Tag Archives: Christmas

The temptation of Christmas

Nativity of the Lord JFlanders.jpg

Have we finished the Christmas season in good order? Have we exceeded our expectation to live the season of Christmas differently from what secular culture has given us? Or, have we given up and just given ourselves over to the mediocrity of the the world around us with regard to Christian Faith?  What follows is a very interesting commentary on our Christian observance of the Birth of Jesus, the Nativity of God-Man by Father Julián Carrón. While the today brings to a close the Church’s yearly observance of Christmastide, we have work to do before we put to rest the nagging questions: what difference does this Child make in my life? AND Do we really believe that God is in our midst?

In order to describe our humanity and to see ourselves properly at this moment in the world’s history, it is hard for us to find more appropriate words than those contained in this passage by the Prophet Zephaniah. “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel!”. Why? What reason is there to rejoice, with all that is happening in the world? Because “the Lord has taken away the judgments against you”.

The first repercussion that these words produced in me was surprise at how the Lord looks at us: with a gaze that succeeds in seeing things that we shall not be able to recognize unless we participate in his same gaze at reality. “The Lord has taken away the judgments against you”: in other words, your evil does not have the last word over your life; the usual way you look at yourself is not the right one; the look with which you constantly reproach yourself is not true. The one true look is the Lord’s look. And it is precisely by this look that you will be able to understand that he is with you: if he has taken away the judgment against you, what can you fear? “You shall fear evil no more”. An inexorable positiveness prevails over life. For this reason, the biblical passage continues, “do not fear, O Zion, do not let your hands grow weak” Why? Because “The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory”. There is no other source of joy than this: “he will rejoice over you with gladness. He will renew you with his love, he will exult over you with loud singing” (3:14-17).

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Magi Adoration Angelico.jpg

We celebrate a holy day adorned with three mysteries: this day the star led the Magi to the manger; this day wine was made from water at the wedding; this day Christ willed to be baptized in the Jordan by John in order to save us, alleluia. (Antiphon for the Magnificat, Second Vespers)

The Church prays

O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.

The Magi give us an example to follow: to walk diligently, to walk by faith guided by the indications of God –that is, the star– in order to arrive at what God wants to give. Himself. As Pope Benedict said on Friday, the Magi are the best example of “humanity’s pilgrimage to Jesus.” The giving of the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh is merely the beginning of our gift to the Lord. Our gift is none other than ourselves, as freely as it is possible to give… 

Our first point on the pilgrimage is what is sung in the “The First Nowell,” Then entered in there Wise Men three, Full reverently on bended knee….

By walking this pilgrimage to Jesus, the Magi arrive at Truth itself. Do we have the courage to do the same or do we succumb to human opinion?

Our Dayspring

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Our Savior, the Dayspring from the east,
has visited us from on high, and
we who were in darkness and shadow 
found the truth,
the Lord is born of the Virgin!
us, the faithful, run and give our praising,

for the Incarnate God let us be raising!

Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of Christ Cima da Conegliano.jpg“A voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The Baptism in the Jordan returns to the great
Christmas theme of ‘Christification’, Jesus of Nazareth’s spiritual anointing,
His presentation as the Anointed One per excellence, the Messiah or the One
sent by the Father for the salvation of mankind. The Spirit that descended on Jesus shows and seals in an
incontrovertible way the ‘Christification’ of Jesus’ humanity that the Word had
already fulfilled from the first moment of His miraculous conception by
Mary. Jesus, from the very
beginning, was always the Lord’s Christ, He was always God. …the Baptism in the
Jordan presents yet another truth: that Jesus has started a new creation. He is the second man (1 Cor 15:47) or
the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45), that comes to repair the first Adam’s guilt.  He does this as the Lamb of God that
takes away our sins. ‘Looking at
the events in light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people
realised what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon His
shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan.  He inaugurated his public activity by
stepping into the place of sinners.’ 
(Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, Bloomsbury 2007, p. 18)

Excerpt from the Letter from Cong. pro Clericus, 2011

Epiphany – Theophany: we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality, Pope said

Pope Benedict Epiphany 2011.jpgSadly, the bishops in the USA moved the celebration of Epiphany to a Sunday but in other dioceses, particularly Rome, the traditional Epiphany Mass is celebrated. How much is lost when we monkey around with the sacred Liturgy!!! At Mass today, the Pope preached, given in part:

“In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its
greatness and rationality,” said Pope Benedict, “we cannot fail to read the
eternal rationality
; we can not help but be guided by it to the one God,
Creator of heaven and earth.”

“Herod is a
character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way
for his brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of
Herod in us
? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival? Perhaps
we too
are blind to his signs, deaf to his words, because we think they put
limits on our lives and do not allow us to dispose of our existence howsoever we

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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]yahoo.com.
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