During his earthly life, St. Joseph was the divinely-appointed guardian and protector of the Child Jesus and His Holy Mother. This God-given mission did not end when he died—death expanded his mission to include all members of the Body of Christ. St. Joseph continues his role from heaven as the guardian and protector of the Catholic […]
Over the centuries, as the saints and theologians reflected on what it means for Our Lady to have pondered and treasured the sacred events from the life of Jesus in her heart, as attested in Scripture, Mary’s heart began to be recognized as something to be imitated in daily practice. Devotion to Mary’s holy heart then developed, in much the same way as it did for the Sacred Heart, which was physically pierced by the lance on the Cross to give Eternal Life to men. So also does Mary’s heart, which was also pierced (as prophesied by Simeon) in union with her Son, give life—that is, grace—to the Christian soul.
As Catholic laity, we often hear about “active participation” at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We may think that “active” participation means “physical” participation—such as being a cantor, lector, or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. However, first and foremost, the active participation of the laity is our interior participation at Mass.
Saint Bridget of Sweden (1303 – 1373) was one of the most important and famous mystics of the Middle Ages, causing her to be named one of the patron saints not only of Sweden, but of all Europe. Among the many visions she records in her Revelations is this remarkable description of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her glory as the Queen of Heaven. In this vision St. Bridget sees Our Lady possessing seven lilies and seven precious stones in her heavenly crown. Each one symbolizes a different quality or characteristic. Seven, of course, is the biblical number symbolizing perfection.
There are many beautiful and ancient traditions that come to us from the East in the form of special blessings that the Church performs on Epiphany: the blessing of water, chalk, and homes.
January is here again, and it’s time to make the annual New Year’s resolutions. Every Catholic should add to their list a few spiritual resolutions designed to help them walk higher up that mountain of faith. Let the freshness of a new year be your impetus to make new strides in your walk with God. There is no time but the present!
What is not commonly known about St. John is that he has a strong connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. About 400 years before devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus became widely popular through St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, two nuns at a monastery in 13th century Germany had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart: St. Gertrude the Great and St. Mechtilde
Next to Easter, Christmas is the holiest day of the year. Just as we celebrate Easter as a Triduum of liturgies (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil), so at Christmas we have something like a triduum of Masses. There are three Masses celebrated on Christmas Day: at midnight, dawn, and during the day. Each Mass is distinct and highlights a different aspect of the Christmas story.
If you still need to take care of those stragglers on your shopping list, or if you haven’t even started yet, here are some unique religious Christmas gift ideas to help take you to the finish line. And remember, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a season that BEGINS on December 25th. So, there is no shame in spreading out your gift-giving right up to Epiphany (the original 12 days of Christmas). After all, that’s the day when Baby Jesus received his gifts!
Advent is given to us as a time to prepare our souls for the coming of the Lord. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. In modern times we are tempted to skip over the penitential aspects of Advent and focus on the joy of Christmas. This is a great tragedy. Focusing only on the joy denies the truth: the Christ Child is our Lord and Savior who will suffer and die for our salvation.