Advent & Christmastide: January 2009 Archives

Baptism of the Lord

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Almighty, eternal God, when the Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan, You revealed Him as Your own beloved Son. Keep us, Your children born of water and the Spirit, faithful to our calling.


Thumbnail image for Baptism of the Lord.jpgChrist's Baptism -
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan. After His resurrection Christ gives this mission to His apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

Our Lord voluntarily submitted Himself to the baptism of Saint John, intended for sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness". Jesus' gesture is a manifestation of His self-emptying. The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as His "beloved Son."

In His Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of His Passion, which He was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a "Baptism" with which He had to be baptized. The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit" in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from His death. There is the whole mystery: He died for you. In Him you are redeemed, in Him you are saved. (1223-1225)

Epiphany: The Light of Life

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Epiphany.jpgThe star which leads us to Jesus is sacred Scripture. Behold our light has already come (Is 60:1), because for us and for our salvation God has become man. He was seen on earth and dwelt among us men and women, so that, by the might of his word and the example of his life he might enlighten those who are sitting in darkness and direct them into the way of peace (Lk 1:79).  It is no wonder that before the Lord's coming, when they heard nothing of God, when they did not discern the light of Scripture, the pagans lay prostrate in their sins and in the darkness of their errors. But now lying prostrate in carnal desires and in the darkness of inequities is a matter for great agitation, for the true light that enlightens every one coming into this world (Jn 1:9), Christ Jesus, has now come. We cannot have further excuse for our sins, for Christ, who takes away the sins of the world and justifies, for the wicked, now speaks to us openly. Someone who follows me does not walk in darkness but will have the light of life (Jn 8:12).


Saint Aelred of Rievaulx

Sermon 4 for the Epiphany, 32-33

Epiphany Novena for priests

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John Paul with BS.jpgLittle more than a year my friend Fr. Mark at Vultus Christi initiated a plan of prayer for the priesthood, particularly in reparation for sins committed by priests. This plan of prayer was inspired by a letter from Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM to the world's bishops encouraging them to designate people, including priests, whose "ministry" it would be to pray for the priesthood in the wake of the sex abuse crisis. The point of the letter was to begin to think about and work for a renewal of the priesthood. Today begins a novena inspired by Saint Peter Julian Emyard who in 1857 began his own renewal of the priesthood adoration movement. Let's be united in prayer for the intentions of our priests.

Fr. Mark has also developed a program of prayer called Thursdays in Adoration and Reparation for Priests which keeps the Holy Thursday event of Our Lord forming the priesthood and giving us the gift of His Eucharistic Presence.

There are many opportunities to spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in parishes today (more now than a few years ago). And there religious orders who make it a point to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament regularly, if not daily, for example, the Dominican nuns in North Guilford, CT and Linden, VA to name two monasteries, the pink sisters found in cities such as Philadelphia, St. Louis, Lincoln and Corpus Christi; the monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and Newark Abbey have the daily practice of adoration prior to the Divine Office, the monks of Saint Mary's Abbey (Morristown, NJ) have adoration and confession on the second Friday of the month for vocations and for the priesthood, the monks of Belmont Abbey (Belmont, NC) have recently dedicated an adoration chapel in the center of their college campus in honor of Saint Joseph where monks, students and other interested people gather with the Eucharistic Lord.

What better time than in Epiphanytide to develop a habit of prayer in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? 



The Epiphany Proclamation

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Magi Aldighieri da Zevio.jpg

The Epiphany Proclamation


Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.


Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the 9th of April and the evening of the 12th of April.


Each Easter - as on each Sunday - the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.


From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.


Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 25th of February.

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the 21st of May.

Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the 31st of May.


Corpus Christi will be celebrated on the 11th of June.


The First Sunday of Advent will be celebrated on the 29th of November.


Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.


To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.


R. Amen.


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Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente,

et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.

We have seen his star in the East and are come with gifts to adore the Lord.
(Matthew 2:2)


Magi Bartolo de Fredi.jpg

O God, who today revealed your Only-begotten, a star having been the guide, graciously grant, that we, who have already come to know you from faith, may be led all the way unto the contemplation of the beauty of your majesty.


Blessed Columba Marmion's essage on the Epiphany is an excellent meditation.


Begotten of the Father before the daystar shone or time began, the Lord our Savior has appeared on earth today.



Magi detail Bottocelli.jpgEpiphany inscription over the doorway of the home:

20 + C + M + B + 09


The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. All three revered as saints and honored in the Munich cathedral. We abbreviate the Latin words "Christus mansionem benedicat" ("May Christ bless the house"). The letters recall the day on which the inscription is made, as well as the purpose of blessing.


The crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ, whom we invoke, and the holiness of the Magi who adored of the infant Jesus. The inscription is made above the front door, so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God's blessing. The month of January bears the name of the Roman god Janus, the doorkeeper of heaven and protector of the beginning and end of things. This blessing "christens" the ancient Roman observance of the first month.

Blessing of Chalk

V. Our help is the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, O Lord God, this creature chalk
to render it helpful to your people.
Grant that they who use it in faith
and with it inscribe upon the doors of their homes
the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar,
may through their merits and intercession
enjoy health of body and protection of soul.
Through Christ our Lord.

And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water.


About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Advent & Christmastide category from January 2009.

Advent & Christmastide: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Advent & Christmastide: November 2009 is the next archive.

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