Blog Post - December 25th

Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord| S. Anastasia| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection


Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Both Calendars

On this day the Church focuses especially on the newborn Child, God become human, who embodies for us all the hope and peace we seek. We need no other special saint today to lead us to Christ in the manger, although his mother Mary and Joseph, caring for his foster-Son, help round out the scene.

But if we were to select a patron for today, perhaps it might be appropriate for us to imagine an anonymous shepherd, summoned to the birthplace by a wondrous and even disturbing vision in the night, a summons from an angelic choir, promising peace and goodwill. A shepherd willing to seek out something that might just be too unbelievable to chase after, and yet compelling enough to leave behind the flocks in the field and search for a mystery.

On the day of the Lord’s birth, let’s let an unnamed, “un-celebrity” at the edge of the crowd model for us the way to discover Christ in our own hearts—somewhere between skepticism and wonder, between mystery and faith. And, like Mary and the shepherds, let us treasure that discovery in our hearts.

Comment:

The precise dating in this passage sounds like a textbook on creationism. If we focus on the time frame, however, we miss the point. It lays out the story of a love affair: creation, the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, the rise of Israel under David. It climaxes with the birth of Jesus. From the beginning, some scholars insist, God intended to enter the world as one of us, the beloved people. Praise God!

Merry Christmas to you and your love ones.

May this season be a joyous time for all of you and filled with the spirit of the season which is the Incarnation of Christ who came into the world to save us from our sins.

HE IS our Lord and Savior.

Thank You Jesus for your sacrifice to save us from our sins.







From a Sermon presented on Christmas Morning by Saint Thomas Becket, 1170, Cathedral of Canterbury

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’


The fourteenth verse of the second chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.



Dear children of God, my sermon this morning will be a very short one.


I wish only that you should ponder and meditate the deep meaning and mystery of our masses of Christmas Day. For whenever Mass is said, we re-enact the Passion and Death of Our Lord; and on this Christmas Day we do this in celebration of His Birth. So that at the same moment we rejoice in His coming for the salvation of men, and offer again to God His Body and Blood in sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.


It was in this same night that has just passed, that a multitude of the heavenly host appeared before the shepherds at Bethlehem, saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’; at this same time of all the year that we celebrate at once the Birth of Our Lord and His Passion and Death upon the Cross.


Beloved, as the World sees, this is to behave in a strange fashion. For who in the World will both mourn and rejoice at once and for the same reason? For either joy will be overborne by mourning, or mourning will be cast out by joy; so it is only in these our Christian mysteries that we can rejoice and mourn at once for the same reason.


‘But think for a while on the meaning of this word ’peace.’ Does it seem strange to you that the angels should have announced Peace, when ceaselessly the world has been stricken with War and the fear of War? Does it seem to you that the angelic voices were mistaken, and that the promise was a disappointment and a cheat?


Reflect now, how Our Lord Himself spoke of Peace. He said to His disciples ‘My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.’ Did He mean peace as we think of it: the kingdom of England at peace with its neighbours, the barons at peace with the King, the householder counting over his peaceful gains, the swept hearth, his best wine for a friend at the table, his wife singing to the children?


Those men His disciples knew no such things: they went forth to journey afar, to suffer by land and sea, to know torture, imprisonment, disappointment, to suffer death by martyrdom. What then did He mean? If you ask that, remember then that He said also, ‘Not as the world gives, give I unto you.’ So then, He gave to His disciples peace, but not peace as the world gives.


Consider also one thing of which you have probably never thought. Not only do we at the feast of Christmas celebrate at once Our Lord’s Birth and His Death: but on the next day we celebrate the martyrdom of His first martyr, the blessed Stephen. Is it an accident, do you think, that the day of the first martyr follows immediately the day of the Birth of Christ?


By no means. Just as we rejoice and mourn at once, in the Birth and in the Passion of Our Lord; so also, in a smaller figure, we both rejoice and mourn in the death of martyrs. We mourn, for the sins of the world that has martyred them; we rejoice, that another soul is numbered among the Saints in Heaven, for the glory of God and for the salvation of men.


Beloved, we do not think of a martyr simply as a good Christian who has been killed because he is a Christian: for that would be solely to mourn. We do not think of him simply as a good Christian who has been elevated to the company of the Saints: for that would be simply to rejoice: and neither our mourning nor our rejoicing is as the world’s is. A Christian martyrdom is no accident.


Saints are not made by accident. Still less is a Christian martyrdom the effect of a man’s will to become a Saint, as a man by willing and contriving may become a ruler of men. Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence. It is the action of impurity upon impurity.


Not so in Heaven. A martyr, a saint, is always made by the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. A martyrdom is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, not lost it but found it, for he has found freedom in submission to God.


The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom. So thus as on earth the Church mourns and rejoices at once, in a fashion that the world cannot understand; so in Heaven the Saints are most high, having made themselves most low, seeing themselves not as we see them, but in the light of the Godhead from which they draw their being.


I have spoken to you today, dear children of God, of the martyrs of the past, asking you to remember especially our martyr of Canterbury, the blessed Archbishop Elphege; because it is fitting, on Christ’s birth day, to remember what is that Peace which He brought; and because, dear children, I do not think I shall ever preach to you again; and because it is possible that in a short time you may have yet another martyr, and that one perhaps not the last.


I would have you keep in your hearts these words that I say, and think of them at another time. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.




December 25th

Latin Calendar

St. Anastasia: The Other Christmas Miracle

Merry Christmas to one and all. And Happy St. Anastasia’s feast day!

Every day of the Christian liturgical calendar is dedicated either to a saint or to an event or aspect of Christ or His ministry.

Christmas Day is obviously dedicated to His Incarnation. However, unbeknownst to many people, the second Mass of Christmas morning is traditionally dedicated to someone other than Christ.

St. Anastasia of Sirmium, also known as St. Anastasia the Pharmakolytria or "Deliverer from Poisons,” not to be mistaken for 8th-9th century St. Athanasia of Aegina, died on Christmas Day, AD 304 at Sirmium in modern-day Serbia.

Precious little is known of her with any historical certainty but the Church teaches that her veneration was widespread in the first few centuries of the first Christian millennium. In fact, she is one of seven women, in addition to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

St. Anastasia was a thaumaturge, a healer and an exorcist.

Though she was Roman, her name is Greek and means “Resurrection.” She died during the Diocletian Persecution.

Anastasia was the daughter of yet another saint―St. Fausta of Sirmium. Her father was Praetextatus, a pagan Roman nobleman. Her mother had her daughter secretly baptized as an infant. St. John Chrysogonus was her teacher.

After her saintly mother died, Anastasia's father gave her in marriage to the pagan Publius. Despite being married, she preserved her virginity.

She would visit Christians in prison to feed and heal them. When possible, she would ransom them. Unfortunately, her servant betrayed her to Publius. Her husband, in turn, beat her and imprisoned her in their house. After he died on a diplomatic mission to Persia, Anastasia gave away her possessions to the poor and set out to find her mentor, St. John Chrysogonus, in Aquileia. However, by that time, St. Chrysogonus had been interrogated by Diocletian, who then beheaded him.

After his death, St. Chrysogonus appeared to a priest named Zoilus. He told him where to find his relics and foretold the martyrdoms of Sts. Agape, Chione and Irene. He asked Fr. Zoilus to send St. Anastasia to the three imprisoned sisters to encourage them. She visited them in prison nine days before they were tortured and killed. Anastasia subsequently gave the three sisters a proper Christian burial.

Anastasia went from city to city, visiting imprisoned Christians healing and instructing them in the Faith.

The Prefect of Illyricum arrested Anastasia for daring to be Christian and tried to convert her to paganism. Anastasia told him she preferred torture and death. The Prefect handed her over to the pagan priest Ulpian in Rome, who threatened her again. Again, she preferred to embrace death in Christ rather than worldly riches.

Ulpian gave her three days to reconsider his offer. He tried to seduce her but when he touched her, he was struck blind and collapsed with a severe headache. His followers carted him to the local pagan temple where he died in agony.

St. Anastasia continued her apostolate of healing and feeding imprisoned Christians with her friend St. Theodota. When the later was martyred, Anastasia was caught by the pagan authorities once again. She was condemned to being starved for 60 days however, St. Theodota visited her in prison and brought food for her.

When the pagan judge found out that St. Anastasia hadn’t suffered, let alone died, he ordered her and other Christians into a leaky boat pushed into middle of a deep lake. But St. Theodota, once again, saved the day by appearing and steering their boat to shore. On shore, 120 pagans were so shocked at the miracle, they immediately asked St. Anastasia to baptize them.

She escaped to the island of Palmaria where she was caught once again. She was staked to the ground, burned alive and then beheaded. The martyr’s body was interred in the house which had belonged to St. Apollonia, the martyr who was tortured by having her teeth pulled out, which was, by then, a meeting place for Christians.

St. Donatus of Zadar collected her relics from Constantinople and brought them to Zadar around the time of St. Charlemagne’s reign. Her relics now rest in the Cathedral of St. Anastasia in Zadar, Croatia.

Later, some of her relics were transferred to the Monastery of St. Anastasia near Mount Athos in Greece.

St. Anastasia is the patron saint of martyrs, weavers and those suffering from the effects of poison.

Though we don’t know a great deal about her, Anastasia must have been an incredibly holy woman to share top billing with the Redeemer Himself on His birthday. This honor alone should give us pause. This was a holy woman who inspires Christians even to this day.

Merry Christmas to one and all. And Happy St. Anastasia’s feast day!


Daily Meditation

Holy People:

All my life I had known good Christians: nice, solid, dependable people. But in the Catholic Church, I started meeting people who were not just "good"; they were also holy.


Quote by S. Padre Pio:

When one fights along with Jesus, how can one have any doubt about winning? Is not our God stronger than all the others?

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook Six: 327-365


We enter, now, the last of the six notebooks that Saint Faustina filled with revelations from our Lord about His unfathomable and perfect Mercy. At this point, the Message of Mercy should be clear and evoking of a deep trust in the incomprehensible love of God. All that has been shared to this point reveals that God is relentless in His pursuit of you, seeking only to love you unconditionally and to draw you into His glorious life for all eternity.


The greatest obstacle to this call to holiness is sin. But it is abundantly clear that sin is no match for the Mercy of God. His Mercy dispels your sin in an instant, disposing of your past errors forever. God’s only desire is the present moment, for in this present moment He comes to you, descending from the heights of Heaven, entering into the inner core of your soul so as to form a perfect communion with you, lifting you up to share in His divine life.


This final notebook will be reflected upon as a summary of all that has been reflected upon thus far. Just like the reflections on the first notebook, the reflections for this notebook will be short and to the point. Once you finish this chapter you are invited to return to it often as a way of quickly and easily reminding yourself of the abundant Mercy of God. The Lord’s love is perfect in every way. Allow Him to speak this truth to you with clarity and conviction.


Reflection 359: The Love of Eternity


With God there is no time. Time is strictly an earthly phenomenon. In God, all things are, always were and always will be. One effect of this eternal love is that God has loved you for all eternity. He has known you even before the foundation of the world and will know and love you forevermore. This all-encompassing love should give you great comfort. There never was a time that God did not perfectly love you and there never will be a time when His love fails. God’s love is eternal, and it is offered before you were created, every second of your life, and for eternity and beyond (See Diary #1754).


Ponder eternity today. Though it’s possible to understand what eternity means, it’s impossible to comprehend its depths. Ponder also the simple fact that God’s love is eternal. For that reason, the same truth applies. You can understand that God’s love is eternal, but you will never comprehend the depths of God’s love. This is very comforting to know.


God of Eternity, I thank You for Your perfect love and for its infinite nature and depth. May I spend my eternity plunging into this love, never growing weary of receiving it and becoming more immersed in its beauty. Jesus, I trust in You.

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