Thought I'd share a portion of our Sunday reading about a tradition for the Feast of the Epiphany. We didn't have time to make a cake today but I'm headed to make some sugar cookies to decorate as stars and crowns :) A blessed Feast day to you all!
Liturgical Year - Christmas Vol. 1
By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
There was another custom which originated in the Ages of Faith, which is still observed in many countries. In honour of the Three Kings, who came from the East to adore the Babe of Bethlehem, each family chose one of its members to be King. The choice was thus made. The family kept a feast, which was an allusion to the third of the Epiphany Mysteries - the Feast of Ana in Galilee - a cake was served up, and he who took the piece which had a certain secret mark was proclaimed the King of the day. Two portions of the cake were reserved for the poor, in whom honour was thus paid to the Infant Jesus and his Blessed other; for on this Day of the triumph of him who, though King, was humble and poor, it was fitting that the poor should have a share in the general joy. The happiness of home was here, as in many other instances, blended with the sacredness of Religion. This custom of King's Feast brought relations and friends together, and encouraged feelings of kindness and charity. Human weakness would sometimes, perhaps, show itself during these hours of holiday-making; but the idea and sentiment and spirit of the whole feast was profoundly Catholic, and that was sufficient guarantee to innocence.
King's Feast is still a Christmas joy in thousands of families; and happy those where it is kept in the Christian spirit which first originated it! For the last three hundred years, a puritanical zeal has decried these simple customs, wherein the seriousness of religion and the home enjoyments of certain Festivals were blended together. The traditions of Christian family rejoicing have been blamed under pretexts of abuse; as though a recreation, in which religion had no share and no influence, were less open to intemperance and sin! Others have pretended (though with little or no foundation) that the Twelfth Cake and the custom of choosing a King are mere imitations of the ancient pagan Saturnalia. Granting this to be correct (which it is not), we would answer that many of the old pagan customs have undergone a Christian transformation, and no one thinks of refusing to accept them thus purified. All this mistaken zeal has produced the sad effect of divorcing the Church from family life and customs, or excluding every religious manifestation from our traditions, and of bringing about what is so pompously called (through the word is expressive enough) the secularization of society.
"If you adore God without presenting
Him some offering, your devotion is false."
- St. Chrysostom
From Catholic Life, 1908
The word "Epiphany" means manifestation, and is given to the feast because on that day our Lord manifested Himself to the Gentiles through the wise men. The Gospel thus relates the fact: "When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of King Herod, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and are come to adore Him. And Herod, hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And
assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him, In
Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet, and thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda;
for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel.
Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; and sending them into Bethlehem, said, go, and diligently inquire after the Child; and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother; and, falling down, they adored Him; and, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts- gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And, having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their own country" (Matt. ii. 1-12).
We may learn many useful lessons from this day's Gospel: First, that when the ministers of God do not practice what they preach, we are, nevertheless- in imitation of the Wise Men - to walk by the lights they give us, without heeding their example. Second, that a great many are backward in going to Christ and embracing His truths, biased by the consideration of interest, reputation, dependence, human respect, and other
private or human motives. The great remedy for these is to imitate the manly faith of the Magi, and to keep our hearts, like them, detached from perishable things - wealth, pleasures, popularity, etc.. The offerings of the Kings were symbolical. The gold showed that our Lord was a King; the incense declared His Divinity, and the myrrh his humanity.
They were also typical of the virtues which we ought to offer our Blessed Saviour - viz., charity, typified by the gold; prayer, by the incense; and mortification, by the myrrh. Mortification is a chief means for acquiring control of our unruly passions. What the spur and reins are to a skillful rider, mortification is to a zealous Christian.
On this feast we ought - (1) To thank God for calling us, through our ancestors, out of His pure mercy to the faith of Christ. (2) To adore Jesus Christ with the Wise Men, and to offer Him a sacrifice of our goods, by alms; of our hearts, by prayer; and of our evil inclinations by mortification. (3) To beg pardon for the many times we have neglected God's inspirations and followed the suggestions of interest, passion, and self love. (4) To resolve, in spite of all worldly arguments to the contrary, to follow courageously and readily the lights of faith, the directions of our spiritual guides, and the inspirations of Almighty God, begging grace to do so. (5) To pray for the conversion of all who are still in the darkness of vice, error, or infidelity.We can become stars to lead the Gentiles yet in darkness to Christ, by contributing regularly to the funds of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood. The latter gives even to children an opportunity of doing apostolic work. If we knew the trials and difficulties experienced by missionaries in pagan countries, deprived of the ordinary resources of civilized life, we should be much more generous and more zealous in interesting others in the noble work.
"Oh, may His bright star
Of Faith beam afar,
And pierce the deep gloom of the night,
To bring, as of yore,
Wise men to adore,
The Christ-Child, the Fountain of Light!"
Example. - The Martyrs of Japan
In 1612 an English captain named William Adams, moved by hatred to Catholic priests, and by his national animosity to Spain, persuaded the Emperor of Japan that, under colour of religious zeal, the Jesuits were in reality emissaries of a hostile power, whose object was the conquest of Japan. The long-threatening storm then burst forth. The scenes that Rome had witnessed in the heroic age of the early Church were now acted afresh.
At Arima, where the persecution was fiercest, amoung many other glorious martyrs was a little Christian child named Thomas, who's father had just been beheaded for the Faith, and who was condemned to the same fate. He had shouted with delight on hearing the sentence, and on account of his tender years the executioner led him by the hand to the place of death. Here the child knelt down by the side of his father's mutilated body, calmly bared his neck, and clasped hands and cast-down eyes waited for the fatal
stroke. Three soldiers, one after another, attempted to execute the sentence, but each one in turn burst into tears and cast away his sword. At
length a slave was found, who literally hacked the child to pieces, but not even a sigh of pain escaped from the lips of the youthful martyr. Civandono, King of Bongo, being urged to renounce the Faith, made the following noble and solemn protest:
"I swear in Your presence, O Almighty God, that if all the Jesuits, by who's ministry You have called me to Christianity, should renounce their own teaching, and even if I were assured that all the Christians of Europe had denied Your Name, I would still confess, acknowledge, and adore You as the One, True, Almighty God of the Universe, and this even at the cost of my life."
Winners of our 12 Days of Christmas book Give-A-Ways
You all have been waiting very patiently to see who won the great books put out by Refuge of Sinner's Publishing! How I wish to be able to give you all these gems but such as it is we are limited to these few for the time being. Below you will find the winners of our give-a-way, winners have already been notified by email. All winners were randomly selected for Rafflecopter. If you see your name here and no email please contact me as sometimes emails end up in spam folders, though names are provided as they were entered into Rafflecopter and we will use email addresses (also provided) to identify the winner. The winners will also be displayed on the individual give-a-way posts in the Rafflecopter entry form.
Please also make sure to visit our friends over at Crusaders for Christ on this feast of the Epiphany, they have a WONDERFUL blog post on customs in the home
for this day and also a wonderful post of a sermon
also for this feast... and of course coloring pages
May you all have a most blessed Feast of the Epiphany!Winner of the Suprise Pack with the 3 Gifts in honour of the 3 Magi!
Michelle Winner of the Children's Pack!
Missy Farber Winner of the St. Anthony Coloring book and Children’s book
Tiffany Ghigliotti Winner of the Anecdotes & Examples Book
Tina Winner of the 10 Commandments Book
Alexandra Winners of the Pictorial Lives of the Saints Book
Leah Winner of the Liturgical Year Book- Christmas vol. 1
Jennifer CopeWinner of the True Mirror of Womanhood
Michelle Hand 3 Winners of One Church is Not as Good as Another
Nikki J 3 Winners of the Wonders of the Holy Name
Ann Marie 3 Winners for the Novena for Conversions
Happy Feast of the Epiphany!
Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. , at sacred-texts.com
January 6.—THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD.
THE word Epiphany means "manifestation," and it has passed into general acceptance throughout the universal Church, from the fact that Jesus Christ manifested to the eyes of men His divine mission on this day first of all, when a miraculous star revealed His birth to the kings of the East, who, in spite of the difficulties and dangers of a long and tedious journey through deserts and mountains almost impassable, hastened at once to Bethlehem to adore Him and to offer Him mystical presents, as to the Ding of kings, to the God of heaven and earth, and to a Man withal feeble and mortal. The second manifestation was when, going out from the waters of the Jordan after having received Baptism from the hands of St. John, the Holy Ghost descended on Him in the visible form of a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." The third manifestation was that of His divine power, when at the marriage-feast of Cana He changed the water into wine, at the sight whereof His disciples believed in Him. The remembrance of these three great events, concurring to the same end, the Church has wished to celebrate in one and the same festival.
Reflection.—Admire the almighty power of this little Child, Who from His cradle makes known His coming to the shepherds and magi—to the shepherds by means of His angel, to the magi by a star in the East. Admire the docility of these kings. Jesus is born; behold them at His feet? Let us be little, let us hide ourselves, and the divine strength will be granted to us. Let us be docile and quick in following divine inspirations, and we shall then become wise of the wisdom of God, powerful in His almighty power.