Another beautifully illustrated book by Masha that I found to add to our collection of Christmas books. "A Child's Story of the Nativity." It is just gorgeous, the illustrations are so endearing.
INSTRUCTION ON THE FEAST OF ST. ANDREW.
ANDREW, the brother of Simon Peter, a fisher- man, born in Bethsaida by the sea Genesareth and living at Capharnaum, was at first a disciple of John the Baptist, who seeing the Lord pass by pointed Him out saying: "Behold the Lamb of God!" Andrew hearing these words went at once to Christ, bringing with him Peter, his brother, and having been filled with the Holy Ghost on Pentecost, he traveled through Syria, Epirus and Greece, everywhere announcing the glad tidings of salvation, and at last suffered a martyr's death at Patras, in Achia, where he had established his episcopal seat. While he was preaching Christ at Patras, he was urged by the governor Aegeas, with violent threats, to offer sacrifice to idols; but he bravely replied: "I daily offer sacrifice to the Almighty God, not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of rams, but an unspotted Lamb; and although all the faithful may have partaken of his flesh, yet the Lamb remains as before he was offered, alive and undivided." The unchangeable hero of the faith was then thrown into prison by command of the enraged governor, who, since he could not force him to deny Christ, condemned him to be cruelly scourged and then crucified.
When he was brought out to be crucified, and saw his cross, he cried out: "Hail, precious cross, consecrated by the body of Christ! adorned as with precious jewels by the limbs of Christ! Well do the faithful know what joy lies in thee, and to what glorious reward thou dost lead! O good cross, I have ardently loved thee, long desired and sought thee, and now thou art found by me! thou art made ready for my yearning soul, receive me into thy arms, take me away from men, carry me to thy divine Master, that He who on thee redeemed me, on thee may receive me."
Having arrived at the cross, the enraptured apostle disrobed himself, permitted himself to be bound to the cross,where he remained hanging two days, continually preaching faith in Christ, until his soul was raised to Him, whom he so ardently desired to resemble even in death. If thou wouldst have part in St. Andrew's glory, thou must follow him in his love of the cross.
According to the general opinion, this holy apostle's instrument of torture consisted of the form of a Roman X.
In the Introit of this day's Mass, the Church says of the apostles: To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened. Lord, thou hast proved me and known me: thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. (Ps. cxxxviii.) Glory &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. We humbly beseech Thy majesty, O Lord: that as the blessed Andrew was raised up to be a preacher and ruler of Thy Church: so he may be our constant intercessor with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, &c.
EPISTLE. (Rom. x. 10 18.) BRETHREN, With the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they be sent? as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.
EXPLANATION. The apostle here tells us that it is not sufficient for salvation that we believe with the heart, but we must also openly confess Christ, that is, in words and in deeds, and then only we have the true and living faith in Jesus, when we are never ashamed to profess it. He teaches besides that God makes no difference between Jew and Greek, that is, the Gentiles, but that every one can be saved who believes in Christ, and openly confesses his faith in words and works. But all can believe, since faith comes from hearing", and the word of God through its preachers is everywhere announced. For this reason the Jews and infidels are not excusable for their unbelief, for the Church sends forth, at all times, into all countries, her apostles and preachers of whom it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things. In our days, how much is preached and how little faith is seen! Can such Christians excuse their ignorance, if one day the Lord shall demand an account of their faith?
GOSPEL. (Matt. iv. 18 22.) AT THAT TIME, Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers), and he saith to them: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him.
EXPLANATION. Christ chose His apostles to show us that those only who are called can assume the place of teacher and as He Himself says, must be chosen and sent. (John xv. 16.) He called His apostles at the very commencement of His teaching, that by continual intercourse with Him, by daily hearing His doctrines, by seeing the divine life he led, they might prepare themselves for their great calling. Christ chose simple fishermen as His apostles that the world might know that the introduction of Christianity was the work of God, and that no one could say, Christ won the world to the faith by deceit, force, riches, or
science. I will make you fishers of men, that is, I will give you grace to convert souls and bring them to God. People in the world can and should, in their own way, be fishers of men. Such are they when they incite their associates, or those under them, to listen attentively to the word of God, or give them pious books to read, keep them from bad company, and gently reprove their faults, and St. Augustine says that in this way fathers of families exercise the office of bishops. They immediately followed Christ. We learn from this that we should obey at once the word of God, when it urges us to do good, or to be converted, and that knowing the truth of the divine call, we should put aside all human gains and considerations in order to follow this voice, like the apostles who laid by all temporal profits and followed Jesus when He called them; for He says: He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. (Matt. x. 370)
PRAYER. Most benign Jesus! who hast elevated simple fishermen to the exalted dignity of apostles, thus putting the wisdom and power of this world to shame, grant, we beseech Thee, that their successors may observe Thy teachings, and in faith, hope and charity remain ever Thine.
Which of the dead have avoided hell? Those and those only, who on earth took up their cross.
~ Father Faber ~
Let us conclude then that persons afflicted with scruples are the most favored by divine love and the surest to arrive to heaven.
~ Blessed Henry Souso ~
Indeed, the behavior of this adorable Providence towards those whom it has determined to admit most quickly, after this life, to the possession of eternal happiness is to purify them in this world by so much the greater sufferings and trials.
~ St. Ignatius ~
For death is but a tenderness,
A shadow, that unclouded Love
Hath fashioned in its own excess
Of radiance from above.
~ Father Tabb ~
The file below is one I made up for our family to use during Advent. It is the prayers we say every evening during Advent.
It is meant to be printed on both sides of one sheet of paper and folded down the center. I use card stock as it holds up better.
Zoe Laboure was the daughter of a French farmer, and she was the only one of her large family who did not go to school. She could not read or write at all. Her mother died while she was still very young, and Zoe had to run the house when her older sister became a nun.
Zoe, too, would have liked to enter the convent when she was in her early teens, but had to wait until she was twenty-four. She became a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and took the same of Catherine.
Shorty after she finished her period of training as a postulant, Sister Catherine began to receive the special privilege of seeing the Blessed Mother. One night, she was awakened from sleep by a "shining child" who led her down to the chapel. There Our Lady came to speak with her. The Blessed Mother, in another vision, showed herself standing on a globe with streams of light coming from her hands. Underneath were the words: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Sister Catherine was told that a medal was to be made of this picture of Our Lady and that all who wore it would receive many graces from God through His Mother's prayers.
Sister Catherine told her confessor and he later told the bishop. So it was that the medal which we call the Miraculous Medal was made, and soon many, many people all over the world were wearing it. Yet no one in the convent knew that humble Sister Catherine was the one to whom Our Lady had appeared! She spent the remaining forty-five years of her life answering the door, looking after the hens that provided the nuns with eggs, and taking care of old and sick people. She was happy to keep her special privilege hidden, for she was interested only in serving God as best as she could.
~ "Saints for Young People," Imprimatur, no year listed ~
We have added a new coloring picture to the November Saints on our coloring page.
"O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
For death is but a tenderness,
A shadow, that unclouded Love
Hath fashioned in its own excess
Of radiance from above.~
~ Father Tabb ~
What a privilege from Jesus! How much He must love us to send us such great grief! . . . Let us be more than resigned, let us embrace the Cross with Him!
~ Saint Therese ~
NOVEMBER TWENTY FIFTH
The gate of death, viewed from the supernatural side, is an entrance and not an ending, a beginning and not a close. Death, when he comes, draws not only the survivors closer together, but even those whom he seems to have separated. He does not bring consternation and terror and disunion, but he awakens hope and tenderness, he smooths away old differences, he explains old misunderstandings.
~ Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson ~
Let us, with Purgatory in view, suffer with joy, or at least with patience, all the evils, the misfortunes, and the trials of this life. ~ St. Augustine ~
We are giving away 2 - St. Lucy Costumes for 18" dolls. Use the Rafflecopter below and don't forget to leave us your comment. Please share with your friends. Give-a-way starts tomorrow and ends Saturday.
Death is the beautiful moment of human life.
~ Pere Lacordaire ~
One tear of the heart over the Passion of our blessed Lord! How much fire of purgatory has it the power to quench.
~ Father Faber ~
What is the meaning of Advent and what do we understand by the term?
THE word Advent signifies coming, and by it is understood the visible coming of the Son of God into this world, at two different times.
When was the first coming of Christ?
It was when the Son of God, conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, was born, according to the flesh, in the fulness of time, and sanctified the world by His coming, for which the patriarchs and prophets had so longed. (Gen. XLIX. to.; Isai. LXIV. i.; Luke, X. 24.)
Since Christ had not yet come, how could the Just of the Old Law be saved?
Immediately after their sin, God revealed to our first parents that His only -begotten Son would become man and redeem the world. (Gen. III. 15J In the hope of this Redeemer and through His merits, all in the old covenant who participated in His merits by innocence or by penance, and who died in the grace of God, were saved, although they were excluded from heaven until the Ascension of Christ.
When will the second coming of Christ take place?
At the end of the world when Christ will come, with great power and majesty, to judge both the living and the dead.
What is Advent, and why has the Church instituted it?
Advent is that solemn time, immediately preceding" Christmas, instituted by the Church in order that we should, in the first place, meditate on the Incarnation of Christ, the love, patience and humility which He has shown us, and prove our gratitude to Him, because He came from the bosom of His heavenly Father into this valley of tears, to redeem us; secondly, that we may prepare ourselves by sincere repentance, fasting, prayer, alms-deeds, and other works pleasing to God, for the coming of Christ and His birth in our hearts, and thus participate in the graces which He has obtained for us; finally, that He may be merciful to us, when He shall come again as judge of the world. "Watch ye, for ye know not at what hour your Lord will come". (Matt. XXIV. 42.) "Wherefore be you also ready; because at what hour you know not, the Son ofman will come". (Matt. XXIV. 44.)
How was Advent formerly observed?
Very differently from now. It then commenced with the feast of St. Martin, and was observed by the faithful like the Forty Days' Fast, with strict penance and devotional exercises, as even now the most of the religious communities do to the present day. The Church has forbidden all turbulent amusements, weddings, dancing and concerts, during Advent. Pope Sylverius ordered that those who seldom receive Holy Communion should, at least, do so on every Sunday in Advent.
How should this solemn time be spent by Christians?
They should recall, during these four weeks, the four thousand years in which the Just under the Old Law expected and desired the promised Redeemer, think of those days of darkness in which nearly all nations were blinded by satan and drawn into the most horrible crimes, then consider their own sins and evil deeds and purify their souls from them by a worthy reception of the Sacraments, so that our Lord may come with His grace to dwell in their hearts and be merciful to them in life and in death. Further, to awaken in the faithful the feelings of repentance so necessary for the reception of the Saviour in their hearts, the Church orders that besides the observance of certain fast -days, the altar shall be draped in violet, that Mass shall be celebrated in violet vestments, that the organ shall be silent and no Gloria sung, Unjust to themselves, disobedient to the Church, and ungrateful, indeed, to God are those Christians who spend this solemn time of grace in sinful amusements without performing any good works, with no longing for Christ's Advent into their hearts.
What are Rorate High Masses and why are they celebrated?
They are the solemn high Masses celebrated in some countries in commemoration of the tidings brought to the Blessed Virgin by the Archangel Gabriel, announcing to her that she was to become the Mother of God; they derive their name from the words of the Introit in the Votive Mass, "Rorate coeli desuper." They are celebrated very early in the morning because the Blessed Virgin preceded our Lord, as the aurora precedes the rising sun.
PRAYER IN ADVENT
O God, who by Thy gracious Advent hast brought joy into this world, grant us, we beseech Thee, Thy grace to prepare ourselves by sincere penance for its celebration and for the Last Judgment. Amen.
God does us great honor when He is pleased that we should tread the same road which was trodden by His only begotten Son.
~ St. Paul of the Cross ~
When we suffer we can make known our pain. But the souls in Purgatory cannot speak. We do not know what they suffer. Let us try to relieve them.
~ Mother Margaret of the Most Blessed Sacrament ~
Let us leave our dear Lord and Master to direct our future; our only business is to strive to correspond with His grace as far as we possibly can.
~ Blessed Theophane Venard ~
Pray! yes, pray! for God is sweet -- O my God! woe are we! When we kneel down at His feet -- Woe are we! Woe are we! With our crosses and our cares. He will calm the tortured breast, He will give the troubled rest -- And the dead he watchest best.
It is too great an honor, O King of Glory to drink with Thee the chalice of sorrow; may it never happen to me to refuse this draught, because, O God, says David, it is the beverage of thy beloved.
~ St. Francis de Sales ~
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table for me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly it is!
~ Psalm 22 ~
Just a heads up - we are working on a different design so please don't be alarmed if you see a slight change in our site. All the same information just a little easier to use, we hope.;)
The School of Suffering is the School of Christ and happy they who study in it.
~ Cardinal Vaughan ~
With Advent and the Christmas Season fast approaching, I thought I would share our Christmas book list. With the exception of two of these books (the first two in the list) we don't take them out until Christmas Eve. They are looked forward to each year by the children and read many times over during this beautiful season. You won't find any books about Santa in our collection as I don't wish anyone or anything to take the place of our beloved Lord and His Birthday.
TO THE CHILDREN
A book that tells of the Holy One,
That dearest Child, the Virgin's Son,
Dear Children, is the best for you;
You'll tire not as you read it through.
With joy you'll hear the angel's song,
And join the shepherd's happy throng;
Wish, with the kings, the Babe to greet,
And cast your treasures at his feet.
But when the noble Child you see
Compelled from Herod's wrath to flee,
Your hearts are touched, and you desire
To give them to the Lord entire.
You promise to forsake him never
Whose love for you endures forever.
And, as to God's throne angels bear
This promise, and present it there,
Your souls with heavenly love grow warm,
You feel that Christ will shield from harm;
A voice within you seems to say:
"Dear Child, be loving, meek, and pray;
Then shalt thou to the God-child come,
And share with Him his blessed Home."
The first book in our collection is called, "The Miracle of Saint Nicholas," by Gloria Whelan. This book we take out on St. Nicholas' feast and read it often during the coming weeks.
The second book that comes out of our basket is, "Lucia, Saint of Light," by Katherine Bolger Hyde. This book is brought out on the Eve of St. Lucy's Feast day and read in anticipation of the festivities of the following day!
The rest of the books in our list come out on Christmas Eve after our Christmas Eve supper.
"Up the Hill," by Marguerite DeAngeli. We enjoy this book immensely as we are of Polish heritage (this mother is 1/2 polish) and many of our Feast day traditions come from that heritage. This book is not only a book for Christmas but for Easter as well for there is a story for both Holydays in it.
A tale of some of the old Polish traditions. We do keep the tradition of the straw under the tablecloth and Wigilia, however some of the traditions seem to have become superstitious, and this is something that we as Catholics must avoid.
"Silent Night, The Song and It's Story" by Margaret Hodges. Our favorite Hymn to sing on Christmas Eve, the story of it is very charming!
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Carols. You won't find any Santa, reindeer or silly songs in this book they are all about the TRUE meaning of Christmas.
"A Child's Book of Christmas Carols," by Inez Bertail. Very, very beauti- fully illustrated by Masha.
One of our traditions is to use candy canes as decorations on our Christmas Tree. There are many legends of its origin; this one is our favorite. "The Legend of the Candy Cane," by Laurie Walberg
A favorite carol of my little boy, I have to sing it every so often during the year when it comes to mind. Tomie dePaola's illustra- tions really appeal to my children. "The Friendly Beasts, An old English Christmas Carol," by Tomie dePaola.
Another of Tomie's books, "The Legend of the Pointsettia" is another charming tale the children love.
There are quite a few books about the Little Drummer Boy out there. This one just happens to be our favorite. "The Little Drummer Boy," illustrated by Kristina Rodanas
"This is the Stable," by Cynthia Cotten is an enjoyable book told in rhyme. The children had this one memorized in no time and love to finish the verses as they are read.
"The Huron Carol," Illustrated by Frances Tyrell and written by one of the North American Martyrs, St. Jean de Brebeuf for his beloved Huron Indians.
St. John de Brebeuf, pray for us!
"The Twelve Days of Christmas," beautifully illustrated by Jan Brett.
Giving gifts to the Christ Child is what Christmas is all about and even the smallest of us can do it if we try.
A very sweet story the little children really enjoy, even this mom loves it. "Small Camel Follows the Star," by Rachel W. N. Brown.
An adaptation of the classic story, "The Other Wise Man," retold by Pamela Kennedy. Written so that children can easily understand its meaning.
A Compilation of Prophecies and Short stories throughout the centuries concerning Christmas.
"A Christmas Chronicle," by Aloysius Horn
"Good King Wenceslaus," by John M. Neale
"The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey," by Susan Wojciechowski
That concludes our list thus far. I hope I can find a few more to add to our collection. We can never have enough good books.
The least pain we may have to suffer in Purgatory is much greater than any pains we can imagine as possible in this world.
~ St. Anselm ~
No, I will not prefer one thing to another, a thousand times no, because that would be my will and I only wish to do God's will. I suffer, I am in tribulations. What do I care? It is God's will being accomplished in me. I am hurt, crushed, never mind! God wills it, I will it too. I accept, I see but one thing, God's will.
~Pere de Ravignan~
I have added a calendar file here, for those of you who may wish to print one out but were hesitant because of all the color in the backgrounds. I have removed the background on this file.
To the throne of your riches and grandeur I fly,
In the arms of your mercies I'll rest
O, help me, O, shield me, when going to die,
And let not my soul be oppressed.
When the winds of adversity sink in my heart,
"When temptations assail me with pain.
To thy beautiful throne I will willingly dart.
And by thee I'll safely remain.
When I find myself mix'd with the giddy and gay,
When around me enchantment there lies,
O help me, O thou whom the angels obey,
From sin and the world to arise.
When first in the morning from sleep I awake,
When the Devil's temptation begins,
To Jesus, O then, my heart and soul take,
And preserve me from failings and sins.
When first before God in the morning I kneel.
My prayer and oblations to say,
O then let my heart the more forcibly feel
What I by my word of mouth pray.
When about to receive my God from above,
In my poor and my unworthy heart,
Obtain for me some of the Seraphim's love,
And some of thy own, O impart.
O beg of thy God, when I am to receive
A conscience from sin undefiled.
And vouchsafe from all failings and sins to relieve
Thy young and thy suppliant child.
When the time draws so near, and the angels adore
My Jesus on our altar laid,
O then my dear Mother indeed I implore
Thy powerful succour and aid.
And when I am slighted, and scorned, and disdained,
When through it I weep and bemoan.
Let me then think that Jesus on earth so remained,
And that Mary was poor and unknown.
When I sin by the fashion and rank of my birth,
When led on by those whom I love.
Take my heart, blessed Lady, from this passing earth,
And place it in heaven above.
When forced from my passions to heave a deep sigh,
O make me then pious and mild;
And look down from the throne of thy grandeur on high,
On thy thoughtless and volatile child.
When about to break loose from life's faultering bands.
When I feel the last chilling of death,
O then, Queen of Heaven, into thy sacred hands
Receive thou my last parting breath.
~ Selena Margaret Rosa Mary Catherine ~ Jan. 2, 1833
If thou carry the Cross willingly it will carry thee, and bring thee to thy desired end; to wit, to that place where there will be an end of suffering, though here there will be none.
~Imitation, B 2, Chap. XII~
Holy Mother Church
dedicates the month of December to the Nativity of Our Lord
The purpose of this website is to share the beautiful Catholic resources that God has so richly blessed us with. All texts unless they are my own words have their sources quoted, and most of them are in the public domain. Any educational items that I have made for or with my children are NOT TO BE USED FOR PROFIT, but are meant to be used for personal use by individuals and families. You may link to our site if you so choose.
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