A blessed 2nd week of Advent to you all! Our second candle is lit and we have completed day 9 with our Jesse Tree book. we are only 2 weeks away from the Birth of Our Lord! St. Nicholas' Feast is behind us and now we look ahead to the Feast of St. Lucy as well as Guadette Sunday or Rose Sunday. This weeks Keeping It Catholic Monday
features both those. While there is not room enough to share on them both make sure to visit our St. Lucy page
and make sure to enter our St. Nicholas give-a-way HERE.
There are many traditions surrounding St. Lucy that are kept on her feast day, December 13th. The most common of those are Lussekatters and the crowing of a St. Lucy for the year whom dresses in white with a red sash and a wreath of candles upon her head. Our little lady will be our St. Lucy again this year and our lovely friends at Crusader's of Christ
are making her a gown for the special occaison and she will also receive a special gift of a matching St. Lucy doll this year!
Following this wonderful Saint's stories are a few links that share ideas on how to keep this wonderful feast day. St. Lucy pray for us!
Lives of the Saints
, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. 1894
December 13.—ST. LUCY, Virgin, Martyr.
THE mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. "St. Agatha," she said, "stands ever in the sight of Him for Whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed." They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother's recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was affected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ. A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled.Reflection
.—The Saints had to bear sufferings and. temptations greater far than yours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ's life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.
"The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore."
Stir up our hearts O Lord! The second week of Advent the Church begsOur Lord to stir up our hearts so that we might think of Him and not only His first coming as an infant to redeem us but also His second coming which is still to come.
Ahead of us is the third week of Advent and while the Church spends this week asking the Lord to stir up our hearts the next is spent in early rejoicing for the Church knows that the celebration of the Lord's first coming is upon us!
Third Sunday of Advent; The Liturgical Year- Advent
By: Dom Guearnger Imprimatur 1927
TO-DAY, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater than it was. It is true that her Lord has not come; but feels that He is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to lessen somewhat the austerity of this penitential season by the innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites. And first, this Sunday has had the name of Guadete given to it, from the first word of the Introit; it also is honoured with those impressive exceptions which belong to the fourth Sunday of Lent, called Latare. The organs played at the Mass; the vestments are rose-colour; the deacon resumes the dalmatic, and the subdeacon with the previous mitre. How touching are all these usages, and how admirable this condescension of the Church, wherewith she so beautifully blends together the unalterable strictness of the dogmas of faith and the graceful poetry of the formulae of her liturgy! Let us enter into her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent, because our Lord is now so near unto us. To-morrow we will resume our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord and waiting for Him; for every delay, however short, is painful and makes love sad.
The Station is kept in the basilica of St. Peter, at the Vatican. This august temple, which contains the tomb of the prince of the apostles, is the home and refuge of all the faithful of the world; it is but natural that it should be chosen to witness both the joy and the sadness of the Church.
The night Office commences with a new Invitatory. The voice of the Church no longer invites the faithful to come and adore in fear and trembling the King, our Lord, who is to come. Her language assumes another character; her tone is one of gladness; and now, every day, until the vigil of Christmas, she begins her nocturnes with these grand words:
Prope est jam Dominus: venite adoremus.
The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.
O holy Roman church, city of strength! behold us thy children assembled within thy walls, around the tomb of the fisherman, the prince of the apostles, whose sacred relics protect thee from their earthly shrine, and whose unchanging teaching enlightens thee from heaven. Yet, O city of strength; it is by the Saviour, who is coming, that thou art strong. He is thy wall, for it is He that encircles, with His tender mercy, all thy children; He is thy bulwark, for it is by Him that thou art invincible, and that all the powers of hell are powerless to prevail against thee. Open wide thy gates, that all nations may enter thee; for thou art mistress of holiness and the guardian of truth. May the old error, which sets itself against the faith, soon disappear, and peace reign over the whole fold! O holy Roman Church! thou hast for ever put thy trust in the Lord; and He, faithful to His promise, has humbled before thee the haughty ones that defied thee, and the proud cities that were against thee. Where now are the Caesars, who boasted that they had drowned thee in thine own blood? where the emperors, who would ravish the inviolate virginity of thy faith? where the heretics, who, during the past centuries of thine existence, have assailed every article of thy teaching, and denied what they listed? where the ungrateful princes, who would fain make a slave of thee, who hadst made them what they were? where that empire of Mahomet, which has so many times raged against thee, for that thou, the defenseless State, didst arrest the pride of its conquests? where the reformers, who were bent on giving the world a Christianity, in which thou wast to have no part? where the more modern sophists, in whose philosophy thou wast set down as a system that had been tried, and was failure, and is now ruin? and those kings who are acting the tyrant over thee, and those people that will have liberty independently and at the risk of truth, where will they be in another hundred years? gone and forgotten as the noisy anger of a torrent; whilst thou, O holy Church of Rome, built on the immoveable rock, wilt be as calm, as young, as unwrinkled as ever.
Thy path through all the ages of this world's duration, will be right as that of the just man; thou wilt ever be the same unchanging Church, as thou has been during the eighteen hundred years, whilst everything else under the sun has been but chance. Whence this thy stability, but from Him who is very truth and justice? Glory be to Him in thee! Each year, wherewith thou mayest go happily through thy pilgrimage; and to the end of time, He will visit thee, and renew thee, not only with the power of that look wherewith Peter was renewed, but by filling thee with Himself, as He did the ever glorious Virgin, who is the object of thy most ender love, after that which thou bearest to Jesus Himself. We pray with thee, O Church, our mother, and here is our prayer: "Come, Lord Jesus! Thy name and Thy remembrance are the desire of our souls: they have desired Thee in the night, year, and early in the morning have they watched for Thee.'
Keeping Advent Catholic Schedule
December 17th- O Antiphon's and Christmas Vigil
"...the Virgin has not yet brought for her divine Treasure;
it is not yet time to sing..."
Advent is a mere 6 days away, the Catholic count down to the coming of Our Lord and Saviour! As it would appear from the view down the street and amongst the busyness in town it would seem that those around us are already celebrating the great feast which has not yet approached. The Advent season is prescribed by the Church as a time of preperation, not necessarily putting up the lights, getting the tree and the gifts but for preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord. Advent is about making the way for HIM in our hearts. Before we get to our sub-theme's for this week we wanted to share a bit more on keeping the Advent spirit about when Jesus is 'asking admission to our hearts.' "He comes to ask them if they have room for Him, for He wishes to be born in their house."
Dom Gueranger, in his Advent volume of the Liturgical Year, says about Christ coming to us, 'Now, in order to appreciate the whole of this ineffable mystery, we must remember that, since we can be pleasing to our heavenly Father only inasmuch as He sees within us His Son jesus Christ, this amiable Saviour deigns to come into each one of us, and transform us, if we will but consent, into Himself, so that henceforth we may live, not we, but He in us. This is, in reality, the one grand aim of the Christian religion, to make man divine through Jesus Christ; it is the task which God has given to His Church to do, and she says to the faithful what St. Paul said to his Galatians: 'My little children, of whom I am in labour again, until Christ be formed within you! (Gal. iv. 19)" But as, on His entering into this world, our divine Saviour first showed Himself under the form of a weak Babe, before attaining the fulness of the age of manhood, and this to the end that nothing might be wanting to His sacrifice, so does He intend to do in us; there is to be a progress in His growth within us. Now, it is at the feast of Christmas that He delights to be born in our souls, and that He pours out over the whole Church a grace of being born, to which, however, not all are faithful.
For this glorious solemnity, as often as it comes round, finds three classes of men. The first, and the smallest number, are those who live, in all its plenitude, the life of Jesus who is within them, and aspire incessantly after the increase of this life. The second class of souls is more numerous; they are living, it is true, because Jesus is in them; but they are sick and weakly, because they care not to grow in this divine life; their charity has become cold! (Apoc. ii.4) The rest of men make up the third division, and are they that have no part of this life in them, and are dead; for Christ has said: "I am the Life." (St. John xiv. 6.)
Now, during the season of Advent, our Lord knocks at the door of all men's hearts, at one time so forcibly that they must needs notice Him; at another, so softly that it requires attention to know that Jesus is asking admission. He comes to ask them them if they have room for Him, for He wishes to be born in their house. The house indeed is His, for he built it and preserves it; yet He complains that His own refused to receive Him; (Ibid. i. 11) ; at least the greater number did. 'But as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, born not of blood, nor of the flesh, but of God. (Ibid. 12,13.)'
He will be born, then, with more beauty and lustre and might than you have hitherto seen in Him, O ye faithful ones, who hold Him within you as your only treasure, and who have long lived no other life than His, shaping your thoughts and works on the mobile of His. You will feel the necessity of words to suit and express your love; such words as He delights to hear you speak to Him. You will find them in the holy liturgy."
Now that we have the Advent spirit in mind, let us look to some of the traditions kept during this time to help us keep that spirit within and around us.
"The Church also, during Advent, excepting on the feasts of saints, suppresses the angelic canticle, Gloria in excels is Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntaries; for this glorious son was sung at Bethlehem over the crib of the divine Babe; the tongues of the angels are not loosened yet; the Virgin has not yet brought forth her divine Treasure; it is not yet time to sing, it is not even true to say, 'Glory be to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.'
As it is not yet time to sing, not yet time to turn on the Christmas music and celebrate we turn to Helen McLoughlin's book on Family Advent Customs (imprimatur 1954) for more information on Advent music. She says the following: "Mother Church has wisely provided her children with Advent hymns, Favorites are the deeply moving Rorate Coeli, translated "Bedew us, heaven, from above," and "Come, O Come Emmanuel." Our children sing these hymns at school. We have a little pump organ at home which they play. Nothing stimulates family hymn singing so much as an organ. It is a happy adjunct to the home that is a "church in miniature."'
Additional songs that might be added to Advent traditions are O Saviour, Heaven's Portal Rend, Maria Walks Amid the Thorn, Blessed Mother of the Saviour, Ave Maria and the O Antiphons chanted.
The Empty Manger
Another great tradition is the manger or creche. There are all kinds of these wonderful Nativity scenes in many different mediums. I remember after my conversion the shock that the infant Jesus was not in the manger come the beginning of December as I had been use to Him being in my growing up years. When I asked why I was given a simple, He has not yet come! Indeed He hasn't come and it makes a heavy impression on a soul to have that empty manger sitting out just waiting and waiting for Our Saviour, for Christ Our Lord! It happens with some faithful that they increase the characters in the manger scene as that great day approaches. First the animals in the stable, and perhaps Mary and Joseph arrive after their search for a place to receive their Lord and God. Then the angels gather around. As Christmas arrives the Infant is placed in the crib on Christmas morning, sometimes by the youngest child of the family. Then the shepherds arrive to adore our Infant God. On the Feast of the Epiphany the three Kings arrive with their great gifts.
Last year we started a tradition with our children of playing a piece of straw in the manger and/or crib for each good deed they preformed so to make the Infant God's bed soft and comfy for Him on Christmas morning. There is nothing sweeter than to see a little child want to take care of the Infant God!
Helen McLoughlin mentions in her Family Advent Customs book that her children each get their own empty manger made from a cereal box or other similar box. They put the straw in it and fill it up during Advent just as mentioned above. She says "On Christmas each child finds and Infant in his manger, placed on a small table or on a chair beside his bed. Usually it is a tiny doll, beautifully dressed; but one of our children receives a Hummel Infant year after year. This custom, which in no way interferes with the larger manger in the living rom, fills the child with a longing in Advent, and gives him an image of his Redeemer as his first happy glance mornings and his last impression at night during the entire Christmas season."
Keeping Advent Catholic Schedule 2012
Feast of St. Nicholas & Immaculate Conception
Feast of St. Lucy & Guadette Sunday
O Antiphons & Christmas Vigil
We LOVE sharing the faith, and we feel the best way to do that is by sharing reprints of wonderful old books! Please join us this next week in our December Give A Way! Please make sure to share with your friends and family! We wouldn't want anyone to miss out. God bless!
5 copies of Dom Gueranger's Advent Book
from the Liturgical Year set!
3 copies of One Church is Not as Good as Another!
Written by a favorite author of ours, this little book is now back in print thanks to Refuge of Sinners publishing. Rev. Wilfred G. Hurley C.S.P. explains in convincing language that indifferentism, which says: "One church is good as another" is blasphemy and atheism. READ MORE HERE
1 set of Advent Wreath Candles
Do you have your Advent wreath yet, how about candles for this year? Make sure to visit E'clare's Floral Design
if you are in need of a wreath. Then come back here and enter to win a set of candles!
2 copies of Sermons for the Sundays and Feasts of the Year
Not able to make it to mass on Sunday? This little book is the perfect book for your weekly Sunday sermon. And who better to give it than the great Cure d' Ars?!!! A reading for every Sunday in the year along with major feasts. The Cure always has great advice for anyone no matter their state of life. Read the details of the book here!
12 copies of the Liturgical Year Calendar
Have you downloaded your free Liturgical Calendar from Crusader's for Christ yet? If not you might just get one of these beautifully printed versions if you win our GIVEAWAY! They would also make great Christmas gifts! Feel free to print away the FREE download
Two more very short weeks are left until Advent is here! The week of the 25th Sunday After Pentecost brings us just that much closer. The world continues to put out their Christmas decor to celebrate a month early but as Catholics we are busy preparing for Advent, the 4 weeks of waiting for our Lord.
One of the traditions that are used during Advent is the Advent wreath. We will leave it to Helen McLoughlin from her book Family Advent Customs to share with us the history of the Advent wreath: Family Advent Customs
By: Helen McLoughlin
Most popular of the Advent customs handed down to us is the Advent wreath made of ev-ergreens, bound to a circle of wire. German in origin – it was taken, so we are told, from the pagan fire wheel – the wreath represents the cycle of thousands of years from Adam to Christ during which the world awaited the coming of a Redeemer. It also represents the cycle of years since then that we have been waiting His second and final coming in glory. It bears four candles, equally spaced, three pur-ple ones to be lighted on the “penitential” Sun-days, and a pink one for Gaudete, the joyful Sunday in Advent. Candles may be placed in-side or outside the wreath.
Any kind of Christmas wreath such as those hung in windows may be used. It may be set on a kitchen or dining room table, on an end table in the living room, or in a child’s bed-room. However, it is most appealing when suspended by four purple ribbons from a light fixture in the ceiling. The home ceremony for the use of the Advent wreath is simple. It con-sists of the Collects for the Sundays of the season.
To download a free printable brochure on the history of the Advent Wreath, the prayers to be said with it and a brief summary on the Spirit of Advent CLICK HERE
Do you have your Advent wreath yet? My very generous sister-in-law (the youngest of the bunch) whom is also a florist remade mine for me this year. It is pictured below, she is also selling them on her site
if you don't yet have your own. Next Monday join us as we will be giving away a set of Advent candles as ONE of the prizes in our December GIVEAWAY!
This season is full of so many blessings from Holy Mother Church! The posts over the next month will be packed full of information! Not only is it the start of Advent but it is the start of another Liturgical Year within the Church. No one is better qualified to give us an explaination on what that means than the very renowned Dom Guearnger! The writings on this subject is rather long and so you may download the full article in PDF FORM HERE
. Please do read it as it really is worth the time despite its length. He is every so wise in his writings and they provide edification to the soul.
In addition to our giving a way a set of Advent Candles on next weeks GIVE A WAY we are also giving away 5 copies of the first book of the Liturgical Year set! Start out Advent the right way with the first volume of this wonderful work! Visit next Monday for details!
Make sure to visit our Liturgical Year Page
, Liturgical Year Blog Posts
and Liturgical Year Bulletin Board
for more information on the Church's Calender along with projects and activities!GENERAL PREFACELiturgical Year - Advent Impr.1927
Prayer is man’s richest boon. It is his light, his nourishment, and his very life, for it brings him into communication with God, who is light [St. John viii. 12], nourishment [Ibid
. vi. 35], and life [Ibid.
xiv. 6]. But of ourselves we know not what we should pray for as we ought [Rom. viii. 26]; we must needs, therefore, address ourselves to Jesus Christ, and say to Him as the apostles did: ‘Lord, teach us how to pray.’ [St. Luke xi. 1] He alone can make the dumb speak, and give eloquence to the mouths of children; and this prodigy He effects by sending His Spirit of grace and of prayers [Zach. xii. 10], who delights in helping our infirmity, asking for us with unspeakable groanings [Rom. viii. 26].
Now it is in the holy Church that this divine Spirit dwells. He came down to her as an impetuous wind, and manifested Himself to her under the expressive symbol of tongues of fire. Ever since that day of Pentecost, He has dwelt in this His favoured bride. He is the principle of everything that is in her. He it is that prompts her prayers, her desires, her canticles of praise, her enthusiasm, and even her mourning. Hence her prayer is as uninterrupted as her existence. Day and night is her voice sounding sweetly in the ear of her divine Spouse, and her words are ever finding a welcome in His Heart.
At one time, under the impulse of that Spirit, who animated the admirable psalmist and the prophets, she takes the subject of her canticles from the Books of the old Testament; at another, showing herself to be the daughter and sister of the holy apostles, she intones the canticles written in the Books of the new Covenant; and finally, remembering that she, too, has had given to her the trumpet and harp, she at times gives way to the Spirit who animates her, and sings her own new canticle [Ps. cxliii. 9]. From these three sources comes the divine element which we call the liturgy.
The prayer of the Church is, therefore, the most pleasing to the ear and heart of God, and therefore the most efficacious of all prayers. Happy, then, is he who prays with the Church, and unites his own petitions with those of this bride, who is so dear to her Lord that He gives her all she asks. It is for this reason that our blessed Saviour taught us to say our Father, and not my Father; give us, forgive us, deliver us, and not give me, forgive me, deliver me. Hence we find that, for upwards of a thousand years, the Church, who prays in her temples seven times in the day and once again during the night, did not pray alone. The people kept her company, and fed themselves with delight on the manna which is hidden under the words and mysteries of the divine liturgy. Thus initiated into the sacred cycle of the mysteries of the Christian year, the faithful, attentive to the teachings of the Spirit, came to know the secrets of eternal life; and, without any further preparation, a Christian was not unfrequently chosen by the bishops to he a priest, or even a bishop, that he might go and pour out on the people the treasures of wisdom and love, which he had drunk in at the very fountain-head.
For whilst prayer said in union with the Church is the light of the understanding, it is the fire of divine love for the heart. The Christian soul neither needs nor wishes to avoid the company of the Church, when she would converse with God, and praise His greatness and His mercy. She knows that the company of the bride of Christ could not be a distraction to her. Is not the soul herself a part of this Church, which is the bride? Has not Jesus Christ said: ‘Father, may they be one, as We also are one’? [St. John xvii. 11]. And, when many are gathered in His name, does not this same Saviour assure us that He is in the midst of them? [St. Matt. xviii. 20]. The soul, therefore, may converse freely with her God, who tells her that He is so near her; she may sing praise, as David did, in the sight of the angels, [Ps. cxxxvii. 1] whose eternal prayer blends with the prayer which the Church utters in time.
But now for many ages past, Christians have grown too solicitous about earthly things to frequent the holy vigils, and the mystical Hours of the day. Long before the rationalism of the sixteenth century had become the auxiliary of the heresies of that period by curtailing the solemnity of the divine service, the people had ceased to unite themselves exteriorly with the prayer of the Church, except on Sundays and festivals. During the rest of the year, the solemn and imposing grandeur of the liturgy was gone through, and the people took no share in it. Each new generation increased in indifference for that which their forefathers in the faith had loved as their best and strongest food. Social prayer was made to give way to individual devotion. Chanting, which is the natural expression of the prayers and even of the sorrows of the Church, became limited to the solemn feasts. That was the first sad revolution in the Christian world.
But even then Christendom was still rich in churches and monasteries; and there, day and night, was still heard the sound of the same venerable prayers which the Church had used through all the past ages. So many hands lifted up to God drew down upon the earth the dew of heaven, averted storms, and won victory for those who were in battle. These servants of God, who thus kept up an untiring choir that sang the divine praises, were considered as solemnly deputed by the people, which was still Catholic, to pay the full tribute of homage and thanks giving due to God, His blessed Mother, and the saints. These prayers formed a treasury which belonged to all. The faithful gladly united themselves in spirit to what was done. When any affliction, or the desire to obtain a special favour, led them to the house of God, they were sure to hear, no matter at what hour they went, that untiring voice of prayer which was for ever ascending to heaven for the salvation of mankind. At times they would give up their worldly business, and cares, and take part in the Office of the Church, and all still understood, at least in a general way, the mysteries of the liturgy.
Then came the so-called reformation, and at the outset it attacked the very life of Christianity: it would put an end to man’s sacrifice of praise to God. It strewed many countries with the ruins of churches: the clergy, the monks, and virgins consecrated to God were banished or put to death; and in the churches which were spared the divine Offices were not permitted. In other countries, where the persecution was not so violent, many sanctuaries were devastated and irremediably ruined, so that the life and voice of prayer grew faint. Faith, too, was weakened; rationalism became fearfully developed; and now our own age seems threatened with what is the result of these evils - the subversion of all social order.
For, when the reformation had abated the violence of its persecution, it had other weapons wherewith to attack the Church. By these several countries which continued to be Catholic were infected with that spirit of pride which is the enemy of prayer. The modern spirit would have it that prayer is not action; as though every good action done by man were not a gift of God: a gift which implies two prayers, one of petition that it may be granted, and another of thanksgiving because it is granted. There were found men who said: ‘Let us abolish all the festival days of God from the earth’ [Ps. lxxiii. 8]; and then came upon us that calamity which brings all others with it, and which the good Mardochai besought God to avert from his nation, when he said: ‘Shut not, O Lord, the mouths of them that sing to Thee!’ [2 Esther xiii. 17].
Keeping Advent Catholic Schedule for 2012
Jesse Tree, The Empty Manger, Advent Hymns & our December GIVEAWAY!
Feast of St. Nicholas & Immaculate Conception
Feast of St. Lucy & Guadette Sunday
O Antiphons & Christmas Vigil
Although Advent has not started yet, there are Christmas decorations, advertisements and music in all of the stores. It seems every year that this situation comes earlier and earlier. This year I heard Christmas music before All Saint's Day.
In the explanation of the Mass last Sunday, the 23rd After Pentecost, in Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year that Advent use to be more than 4 weeks. Being as such, the world seems to know that it is time to prepare the way for Our Lord's birthday but without Holy Mother church it celebrates without and before preparation for the great feast.
Holy Mother Church, being the teacher of the faithful, is ever wise in giving us a time to prepare for such a holy season as Christmas. Giving us ample time to make ready our souls and also a time for celebration and rejoicing. "By Advent is meant the four weeks before Christmas,' so it says in the book Catholic life, 'appointed by the Church to prepare us for the worthy celebration of our Saviour's birth. We should endeavor by prayer, the practice of virtues, fasting, and a good confession, to have Jesus formed anew in our hearts at this holy season."
Let us follow our guide, Holy Mother Church, and spend Advent as a time of preparation instead of celebration before the grand day of the Birth of Our Lord has come. The next six Monday's will be dedicated to various parts of the Advent season along with the Church's Liturgical Year. Not only is Advent upon us but the start of a new year within the Church. As the beginning of Our Lord's life comes on Christmas Day the beginning of the Church year also comes. After all, the Church Year follows the life of Our Lord.
Several Catholic authors of past suggest that Catholics who follow the Church's Year can not but profit from all the grand lessons it teaches in its midst. As Dom Gueranger says, " Those who have gone bravely forward in the path which, a year since, has opened out to them by holy Church, no, by a happy experience, know that the path most surely leads them to the life of union, where divine charity reigns supreme. Who is there that, with anything like earnestness, has allowed his mind and heart to take an interest in the several liturgical seasons which have been brought before us, and been celebrated by the Church during the past twelve months, has not also felt an immense increase of light imparted to him? Now, light is that indispensable element, which delivers us from the power of darkness, and translates us, by the help of God, into the kingdom of the Son of His love. The work of redemption, which this His beloved Son came down upon earth to accomplish for His Father's glory, could not do otherwise than make progress in those who have, with more or less fervour, entered into the spirit of His Church, during the whole year, that is, from the opening of Advent right up to these the closing days of the sacred cycle. All of us, then, whosoever we may be, should give thanks to this Father of lights, who hath thus made us worthy to be partakers, somewhat at least, of the lot of saints. So, then, all of us, be the share of our participation what it may, must pray that the excellent gift, which has been put into our hearts, may fervently yield itself to the still richer development, which the coming new cycle is intended to produce within us."
Please join us every Monday until Christmas on our little path through Advent and the start of the Liturgical Year. May we all fast well so when Christmas does arrive on December 25th we may all FEAST well! And Feast for the whole season of Christmas as the Church gives it to us.
Keeping Advent Catholic Schedule for 2012
Advent Wreath & Liturgical Year
Jesse Tree, The Empty Manger, Advent Hymns & our December GIVEAWAY!
Feast of St. Nicholas & Immaculate Conception
Feast of St. Lucy & Gaudete Sunday
O Antiphons & Christmas Vigil
Exposition of Christian Doctrine - Worship
By: A Seminary Professor
2. Division of the Ecclesiastical Year
12. What is the ecclesiastical year?
It is the civil year as adapted to the liturgical cycle.
13. Wherein does the ecclesiastical year differ from the civil year?
Like the civil year, the ecclesiastical year comprises 365 days, divided into 52 weeks; but in place of beginning on January 1 and ending with December 31, the ecclesiastical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent and ends with the week following the last Sunday after Pentecost.
14. What is the reason for this difference?
Since Jesus Christ is the universal center of Catholic worship, the Church has desired to make successive events of the Christian year, so many representations of the mysteries referring to our Saviour. Now, Christ was born December 25, and this even had been looked forward to for many ages; His reign will be complete only when on the last day He will solemnly judge the living and the dead. This is why the Church begins the Christian year with the four weeks preceding Christmas, reminding us thereby of the four thousand years, according to the ordinary computation, that preceded the coming of the Savior; and this is why she terminates the year with the last Sunday after Pentecost, on which she reads the Gospel of the general judgement.
15. How may the Christian year be divided?
It may be divided into six parts or seasons: 1st, The season of Advent; 2d, Christmastide: 3d, The season of Septuagesima; 4th, The Lenten season; 5th, the Paschal season; 6th, The season of Pentecost.
3. The Season of Advent
16. What is Advent?
Advent is the time during which the Church prepares for the coming of Jesus Christ, that is, for His birth. Footnote- Advent, from the Latin adventus, coming, arrival. We find a record of the observance of Advent as far back as 380 in canon of the Council of Saragossa but this observance may have been introduced from Rome. In the fifth century, Advent was commonly a period of forty days, like Lent, or even longer, beginning on St. Martin's day, Nov. 11; but Rome subsequently reduced the time to four weeks. "We may therefore consider the present discipline of the observance of Advent," says Dom Gueranger, "as having lasted a thousand years, at least as far as the Church of Rome is concerned."
17. How did the observance of this season originate?
It began officially at Rome, and from Rome was introduced into France in the eighth or ninth century, at the same time with the Roman rite.
18. How long does Advent last?
It begins with the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew (November 30), and includes four Sundays, but not always four complete weeks. These four weeks are symbolical of the four thousand years during which man awaited the coming of the Messiah.
19. What is the spirit animating the Church during the season of Advent?
It is a spirit of penance and of holy longing: of penance, to prepare the way of the Lord in the souls of the faithful; of holy longing to obtain for them the grace of receiving Him worthily.
20. How does the Church manifest her spirit of penance during Advent?
1st. From documents of the sixth century we learn that in France it was customary to prepare for the feast of Christmas by several days' fast. Later on, this practice was extended to the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of each week in Advent, a practice that is still observed in some religious orders. To-day the only fast days of obligation in Advent throughout the Church of the Latin rite are the three Ember days and the Vigil of Christmas.2d. During Advent, except on feasts, violet vestments are used; the Te Deum is omitted from the office of the Matins and the Gloria in excels from the Mass. No flowers are placed on the altar, and the organ is not played, except on the feast days, on the third Sunday of Advent, on the Vigil of Christmas. The solemnizing of marriage during this season is forbidden.
3d. On the first Sunday of Advent, the Church puts before us the though of the last judgment, and on the following Sundays she repeats the exhortations to penance which St. John Baptist addressed to the JEws on the banks of the Jordan.
21. How does the Church manifest her holy longing for the Savior during Advent?
She manifests it, principally during the eight days preceding Christmas, by the antiphons known as the Great O's. They are sung both before and after the Magnificat on these days, and express the desire and the expectation of the just who lived before the coming of the Messiah.
22. Why does the church retain the Alleluia during Advent?
She preserves it as a sign and cry of hope.
23. How many comings of Our Lord does the Church speak of?
She speaks of three; 1st, An historical coming, His birth in the manger; 2d, A spiritual and mystical coming, His coming into our souls either by grace or in holy communion; 3d, His coming in glory, when He will appear at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.
24. What should the though of these three comings inspire us to do?
It should move us to thank Our Lord for His feast coming; to beseech Him to effect the second in our souls, and to prepare us for the last by a life of faith and good works.
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The secular world has Halloween items in stores and even Christmas items at least on the West Coast. The rain has shown up here in Western Oregon and the leaves are all starting to change colors. The beginning of Fall is indeed here, and though the rain has shown up sooner than some of us would have liked we are also joyful that God gives us wonderful things to look forward to during this season of the year.
Today we are sharing a bit about the Church's Liturgical Year. Why is it set up the way that it is? Why is the Liturgical Calendar important to us as Catholics? Why is the calendar made up the way that it is? Our Mother the Church in her wonderful watchfulness over her Faithful children has provided in so many ways and in such a depth that this is a rather breif article of that which guides the Faithful through the life of Christ throughout the whole year. May you have a most blessed Monday!
The Mass -
Highway to Heaven Series
By: Edward A. Fitzpatrick
The Liturgical Year and the Mass
Every Mass is centered around the Consecration. This never changes.The identical words are spoken in the consecration of every Mass that is said. But the character of the Mass we hear on Sundays and holydays changes from day to day. Some parts are omitted, some parts are changed from day to day, some parts change only at certain seasons of the year. It is natural for us to ask why there are these changeable parts.
Ordinary of the Mass
Let us first understand how these changing parts are made clear in the book we will use at Mass – the Missal. If you will take your Missal and examine it, you will find a large section called The Ordinary of the Holy Mass or just the Ordinary of the Mass. This contains those parts of the Mass which do not change or which only change rarely.
If you will look through the Ordinary of the Mass, you will find the Consecration, i.e., the consecration of the bread and wine so that it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. You will notice that it is part of what is called the “Cannon of the Mass.”Canon as used here means rule. It is prescribed. It must be said in this exact form. It includes those absolute essentials of the Mass which Christ included in the First Mass.
Proper of the Season.
If you will look through a complete Missal you will find two sections called The Proper of the Season and The Proper of the Saints. You will notice that these parts are different for each Sunday and weekday. The Proper of the Season and the Proper of the Saints contain the changeable parts of the Mass. These are the parts of the Mass proper or set aside for each day. These parts together with the ordinary of the Mass make up the Mass for a particular day. In a complete Missal the Masses for each day of the year are given. In the Missal on the altar from which the priest reads, all of the Masses are contained. There are also Missals prepared for lay people that contain just the Masses for Sundays and Holydays of obligation. These are called Sunday Missals.
Liturgical Year. In order to understand the changeable parts of the Mass, it is necessary that we know something about the liturgicalyear. This is the year as it is divided by the Church. It has its seasons,and its days are named after some great event in the Life of Christ, of Mary or of the saints, or of the progress of the religious or liturgical season. A Feast is sometimes celebrated on the Sunday following it, and this ois often referred to as a feast within the octave (eight days). The day before a feast is called the vigil of the feast. The vigils of some feasts are fast days, the vigil of Christmas, for example.
Through the liturgical year, we live again the events of the life of Christ and celebrate “by Christ and with Christ, and in Christ,” the mysteries of the redemption of man. And in this way, too, we honor the memory of saints.
Division of Liturgical Year
There is a division of the liturgical year bsed on the two principal events of the Life of Christ:
The Birth of Christ or the Incarnation;
The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.
The divisions of the liturgical year, or cycles, as they are called, centering around these events are:
1.) The Christmas Cycle or the Cycle of the Incarnation.
2.) The Easter Cycle, or the Cycle of the Redemption.
In the celebration of these two great periods of the life of Christ, the Church has divided the cycle into three periods, a period of preparation, a period of the celebration proper, and a continuation (or prolongation) of the celebration for a number of weeks after.
Cycle. The Christmas Cycle or the Cycle of the Incarnation extends over
about twelve Sundays. The liturgical begins on the First Sunday in Advent. This is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. One might think the feast of Christ’s Birth –Christmas itself – should be the beginning of the liturgical year, but we can see how very proper it is to prepare for that great event. We can recall to mind how for centuries the Jews looked forward to the coming of the Messias. During the four weeks of this Advent season we can look forward to His coming or advent.
The celebration of Christmas itself takes up two or three Sundays, ordinarily two. This period extends from December 24 to January 14. This celebrates the appearance of Christ in the world. It is a time of joy because Christ came from heaven and took the form of a human being and dwelt among us This is also called the Epiphany season. “Epiphany” means appearance or manifestation.
The period after the Christmastide which continues the joyful celebration of Christmas includes from one to six Sundays. Instead of being called the Sunday after Christmas, they are called the Sundays after Epiphany.
(Chart of Cycle provided here in book)
As in the Christmas Cycle, so in the Easter Cycle, the time is divided into
three periods: first, preparation second, the celebration proper, and third, the continuation of the celebration. As you know, Easter Sunday falls on a different date each year, but it is always between March 22 and April 25. It is
determined by the position of the moon. Most Missals have calendars which give the date of Easter for many years to come. What is the date of the next
The preparation for Easter (the day of the Resurrection), lasts about nine weeks This time of preparation is subdivided into three parts:
1.) The first part of the period of preparation extends from the first Sunday after the close of the Christmas Cycle, called Septuagesima Sunday, to Ash Wednesday This time itself is called Septuagesima and extends three weeks.
Septuagesima means seventieth, through here it does not have any numerical significance Lent in Latin, is called Quadragesima – fortieth. The Sundays before it are called Quinquagesima (fiftieth), Sexagesima (sixtieth), and Septuagesima (seventieth), though of course, there are only seven days between the Sundays and not ten.
2.) The second part of the period of preparation includes the two Sundays in which Christ’s passion is celebrated, extending to Easter, and is the second part of Lent.
3.) The third part of the period of preparation includes the two Sundays in which Christ’s passion is celebrated, extending to Easter, and is the second part of Lent.
The celebration of the Easter Cycle extends over seven Sundays, from the Resurrection of Christ Himself on Easter Sunday to Trinity Sunday. This period is called the Eastertide. The rest of the liturgical year extends for at least 24 Sundays. It is named from the feast of Pentecost, and the Sundays are called the first or second Sunday after Pentecost, or whatever their number may be. These facts may be briefly summarized in the following chart (shown in the book).
The Visitation of Our Lady
The Liturgical Year - Time After Pentecost Book III
By: Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B.
Our Lady's visit to her cousin Elizabeth already engaged our attention whilst we ewre preparing for the Christmas festival. But it is only fitting to return again to an event so important in our Lady's life; the mere commemoration of this mystery made on Ember-Friday in Advent would be insufficient to bring forward all it contains of deep teaching and holy joy. Since in the course of centuries the holy liturgy has been gaining more and more completeness, it is but natural that this precious mine should come to be further opened in honour of the Virgin Mother. The Order of St. Francis, it would seem, as well as certain particular churches, such as Rheims and Paris for example - had already takne the initiative, when Urban VI, in 1389, instituted to-days' solemnity. The Pope counselled at fast on thevigil of the feast, and ordered that it should be followed by an octave; he granted for its scelebration the same indulgences as Irban IV had, in the previous century, attached to the festival of Corpus Christi. The Bull of promulgation, stopped by the Pontiff's death, was again taken up and published by Boniface IX, his successor on the Chair of Peter.
We learn from the lessons of the Office formerly composed for this feast, that the object of its institution was, a Irban conceived it, to obtain the cessation of the schism then desolating the Church. The Papacy, exiled from Rome for seventy years, had barely re-entered it, when hell, infuriated at a return which crossed all its plans, had taken revenge by ranging under two leaders the flock of the one sheepfold. So deep was the obscurity wherewith miserable intrigues contrived to cover the authority of the legitimate shepherd, that numbers of churches, in all good faith, began to hesitate , and ended at last in prefering the deceptive staff of the hireling. Thicker yet waws the darkness to grow, till night should be so dense, that for a moment the conflicting mandates of three Popes would simultaneously spread through the world; whilst the faithful, struck with stupor, would be at an utter loss to discern accurately which was the voice of Christ's true Vicar. Never had the bride of the Son of God been in a more piteous situation. But our Lady, to whom the true Pontiff had turned at the first rising of the storm, did not betray the Church's confidence. During all those years whilst the unfathomable justice of the Most High let the powers of hell hold sway, she stood for the defence of holy Church, trampling on the head of the old serpent so thoroughly under her victorious foot, that in spite of the terrific confusion he had stirred up, he was unable to sully the faith of the people. Their attachment wa ssteadfast to the unity of the Roman See, whosoever might be, in this uncertainty, its veritable occupant. Thus the West, divided in fact, but in principle ever one and undivided, reunited herself spontaneously as soon as God's moment came for the return of light. The hour having arrived for the Queen of saints to assum the offensive, she would not content herself with merely re-establishing at its former post the army of the elect; Satan now must expiate his audacity by being forced to yield back to holy Church those conquests which for centuries had seemed his for ever. The dragon still raged at Basle, when Florence already beheld the heads of Greek schism, the Armenians and the Ethiopians, the cavillers of Jerusalem, of Syria and of Mesopotamia, all compensating by their unhoped-for adhesion to the Roman Pontiff for the anguish just suffered in the West.
It was now to be shown that such a return of nations, in the very midst even of the tempest, was indeed the work of her who had been called upon by the pilot, half enemy now put to confusion, little ones shall rejoice, all shall be filled with benediction, and Pontiffs shall be perfected. (Ps. cxxxi 8,9, 14-18). Let us join the tribute of our songs to John's exulting gladness, to Elizabeth's sudden exclamations, to Zachary's canticle; therewith let earth re-echo! Thus in bygone days was the ark hailed as it entered the Hebrew camp. Hearing their should, the Philistines learned that help had come from the Lord; and, seized with terror, they groaned aloud saying: "Woe to us; for there was no such great joy yesterday and the day before: woe to us! (I Kings iv 5-8) Verily this day the whole human race, together with John, leaps for joy and shouts with a great shout; verily this day has the old enemy good reason to lament: the heel of the woman (Gen. iii 15), as she stamps him down, makes his haughty head to wince for the first time: andJohn, set free, is hereby the precursor of us all. More happy are we, the new Israel, than was the old, for our glory shall never be taken away; never shall be wrested from us that sacred Ark which has led us dry-shod across the river (Josue iii, iv), and has levelled fortresses to the dust at its approach (Ibid. vi.).
Justly then is this day, whereon an end is put to the series of defeats begun in Eden, the day of new canticles for a new people! Yet who may intone the hymn of triumph but she to whom the victory belongs? "Arise, arise, O Debbora, arise; arise and utter a canticle (Judge. v 12). The valiant men ceased and rested in Israel, until Mary arose, the true Debbora, until a mother arose in Isreal (Ibid. 7). "It is I, it is I, " Saith she, "that will sing to the Lord. I will sing to the Lord the God of Israel (Ibid. 3). I magnify the Lord with me, as saith my grandsire David, and let us extol his Name together (PS. xxxiii 4). My heart hath rejoiced, like that of Anna, in God my Saviour (I Kings iii). For even as in his handmaid Judith, by me he hath fulfilled his mercy (Judit xiii 18), so that my praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever (Ibid. 25, 31; xv II). For mighty is he that hath done great things in me (Exod. xv 2, 3, 11); there is none holy as he (I Kings ii 2). Even as by Ester, he hath throughout all generations saved those who feared him (Esth. ix 28), in the power of his arm (Judith ix 11), he hath turned against the impious one the projects of his own heart, driving proud Aman out of his seat and uplifting the humble; the bow of the mighty is overcome, and the weak are girt with strength; the abundance of them that were rich hath passed to the hungry, and they are filled (I Kings ii 4,5), he hath remembered his people, and hath had pity on his inheritance (Esth, x 12). Such, indeed, was the promise that Adam received and our fathers have handed down unto us: and he hath done to them even as he had promised (Ibid. xiii 15; xiv 5)."
Daughters of Sion and all ye who groan in the thraldom of Satan, the hymn of deliverance has sounded in our land! Following in her train, who beareth within her the pledge of alliance, let us form into choirs; better than Mary, Aaron's sister, and by yet juster title, she leads the concerts of Israel (Exod. xv 20, 21). So sings she on this day of triumph, victorious chants which, in the ages of expectation, preluded this divine canticle of hers. But the past victories of the elect people where but figures of that which is gained by our glorious Queen on this day in her manifestation; for she, beyond Debbora, Judith or Esther, has truly brought about the deliverance of her people; in her mouth the accents of her illustrious predecessors pass from the burning aspiration of the prophetic age to the calm ecstasy which denotes that she is already in possession of the long- expected God,. A new era is fitly inaugurated by sacred chants: divine praise receives from Mary that character which henceforth it is never to lose, even in eternity.
The preceding considerations have been suggested by special motive which led the Church to institute this feast in the fourteenth century. again, in our own day, as Mary shown that this date is indeed for her day of victory. On the second of July, in the year 1849, Rome was restored to the exiled Pontiff Pius IX. But we should far exceed the limits of our present scope, were we to strive to exhaust the teachings of this vast mystery of the Visitation. Besides, some have been already given in our Advent volume; and others more recently on the feast and octave-day of St. John's Nativity. (See the hard copy of the book for Vespers and explanation of the Mass for this day.)