Msgr Charles Pope features an article on St Joseph for today’s Feast of the Holy Family.
Archive for December 2010
This is my 54th Christmas. Surely I have no conscious memory of the first few. Each of the rest have been different in their own way, but they all have had many of the same things in common: decorations, a Christmas tree, Christmas carols, presents, Mass in a church with a Nativity crèche, family gatherings. Over the years, the joy of giving has surpassed the happiness of receiving. But for the most part, it’s the same routine every year, almost ‘same’ enough to yield a complacency of sorts.
This past Thursday, as I began to read Pope Benedict’s weekly General Audience address which he had given the previous day, I stopped after just the first sentence to consider one of the words used in that sentence: tremulous. [Note: Our Holy Father did not give his address in English, so this is the word used by the Zenit translator, which I assume is accurate]
With this last audience before the Christmas celebrations, tremulous and full of astonishment, we approach the “place” where everything began for us and for our salvation, where everything found its fulfillment, where the hopes of the world and of the human heart met and interlaced with the presence of God.
“Tremulous” is not a word that I encounter very often in my reading. So I paused to verify its exact meaning:
1 — characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors
2 — affected with timidity: timorous
3 — such as is or might be caused by nervousness or shakiness
4 — exceedingly sensitive: easily shaken or disordered
While the routine and complacency of my Christmas celebrations have certainly not overshadowed the real meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ – as I approached the crèche each year, as I heard the Gospel reading describing Jesus’ birth read at Mass, my countenance could not be described as “tremulous.” Until this year, that is, when the Pope’s exhortation to be “tremulous and full of astonishment” brought it to my attention.
As I prayed over the past couple days for the grace to have a heart that would be more tremulous and full of astonishment before our Lord in the manger, I was also led to reflect on what may be one of the keys to attaining this disposition: the gift of the Holy Spirit known as the “fear of the Lord.” One of my resources described this gift as follows:
The Gift of Fear of the Lord enables the person “to avoid sin and attachment to created things out of reverence and love of God.” Primarily, this gift entails a profound respect for the majesty of God who is the Supreme Being. Here, a person realizes his “creatureliness” and dependency upon God, and never would want to be separated from this loving God. This gift of fear arouses in the soul a vibrant sense of adoration and reverence for the majesty of God and a sense of horror and sorrow for sin.
I pray for this gift to work in my heart to give me a much deeper appreciation for what it means for God to become man in Jesus. Then I’ll be better prepared to respond to the challenge issued by our Holy Father near the end of that General Audience talk:
In the night of the world, we must let ourselves be amazed and illumined by this act of God, which is totally unexpected: God becomes a Child. We must let ourselves be amazed, illumined by the Star that inundated the universe with joy. May the Child Jesus, in coming to us, not find us unprepared, busy only in making the exterior reality more beautiful and attractive. May the care we give to making our streets and homes more resplendent impel us even more to predispose our soul to encounter him who will come to visit us. Let us purify our conscience and our life of what is contrary to this coming: thoughts, words, attitudes and deeds — impelling us to do good and to contribute to bring about in our world peace and justice for every man and thus walk toward our encounter with the Lord.
It’s #7 in this gallery. I think I could have some really good prayer time here.
I will read more Russian Orthodox material, because it contains stories like this that challenge my heart and life.
I received the following announcement in my email:
Plan to join Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., 10th Bishop of Trenton, as he celebrates Mass and preaches at the 2011 “Catholic Men for Jesus Christ Rally.” National speakers also attending: Fr Larry Richards and Peter Herbeck. Established in 1997, Catholic Men for Jesus Christ (CMCJ) recognizes that true happiness can only be found in Jesus. It further recognizes that we are not meant to answer his call to “follow me” alone. CMCJ strives to bring men together to build each other up, support one another, and challenge one another on our spiritual journeys to become the men that we are created and called to be. Date: Saturday, March 5, 2011. Location: Mater Dei Prepatory School, New Monmouth. Early registration opens right after the New Year. Watch their website and the CMJC Facebook page for more info!
Only 11 weeks away!!
As noted in the press release below, the recent interview of author and GOTR CMF Advisory Board member Jerry Gilmartin with Johnnette Benkovic about his book will air on EWTN TV Friday, December 17, at 11:00 a.m.
Jerry will also be available to sign his book for you on Monday, December 20, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Guild Studio bookstore at 400 Wyoming Ave, Scranton.
Book signing, EWTN TV appearance by local author:
Jerome D. Gilmartin, author of the book, The 7-Step Reason to be Catholic: Science, the Bible and History point to Catholicism and host of the “In Love of Christ” program on local Catholic Radio, JMJ 750 AM, will sign his book at the Guild Studio bookstore Monday, December 20, 2010, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Gilmartin was interviewed recently by Johnnette Benkovic at the studio of EWTN Global Catholic Television in Irondale, Alabama for a “Women of Grace” TV program which will air Friday, December 17, at 11:00 a.m. on EWTN TV.
His book has been featured on Dan Patrick’s “The Son Rise Morning Show” on EWTN radio. He has been a guest on the “Our Faith, Our Diocese” program hosted by Dan Gallagher on CTV and has given presentations at catechetical convocations in the Scranton and Harrisburg dioceses and several local parishes.