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Monday, December 27, 2010

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Holy Innocents
by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Sleep, little Baby, sleep,
The holy Angels love thee,
And guard thy bed, and keep
A blessed watch above thee.
No spirit can come near
Nor evil beast to harm thee:
Sleep, Sweet, devoid of fear
Where nothing need alarm thee.

The Love which doth not sleep,
The eternal arms around thee:
The shepherd of the sheep
In perfect love has found thee.
Sleep through the holy night,
Christ-kept from snare and sorrow,
Until thou wake to light
And love and warmth to-morrow. 


Father, the Holy Innocents offered you praise by the death they suffered for Christ. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips.

from the Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy: The Feast of the Holy Innocents
Giotto di Bondone
No. 21 Scenes from the Life of Christ
Massacre of the Innocents
1304-06 -- Fresco

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Emmanuel - Dec 23

Latin:
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
English:
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver of us,
the hope of the nations and Saviour of them:
Come and save us, O Lord, God of us.
Well, we are finally at the last 'O Antiphon'  and the last liturgical day of Advent.  Notice that this antiphon begins like that Hymn that I gave yesterday.  I did not want to reveal the letter for the last antiphon, but in order that you could sing the song, I had to give that familiar verse.  I recommend that you add the first verse again at the end if you sing the song at home to celebrate the 'O Antiphons'.

Thanks again to Peter O's children for these pictures.
O Emmanuel: this is a fitting final title because of the prophecy (which you are familiar with in Matthew) which uses this name and because of the meaning of the name.  You may not be familiar with the original prophecy, where Isaiah was sent to meet King Achaz in the way:
Is. 7:10 And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying: 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above.  12 And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord.  13 And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. 15 He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.
Modern scripture scholars say that all prophecies are of events current to the prophet's life. The idea being to explain away any miraculous happenings and so fit the interpretation of the Bible into the mold of modern science.   Modern science seems to have as a principle that the possibility of a God is not to be considered, even as part of a hypothesis. And so they say that the word virgin really just refers to a young woman -- because otherwise we would have a miracle -- and that the woman was already pregnant -- because otherwise the prophecy itself would be a miracle of predicting the future.   These people have no faith and their ability to read scripture even without faith is less than scientific, because they are not willing to consider the possibility of miracles.

The very context suggests that this is not what the prophet is saying;  "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above."  Would a young married woman having a baby be a sign "either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above?"   How can this be the sign which the prophet is about to foretell? 
Besides what an embarrassing turn of phrase would it be to call the woman a "virgin" when the specific meaning was just a young woman.  If she was married she would not be old enough to pass over the term virgin to be called a wife/woman.  (Many ancient languages did not distinguish between wife and woman.) It was not Isaiah's style to make egregious grammatical errors for the sake of a trick.  It would be incorrect to refer to a married woman with a word for young women, which word also means virgin.  A different term for young women would have to be used.      
The evoking of this prophesy in our minds by the word 'Emmanuel' on this last day is appropriate because it concretely describes what is to take place in just a short time:  "A virgin shall conceive and bear a son."  It is also a name very directly attributed to Him - "His name shall be called Emmanuel." How wonderful it is that we, in praying this antiphon, fulfill the prophesy ourselves.
Finally, this is an appropriate final title because of the meaning of Emmanuel.  You will notice the "el" at the end of Emmanuel. This happens frequently like in the name Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Israel, and Ishmael.  The word is added to the ends of Hebrew names and actually means 'God'.   So for example Michael means: "Who is like God".  Emmanuel means:  "God with us."  As so it is for the final 'O Antiphon' where we profess most clearly that Christ is God.  And at the end of the antiphon we pray for our most basic and universal want, "save us."  We punctuate the antiphons with an out and out profession for the sake of more merit, one final name:  "Our Lord and God."

 

And now for the code: with the final word Emmanuel we have an 'E' which gives us:  "Ero Cras."  Now some of you may have looked up or already know that Cras means tomorrow.  Ero is future verb and means: "I will come".  So the phrase is: "I will come tomorrow."   This secret phrase exhilarates us with expectation.  It is repeated in many different ways all morning and afternoon before first Christmas Vespers in the verses and antiphons :
(The Invitatory at Matins:) "This day ye shall know that the Lord cometh * and in the morning, then ye shall see His glory. (Verses at Matins and Antiphon throughout the day:) Sanctify yourselves to-day, and be ready for on the morrow ye shall see * The majesty of God upon you. Stand still, and ye shall see the help of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem, fear not.* To-morrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.  On the morrow the sins of the earth shall be washed away, and the Saviour of the world will be our King. On the morrow * ye shall be saved, saith the Lord God of hosts. (Antiphon of the Canticle of Simeon at Lauds:)  Rise, he shall, * like the sun, the Savior of the world, and come down into the womb of the Virgin as the showers upon the grass. Alleluia.   
The prayer for the Vigil of Christmas is a prayer especially for all who have made a journey through the stations of the 'O Antiphons'.  God Bless you all.  I will end with the prayer.

God, who gladden us by the annual expectation of our redemption, grant that we who now joyfully welcome thy Only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also, without fear, behold him coming as our Judge.

O King of Nations - Dec 22

O King of Nations

We are almost done, so now we need to prepare for the final antiphon.  Remember that Vespers on the 23rd begins the liturgy for the next day, the Vigil of Christmas.  The next Vespers will be part of the last liturgical day before Christmas.  For those of you who do not sing Vespers or the "O Antiphons" there is a poor man's version of the Antiphons.  For those of you who cannot sing the 'O Antiphons', here are the lyrics to a song you can sing:

VENI veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.
R: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
nascetur pro te Israel!
O COME, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
R: Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
to thee shall come Emmanuel!
Veni, O Sapi-en-ti-a,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae. R.
O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. R.
Veni, veni, Adona-i,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae. R.
O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. R.
Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri. R.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
from ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave. R.
Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum. R.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh. R.
Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras. R.
O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight. R.
Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios. R.
O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven's peace. R.


I will not give you the last verse.  I hope you see how verses 2-7 correspond with the 'O Antiphons'.  Unfortunately, in this version the Holy Names are not preserved exactly and the O's are sometimes missing.  The meaning of the verses stray as well.  Some new biblical allusions have been added, but all in all they are not the 'O Antiphons'.  I do not know what the author was thinking when he changed Radix to Virgula (Little shoot), thus destroying the code.   Perhaps more people will bypass this song to sing the ancient and more precise one:

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
Lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.
English:
O King of the nations, and desire of them,
the cornerstone, who make both one:
Come and save man,
which you formed from slime.

In Ephesians, St. Paul tells the Gentiles that although they were far from God and unaware of the promise known to Israel, Christ has brought them close.  Paul then says, "For He is our peace, who hath made both one."  Christ as a King unites both the Jews and the Gentiles into one faith.  So Christ as a King unites, but not by compromise with injustice.  He brings true order as St. Paul says, "He is our peace."  So Christ is really the "Desire of the nations."  For what does a nation that is any good desire for itself but peace?  This is the highest good within the power of a nation to obtain.

The Cornerstone is a familiar name of Christ as is the passage from Psalm 117:
"The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner."
This phrase is spoken in scripture three times, by the three great kings:  here in the Psalms, David first says it, but then it is repeated by Christ himself and then Peter, the first Pope.  Catholics today sound like Protestants when it comes to talking about Christ's kingship.  Yes, Christ reigns in a special way over the hearts of the faithful, but his power would be stunted, if this was all.  "Even the storms and winds obey him."  Christ is not only King over the church, but is truly King of all nations.  We should not be ashamed of this, but remember what follows in Psalm 117: "This is the Lord's doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes."  We should be careful that we are not among those who reject the Cornerstone.  Many Catholics today have contributed to the marginalization of Christ in their lives and society.
In the prayer we ask Christ to save us, recognizing His work of forming us from slime.  We then have two natural ways in which Christ prepares us for salvation, both by the forming our nature and forming society.  Let us not forget that our body and the political body are important for our salvation.  Inopportune sickness in either can have a detrimental effect on the salvation of men.  Christ as King sees to the health of things in so far as they help to save men.  Truly wonderful is the salvation which he prepared for us.  Again let us earnestly ask for it.
So now we have the second letter which gives us: "_ro Cras."  You will know the answer tomorrow and perhaps be a little bit more prepared for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Rising Sun - Dec 21

Latin:
O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
English:
O Rising,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.
The 'O Antiphons' are sung before and after the Magnificat, which is sung at Vespers. The Magnificat is one of the three great gospel canticles sung every day during the office of the whole church. The Canticle of Zachariah is sung at Lauds and the Canticle of Simeon is sung at Compline.
Other canticles from the Old Testament are sung with the psalms at Lauds. Canticles are prayers of praise; many were sung after a great event of God's mercy: for example the Canticles of Tobias, Ezechiel, Judith, Anna, Moses and the three children. Tobias sang a canticle after the Angel Raphael revealed himself. Ezechial composed his canticle after he was cured and God had the sun go back ten steps. The three children sang their canticle when God delivered them from the furnace.
Now Anna sang when she delivered her son Samuel to the temple, after having him when she was thought barren. This reminds us of the birth of John the Baptist. At his birth his father, Zachariah, sang. Anna's Canticle also reminds us of the Magnificat, which is Mary's Canticle. Not only could it be supposed that both could not have children, but they both were to give birth to extraordinary men. Both of their canticles begin in a similar way:
Anna: "My heart hath rejoiced in the Lord, and my horn is exalted in my God."
Mary: "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
These canticles have many similarities throughout.
Anna: "The bow of the mighty is overcome, and the weak are girt with strength. ... the hungry are filled."
Mary: "He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things."
You can see Mary may have been inspired by the word's of Anna. But Mary's Canticle is singular in her words about herself:
"For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me."
Mary's Magnificat is the greatest of all the Canticles. It is fitting that this canticle be reserved for the most important of all the offices, Vespers.

O Oriens... In this 'O Antiphon' we pray for people in a similar predicament to those we prayed for in the last 'O Antiphon'. The reason they are in this predicament is different than in the last antiphon although the result is the same. They are both "sitting in darkness and the shadow of death." But those in the last Antiphon were in prison while those in this antiphon are living in a perpetual night. In the last situation bonds held them from getting to the light; in this one they simply are in darkness. We need to be reminded that not only does Christ forgive us our sins but he does something even greater when he enlightens us with the faith. To pull captives out of prison is one thing, to turn the entire orb of the earth so that we face the sun is a greater work.
However just as we take the rising of the sun for granted, we may mistakenly take for granted that we can come to the faith and a luminous understanding of our faith on our own. Christ enlightens us. There is no other. There is nothing else like the sun in our world. And what natural event is comparable to the daily but wonderful rising of the sun? Everything else depends on it to be enlightened. Now remember that we should pray for the Spiritual Dawn, the Rising.

Okay, the letters now are "_ _o Cras." We are on to another word in the code: only two letters to go!

Written by Fr. O from Dayton, OH

O Key of David - Dec 20

O Clavis David (O Key of David)

Latin:
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
English:
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
who open and no one shuts;
you shut and no one opens:
Come and lead the chained from the house of bondage,
him sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.

A good first step to understanding what you read and, therefore, a good beginning for reading scripture is to slow yourself down when considering them to make yourself think.  Everyone can, for example, gain a better understanding of scripture by reading it aloud instead of reading it quietly.  You can write out the passage that you are thinking about, diagram the sentences, identify the parts of speech.  Trying to read scripture in the original languages can get me thoroughly to study a passage.  I remember once carefully translating a psalms from Latin to English.  I discovered that I had the thing memorized when the process was done.
Of all these different methods for making a good beginning the best way to approach scripture, should one have the ability, is to try to resolve anything that strikes as contrary to faith. 
It should be clear that in this 'O Antiphon' Christ is the Key of David.  The Protestants may say that this ancient 'O Antiphon'  supports the idea that Christ is our only help, for only he can shut and only he can open.  However, if we look at the words of our Lord from Isaiah, which the first part of this antiphon is based on, we see that another person is involved: "I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open." He who opens and shut does not necessarily refer to the Key of David.  Who then carries the burden of this Key on his shoulder?  There is a striking resemblance between this passage of Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew.  Our Lord says to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  It seems that Peter is the one who opens and shuts.  The loosing power of Peter allows the church to forgive sins on God's behalf.
To the protestants we answer that Christ is the only Key that shuts and open certain doors but he chooses to give that Key to his minsters who then are the only ones with the power to open and close those doors.
Now, this power is like the opening of locks which secure chains and prison doors. We pray that Christ through his ministers in the Church, will come and lead those chained by sin out from the state of perdition, and lead out he who sits -- that is, he who is resigned to his poor condition -- in darkness -- that is his mind darkened by sin -- and in the shadow of death -- that is guilt which could lead to eternal punishment.
Reminded that Christ is the only way out of all hopelessness, we are encouraged to pray that he deliver us.
 So now with "O Clavis', we have the letters 'C R A S'. You will notice that I have been giving the letters in reverse order.  I am giving you a clue.  Words are more easily guessed when you get the first letters.  These letters are being given in reverse order so you cannot know what is being said until all the letters are given.  But I will tell you all this: you now have a Latin word!

Written by Fr. O, Dayton, OH

Making Room for Jesus in our Hearts and Home

Children can prepare their hearts for the baby Jesus by doing little acts of love for him.  To encourage this practice and help them remember, it is helpful to have something concrete for them to see and do.  I find that preparing the manger bed with straw is a lovely practice that my kids enjoy.  We leave straw close by, so the kids can ad a piece when they remember to do an act of love for Jesus.  This can be as simple as a small prayer.  "Jesus prepare my heart so I can welcome you on Christmas Day." 

Monday, December 20, 2010

O Root of Jesse

Thanks to Peter Os kids for the drawings
Vespers of the 19th of December
 
Latin:

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
English:
O Root of Jesse, who stand for an ensign of the people;
before whom kings will shut their mouths,
whom the nations shall beseech:
Come to deliver us, now do not tarry.
  

Someone asked if I could post at the beginning of the day.  In fact, I want you to read this about the time of Vespers.  My reason for this is actually tied in with the code.   I also promised to explain why I said "sort of today" in my first post.  Recently the practice has been introduced of having anticipation masses of Sunday on Saturday night.  (It is not right to call them Vigil Masses.)  In point of fact, this may be the more appropriate time to have a Sunday Mass then Sunday night or the evening of a holy day.  Think of it: you go to mass on Sunday night and your Sunday is over.  Is it not better to have been to Mass even the night before so that your Sunday or holy day is sanctified?  Not long before 1962 the liturgical day started with Vespers.  So on any feast of a saint you would celebrate Vespers for that saint the day before, and then in the evening at the end of his feast day, you would say the Vespers of the saint of the next calendar day.  Only on great feasts and Sundays would you say a Second Vespers in the evening at the end of the feast day.  
Sundays and major feasts (1st Class or Solemnities) still have a Vespers the day before.  The 'O Antiphons' are also preserved on the day before, perhaps for no other reason than that Christmas has a first Vespers on the 24th.  Remember: the 'O Antiphons' go from the evening of the 17th to the Evening of the 23rd, not the 24th.  So the "O Antiphon" should be something you think about, dream about, and then meditate on, till the next Vespers (and the new antiphon.)

Now to the 'O Antiphon' for today.  'O Radix Jesse'  Here we have the first and the third phrase from Isaiah 11:10.  The words are almost identical except that the third person verb 'stands' now is in the second person 'stand', because we are saying 'O'. We are not saying, "he who standS", but "O (Thou) who stand_."

Concerning the root of Jesse:
there is another expression, shoot from the root of Jesse (Virga de radice Jesse), which obviously refers to the other end of the Jesse Tree.  Now the shoot of Jesse refers to our Lady or our Lord, and this is where you would think to put our Lord on the tree, as a branch that grows out of the tree.  We should not be dumbfounded at scripture saying that Our Lord is the root of Jesse as the Pharisees were dumbfound when Jesus pointed out that the Messiah is the Lord of David.  Root of Jesse, Lord of David. For we know that our Lord is God and that He caused the tree of Jesse to be.  Yet He is also the son of David, and a shoot of Jesse.

Perhaps referring to our Lord as a
n ensign points to His incarnation.  A visible reality that points to an invisible reality is a sign, and this ensign particularly refers to our Lord on the cross because the nations will beseech him.  So the action of prayer should be before the cross, at least in intention, since His crucifixion is the source of the efficacy of our prayer.  Meanwhile, the kings are speechless because they do not believe in the Incarnation or the Cross and are left somehow powerless to resist it.  We, however, under the kings of this world, under the present reign of sin, see our chances lie in the power of the Root of Jesse.  Eager to be free from sin we cry,  "Come to deliver us, now do not tarry."

So there you have it.  The title for Christ today is 'Radix Jesse' which gives us
an “R” and adding that to the code we get: R A S.

Written by Fr O., Dayton, OH

O' Adonai - Dec 18

O Adonai (O Lord)

Vespers Dec. 18th.

Now here is the second 'O Antiphon':
Latin:
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.
English:
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who to Moses in the fire of the burning bush Thou appeared
and to him on Sinai the law Thou gave :
Come to redeem us with an arm outstretched .

O Adonai... If you have translated the title of this blog, 'Dominus Prope', you know the name for 'lord' in latin is 'dominus'.  'Adonai' is the Hebrew word for 'lord'.  So why then do we not have "O Dominus..." in the Latin?  'Dominus' is one of the most common words in the Old Testament, but it is actually a replacement word for the name of God, 'Yahweh'.  So every time you see 'Dominus' in the Old Testament, it is because 'Yahweh' is being replaced.  Ever wonder why you have never seen the name of God, which was given to Moses? Now you know.  So now 'Adonai' just means 'Lord', or more precisely, 'my Lord'.  The Hebrew was preserved in Latin to differentiate it from the name of God.

Yahweh is then conspicuously absent here. For the very occasion where God gave His name is mentioned in this 'O Antiphon'.  Perhaps we are to recall it anyway, like when we identify a person by their shadow.  

Reflecting on Christ's leadership we remember that like Moses he instigates our salvation by both calling and directing us by His law.  We then need His further help, redemption, because we transgress the law of our God who we know by name.

The expression 'with an outstretched hand' coupled with the 'Adonai' uniquely identifies one of only two times the 'Adonai' is used in the Vulgate, Ex. 6:3 "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I am the Lord, That appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; and my name ADONAI I did not shew them."  6:6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm."  God himself desired to free us in an infinitely more perfect way then the freeing of the Israelites from slavery.   So when he spoke these words to Moses, he intended our redemption through Christ; the freeing of Israel was a colossal metaphor for an even greater event.  Seeing this inner purpose of God's statement long ago and realizing the immanence of Christ's coming, we are inspired to ask with great vehemence for redemption.

So now we have an 'A' from 'O Adonai', but the first Antiphon began 'O Sapientia'.  So we now have A S.

Written by Fr O., Dayton, OH

Saturday, December 18, 2010

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

Do you want to live more the Advent season and escape consumerism?

Vespers of the 17th of December.

Advent is an extremely rich season.

The first of the great and very ancient "O antiphons" are sung today -- well sort of today: the traditions of the church are being obscured, but I will explain later.

The "O antiphons" refer to the 7 Antiphons used for each of the 7 Magnificats at Vespers (Evening pray) from  December 17th to December 23.  (I might be giving too much away to tell you why the Magnificat antiphon of the 24th is not included. ) The O Antiphons are part of the season of Advent.  A kind of Holy week of Advent.  The already beautiful and intricate offices of Advent become very unique for each day of Advent Holy Week.  At least in the extraordinary form, four new antiphons are introduced for the 4 psalms of Lauds and the 4 minor hours, a fifth antiphon is used for the canticle of Lauds.

Back to Vespers and the "O Antiphon."  Each Antiphon begins with the word "O" -- fortunately Latin and English share this word and it has the same meaning.  The rest of the antiphon is different for each day.  But their you have it that is why they are called the "O Antiphons." It should be clear then that these Antiphons will be calling on someone each day. "O __________,  do something."

The next word of the antiphon is a name of Christ so we have "O Sapientia" (O Wisdom) on the first day. But one of the interesting things is the first letter of this second word.  The first letter today will then be "S" from Sapientia. This is part of code which we will break on the evening of the 23rd.

Now here is the whole antiphon for Vespers of the 17th of Dec.:
Latin:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
Translating to English is pretty easy as Latin text go:
O Wisdom,  which from the mouth of the Most High proceeds,
reaching from one end unto the other,
mightily and sweetly disposing all things:
Come to teach us the way of prudence.
Each day a new antiphon is revealed and at the end I will reveal the code.

Written by Fr O., Dayton, OH

Friday, December 17, 2010

Free Downloadable Creches....Awesome!

Take a look at these beautiful down loadable Christmas Creches on the Paper Model Kiosk site.   Many are free, some cost a small fee.  All are beautiful and so easy to make or give!

 Clube Amigos do Presépio founder Celso Battistini C. Rosa of Brazil shares a vintage crèche from his collection. 

"A crèche," Celso says, "doesn't just continue an old tradition — it reveals the true meaning of Christmas. Because it reminds us that the Babe was born for us all; because it allows us to recognize that God invited everyone — rich and poor, magi and shepherds — to the manger.

"When I was a child, I simply couldn't wait to put up the
Christmas nativity in our house. I kept asking my Mom if I could start, and she would say, 'We have to clean the house first; that will take about a month.'
"Do you know how long a month is for a child? I didn't understand why
we had to wait for so long to start decorating. Nowadays, I smile remembering Christmases past, and I tell my children, 'We'll start putting up our creches even though the house may not be clean!'

"And I try to instill in my children not just an appreciation of nativities as art—but make them aware of their message…"

Visit them on the web at http://www.papermodelkiosk.com/shop/index.php

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do you have Scapular medal?

I have always found it difficult to wear the brown scapular because the cords don't stay in place and are shifting from one side to the other.  If I manage to put up with this for several weeks, I'll lose it or it will break on me.  For this reason, my wearing of the scapular has been sporadic throughout my life.  I had heard about Scapular medals but never saw any.  I have now found some beautiful medals and love to wear them on chains or beaded necklaces. 

Here is the document in which St Pius X introduced the Scapular Medal:
Holy Office December 16, 1910

For the future all the faithful already inscribed or who shall be inscribed in one or other of the real Scapulars approved by the Holy See (excepting those which are proper to the Third Orders) by what is known as regular enrollment may, instead of the cloth scapulars, one or several, wear on their persons, either round the neck or otherwise, provided it be in a becoming manner, a single medal of metal, through which, by the observance of laws laid down for each scapular, they shall be enabled to share in and gain all the spiritual favors (not excepting what is known as the Sabbatine Privilege of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), and all the privileges attached to each.

The right side of this medal must show the image of Our Most Holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, showing His Sacred Heart, and the obverse that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It must be blessed with a separate blessing for each of the scapulars in which the person has been enrolled and for which the wearer wishes it to suffice. Finally, these separate blessings may be given by a single sign of the cross (unico crucis signo), whether in the act of enrollment or later at the convenience of those enrolled, it matters not how long after the enrollment or in what order they may have taken place; the blessing may be given by a priest other than the one who made the enrollment, as long as he possesses the faculty, ordinary, or delegated, of blessing the different scapulars- the limitations, clauses, and conditions attached to the faculty he uses still holding their force. All things to the contrary, even those calling for special mention, notwithstanding"

Holy Office, Rome, December 16, 1910

Here are some lovely examples of Scapulars that you can find in my shop: 

Back side
Front side



Back side










Front side
Here is a scapular medal that I have put on a key chain.  But it could readily be put on a chain to be worn as a Scapular.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Feast of St. John of the Cross

 St. John of the Cross grew up amongst great poverty. When he was 14 he took a job in a hosptial caring for people who had incurable diseases and madness. Later, he joined the Carmelite Order and was asked by St. Teresa of Avila to help reform the order.  But when he tried some monks locked him in a dark, damp cell.  There he was imprisoned for 9 mths before he escaped with the writings he had produced during this time.

His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic.,

His books include:
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul
and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soull and the Bridegroom Christ


"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you." --St. John of the Cross

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Dec 12

Photograph of actual image, preserved in the Basica on Tepeyac Hill.
On December 9, 1531, Nahuan Mexican named Juan Diego beheld a vision of the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill. The Virgin beseeched him, in his native language, to build a Church on the hill. Juan Diego rushed to the bishop’s residence, but it took three days for him to persuade the kindly but understandably skeptical bishop that the apparition was genuine. Juan Diego relayed to Mary the bishop’s request for a sign, and on December 12, the Virgin bade Juan Diego to gather Castilian roses (which were not indigenous to Tepeyac and couldn’t have grown there in winter, anyway) from the hill. Juan Diego found the roses and, when he released them from his tilma (cloak) before the bishop’s startled eyes, they both beheld the now-famous image of Guadalupe divinely imprinted on the fabric.
  The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the biggest day of the year for Mexicans and many across the continent.

(Adapted from the following...
http://anexamen.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/peregrinajes-y-posadas-2/)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

"I am the Immaculate Conception."

Today being the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I wanted to discuss the meaning of the Immaculate Conception because it is one term which is misunderstood by many people.   The term refers to Mary being conceived without any stain of original sin.

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eve, that sin has been passed down to all of mankind, except Our Lord, and Our Lady.   Our Lord is sinless because He is God.  Our Lady was preserved from this sin because it was God's desire that Our Lord be conceived within a spotless vessel.  Would it be fitting for God to dwell in anything unclean?  The answer is 'No' and this has been the understanding that has been widely held since the early church.  It was written in many Church documents prior to its infallible proclamation by Pope Pius IX in 1854.  (See the documented early writings at this link, http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryc3a.htm)

Pope Pius IX proclaimed the doctrine as such, "the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin."

One of the reasons that Catholics have become confused is because todays Gospel reading is that of the
Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive and bear a Son and He will be called Jesus.   This reading is quite appropriate because the fact that Mary will bear the Savior is the reason she was Immaculately conceived.  But unfortunately because the reading is also about Our Lords conception, it causes people to think that it is His conception that this feast refers to.  There is no specific bible passage that discusses the Immaculate Conception of Mary, because this doctrine is not found specifically in Scripture but is based on what the Church has always believed to be true.  This is the teaching tradition of the Church; and of course, the Catholic Faith is based on Scripture and Tradition.

The Church has chosen Dec 8 as the day to celebrate this event, because it is 9 months prior to Mary's birthday which is Sept 8.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feast of St. Andrew ---Christmas Novena begins!

Today is the feast of St. Andrew and it is a wonderful Advent tradition to begin the following Novena and recite it each day until Christmas Eve.

 Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew, on November 30th, until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

Here one of the St Andrew Chaplets which I made for this Novena.  The Purple Jasper beads are befitting the liturgical colors of the Advent season. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

My new Website!

Announcing the opening of my new website!  I am excited to have my own website and domain.  I plan to be hosting give- aways and more fun things.  Follow this blog for updates...
and Check it out!  www.GracefulRosaries.com



Saturday, October 9, 2010

A gift for my sister's 50th Birthday


A gorgeous bronze St Teresa of Avila medal on a Pink Crazy Lace Agate necklace.  My sister Teresa has always had a special devotion to St. Teresa of Avila.     
 
















When I asked my sister about making her a rosary for her birthday, she said, 'the fancier the better'.  She also wears a lot of fuschia pink colors.  When she first saw the Pink Crazy Lace Agate stone she was immediately attracted to it.   So based on those parameters, I designed the above rosary and necklace for Teresa on her 50th birthday.   Happy Birthday Teresa!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pietersite Wire Linked Rosary ---solid brass




















This is another rosary in my new line of wire linked rosaries.  All the metal parts (crucifix, center, bead caps and wire) are solid brass.  The Hail Mary beads are beautiful Pietersite gemstones.  The Our Father beads are faceted Fancy Jasper Gemstones.  This is an heirloom quality man's rosary.  It is a nice large bead that you can really feel!

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Heavy gauge wire linked Rosaries! --Crazy Lace Agate

Each person has their own preference for their style of rosary beads.  For the very traditional taste, I am now offering wire linked rosaries in a heavy 20 gauge solid brass wire.  Each bead is individually wire linked and tucked into a small jump ring, to give it added durability.



This rosary is made with 8mm Blue Crazy Lace Agate beads for the Hail Mary beads.  The Our Father beads are 10mm Blue Crazy Lace Agate gemstones.  The crucifix, medal, bead caps and wire are all antiqued solid brass.

It is available in my Etsy shop.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/54889385/handmade-blue-crazy-lace-agate-wire

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet Cloisonne Rosary






















This is a small cloisonne rosary with small 6mm beads and a tiny French crucifix and center.  Small but oh so precious!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Impression Jasper Wire Wrapped Necklace


This necklace is made with Impression Jasper Gemstones.  Each bead is individually wire-wrapped with solid bronze wire.  The beautiful Cross has an image of Our Lady on one side.  The back is almost identical but it has a Sacred Heart Image (see the modeled Necklace).  It is a solid bronze, antique reproduction medal.

The length of this necklace is 16" and the medal hangs down another 2".  It can be lengthened for a nominal fee.


Special order $50

Family Reunion 2010

This summer my family is celebrating my mothers 80th birthday with a family reunion.  She has commissioned me to make her 10 children and their spouses a rosary to mark the occasion.  That's a lot of rosaries!  They have picked rosaries from my collection, and I have made a few new ones as well. I am listing a few of the rosaries here, so my siblings can check them out.  ( I will add more as I am able to edit the pics)

Vince's Lapis Lazuli Rosary
















Sodalite Rosary 8mm (below)

















Denim Lapis Lazuli and Swarovski Crystals 6mm Rosary
















Red Tigereye and Smoky Quartz Mans Rosary


















Zebra Jasper Mans Rosary















Joanne's Aragonite Gemstone Rosary with Carved Bone