THE FRUIT OF HER WOMB: John Meets His Cousin for the First Time

Visitation 1

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, that day when the pregnant Mary travels from Nazareth to Bethany in the hill country to visit her older cousin Elizabeth.  Mary seeks support, advice, perhaps a shoulder to cry on—for she must have worried what people would think, seeing her condition.  Wouldn’t they be scandalized?  And what does it all mean?Elizabeth, seeing Mary approach along the road, rushes out to greet her.To Mary’s delight, Elizabeth—long childless, and probably appr … [Read more...]

PRAYERS FOR OUR SHEPHERDS: The Christmas Mass at Dawn Remembers the Humble Worship in a Stable in Bethlehem

 For the celebration of Christmas, the Catholic Church provides separate Scripture lessons and liturgical prayers for four different Masses:  the Vigil, Midnight, Dawn, and Daytime.  Most of us, though, never hear the readings proclaimed for the Mass at Dawn; we are still tucked warmly in our beds at that hour.  That’s an unfortunate loss, because the readings appointed for that Mass are filled with tender grace.After the presents have been unwrapped and the dinner has been savored, when comp … [Read more...]

St. Raphael: An Angel with Many Hats?

On September 29, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the three Archangels who have been venerated throughout the history of the Church:Michael (from the Hebrew Who Is Like God?), who defends the friends of God against Satan and all his evil angels; Gabriel (the Power of God), chosen by the Creator to announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation; and Raphael (the Medicine of God or God Heals), the archangel who, in the book of Tobit, takes care of Tobias on his … [Read more...]


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