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.
No matter what, we have reason for GREAT JOY this Christmas. Why do we love God and His Holy Catholic Church so much? It is because we believe that Jesus is God and came and dwelt among us. Today, just as much, as Christmas 2012 years ago. HE is truly present in the Holy Eucharist as much so as when He was present in the stable. So we do believe and that is why we defend Jesus and His Holy Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We tend to get discouraged with the condition of the Church and the world. But again we need to do a reality check and see we CARE because we BELIEVE. But again who do we believe in? In our God who is active and present in our lives. He is even more so working for us who deeply love Him.
May each of us cleanse our souls so as to prepare a holy dwelling place for Jesus to be welcomed into. Jesus has very few pure, love filled and holy souls where He can come and be loved. My our souls be one of those places this Holy Christmas.
Celebrated the Holy Latin Mass here at the Abbey of Christ the King. What a beautiful feast day of St. Thomas. He is great for us who do not have perfect faith. St Thomas lived with Jesus, but still doubted the resurrection. So let us ask St. Thomas to help us believe. But at the same time Jesus helped him believe by appearing to him. So it is not bad that we too need some miracles or signs that build up our faith. Lord I believe, but increase my faith. As we approach Christmas, we need to ask Mary too to help us believe. Mary had to accept her great mission as Mother of God with FAITH.