Today we celebrate the feast of St. John the Apostle. He is called in his gospel the beloved disciple. Beloved. What a beautiful name. Beloved by Whom. Yes Jesus. And yet each one of us is called into a loving relationship with Jesus too. What is the difference between St. John and us. Purity of intention and youth. St. John was a very young follower of Jesus and still knew how to simply be a friend. Children can simply love. They may not know how to express their love, but never the less they do a much better job of simply loving than adults do. Yes they are selfish too, but not so self absorbed as adults, not so possessive in their friendships. I ask kids if they have friends. Almost always the answer is; many friends.
Why can’t we rest our weary lonely heads on the breast of Jesus? He won’t hurt us. He won’t betray us. He will only ask that we be sincere in our love for Him. If we love Jesus and want the intimacy that only He can offer, we need to purely love Him. Many people feel lonely at this time of the year. The nights are long. Yet right now there is a loving friend waiting for our friendship. We can not see Him, feel His embrace, or hear His loving voice. But if we reach out in faith, He will be a true friend who will shower His Love on us. May we rest our weary and lonely head on the Heart of Jesus and just be. We do not have to say anything, or feel anything. Just stay resting on His breast in His Divine Love.
The Te Deum begins
You are God: we praise you; You are the Lord: we acclaim you; You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you.
To you all the angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the King of glory, the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
The Te Deum continues on. But, what I wish to point out is the exaltation that is given to the Divine Trinity when the Divine Office is prayed. All priest are obliged to recite the Divine Office and are praying this prayer at this time of the year. They know this prayer well. But non the less many do not want people to treat God, who is so great, with this kind of reverence in the Holy Sacrament of Communion. Many scold people for kneeling to receive Jesus. Many tell people to receive God incarnate in the hand. Don’t they understand the words of the Te Deum; All creation worships you. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.
At this Christmas time, may we adore the Child Jesus whom is poorly treated in Holy Communion by so many Catholics. Thank God Pope Benedict demands that all who receive Holy Communion from him, kneel and receive God on the tongue.
So shortly after the festivities and joys of Christ’ birth comes such a drastic contrast, the stoning to death of St. Stephen. As yesterday was accompanied by King Herod’s violence, so today we see the end of the story, or as it may seem, the first martyr for love of the King of Kings. But if we look into the scriptures, we see what the baby Jesus won for His friend Stephen, an opened heaven where he will reign with Jesus forever. I find it very interesting how St. Stephen tells it like it is, and forces the evil to show its true face, rushing as one, to destroy this angelic young man. It is clear that the true face is shown when confronted with TRUTH. What monsters of violent hate. Where is the Love. And St Stephen forgives these evil persons exactly as Jesus did on the cross. St. Stephen preached like Jesus and died like Jesus. But he also reigns with Him in Love and Glory forever.
We see how St. Stephen lived the truth and did great miracles. We see that he spoke the truth in all calmness. We see how he died secure in the vision he was shown of his final reward. Let us try to live lives of purity and holiness like St. Stephen. Let us be brave and willing to speak words of truth in love. And let us look forward to the free gift the baby Jesus brought us on Christmas day, a glorious place with Him for ever in Heaven.
The Bible tells us that Jesus, with the Father, created all things visible and invisible. And that all things exist in Him. O.K. Prove it. Well how can you explain that this tiny baby born in poverty would continue to effect history and hearts if He was not God. It is absolutely impossible for any human person to effect so much of history, discoveries, and personal conversions if it were not for His Divinity. All odds were against Him from the beginning. He was nothing more than a poor man in an obscure part of the world, and look who He is now. Jesus continues to turn evil hearts into Loving Hearts.
As we celebrate the 8 days of Christmas solemnities, let us continue to meditate on this mystery. A tiny baby became such a threat to King Herod that he had to slaughter hundreds of babies. How strange that such a bloody reaction took place. How can a simple child cause such an outburst of violence. But is was not just King Herod at work, but also the devil. It reminds me too of the violent reactions against the Holy Latin Mass. Bishops, priest and people react so violently against such a simple Holy thing. Why? What is going on? Because they may have to kneel and receive Jesus on the tongue? What is so horrible about that. Didn’t the Kings or Magi prostrate and adore the hidden God in the Baby Jesus. Two different reactions, King Herod’s, anger, fear, violence and murder of babies, and the three kings, prostration and adoration. Which kings do we wish to imitate.
Jesus is hidden, as he was in Bethlehem, in the Holy Communion. The Holy Latin Mass is so much about adoring Jesus. Come let us adore Him.
Don Pietro Leone Monselice from Italy wrote an excellent paper on exactly what is the problem we are facing in the Church today. You can read it on Rorate Ceali. I would advise printing it up and sharing it with anyone who can see that we need God’s help for Holy Church today. My brother is a doctor. First step to help healing start is the correct diagnosis of the illness, then a plan of medical treatment. Things then can start to get better. Diagnosing the problem is not easy.
In a brief summary what he is saying is that we have double talk in the Church. Vatican II states that Latin is to maintained and held in highest esteem and then there are many documents directing to implement use of the vernacular when ever it is pastorally needed. The Holy Mass is called a commemoration of the last supper as Luther believed, but also referred to as a sacrifice. Jesus is the savior of the world but He works in mysterious ways without need of knowing him. Jesus works through the Holy Sacraments, the Church is the sacrament to the world, but all who try to do God’s will are saved. These are true to a certain sense but totally confusing and contradictory. We need clear definitions and explanations. We need to be those who help the Church articulate clear teaching that do not water down the Deposit of Faith handed on from the Apostles. And this is where the sacrifices come in. We will be persecuted for asking for purer definitions and teaching.
Another thing he brings up is that most Catholic doctrines are just ignored, like Hell, Purgatory, and Sin. In all love we need to share all our Catholic teachings, not just the social justice issues. As said before, all poverty and suffering come from one root, SIN. We get rid of the sins like greed, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, and wars, we get rid of the majority of our social problems. Christ came into a cold world. Most hearts have grown cold. We need to start in the Soul. Let His healing love enter our hearts by repenting and welcoming Him to take possession of our hearts. Then let us be prophets that are willing to tell the truth and not be politically correct in a sick world. Let us diagnose the problems and get on with the medical plan to health again.