The Fourth Sunday of Advent,
December 18, 2011
“Consubstantial with the Father.” I hear people stumbling over it sometimes at Mass as we recite the creed. “What does it mean, Father?” some have asked me. It is a more literal translation of the Latin consubstantialis which means “having the same substance as the Father”. In other words, Christ is
God as the Father is God. Christ is not just some Great Teacher or Great Prophet but truly God.
He himself basically says this in various passages of the gospels. He says to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). He refers to himself as the Son of Man which would have brought his hearers back to the vision Daniel saw: “I saw one like a Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven…he received dominion, glory, and kingship, nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away; his kingship shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7: 13-14). He is the one through whom the promises of God to Abraham, Moses, and David are fulfilled. He is the one in whom “ever treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden” (Colossians 2:3). He is the word of God of whom John described in his gospel: “In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
In the Creed, the Church is asserting her faith, our faith that Jesus is God. He is not a lesser being than God the Father, but is God consubstantial with the Father. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, the one who reveals the Father’s love to all mankind. He is the Judge, the one who will judge us at the end of our lives and the one who will judge all mankind at the end of time. He is the one for whom our hearts begin to yearn when we begin in earnest to clear away all the obstacles, the pride, the unbelief, the
stubbornness, the self-righteousness and selfishness and rebellion in our hearts that hinders his grace from being poured forth into our hearts so that we are filled with the abundance of God’s love and mercy.
This is why it is so important for us, sisters and brothers, to prepare a way for him. This is why we need Advent if we are properly to celebrate Christmas. We prepare a way for him and a place for him by emptying our hearts and repenting, making a good confession and turning again our hearts and minds to Him who is our life, that we may welcome Him and enthrone Him in our hearts as Lord.
A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
December 11, 2011
Biblical proof that Mary (and Joseph) made a vow of virginity
4th Sunday of Advent, Luke 1:26-38
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
The Gospel text recounting the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary contains the biblical evidence and proof that she had made a vow of virginity prior to her conception of the Christ Child. Further, as we consider the historical circumstances of her betrothal to Joseph, it will become quite clear that he also had vowed perpetual continence as the spouse of our Lady.
4 Advent: Actors in the Eternal Christmas Pageant
The mystery had been kept secret for ages. Then the prophets spoke about it. It really began with the prophecy of Nathan to King David, one thousand years before Christ. David had thought it was his pious duty to build a Temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. At first Nathan agreed with him, but then God spoke to Nathan and sent him to David with this message: “You want to build a house for me, but I will build the House of David. My son will come from you, one of your descendants. He will be the Eternal King.” This is the first time that the anointed of the Lord, the Messiah, was spoken of.
Our Lady of Guadalupe – She Who Crushes the Head of the Serpent
There is an amazing connection between the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception which is celebrated on December 8 and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is celebrated on December 12. Actually, in many ways, these two beautiful Marian celebrations are one and the same feast day.
And why is this so?
The Annunciation the Ark and the Angels
At a pre-Christmas party last evening my favorite Catholic Sunday School teacher was explaining about the significance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Old Testament. It all has to do with overshadowing, arks and angel wings.
See, the Ark of the Covenant is that gold covered wooden box which was the throne of God which rested first in the tabernacle and later in Holy of Holies in the temple. Yes, the one that Indiana Jones found buried in Egypt in the movie (only that was pretend). The ark held the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a jar of manna–the Bread from heaven–and Aaron’s staff which had budded miraculously.
Will this be the first time the world sees the Ark of Covenant? Leaking roof in Ethiopian chapel ‘will lead to relic being revealed’
A very British problem of a leaky church roof could be about to give the world the chance to glimpse the legendary Ark of the Covenant.
That’s because the claimed home of the iconic relic – a small chapel in Ethiopia – has sprung a leak and so the Ark could now be on the move.
The Ark – which The Bible says holds God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai – is said to have been kept in Aksum, in the Chapel of the Tablet, adjacent to St Mary of Zion Church, since the 1960s.
Papal Preacher’s Advent Sermons Focus on Evangelization
Although he is the only person in the world to have the job of preaching to the Pope, Father Raniero Cantalamessa sees his work as simply delivering the message of the Gospel.
“It is actually a very simple ministry, because the Pope at that moment is just a listener among other listeners,” the Italian Capuchin Franciscan priest told CNA.
“In fact, it’s really the Pope who gives the sermon to the rest of the Church by listening to the meditation of a very simple priest of the Catholic Church.”
God and Moral Absolutes
If you are going to make a moral argument, whether in the seminar room or in the public square, people today expect you to avoid invoking God. Atheists and theists alike share this expectation, with atheists eager to show that their moral knowledge and action are uncompromised by disbelief in God’s existence, and theists eager to establish the rational credentials of their moral convictions and protect themselves against charges of fideism. This expectation is unwarranted, however, because God’s existence is directly relevant to moral knowledge and action: If appeals to God get ruled out, either by disbelief in His existence or reluctance to rely upon it, then it isn’t possible to demonstrate that there are moral absolutes.
Proper Catholic Etiquette at Mass and Away
During the beginning of Advent, I always hope to come up with something more meaningful, amazing and inspiring than the previous year. This is silly. While we’ve done, as a family, some wonderful Advent readings, made some pretty nice Advent calendars, and spent fruitful time lighting Advent candles and trying to integrate spiritual reading with family traditions, I never seem to remember, until after I’ve fretted about the current year’s preparations that Advent is not about outdoing oneself year after year. It’s about making a simple preparation for Jesus and His birth at Christmas.
Complacency is the Enemy of Faith: Archbishop Chaput Writes to the Faithful of Philadelphia
Complacency is the enemy of faith. To whatever degree complacency and pride once had a home in our local Church; events in the coming year will burn them out. The process will be painful. But going through it is the only way to renew the witness of the Church; to clear away the debris of human failure from the beauty of God’s word and to restore the joy and zeal of our Catholic discipleship.
Why Beauty Matters: Roger Scruton
In debates and discussions around beauty, I have often commented that if one were to view the concern for beauty as “shallow” then one is in fact viewing beauty itself too shallowly — for it most certainly is not a shallow concern.
In that vein, NLM readers will be interested in the following which was aired on BBC with philosopher Roger Scruton hosting the programme: Why Beauty Matters.
What Faith Is and What it Isn’t
The Protestant theologian Paul Tillich once commented that “faith” is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary. I’m increasingly convinced that he was right about this.
The ground for my conviction is the absolutely steady reiteration on my Internet forums of gross caricatures of what serious believers mean by faith. Again and again, my agnostic, atheist, and secularist interlocutors tell me that faith is credulity, naïvete, superstition, assent to irrational nonsense, acceptance of claims for which there is no evidence, etc., etc.
Lots of Little Churches?
It is commonplace within Protestant circles to believe that the early church was similar to the church today with its proliferation of different denominations, and that just as Protestants today say, “It doesn’t really matter what church you go to, as long as you love Jesus”–so it was in the early church.
So were there lots of different churches in the first couple of centuries? Yes, there were actually lots of different groups. The uncomfortable problem for the Protestants is that these different sects were identified by the apostolic church as heretics and schismatics.
What Are Ember Days?
The term “Ember Days” is derived from the Latin term Quatuor Tempora, which literally means “four times.” There are four sets of Ember Days each calendar year; three days each – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Ember Days fall at the start of a new season and they are ordered as days of fast and abstinence. The significance of the days of the week are that Wednesday was the day Christ was betrayed, Friday was the day He was crucified, and Saturday was the day He was entombed.
Texans stand up in defense of nativity scene
The United States of America has a population in excess of 311million of people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Henderson County, Texas has a population of more than 78 thousand people. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has a nationwide membership of 17 thousand people.
For over three decades local groups have displayed a nativity scene at the Henderson County Courthouse without incident, but this year something has changed. Madison, Wisconsin based FFRF has chosen the nativity display in East Texas as one of its prime targets in this year’s war on Christmas. The extremist group with has been linked to George Soros is used to getting its own way by intimidating spineless politicians and bureaucrats, but this time they are up against County Commissioner Joe Hall.
“The Shroud is not a fake”
Enea, the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, has published a report on five years of experiments conducted in the ENEA center of Frascati on the “shroud-like coloring of linen fabrics by far ultraviolet radiation”. “Simply put: we tried to understand how the Shroud of Turin was imprinted by an image so special that it constitutes its charm, and poses a great and very radical challenge, “to identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a color similar to that of the image on the Shroud. ”
Sodom and Gomorrah Excavated
By far the most interesting session at the recent Society of Biblical Literature Congress in San Francisco was one I wandered into by chance. I am always curious about what is going on in biblical archeology, so one afternoon I decided to skip the dozen or so sessions dedicated to Bakhtinian Decontextualization of Identity Construction in Persian Yehud (I had to tear myself away) and go hear about the excavations at a certain site called “Tall-el-Hammam.” I had no idea what I was in for. After about five minutes into the session, I realized that the archeological team assigned to this dig was convinced that they had found the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
How to Give a Talk like Fulton Sheen
Last week, I raved about Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s preaching. Even though most people cite Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham as the greatest preachers of the twentieth century, Sheen is right there with them in my book. Talk to anyone who heard him on TV or the radio and they’ll be quick to agree. They’ll gush over his magnetism, his aura and tone and rhythm that were absolutely captivating–stream some of his talks and you’ll see what they mean.
The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying
A woman named Bronnie Ware who spent years working in palliative care recently wrote a post about her experiences working with people in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. In it she discussed the top five regrets that she saw her patients express. Take a look at the list:
5 myths about pro-lifers, and how to refute them
There are a lot of negative stereotypes about the pro-life movement. I could easily write a list of 20 or more. These five, though, are the ones I personally encounter most often, and in the most capital letters. You’ll probably find them familiar. If you don’t know how to argue against these, you should.
‘My mother was raped but she chose life’
Ryan Bomberger knows only a little about his natural mother: “I know that, tragically, she was raped,” he says, “and that even though she had access to abortion because of that she chose life.”
He continues: “The social worker described my mother as angry. She had never intended to see me after birth, but then she asked to hold me. The social worker said that there was a noticeable change in her countenance after that.