Christmas Archive

0

A Message From Father Lou – The Twelve Days of Christmas – A New Beginning

We are all familiar with the catchy Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” referring to the days between Christmas and Theophany, December 25 – January 5 (January 7 – January 19 in the Julian calendar). What we may not be familiar with according to several sources, there is a symbolic teaching meaning to the song from the Roman Catholic Tradition. According to those sources in the 15th – 16th Century English religious conflicts, the Roman Catholics in England were persecuted and the Church used this song as a more or less secret catechism teaching tool. Other sources challenge this premise. In any case the symbolism presented is very “enlightening”. After all, as our days are now getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere, our Lord Jesus is born as our Light and Salvation. A New Day has dawned and the “Sun of Righteousness” is the Son of God.

Meanwhile, back to the song…

1st Day…“On the First day of Christmas (December 25), my True Love (refers to God the Father) sent to me “A Partridge in a pear tree” – The Partridge refers to Jesus Christ. As a mother partridge feigns injury to decoy predators from her nestlings, our Savior suffered and died for us to bring us life everlasting;
2nd Day…”Two Turtle Doves” – represent the Old and the New Testament;
3rd Day…” Three French Hens” – Represent the three great virtues, Faith, Hope and Love (1st Corinthians 13);
4th Day… “Four Calling Birds” – The Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John;
5th Day…”Five Gold Rings” – The Torah or Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy);
6th Day… “ Six Geese a-laying” – The six days of Creation confessing God as our Creator and sustainer of the world;
7th Day …”Seven Swans a-swimming” – The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading and Compassion (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11);
8th Day…”Eight maids a-milking” – The Eight Beatitudes, Blessed are: The poor in Spirit; Those that Mourn; The Meek; Those that Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness; The Merciful; The Pure in Heart; The Peacemakers; Those Persecuted for Righteousness Sake (Matthew 5: 3-10);
9th Day…“Nine ladies dancing” – Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control (Galatians 5:22);
10th Day…”Ten lords a-leaping” – The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20);
11th Day…”Eleven Pipers Piping” – The Eleven Faithful Apostles (excluding Judas) (Luke 6:14-16);
12th Day…”Twelve Drummers Drumming” – The twelve points of the Apostles and Nicene Creed;

Whether or not this was actually a secret teaching tool for Roman Catholics in the 15th – 16th Century, the symbolism above takes what appears on the surface a mundane song to a most meaningful song of spiritual depth.

And so it is with life…May this year of 2016 be a year of re-birth of God’s Grace within you. As our Lord’s Birth dawns, bringing Light to the world of darkness…As the mundane is sanctified by our Lord’s incarnation, please accept His Divine and Life-Giving Presence in your daily life. Then, may you, everyone and everything around you be enlightened and enlivened with the “Sun that never sets” – The Son of God!

Have a blessed, Grace-full and Godly 2016!

With our Lord’s Blessings, Father Lou

0

A Message From Father Lou – Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

A Message From Father Lou
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

“How will humanity escape from the birth that is subject to death, if it is not by means of new birth, given in a wonderful and unexpected manner by God – that very regeneration that flowers from the Virgin through faith?” St. Irenaeus of Lyons

We have entered into the fast of Advent in expectation of the great Miracle of our Loving Lord’s Incarnation – of His birth and entrance into this world. God has become man that we might again become like God. Oh, unexplainable wonder! Oh, marvelous paradox! The One above us and Incomprehensible became a simple and humble Babe – one of us, comprehensible and humbly dependent upon His Virgin Mother for sustenance. His Love, beyond comprehension with her humble obedience and her unshakable faith allows the “Sun of Righteousness” to dawn bringing Light and Salvation to humankind. The Wiseman and the simple Shepherds join chorus with the Angels in heaven to glorify “God in the Highest”. Jew and Gentile alike join with the earth as she offers a cave for a manger, receiving the Savior of the world.
As the American feast of Thanksgiving concludes, let us offer a heart of love in Thanksgiving to our Merciful and Loving Lord for His Nativity and entrance into our world and our lives. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

With our Lord’s blessings,
Father Lou

0

A Message From Fr. Lou – He Came to me…

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU
He Came To Me

Boris Pasternak poured out his blood in his novel “Dr. Zhivago.” As a Jew in Russia who converted to the Orthodox Christian faith, he knew a great deal of personal suffering. What sustained him is summarized in these words: “I could not have endured it without my discovery of Jesus Christ. He came to me!
Jesus comes to us today. If we need greater light, He comes to dispel our darkness. If we need peace, He comes – He who is our peace. If we need strength, power to forgive, power to love the unlovely, He comes – He who is the Pantocrator – the Almighty. He comes to enable us, to empower us, to uplift us, to save us. He came. He comes. “And His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. “ (Mt 1:23). (From Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth, Fr. Anthony Coniaris, pg. 372.)
The great miracle of Christmas is revealed in the remarkable fact that God comes to us. This is at the same time a universal and cosmic reality and a very personal event, the context of which is agape love. “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “ (John 3:16). The great proof of His love for us begins with the incarnation – God’s humble taking on of flesh – our Lord Jesus’ Nativity – and ends with His passion, death on the cross and glorious Resurrection. These events are life changing for the entire human race and for you and me, personally. However, they become healing, transforming and salvific for us ONLY when we accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as our God. As Boris Pasternak affirmed, he could not have endured life without the discovery of Jesus Christ. He came to him. He comes to us also. Let us therefore discover Him and His love for us in our daily lives. And let us come to Him and accept Him as our loving, saving and merciful God.
This Christmas, may we find room in the inn of our heart for our loving Lord! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas and a healthy and spirit filled New Year.

With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou

0

He Came To Me

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

Boris Pasternak poured out his blood in his novel “Dr. Zhivago.” As a Jew in Russia who converted to the Orthodox Christian faith, he knew a great deal of personal suffering. What sustained him is summarized in these words: “I could not have endured it without my discovery of Jesus Christ. He came to me! Jesus comes to us today. If we need greater light, He comes to dispel our darkness. If we need peace, He comes – He who is our peace. If we need strength, power to forgive, power to love the unlovely, He comes – He who is the Pantocrator – the Almighty. He comes to enable us, to empower us, to uplift us, to save us. He came. He comes. “And His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. “ (Mt 1:23). (From Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth, Fr. Anthony Coniaris, pg. 372.)

The great miracle of Christmas is revealed in the remarkable fact that God comes to us. This is at the same time a universal and cosmic reality and a very personal event, the context of which is agape love. “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “ (John 3:16). The great proof of His love for us begins with the incarnation – God’s humble taking on of flesh – our Lord Jesus’ Nativity – and ends with His passion, death on the cross and glorious Resurrection. These events are life changing for the entire human race and for you and me, personally. However, they become healing, transforming and salvific for us ONLY when we accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as our God. As Boris Pasternak affirmed, he could not have endured life without the discovery of Jesus Christ. He came to him. He comes to us also. Let us therefore discover Him and His love for us in our daily lives. And let us come to Him and accept Him as our loving, saving and merciful God. This Christmas, may we find room in the inn of our heart for our loving Lord! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas and a healthy and spirit filled New Year.

With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou
NATIVITY SERMON
BY ST. ISAAC THE SYRIAN (D. AD 700)

“This Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world – let no one threaten; This is the night of the Most Gentle One – let no one be cruel; This is the night of the Humble One – let no one be proud. Now is the day of joy – let us not revenge; Now is the day of Good Will – let us not be mean. It is the Day of Peace – let us not be conquered by anger. Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake – so, rich ones, invite the poor to your table. Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask – let us give alms to those who implore and beg us. This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers – let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness. Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity in order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of DIVINITY.”
The Clergy, Parish Council, Ministry Teams and Staff of Saint Catherine pray for a blessed Christmas Celebration for you and your family.