Showing posts from December, 2012

The End of the Year

December 31, 2012 - the conclusion of another Year of Our Lord.  Too often we - I - tend to focus on what's going wrong day-by-day, what do I need to fix, what has to be dealt with, etc.  For a while I tried to start the habit of every evening, before I went to bed, thinking of at least a few things that could be categorized as positives for the day.  Frequently my roommate and I would get loaded down with stress and our conversation before bed was filled with complaining or venting or worrying.  It really helped the few times that we remembered to talk about something cheerful before we went to sleep.  I need to start that habit again!  At any rate, at this end of the year, before I have to start worrying about everything in the next year, I'll try and list the good things that happened to me this year, and why they were good!  Deo gratias!

These are in no particular order.

1. Got my first real jobs - McAlister's Deli as a waitress and MISO in IT Compliance.  I had good cow…

A Poem for New Year's Eve



Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow,
And tread softly, and speak low,
For the Old Year lies a-dying.
    Old Year, you must not die;
    You came to us so readily,
    You lived with us so steadily,
    Old Year, you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true, true love,
And the New Year will take'em away.
    Old Year, you must not go;
    So long as you have been with us,
    Such joy as you have seen with us,
    Old Year, you shall not go.

He frothed his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But though his eyes are waxing dim,
And though his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
    Old year, you shall not die;
    We did so laugh and cry with you.
    I've half a mind to die with you,
    Old Year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all …

Divine Intimacy: Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

"O gentle pilgrim of love, You stand at the door and wait!  How many doors in Bethlehem were closed to You: there was no room for You except in a wretched stable.  And is not my heart still more wretched, more squalid, more unworthy of you than that poor stable?  And yet, if I open it to You, You will not disdain to make it Your dwelling and the place of Your repose, as You did the stable where You were born.  O my Jesus, give me the grace to open my heart wide to You, to adhere with all the strength of my will to Your grace, to give You all my liberty, because henceforth I desire but one liberty: the liberty to love You with all my strength, to give myself wholly to You.  O Lord, how much You have loved us, and how few are those that love You!  Grant that at least these few may be truly faithful to You, and that I also may be of their number."

Prayer Requests

I know I promised to post something for each of the twelve days of Christmas.  Unfortunately, I'm too tired and drained tonight to write anything coherent or remotely inspirational.  I ask you, though, for prayers for two of my relatives.

One, an uncle, fought an infection earlier in the year and lost part of his foot - he's now battling a second infection and was taken to the hospital again this afternoon.  Pray that he recovers quickly with no serious consequences.

The second, my great-grandmother/great-aunt (yeah, my family tree resembles spaghetti sometimes) who is very elderly and seems to be nearing the end.  Prayers for her salvation (she's not Catholic) and for a peaceful death.

God's will be done.  Deus lo vult!

And just because I feel like it - VIVA CHRISTO REY!!!!  VIVA!!!

Here, have some more art...

I was having way too much fun poking around on  So here are some more paintings of the Nativity! 

[caption id="attachment_707" align="aligncenter" width="488"] Birth of Christ, Tondo - Pietro Perugino[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_708" align="aligncenter" width="338"] Birth of Christ - Albrecht Durer[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_709" align="aligncenter" width="365"] The Birth of Jesus - Cornelis de Vos[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_710" align="aligncenter" width="478"] The Adoration of the Shepherds - Hugo van der Goes[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_711" align="aligncenter" width="199"] Adoration of the Shepherds - El Greco[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_712" align="aligncenter" width="407"] Adoration of the Shepherds - Rembrandt[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_713"…

Art for Christmas

There are so many lovely paintings of the Nativity out there that it was very, very hard to choose just a few.  So, I picked some that I was familiar with, and some new ones that I just discovered.  Enjoy!

As a side note, is a wonderful resource for art.  Click on the pictures here and (hopefully, if I've done the hyperlinks right!) you'll get to larger pictures of the artwork and information about the artist.

[caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Nativity with the Torch - Le Nain brothers[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The Nativity of Christ - Vladimir Borovikovsky[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="329"] The Nativity - Giorgio Vasari[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_696" align="aligncenter" width="287"] The Nativity - Arthur Hughes[/caption]


Divine Intimacy

My favorite Christmas gift of 2012 - although closely rivaled by the shiny new Leatherman tool - was a book I've been coveting for many a year.  My sisters each received a copy for graduation and both of my parents own it, so it's been on my Christmas and birthday wishlists for a long time.  Actually, my Sister's convent uses it for their daily meditation.  It is Divine Intimacy:Meditations on the Interior Life for every day of the Liturgical Year by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Divine Intimacy is set up on the old liturgical calendar (which means I'll have to pay attention to the moveable days!) which has so much richness in its feasts and Scripture.  For each day, there are three parts.  First, a few sentences to help one put one's mind and heart in the presence of God.  This always fits with the theme or season.  Then, a "meditation" in two parts (in case you're one of those people who are better than I and do spiritual reading twice …

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

Here is part of an article written by Father Edward T. Dowling, S.J. 
I’m sure you have all heard the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with its haunting melody. The carol dates back to the 16th century and its precise author is unknown. It has generally been assumed to consist of twelve nonsense verses built around a pretty melody. But in a fascinating article in Our Sunday Visitor (12/20/92), Fr. Gilhooley, a chaplain at St. Mary’s College, informs us that the carol was written by the English Jesuits of the 16th century as a catechetical device and it is far from filled with nonsensical verses.
The carol is akin to the apocalyptic literature of Scripture that used obscure symbols to hide its true meaning from the enemy in time of persecution. To understand the background that gave rise to the carol, let us look briefly at the history of Catholicism in 16th century England.
When Henry VIII was rebuffed by Rome in his bid to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn…

Christmas Ramblings

For me, Mass last night and this morning looked similar to this:

And for some, it may have looked closer to this:

But many went to church like this:

And this:

Let us remember, as through liturgy, song and prayers we give holy praise and share our sacred joy, that we are blessed even in this increasingly godless society we in America are still able to worship freely.  All of us went to Mass last night or this morning with little difficulty, although perhaps it meant waiting for a snow storm to pass or dragging along unwilling family members.  But we didn't have to prepare to go to Mass by checking our pockets for metal, by passing through streets of a city that would gladly stamp us off the earth, by walking near armed guards there to protect us against the deadly persecution of our neighbors.

Christ did not enter a world that was prepared to receive Him.  No one had planned to come to the crib; not one who approached the manger that night was dressed for the entrance of a King into the…

Poetry for Christmas

Merry Christmas!  No, I'm not blogging on Christmas Day!  This post was written and scheduled a week or so ago.  today I'm too busy singing at Mass, enjoying lunch and presents with the family, and waiting for Sister Michael Joseph to call from the convent.  I hope you have a happy and blessed Christ-Mass!  More posts to come soon.  In the mean time, enjoy some Christmas poems by a few famous poets.


There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul sta…

Home for Christmas

We're in the last days of Advent, now.  Christmas is getting so close - another Christmas, another memory of the birth of a God, and another look forward to the end of the world.  Since the feast of the great St. John the Baptist in June, the earth has been growing cold and dark, the days becoming shorter.  We feel the lack of the sun.  Christ in His mercy comes when all is most dark, bringing natural and eternal light.

Christmas and Easter are the two great holidays, but Easter is by far the greater in the role that it played in the drama of salvation history.  The Passion really is a drama, isn't it?  What a plot filled with intensity - trust, betrayal, redemption, true love, sacrifice, murder, all on a scale grand beyond conception.  The play is filled with characters of every ilk, men and women great and little.  If you try to look back and see the big picture, to step out of it and envision the drama it really is, the image is quite staggering.

As I was saying, Easter is th…

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Jesus' Infancy and Hidden Life

II. The Mysteries of Jesus’ Infancy and Hidden Life
The preparations
522      The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant.”195 He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming. (711, 762)
523St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 “Prophet of the Most High,” John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”198 Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his pre…

December 19 - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

"Ensign of the people" refers to Isaiah 11:10.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an ensign is "1.  a flag that is flown (as by a ship) as the symbol of nationality and that may also be flown with a distinctive badge added to its design; 2. a: a badge of office, rank, or power, b: emblem, sign."  The Savior Who comes to Israel is of the lineage of Jesse, the father of David - He will be of the royal house, a King among kings who will recognize His superior glory.  More than this, he will be raised above the people as the emblem of His own kingdom; the Cross, high above the multitude of the Jews, will be the badge of office, the s…


I just read a news report here about a little premature baby, born at 23 weeks.  The doctors were debating about whether or not to save her; apparently the decision rested on whether or not she would be "viable".  The deciding factor on her "viability" would be weight: if on a scale she registered 1 pound, the doctors considered it worthwhile to try and save her.

Now, get this.  One pound would denote that this infant was worth spending effort to save, because only at one pound would she survive.  The little girl, when weighed, was just barely at 1 pound.  She survived, now weighs 5 1/2 pounds, and is discharged from the hospital because she is doing so well.

Later, the doctors discovered that in reality, the infant had only weighed .84 pounds or 13 ounces.  A pair of scissors had accidentally been left on the scale, adding that .16 pounds that made the difference between a fight to save a life or a passive death.

Since when does an arbitrary assessment of weight give…

December 18 - O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

With outstretched arms - for how else would He redeem us, but by stretching out His arms on the Cross?  This is the same God of the Old Testament, the "I Am" who spoke to Moses from the bush that burned but did not turn to ash - the God Who would be crucified but return from the dead.  The Jews never spoke the sacred name of God, but frequently called Him Adonai, Lord.  Emmanuel Who is coming to redeem us as a small child with arms outstretched to hold the whole world in love from His manger - this is Adonai.  It is hard to see the ruler of Israel and the King of the World in this fragile infant, yet this is Adonai!

Fr. Z's commentary here and here.
O come, O come, t…

December 17 - O Sapientia

Today's antiphon follows in Latin and English:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. 
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.
One of the things I learned about in Old Testament this semester, from my professor who is such a genius with Scriptural exegesis, was the understanding throughout the OT of the doctrine of the Trinity.  This "Wisdom", here presented coming from the mouth of the Most High, is developed throughout the wisdom literature as being another person; in Proverbs, we see Wisdom descending to earth and dwelling among men, preaching judgment and salvation (Prov. 1), and being the first act of God and creator with God (Prov. 8, 22-31).

The virtue of prudence, which we ask for in this antiphon, is the fundamental virtue; it is …

O Antiphons

Today begins the last countdown to Christmas!  Over the next seven days, the Church presents us with a brief prayer for the coming of the Messiah, each prayer dwelling on a different attribute or aspect of Christ.  The following is from a web page by Fr. Z  and gives the best general explanation of these prayers.  Come, Lord Jesus!!

The O Antiphons developed during the Church's very first centuries. The writer Boethius (+525) mentions them. By the 8th century they were in use in Rome. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours or older Roman Breviary, which clerics, religious, consecrated virgins, and others use for daily prayer.
The O Antiphons are short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 when coming visit to Elizabeth her cousin the Virgin praised God for His favor wondrous deeds. The Magnif…