael Maslowsky left to work for the SAGE-FEDE Corporation. What could be more important than families, marriage and innocent human life? These fundamental needs are not met in the Archdiocese of Portland with any money from the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal or Catholic collection plates. The Respect Life Office and Office of Marriage and Family Life do have a web page and links to resources....why not have the Office of Justice and Peace have just a web page and links to be fair. There will be much to answer for to Our Lord for from this Archdiocese. Knowing that even the hierarchy can go astray, the laity has been given the authority from Holy Mother Church to address these concerns when they cause scandal. "The Christian faithful are free to make known their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires to the pastors of the Church." (Canon 212, P2) "In accord with the knowledge, competence and preeminence which they possess, they have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (Canon 212, P3) Persevering through the "Little Lent", making sure that we are in a state of Grace, in anticipation of His Return. God Bless you and yours, Carolyn "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more." Luke 12:48 www.vocalnews.org for Archives / Vatican/ Archdpdx info. VOCAL Voice of Catholics Advocating Life PO Box 458 Sublimity, OR 97385 503-769-4767 Member of the Catholic Media Coalition "In line with the Church, on-line with the World".