Thursday, December 30, 2004

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Dear Friends, I wanted to be able to have a happy ending to the "election story" as a Christmas present for you. As of yet, there has been nothing new, except that both parties have tried to communicate with each other. So.. there could be a Christmas gift in the making. We do have twelve days of Christmas. Keep on praying! Here is an explanation of the song we all love at this time of year. No matter what challenges the "world" gives Catholics, we find a way to remember the - REASON FOR THE SEASON 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 Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that 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, St. Stephen and the Holy Innocents. May 2005 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! God Bless, Carolyn Wendell "Glory to God in the Highest" Luke 2:14 V.O.C.A.L. Voice of Catholics Advocating Life PO Box 458 Sublimity, OR 97385

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Suffer the little children.....

Wednesday, December 08, 2004 7:11 PM Dear Friends, Two brothers, ages three and five, always knelt for their blessing from their Portland-area parish priest. Many times before or after mass they would often run up to Father and wrap their arms around him; this was their relationship. However, just before the election things seemed to change. During the homily one Sunday, his words condemned the "self-righteous" people involved in the election process and they seemed to be directed to the boy's family; known for their dedication to the pro-life cause. The family ended up last in the communion line and as the boys knelt down for thier usual blessing, Father turned and walked away. Thinking he hadn't seen them, they followed him, "like little ducklings" and went up to the altar rail and knelt again, but Father continued his work at the altar putting the remaining hosts away. The boys knelt in confusion and the parents stood in stunned silence. No blesssing and no Holy Communion. The family gathered their children and have not returned to that parish. When I heard this story told to me off-handedly and in quiet tones, I felt it needed to be made more public. An unjust action was committed in Church. If a pro-abortion church member or politician was denied communion it would be sorely condemned as mean-spirited and discriminatory. There would be media coverage in the Catholic and secular papers and all over the internet. And what about the abuse of the children and the pain of parents watching this happen? We can't change things if we don't know about them. God Bless You, Carolyn Wendell "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea." Mk 9:42 V.O.C.A.L. Voice of Catholics Advocating Life PO Box 458 Sublimity, OR 97385