“It is only natural that the Church rejoice as it contemplates the modest home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We read in the hymn from Matins on the feast of the holy Family: ‘It is pleasing to recall the humble house of Nazareth and its slender resources. It is pleasing to tell again in son Jesus’ hidden life. Jesus grows up in hidden seclusion, to be trained in Joseph’s unpretentious trade. The loving mother sits beside her dear Son, the good wife by her husband, content if her loving attention can ease and comfort them in their weariness.’”—St Josemaria Escriva, “Marriage: a Christian Vocation”, Christ is Passing By.
“Through the Incarnation of our Lord in her immaculate womb, Mary, the Daughter of God the Father, is also the Spouse of God the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God the Son.”—St Josemaria Escriva, “Mother of God and Our Mother”, Friends of God.
Here we are within the Octave of Christmas and we find ourselves confronted with the brutality of King Herod. Having been told by three visiting stargazers that a king had been born in his territory, he could not allow there to be one such as this to be raised in opposition. So, he called for mass infanticide.
Fortunately the Holy Family had been warned not to stay – and were on their way to Egypt into exile. But for how many parents was there heartache to come? We may never know how many, but we do know that although they did not have tongues to say so, they were dying for Christ.
Holy Innocents, first martyrs of Christ, pray for us.
The first of the Great O Antiphons1 today gives us the sign that in Advent we are drawing closer to Christmas.
Looking at today’s Antiphon, O Wisdom, we find a translation
O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come, and teach us the way of prudence.2
Prudence is not something we hear about very often, it’s not a word that I encounter on the streets of the city. Yet it is one that would be useful for us all to remember. Prudence is ‘the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.’
I pray that we all will use the reasoning that our God gave us, as we discern our paths in life.
1. Fr William Saunders gives some background to them in his article reproduced on Catholic Education Resource Center.
Today’s Feast which is commonly called ‘of the Miraculous Medal’, commemorates the manifestation of the Immaculate Virgin Mary to St Catherine Labouré DC. Our Blessed Lady showed St Catherine the pattern of a medal, that has worked many miracles since.
An English translation of the Collect at Mass is
O Lord Jesus Christ, who wast pleased that the most Blessed Virgin Mary Thy Mother, immaculate from her first conception, should shine resplendent with miracles beyond number: grant, that, ever imploring her patronage, we may attain the joys of everlasting life: Who livest and reignest….
As children of Mary, like St Catherine Labouré, we all should remember that Our Lady was given to us as our mother by Our Blessed Lord on the Cross. Jesus said to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own. (John 19.27) His Mother became Mother of the Church.
A practice recommended by many confessors is to consecrate oneself to Our Lady. One prayer whereby we can do this is by saying the prayer below. Any priest will be able to bless the medal and invest you with it using the prayers from the Roman Ritual. After this you may wish to consecrate yourself to Our Lady.
Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
O virgin mother of God, Mary immaculate, we dedicate and consecrate ourselves to you under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
May this medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your affection for us and a constant reminder of our duties towards you. Ever while wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your son.
O most powerful Virgin, mother of our saviour, keep us close to you every moment of our lives. Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death; so that, in union with you, we may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. (say this line three times)
When we hear of an Epistle to the Corinthians, most people will instinctively think of the St Paul the Apostle’s Epistles that are in the Canon of the New Testament, however epistles were being sent from many early Christian leaders to each other all over the known Christian world. This continues to this day, in each diocese all over the world, bishops can and do send pastoral letters to their flocks.
Today we celebrate the Feast of St Clement I, Bishop of Rome and Martyr. While many will regard a letter issued by him to be a letter with the authority of a Pope as the Roman Church understands that authority now, this may not be the case. It has been suggested by some scholars that St Clement’s epistle was “more fraternal than authoritative” – that is that he was not necessarily claiming that Rome was anything other than primus inter pares (first among equals). This is often the position that those of us who are independent Catholics find ourselves adopting or believing. We acknowledge the position of the Holy Father, Benedict ⅩⅥ, but we take his words as we would take the words of another bishop. Continue reading