Category Archives: Advent & Christmastide


“Stars cross the sky, wise men journey from pagan lands, earth receives its savior in a cave. Let there be no one without a gift to offer, no one without gratitude as we celebrate the salvation of the world, the birthday of the human race. Now it is no longer, Dust you are and to dust you shall return, but “You are joined to heaven and into heaven you shall be taken up.”

St. Basil the Great
Feast of the Epiphany

God’s mercy reaches us

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.

a Christmas Prayer attributed to Saint Bernard

Presentation of the Lord

A mosaic of Mary and Joseph presenting the child Jesus to Simeon decorates the chapel of the Jesuit infirmary in Rome June 8. The Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is establishing an office to promote the development and use of appropriate liturgical art, architecture and music. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Nov. 14, 2012) See CONGREGATION-ART Nov. 14, 2012.

A mosaic of Mary and Joseph presenting the child Jesus to Simeon decorates the chapel of the Jesuit infirmary in Rome. (CNS photo/Paul Haring, 2012)

Today’s feast brings to the end the Christmas cycle: 40 days ago we celebrated the Incarnation on Christmas Day. This feast has another name: the Byzantine Church calls it the Encounter of Our Lord. Western Catholics will call it Candlemas.

Why celebrate the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple? What impact does it have for us?

Look to Luke’s Gospel in which we see the honoring of the requirement of the Moasic Law for a mother’s purification forty days after giving birth. She comes to the Temple for prayer and re-incorporation into the community of faith. At this time child birth made the woman unclean to for a period of time. The Church uses the appearance of Joseph and Mary for these rituals to underline the paradox that God, author of the Law, here submits to the Law.

It is important to note that St. Luke records this particular observance of the Law. “The Church uses the appearance of Joseph and Mary for these rituals to underline the paradox that God, author of the Law, here submits to the Law.” Also biblically tied into the Temple visit was the recognition of Israel’s first-born sons who, when Egypt, were killed prior to the Exodus event; hence by tradition parents were bound to present an offering to claim their child.

Luke also reveals to us the prophetic utterance of Simeon and Anna who recognize and encounter the child Jesus as the glory of Israel, the light of revelation for all people. This encounter realizes the revelation of Jesus as the foretold Messiah — a fulfillment of an expectation.

Christ appears in his humanity and divinity


Today is the feast of the Epiphany. The splendor of this feast recalls God’s manifestation to all people, to the whole world. On Christmas Day, God’s goodness became visible to us under the form of a baby, in the sacred humanity of Christ, God’s only begotten Son and the Father’s true image and substance.

Through faith, we know the mystery of the Incarnation, and Christ’s appearance in our midst changed forever the course of human history. God appeared in our world as a small baby, but he came to it as Savior. He came to save us!

In the Latin-Mediterranean countries, the feast of the Epiphany is commonly known as the Feast of the Three Kings. Guided by a brighter than usual star, they came from afar to the humble cave of Bethlehem to render homage to a tiny child, the King of Kings. In the Gospel story, the evangelists make sure to imply that the Magi represented the gentiles, thus Jesus did not just come to save Israel’s Chosen People, but to save all humankind, Jews and gentiles alike.

Brother Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette
A Monastic Journey To Christmas

***The church calendar can be confusing to some. In the Eastern Churches and with the Traditional Roman Missal the great feast of the Epiphany/Theophany is celebrated on January 6. The Novus Ordo group celebrates the feast today.

Epiphany prayers

christ-the-light-detail“For captives and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord!”
Holy New Martyr Père Jacques pray to God for us!
Prayers for the protection, and release of Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, kidnapped April 22, 2013.
For Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio S.J. kidnapped July 29, 2013.
Also missing in Yemen is a Salesian priest, Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil. It is believed that he was kidnapped March 4, 2016.
For the 230 school girls kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria on April 15, 2014, 11 kidnapped May 6th.
16 Christians including young boys and girls, abducted Oct 5th, 2014 in Knayeh, Syria.
And for all held captive for the faith.
For all those persecuted for the faith, let us pray to the Lord
Kyrie eleison! Kyrie eleison! Kyrie eleison!

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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