The Catholic Carnival of Christmas | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Wikicommons

Ban reindeer, if you like. Abolish Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Keep your family wrapped in the starkest of Advent penances. Eradicate eggnog and candy, tinsel and presents, snowflakes and stockings. Exterminate the festival of it all, the nonsense of the season, if you must.

Lord knows, you have cause. Christmas has become, in the United States, the holiday — which is to say, the holy day — that dare not speak its name. We still have all the extraneous stuff that grew up around Christmas: the gift-giving and those awful Hallmark cards and the mistletoe and the holly. The Muzaked carols, for that matter. But the words of those carols seem to have become a problem for American culture, since — Joy to the world, the Lord is come! — they all too often contain information about the actual reason for the holiday. What is it, in these late modern times, that makes us see the glitter of the season while blinding ourselves to the gold that lies at its heart?

via The Catholic Carnival of Christmas | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

NCRegister | Recognizing ‘God With Us’ Even Now

If you view Advent as a time of purification, of evacuating the self to make room for Christ in you at Christmas, it will appear as “a little Lent.”

It would be likening Advent to the state of a desert, which is precisely the meaning of Lent as a desert experience. But Advent has a different and bigger meaning.

Advent is salvation history itself writ small. Its proper understanding demands refocusing on the meaning of Emmanuel — “God with us.”

Indeed, God has become man in Jesus Christ and is with us and continues to be with us. He has not gone “off to heaven,” leaving us alone in what can seem to be a desert.

Recall that the apostles returned from Olivet — the mount of the Ascension — rejoicing. Jesus continued to be with them invisibly in much the same way that he was with the two disciples — unrecognized — on the road to Emmaus.

Read more . . .

Pope’s childhood letter to Baby Jesus shows his faith :: EWTN News

A Christmas letter that Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Baby Jesus when he was seven years-old demonstrates his devotion to the Sacred Heart and his desire to be a priest.The letter is on display this Advent in the village of Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, where he was born.

Read more . . .

RORATE CÆLI: Ignorance of Christ

In Advent, time of expectation, it is interesting to read an almost unknown homily of Pope Paul VI, found only in Italian on the Vatican website. It was preached at a Roman parish on Passion Sunday, April 4, 1965. Excerpts follow:

Read more . . .

A Strange Thing Jesus Said to a Paralyzed Man – Another Insight from Pope Benedict’s New Book | Archdiocese of Washington

The Gospel from Monday the second week of Advent is the gospel of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof. It is presented to us in Advent because, among the many prophecies about the Messiah, would be that the lame would walk. But the Gospel also helps us to focus on Jesus’ central mission for us, and it is very provocatively expressed in this Gospel.

The Gospel passage contains a rather peculiar and somewhat awkward moment. Jesus looks at a paralyzed man and says to him, As for you, your sins are forgiven (Lk 5:20). What a strange thing to say to a paralyzed man.

The Pharisees and scribes of course are all worked up for other reasons, but their reason is not ours, we know that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Let us stay focused on the strange thing to say to a paralyzed man, your sins are forgiven you.

One of us modern folk might be tempted to tap Jesus on the shoulder and say, “Ah excuse me, Lord, this man is paralyzed, his problem is paralysis, that’s what he needs healing for.”

Of course Jesus is not blind or unintelligent, knows this. But looking at a paralyzed man he does not see the paralysis as his most serious problem. The man has a far more serious problem, his sin.

Read more . . .