The Christmas Mystery

creed-21Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.203 The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal

and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.

The angels and shepherds praise him

and the magi advance with the star,

For you are born for us,

Little Child, God eternal!

To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God”. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvellous exchange”:

O marvellous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.

Jesus’ circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham’s descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law and his deputation to Israel’s worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that “circumcision of Christ” which is Baptism.211

The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Saviour – the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel”, but also “a sign that is spoken against”. the sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples”.

The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him.219 Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 525-530

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 11

divine-mercyWe must refer the fact that Christ is said to speak nothing of Himself, to His human nature. After explaining how it is right to say that He hears and sees the Father as being God, He shows conclusively, by a large number of proofs, that the Son of God is not a creature.

132. Are we indeed to bring the Son of God to such a low estate that He may not know how to act or speak, except as He hears, and are we to suppose that a fixed measure of action or of speech is assigned to Him, because it is written: I speak not of Myself, and, further on: As the Father has said unto Me, even so I speakJohn 12:50 But those words have reference to the obedience of the flesh, or else to the faith in theUnity. For many learned men allow that the Son hears, and that the Father speaks to the Son through the unityof their Nature; for that which the Son, through the unity of their will, knows that the Father wills, He seems to have heard.

133. Whereby is meant no personal duty, but an indivisible sentence of co-operation. For this does not signifyany actual hearing of words, but the unity of will and of power, which exists both in the Father and in the Son. He has stated that this exists also in the Holy Spirit, in another place, saying, For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak, John 16:13 so that we may learn that whatsoever the Spirit says, the Son also says; and whatsoever the Son says, the Father says also; for there is one mindand one mode of working in the Trinity. For, as the Father is seen in the Son, not indeed in bodily appearance, but in the unity of the Godhead, so also the Father speaks in the Son, not with a voice of earth, not with ahuman sound, but in the unity of Their work. So when He had said: The Father that dwells in Me, He speaks; and the works that I do, He does; John 14:10 He added: Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very work’s sake. John 14:17

134. This is what we understand according to the whole course of the holy Scriptures; but the Arians, who will not think of God the things that be right, may be put to silence by an example just suited to their deserts; that they may not believe everything in carnal fashion, since they themselves do not see the works of their father the devil with bodily eyes. So the Lord has declared of their fellows the Jews, saying: You do what you have seen your father doing; John 8:38 though they are reproved not because they saw the work of the devil, but because they did his will, since the devil unseen works out sin in them in accordance with their ownwickedness. We have written this, as the Apostle did, because of the folly of these traitors. 2 Timothy 3:9

135. But we have sufficiently proved by examples from Scripture that it is a property of the unity of the divine majesty that the Father should abide in the Son, and that the Son should seem to have heard from the Father those things which He speaks. How else can we understand the unity of majesty than by the knowledge that the same deference is paid to the Father and the Son? For what can be better put than the Apostle’s saying that the Lord of glory was crucified? 1 Corinthians 2:8

136. The Son then is the God of glory and the Lord of glory, but glory is not subject to creatures; the Son therefore is not a creature.

137. The Son is the Image of the Father’s Substance; Hebrews 1:3 but every creature is unlike that divineSubstance, but the Son of the Father is not unlike God; therefore the Son is not a creature.

138. The Son thought it not robbery to be equal with God; Philippians 2:6 but no creature is equal with God, theSon, however, is equal; therefore the Son is not a creature.

139. Every creature is changeable; but the Son of God is not changeable; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

140. Every creature meets with chance occurrences of good and evil after the powers of its nature, and also feels their passing away; but nothing can pass away from or bring addition to the Son of God in His Godhead; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

141. Every work of His God will bring into judgment; Ecclesiastes 12:14 but the Son of God is not brought intojudgment; for He Himself judges; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

142. Lastly, that you may understand the unity, the Saviour in speaking of His sheep says: No man is able to pluck them out of My hand. My Father Which gave them to Me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. John 10:28-30

143. So the Son gives life as does the Father. For as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. John 5:21 So the Son raises up as does the Father: so too the Son preserves as does the Father. He Who is not unequal in grace, how is He unequal in power? So also the Son does not destroy, as neither does the Father. Therefore lest any one should believe there were two Gods, or should imagine a diversity of power, He said that He was one with His Father. How can a creature say that? Therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

144. It is not the same thing to rule as to serve; but Christ is both a King and the Son of a King. The Son of God therefore is not a servant. Every creature, however, gives service. But the Son of God, Who makes servants become the sons of God, does not give service. Therefore the Son of God is not a servant.

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The Mystery of Jesus’ Infancy and Hidden Life: The Preparation

vmThe coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.”Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church  522-524

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Our Communion in the Mysteries of Jesus

blindAll Christ’s riches “are for every individual and are everybody’s property.” Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation “for us men and for our salvation” to his death “for our sins” and Resurrection “for our justification”. He is still “our advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for us. He remains ever “in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us.”

In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man”, who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.

Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. “By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.”We are called only to become one with him, for he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us in his flesh as our model:

We must continue to accomplish in ourselves the stages of Jesus’ life and his mysteries and often to beg him to perfect and realize them in us and in his whole Church. . . For it is the plan of the Son of God to make us and the whole Church partake in his mysteries and to extend them to and continue them in us and in his whole Church. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 519-521

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St. Ambrose – Bk 5 – Chapter 10

merciiiWe must refer the fact that Christ is said to speak nothing of Himself, to His human nature. After explaining how it is right to say that He hears and sees the Father as being God, He shows conclusively, by a large number of proofs, that the Son of God is not a creature.

132. Are we indeed to bring the Son of God to such a low estate that He may not know how to act or speak, except as He hears, and are we to suppose that a fixed measure of action or of speech is assigned to Him, because it is written: I speak not of Myself, and, further on: As the Father has said unto Me, even so I speak? John 12:50 But those words have reference to theobedience of the flesh, or else to the faith in the Unity. For many learned men allow that the Son hears, and that the Father speaks to the Son through the unity of their Nature; for that which the Son, through the unity of their will, knows that the Fatherwills, He seems to have heard.

133. Whereby is meant no personal duty, but an indivisible sentence of co-operation. For this does not signify any actual hearing of words, but the unity of will and of power, which exists both in the Father and in the Son. He has stated that this exists also in the Holy Spirit, in another place, saying, For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak,John 16:13 so that we may learn that whatsoever the Spirit says, the Son also says; and whatsoever the Son says, the Father says also; for there is one mind and one mode of working in the Trinity. For, as the Father is seen in the Son, not indeed in bodily appearance, but in the unity of the Godhead, so also the Father speaks in the Son, not with a voice of earth, not with a humansound, but in the unity of Their work. So when He had said: The Father that dwells in Me, He speaks; and the works that I do, He does; John 14:10 He added: Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very work’ssake. John 14:17

134. This is what we understand according to the whole course of the holy Scriptures; but the Arians, who will not think of God the things that be right, may be put to silence by an example just suited to their deserts; that they may not believe everything in carnal fashion, since they themselves do not see the works of their father the devil with bodily eyes. So the Lord has declared of their fellows the Jews, saying: You do what you have seen your father doing; John 8:38 though they are reproved not because they saw the work of the devil, but because they did his will, since the devil unseen works out sin in them in accordance with their own wickedness. We have written this, as the Apostle did, because of the folly of these traitors. 2 Timothy 3:9

135. But we have sufficiently proved by examples from Scripture that it is a property of the unity of the divine majesty that the Father should abide in the Son, and that the Son should seem to have heard from the Father those things which He speaks. How else can we understand the unity of majesty than by the knowledge that the same deference is paid to the Father and the Son? For what can be better put than the Apostle’s saying that the Lord of glory was crucified? 1 Corinthians 2:8

136. The Son then is the God of glory and the Lord of glory, but glory is not subject to creatures; the Son therefore is not a creature.

137. The Son is the Image of the Father’s Substance; Hebrews 1:3 but every creature is unlike that divine Substance, but the Son of the Father is not unlike God; therefore the Son is not a creature.

138. The Son thought it not robbery to be equal with God; Philippians 2:6 but no creature is equal with God, the Son, however, is equal; therefore the Son is not a creature.

139. Every creature is changeable; but the Son of God is not changeable; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

140. Every creature meets with chance occurrences of good and evil after the powers of its nature, and also feels their passing away; but nothing can pass away from or bring addition to the Son of God in His Godhead; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

141. Every work of His God will bring into judgment; Ecclesiastes 12:14 but the Son of God is not brought into judgment; for He Himself judges; therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

142. Lastly, that you may understand the unity, the Saviour in speaking of His sheep says: No man is able to pluck them out of My hand. My Father Which gave them to Me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. John 10:28-30

143. So the Son gives life as does the Father. For as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. John 5:21 So the Son raises up as does the Father: so too the Son preserves as does the Father. He Who is not unequal in grace, how is He unequal in power? So also the Son does not destroy, as neither does the Father. Therefore lest any one should believe there were two Gods, or should imagine a diversity of power, He said that He was one with His Father. How can a creature say that? Therefore the Son of God is not a creature.

144. It is not the same thing to rule as to serve; but Christ is both a King and the Son of a King. The Son of God therefore is not a servant. Every creature, however, gives service. But the Son of God, Who makes servants become the sons of God, does not give service. Therefore the Son of God is not a servant.

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Christ’s Whole Life Is Mystery

mysMany things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted. What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

The Gospels were written by men who were among the first to have the faith and wanted to share it with others. Having known in faith who Jesus is, they could see and make others see the traces of his mystery in all his earthly life. From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus’ life was a sign of his mystery. His deeds, miracles and words all revealed that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” His humanity appeared as “sacrament”, that is, the sign and instrument, of his divinity and of the salvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine sonship and redemptive mission

Christ’s whole earthly life – his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking – is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”, and the Father can say: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father’s will, even the least characteristics of his mysteries manifest “God’s love. . . among us”.

Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life: -already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty; - in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience; - in his word which purifies its hearers;- in his healings and exorcisms by which “he took our infirmities and bore our diseases”; - and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.

Christ’s whole life is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his original vocation:

When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a “short cut” to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus. For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 514-518

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Our Lady of Peace

Our Lady of Peace
Our Lady Queen of Peace is the patroness of the Catholic Church in Hawaii since 1827. The first Catholic missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands arrived at Honolulu Bay on July 7, 1827. These missionaries were members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of Perpetual Adoration and upon their arrival in the islands dedicated their labors to the patroness of the Congregation, Our Lady Queen of Peace and placed the Islands under her protection. It was in her honor that these missionaries erected the first Catholic Church.

After more than a decade of contentious relations with the Hawaiian government, the missionaries were finally allowed to proceed with their evangelization work. In thanksgiving, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace was erected. Completed in 1843, a statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace was placed in the niche above the main altar. The Cathedral was solemnly blessed and dedicated to Our Lady of Peace on the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1843.

The original statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace is located in the Convent Chapel of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts in Picpus, France. During the troubled days of the Commune, in 1871, the populace, incited by atheistic leaders, invaded churches, chapels and convents, destroying every emblem of religion that fell into their hands. The chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace became their prey. The Superior, with tears in her eyes, begged them to spare their beloved shrine; and, strange to say, the rabble went away, leaving it unharmed. When the tempest of the persecution subsided, the statue was again returned to its usual place and honored and venerated by a phalanx of devout souls.

On July 9, 1906, the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace was solemnly crowned in the name of Pope Pius X by his Eminence Cardinal Amette, Archbishop of Paris. Every year on July 9 the feast of Our Lady Queen of Peace is celebrated with great solemnity in the Congregation of the Fathers and Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Perpetual Adoration.

During World War I, Pope Benedict XV added the title Queen of Peace to the Litany of Loreto.

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