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Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

Today–when we celebrate Epiphany— is one of my favorite days in the liturgical calendar.  It is the day I get to move the magi into the manger scene, and as a kid, I always loved rearranging, gazing on and meditating before the Nativity set we had under the tree.

In today’s homily, Fr. Tom told us about a friend of his from Peru who had never heard of Santa Clause until he got here to America.  (Santa Claus is a very European tradition.)   His family did not celebrate Christmas Day in the way we do here.  They gathered, went to mass and had a wonderful feast dinner.  But it wasn’t until Epiphany that they exchanged gifts.  On the morning of Epiphany, the children would rise to find gifts from the magi who had been following the star searching for the Lord.  The children would be told that when the magi came to the family’s house, the magi found the love of Christ so strong, they were sure that the Christ child was there, so they left gifts for Him….and those of course became what we would think of as Santa gifts.

Fr. Tom gave us homework.  He told us to make Epiphany a day of gift-giving “from the heart.  A day to give something of our faith to those we love–a Bible, a spiritual book, Rosary, whatever.”  He said, “Wouldn’t that be something?”

Inviting gifts of the season by having a Christ-centered, loving home.  An Epiphany gift given from the heart.  Wouldn’t that be something?

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A Merry Christmas story for you.  :-) 

From the Washington Post comes this unusual but heartwarming adoption story.  All grown up now, the “baby” of the story–now a young woman–has found the man and woman who found her on a doorstep when they were each teenagers.  Notice how happy the girl is to be given this chance.   I’m sure she is glad her birth mother chose life, even if she was abandoned.  

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 17, 2009; A01
Christopher Astle and Emily Yanich were teenage pals strolling back from a 7-Eleven that afternoon in late summer — two ordinary kids on an ordinary Wednesday after school — when they found the abandoned baby. 

It was Sept. 6, 1989. They discovered the newborn wrapped in towels at the front door of a townhouse in their Fairfax County complex and took the infant to Emily’s, where her stepfather called police. 

The whole thing was over pretty quickly. The authorities took the baby girl, who was later adopted. Chris and Emily, both 15, went on with their lives, although Emily often cried when she told people the story, and the two called each other every Sept. 6. Twenty years passed. Then, on Dec. 2, a college student named Mia Fleming sent them both a message via Facebook: Might they be the same Chris and Emily who had once found a baby left at a stranger’s door? If so, she just wanted to say thanks. After all these years, the little girl they had found had found them. The story of Mia, Chris and Emily, recounted by the three over the past few days, is a nativity narrative for modern times. There were no heavenly hosts that warm afternoon in 1989, just the distant ambulance sirens after the call to 911. But the event seemed blessed all the same. Chris and Emily, both now 35, stayed close friends as they grew up, moved and married, bound by their rescue of the baby. Mia, once she learned her story, never forgot them, and after numerous tries over several years managed at last, through the power of the Internet, to track them down. “I didn’t know how they would feel,” she said. Emily said: “It’s like a miracle. . . . My heart is filled now. There was always a little spot missing. ” Chris said, “It’s the best Christmas present I have ever gotten.” A reunion is being planned so the three can see one another again. Mia, now 20, said she was excited. Chris said, “I just want to give her a hug.” 

Read the full story here.

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Today’s  book is a bit off-the-wall, I know, but I think this is an excellent book for those of us with an insatiable need to know random stuff. 

There really isn’t any good reason to keep building ugly post-VII churches.

Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy by Denis McNamara; Foreword by Scott Hahn.  Here is what the publisher says about it:

This unique book delves into the deep meanings of liturgical art and architecture, and by association, the Sacred Liturgy itself. It is meant to help pastors, architects, artists, members of building committees, seminarians, and everyone interested in liturgical art and architecture come to grips with the many competing themes which are at work in church buildings today. The object of Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy is help the reader to drink deeply from the wells of the tradition, to look with fresh eyes at things thought to be outdated or meaningless, and glean the principles which underlie the richness of the Catholic faith.

  • Part one presents an emerging area of study: Architectural Theology
  • Part two introduces the readers for the first time to the scriptural foundations of church architecture
  • Part three focuses on the classical tradition of architecture
  • Part four examines iconography as eschatological flash and
  • Part five concludes with a discussion of the Twentieth Century and where we are now in the Age of the Church.

Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy is a  foundational sourcebook for studying, designing, building, and renovating Catholic churches, this book is intended to find the middle of the road between differing and sometimes conflicting theories of liturgical architecture.  It will give architects and building committees the theological language and tools to understand the elements of church design by examining past architecture and will help decision makers link these principles to their current building projects.

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Saint Nicholas brought us stockings full of fruits, nuts, and candies last night.  Did he visit you?

CNA STAFF, Dec 6, 2009 / 04:47 am (CNA).- Today, December 6, the faithful commemorate a bishop in the early church who was known for generosity and love of children. Born in Lycia in Asia Minor around the late third or fourth century,  St. Nicholas of Myra is more than just the inspiration for the modern day Santa.

As a young man he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt in order to study in the school of the Desert Fathers. On returning some years later he was almost immediately ordained Bishop of Myra, which is now Demre, on the coast of modern day Turkey.

The bishop was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution and only released when Constantine the Great came to power and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

One of the most famous stories of the generosity of St. Nicholas says that he threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man’s daughters, who otherwise would have been sold into slavery.

The gold is said to have landed in the family’s shoes, which were drying near the fire. This is why children leave their shoes out by the door, or hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hopes of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast.

St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas because of the tradition that he had the custom of giving secret gifts to children.   It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German, his name is “San Nikolaus” which almost sounds like “Santa Claus.”

In the East, he is known as St. Nicholas of Myra for the town in which he was bishop. But in the West he is called St. Nicholas of Bari because, during the Muslim conquest of Turkey in 1087, his relics were taken to Bari by the Italians.

St Nicholas is the patron of children and of sailors. His intercession is sought by the shipwrecked, by those in difficult economic circumstances, and for those affected by fires. He died on December 6, 346.

Church celebrates feast of St. Nicholas, the ‘original’ Santa Claus.

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2 out of 3 bible scholars think that Scott Hahn's Catholic Bible Dictionary should be in Christmas stockings.

Well, I couldn’t very well put together a Catholic blogger list of recommended books and NOT have Scott Hahn, could I?  I mean, they might take away my Catholic Blogger credentials.  Oh yeah…I don’t have any. 

Dr. Hahn has soooooo many wonderful books to choose from but I decided on The Catholic Bible Dictionary because Michael Barber requires it for his classes.  No.  I’m not making that up.  :-P   He does.  Plus I love dictionaries.  It’s one of my things.  /shrug

And look at these recos from the Amazon site!

Scott Hahn’s writings and conferences have been so effective in bringing Catholics closer to Sacred Scripture. His valuable Catholic Bible Dictionary will be another big help to faithful Catholics who have taken seriously the Church’s encouragement to become immersed in God’s Word.”
Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Catholic Bible Dictionary is a timely, academically solid and user-friendly response to the call of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church for the development of ways of helping the faithful more fully access the treasures of the Bible.”
Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, S.T.D., Archbishop of Washington

Catholic Bible Dictionary is an extremely useful tool for any Bible student, whether beginner or advanced. This dictionary is particularly helpful for Catholics who need both etymological studies of terms and solid theological help. My only hope is that the readers will study the articles on a regular basis and eventually read the whole dictionary as they study the whole Bible.”
Fr. Mitchell C. Pacwa, S.J., president of Ignatius Productions and host of EWTN

Thousands of people have been assisted by Scott Hahn in studying the Bible from an informed and spiritual point of view. This dictionary is a powerful part of that effort and will significantly help any reader learn more about the Bible in an organized and reliable way. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to come to a deeper knowledge and love of sacred scripture.”
Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR

That’s like a roster pulled from Who’s Who in the American Catholic Church.

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Oh! I thought the title was The Search for God IN Guinness. My bad.

So some of these posts just write themselves.  This is one of those posts. 

For today’s Tis the Season of … Books!  entry I bring you ==>>

It’s a book

It’s a book about God and Guinness

‘Nuff said.

Remember boys and girls:  Good things come to those who wait.**

 

** see also

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What do you mean, 'I can't sing'? I can sing!

Okay, this is a book that I have wanted for a loooong time.  Er…five years, according to Amazon‘s Wish List.  Hmmm.  Anyway, at the risk of getting all New Liturgical Movement-y on you, this is supposed to be an awesome and insightful book.     Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste by Thomas Day

I found the original review of the book from Catherine Dower on EWTN that made me add it to my Wish List –gosh, I love the internet!

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