"Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me"

Christmas Novena
[Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day (30 November) until Christmas]

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen

 

ADVENT SIMPLICITY

EPIPHANY

 

ADVENT SIMPLICITY

The first Sunday of Advent is December 3, 2017. Prepare for the coming of our Savior when "THE WORD BECAME FLESH'. Construct your advent wreath early so as not to neglect this four week period of prayerful anticipation. "CLICK HERE FOR ADVENT WREATH INSTRUCTIONS"

  • Pray for attentiveness to what truly matters, without being distracted by trivial things.

  • Pray for opportunities to learn something new regularly.

  • Pray for discernment of how God would like you to set your priorities and the ability to focus on them consistently to fulfill His purposes in your life.

  • Pray for the grace to be able to rest, become aware of God's presence, and enjoy it.

  • Pray for strong relationships with other people in the bond of loving community.

  • Pray for peace in all situations, no matter what the circumstances.

  • Pray for an enlivened imagination that helps you contribute to the world in creative ways.

  • Pray for freedom from all that burdens you - past mistakes, fears, destructive habits, hurts other people have inflicted, and more.

  • Pray for joy and a sense of humor.

  • Pray for confidence in God's love for you and trust in His power to work things out for the best in your life.

  • Pray for a clear mind and the ability to clearly communicate what you value to others.

  • Pray for purity so you can grow as a person and encounter God more fully.

  • Pray for openness to the Holy Spirit's guidance.

  • Pray for a genuine awareness of God's grace in your life and the humility to extend grace to others.

  • Pray for a passion to pursue justice.

 

EPIPHANY
[January 6th]

The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called "The Adoration of the Magi" or "The Manifestation of God." Celebrated on January 6, it is known as the day of the Three Kings (or wise men/magi): Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The three kings saw a bright star on the night when Christ was born, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christchild and presented it with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The history of Christmas, (the festival of the nativity of Jesus Christ,) is intertwined with that of the Epiphany. The commemoration of the Baptism (also called the Day of Lights, i.e. the Illumination of Jesus) was also known as the birthday of Jesus, because he was believed to have been born then of the Virgin or reborn in baptism. In some records Christmas and Epiphany were referred to as the first and second nativity; the second being Christ's manifestation to the world.

In the fourth century, December 25 was finally adopted by the Western Christian Church as the date of the Feast of Christ's birth. It is believed that this change in date gave rise to the tradition of the "12 Days of Christmas." While the Western Christian Church celebrates December 25th, the Eastern Christian Church to this day recognizes January 6 as the celebration of the nativity. January 6 was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem. In the Teutonic west, Epiphany became the Festival of the Three Kings (i.e. the Magi), or simply Twelfth day.

On the evening before Three Kings, traditionally there were prayers, blessed dried herbs would be burnt and their aromatic smell would fill the house. Doorways would be sprinkled with holy water and the master of the house would write with chalk C + M + B and the year above the house and barn door and say: "Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, behütet uns auch für dieses Jahr, vor Feuer und vor Wassergefahr." ("CMB, protect us again this year from the dangers of fire and water.") C + M + B has traditionally been translated with Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, however, according to the Church it stands for "Christus Mansionem Benedictat" (Christ bless this home).

Epiphany used to be a fixed feast and was always on January 6, ending the 12 days of Christmas. The Church has now moved the feast to the second Sunday after Christmas. Epiphany is a large celebration, especially in Spanish speaking countries. Things look different around the household: the infant Jesus in the manger now has a small gold crown and is wearing regal robes. The figures of the wise men have reached Bethlehem, completing the nativity scene.

It was traditional to bless water on the vigil of Epiphany. This water was then used in the blessing of homes on the following day. Many pastors also blessed pieces of chalk for each family to use in inscribing the names of the three Magi over their doorways, as a manifestation of their Christian faith and a protection against the powers of evil.

The Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home probably grew up on account of the words in the Gospel, And they adored Him. The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father (or head) of the family may do so.

 

Advent Wreath

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