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The ultimate collection of Scriptures for your Christmas celebrations

Lastly he sprinkles the object with holy water, and if called for, incenses it, without saying anything. When a priest blesses he should be assisted by a server who holds the holy water and aspersory, and he should follow the Ritual or the Missal. Care should be taken that during a blessing nothing indecorous is placed upon the altar, e. But things of this nature should be placed upon a table conveniently arranged.

Some minor changes have been made in this rite, such as the omission of certain words, putting salt into the water only once, and the use of the short conclusion for the orations see "Ephemerides Liturgicae" 75 [] The holy-water font is a counterpart of the baptismal font; and the sacramental use of holy water is related to the great sacrament of water, baptism.

Easter is the day par excellence for baptism, and every Sunday is a little Easter. Consequently, on the Lord's day the Church blesses water to be used in the ceremony of renewal of baptism, for as often as she sprinkles us with the blessed water a sign is given us of that sacrament which once bestowed the gift of life. The rubrics direct that the water may be blessed either in the church proper or in the sacristy.

For the edification of the people it might be well to perform this blessing in the sight of the people, at least occasionally. The practice of putting salt into the water comes no doubt from the incident of the miraculous cure of the poisonous well see 4 Kings 2. On Sundays, or whenever this blessing takes place, salt and fresh water are prepared in the church or in the sacristy. The priest, vested in surplice and purple stole, says:. May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you.

May all evil fancies of the foul fiend, his malice and cunning, be driven afar from the place where you are sprinkled. And let every unclean spirit be repulsed by Him who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. Let us pray. May all who use it find in it a remedy for body and mind. And may everything that it touches or sprinkles be freed from uncleanness and any influence of the evil spirit; through Christ our Lord. May you be a purified water, empowered to drive afar all power of the enemy, in fact, to root out and banish the enemy himself, along with his fallen angels.

We ask this through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. All: Amen. May this creature of yours, when used in your mysteries and endowed with your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease. May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered from all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing.

By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants of these homes be banished, so that in calling on your holy name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord. God, source of irresistible might and king of an invincible realm, the ever-glorious conqueror; who restrain the force of the adversary, silencing the uproar of his rage, and valiantly subduing his wickedness; in awe and humility we beg you, Lord, to regard with favor this creature thing of salt and water, to let the light of your kindness shine upon it, and to hallow it with the dew of your mercy; so that wherever it is sprinkled and your holy name is invoked, every assault of the unclean spirit may be baffled, and all dread of the serpent's venom be cast out.

To us who entreat your mercy grant that the Holy Spirit may be with us wherever we may be; through Christ our Lord. On Sundays after the water is blessed and before Mass begins the celebrant sprinkles the altar, himself, the ministers, and the people as prescribed in the Missal and in the ceremony of the Ritual given below. Christ's faithful are permitted to take holy water home with them to sprinkle the sick, their homes, fields, vineyards, and the like. It is recommended too that they put it in fonts in the various rooms, so that they may use it to bless themselves daily and frequently.

There has been a slight change made in this ceremony--the priest no longer says the Miserere while he sprinkles the people see "Ephemerides Liturgicae" 75 [] , and the wording of the rubric for Passiontime and Eastertime also has been altered. The significance of this blessing is touched on in the commentary given above, and the frequent omission of this blessing is noted with regret. Some say that it interferes with the introit procession, but some solution could be found.

The priest who is to offer the Mass, vested in cope of the proper color, comes to the altar, and as he kneels on the step with the ministrants also in Eastertime he receives the aspersory from the deacon. First he sprinkles the altar three times simultaneously intoning the antiphon , then himself, and then he stands and sprinkles the ministrants. The choir takes up the singing of the antiphon, during which time the celebrant sprinkles the clergy and the people. The proper antiphons are given below for the music for these see the music supplement.

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. The antiphon is sung thus at the sprinkling with holy water on all Sundays outside Eastertime; but the doxology is not said during Passiontime, and the antiphon is repeated right after the psalm verse. During Eastertime, from Easter Sunday until Pentecost inclusive the following antiphon is sung:. I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple, alleluia; and all to whom this water came were saved, and they shall say, alleluia, alleluia.

On Easter Sunday, in churches where there is a baptismal font, the water used for the sprinkling is that which has been blessed during the Easter Vigil, that which was taken from the font before the holy oils were poured in. After the singing of the antiphon the priest, who by this time has returned to the altar, stands at the foot of the altar, and with hands folded chants the following:.

Hear us, holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God, and in your goodness send your holy angel from heaven to watch over and protect all who are assembled in this dwelling, to be with them and give them comfort and encouragement; through Christ our Lord. At the end of the principal Mass on the feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, after the last Gospel, the priest, retaining all vestments except the maniple, blesses wine brought by the people.

This is done in memory and in honor of St.

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John, who drank without any ill effects the poisoned wine offered to him by his enemies. P: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. P: The Lord be with you. All: May He also be with you. John, apostle and evangelist, all your faithful who drink of it may find it a help and a protection. As the blessed John drank the poisoned potion without any ill effects, so may all who today drink the blessed wine in his honor be delivered from poisoning and similar harmful things. And as they offer themselves body and soul to you, may they obtain pardon of all their sins; through Christ our Lord.

It is sprinkled with holy water. If the blessing is given privately outside of Mass, the priest is vested in surplice and stole and performs the ceremony as given above. After the psalm: Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father the rest inaudibly until:. Let all who taste or drink of it on this holy feastday have health of body and soul; by your grace let it be a solace to the man who is on a journey and bring him safely to his destination; through Christ our Lord.

We ask this of you who live and reign forever and ever. God, who in creating the world brought forth for mankind bread as food and wine as drink, bread to nourish the body and wine to cheer the heart; who conferred on blessed John, your beloved disciple, such great favor that not only did he himself escape the poisoned potion, but could restore life by your power to others who were dead from poison; grant to all who drink this wine spiritual gladness and everlasting life; through Christ our Lord.

This aspect is not neglected in western Christendom, although in practice we have concentrated on the visit of the Magi. Many years before the Latin Rite officially adopted the blessing of Epiphany water, diocesan rituals, notably in lower Italy, had contained such a blessing. At the appointed time the celebrant, vested in white cope if a bishop, the mitre is worn but removed during the prayers , and the deacon and subdeacon, vested in white dalmatic and tunic respectively, come before the altar.

They are preceded by acolytes, who carry the processional cross and lighted candles which are put in their proper place , and by the other clergy. A vessel of water and a container of salt are in readiness in the sanctuary. First the Litany of the Saints is sung, during which time all kneel. After the invocation "That you grant eternal rest," etc. We beg you to hear us. All: Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea;.

The blood of the martyrs and the devout intercession of all holy men and women commands you. Begone Satan, you father and teacher of lies and enemy of mankind. Give place to Christ in whom you found none of your works; give place to the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, which Christ Himself purchased with His blood. May you be brought low under God's mighty hand. May you tremble and flee as we call upon the holy and awesome name of Jesus, before whom hell quakes, and to whom the virtues, powers, and dominations are subject; whom the cherubim and seraphim praise with unwearied voices, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Today the Church is espoused to her heavenly bridegroom, for Christ washes her sins in the Jordan; the Magi hasten with gifts to the regal nuptials; and the guests are gladdened with water made wine, alleluia. P: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! Or instead of the "Benedictus" the "Magnificat" may be chosen for the Magnificat see Blessing of Homes.

At the end of the canticle the antiphon given above is repeated. Then the celebrant sings:. God, who on this day revealed your only-begotten Son to all nations by the guidance of a star, grant that we who now know you by faith may finally behold you in your heavenly majesty; through Christ our Lord. From here on the exorcism of salt and the prayer that follows it, the exorcism of water and the two prayers that follow it, the mixing of the salt and water and then the concluding prayer--all of these are the same as the ones used on pp.

Accept, holy Father, from me, your unworthy servant, these gifts which I humbly offer to the honor of your holy name and in recognition of your peerless majesty, as you once accepted the sacrifice of the just Abel and the same kind of gifts from the three Magi. May those who use you, with confidence in the divine power, in their lodgings, homes, or on their persons, be delivered from all perils to body and soul, and enjoy all good things. We ask this through the power and merits of our Lord and Savior, the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of all the saints, in particular the godly men who on this day venerated Christ the Lord with the very same gifts.

Protect those who will have them in their possession from every kind of illness, injury, and danger, anything that would interfere with the well- being of body and soul, and so be enabled to serve you joyously and confidently in your Church; you who live and reign in perfect Trinity, God, forever and ever. Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name, and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul; through Christ our Lord.

P: How graciously He looked upon His lowly maid! Meanwhile the home is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. At the end of the Magnificat the antiphon is repeated. Then the priest says Our Father the rest inaudibly until:. Responsory: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for your light is come; and upon you is risen the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. May your blessing remain always in this home and on those who live here; through Christ our Lord. God, almighty and all-mild, by your Word alone you created the manifold things in the world, and willed that that same Word by whom all things were made take flesh in order to redeem mankind; you are great and immeasurable, awesome and praiseworthy, a worker of marvels.

Hence in professing his faith in you the glorious martyr and bishop, Blaise, did not fear any manner of torment but gladly accepted the palm of martyrdom. In virtue of which you bestowed on him, among other gifts, the power to heal all ailments of the throat. Let all men of faith whose necks are touched with them be healed of every malady of the throat, and being restored in health and good spirits let them return thanks to you in your holy Church, and praise your glorious name which is blessed forever; through Christ our Lord.

Blaise was bishop of Sebaste in Cappadocia, and was martyred by beheading about A.

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Not much more can be affirmed of him with any degree of historical accuracy, but legends about him are numerous. One day- -so goes the legend--Blaise met a poor woman whose only pig had been snatched up in the fangs of a wolf but at the command of the bishop the wolf restored the pig alive to its owner. The woman did not forget the favor, for later, when the bishop was languishing in prison, she brought him tapers to dispel the darkness and gloom.

To this story may be attributed the practice of using lighted candles in bestowing the blessing of St. While in prison he performed a wonderful cure on a boy who had a fishbone lodged in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. From this account we have the longtime custom of invoking the Saint for all kinds of throat trouble. After blessing the candles on the feast of St. Blaise, the priest holds two candles fastened like a cross to the throat of the person kneeling before him, and says:.

By the intercession of St. May those who eat and drink these gifts be fully healed of all ailments of the throat and of all maladies of body and soul, through the prayers and merits of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr. We ask this of you who live and reign, God, forever and ever. The parish priest or a priest who has his permission , vested in surplice and white stole, visits the homes of his parishioners on Holy Saturday or another day during Eastertime, in order to bless the homes and their occupants with the Easter water.

He should be assisted by a server who carries a vessel containing blessed water taken from the baptismal font before the holy oils were added. As he enters the home he says:. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. P: Lord, show us your mercy, alleluia.

All: And grant us your salvation, alleluia. P: Lord, heed my prayer. All: And let my cry be heard by you. Hear us, holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God; and as you guarded the homes of the Israelites from the avenging angel on their flight from Egypt, if their homes were signed with the blood of a lamb--therein prefiguring our Easter sacrifice in which Christ is the victim--so likewise in your goodness send your holy angel to watch over and protect all who live in this home, to be with them and give them comfort and encouragement; through Christ our Lord.

The rite described above is used also when the blessing of homes is carried out on another day in Eastertime, in accord with local custom. When the feast of Easter brought the rigorous fast to an end, and these foods were again allowed at table, the people showed their joy and gratitude by first taking the food to church for a blessing. Moreover, they hoped that the Church's blessing on such edibles would prove a remedy for whatever harmful effects the body might have suffered from the long period of self-denial. Today the Easter blessings of food are still held in many churches in the U. We ask this in virtue of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.

May it be for all who eat of it a healthful food for body and soul, as well as a safeguard against every disease and all assaults of the enemy. We ask this of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, the bread of life who came down from heaven and gives life and salvation to the world; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

Shield the land where they are placed from hail, tornado, storm, and every onslaught of the enemy, so that the produce, ripened for the harvest, may be gathered to your honor by those who put their trust in the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. In the Church's veneration of her saints the cult of John the Baptist had from earliest times and continues to have a most prominent and honored place.

John gave testimony of the true light that shines in the darkness, although he proclaimed in utter humility: "He must increase, but I must decrease. The custom of St. John bonfires, indicative of a people with unabashed and childlike faith, continues in some places to this day. The fire is sprinkled with holy water; after which the clergy and the people sing the following hymn for the music see the music supplement :. O for your spirit, holy John, to chasten Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen; So by your children might your deeds of wonder Meetly be chanted. Scarcely believing message so transcendent, Him for a season power of speech forsaketh, Till, at your wondrous birth, again returneth, Voice to the voiceless.

You, in your mother's womb all darkly cradled, Knew your great Monarch, biding in His chamber, Whence the two parents, through their offspring's merits, Mysteries uttered. Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten, And to the Spirit, equal power possessing, One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages, Ever resounding. God, who by reason of the birth of blessed John have made this day praiseworthy, give your people the grace of spiritual joy, and keep the hearts of your faithful fixed on the way that leads to everlasting salvation; through Christ our Lord.

The blessing of herbs was reserved only to the feast of the Assumption. Herbs had not our restricted English meaning but included all kinds of cultivated and wild flowers, especially those which in some way had a symbolic relation to our Lady. The people brought herbs to church on her feast not only to secure for themselves another blessed object, but also to make of the occasion a harvest festival of thanksgiving to God for His great bounty manifested in the abundant fruits of the earth. The herbs were placed on the altar, and even beneath the altar-cloths, so that from this close contact with the Eucharist they might receive a special consecration, over and above the ordinary sacramental blessing of the Church.

After the Asperges if it is a Sunday, otherwise immediately before Mass, the priest, standing before the altar and facing the people who hold the herbs and fruits in their hands, says in a clear voice:. P: To you we owe our hymn of praise, O God, in Sion; to you must vows be fulfilled, you who hear prayers. All: God's watercourses are filled; you have prepared the grain.

P: The fields are garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain. May they keep away disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in your name; through Christ our Lord. Grant that men, cattle, flocks, and beasts of burden find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, against the fangs of serpents or poisonous creatures. May these blessed objects be a protection against diabolical mockery, cunning, and deception wherever they are kept, carried, or otherwise used.

Lastly, through the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary, whose Assumption we are celebrating, may we all, laden with the sheaves of good works, deserve to be taken up to heaven; through Christ our Lord. God, who on this day raised up to highest heaven the rod of Jesse, the Mother of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that by her prayers and patronage you might communicate to our mortal nature the fruit of her womb, your very Son; we humbly implore you to help us use these fruits of the soil for our temporal and everlasting welfare, aided by the power of your Son and the prayers of His glorious Mother; through Christ our Lord.

Holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God, we ask and beseech you to look with merry countenance and fair eyes on these seeds and seedlings. Let neither drought nor flood destroy them, but keep them unharmed until they reach their full growth and produce an abundant harvest for the service of body and soul.

We ask this of you who live and reign in perfect Trinity forever and ever. Almighty everlasting God, sower and tiller of the heavenly word, who cultivate the field of our hearts with heavenly tools, hear our prayers and pour out abundant blessings upon the fields in which these seeds are to be sown. On Nov. But his solicitude did not stop there. He also visited the homes of such women, first said prayers outside the home, and then entered and administered the sacraments and the sacramentals of the Church.

Without going quite to these lengths today, an occasional word of instruction about this very fine blessing would encourage some women to present themselves for it. Almighty everlasting God, who enable us, your servants, in our profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the three Persons in the eternal Godhead, and to adore their oneness of nature, their co-equal majesty; grant, we pray, that by steadfastness in that faith this servant of yours, N.

Lord God, Creator of all things, mighty and awesome, just and forgiving, you alone are good and kind. You saved Israel from all manner of plagues, making our forefathers your chosen people, and hallowing them by the touch of your Spirit. You, by the co- operation of the Holy Spirit, prepared the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling for your Son. You filled John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit, causing him to leap with joy in his mother's womb. Accept the offering of a humble spirit, and grant the heartfelt desire of your servant, N.

Guard the life that is yours; defend it from all the craft and spite of the pitiless foe. Let your gentle hand, like that of a skilled physician, aid her delivery, bringing her offspring safe and sound to the light of day. May her child live to be reborn in holy baptism, and continuing always in your service, be found worthy of attaining everlasting life; through Christ our Lord. Lord, we beg you to visit this dwelling, and to drive away from it and from this servant of yours, N, all the enemy's wiles.

Save them, almighty God, and grant them your everlasting light; through Christ our Lord. The practice of "churching a woman" developed out of a related practice in the Old Testament cf. Lev According to the Mosaic Law a woman incurred legal uncleanness in childbirth and remained unclean until her legal purification.

This view, that a woman incurs some kind of defilement in childbirth, persisted even in Christian times, especially in the East, but in the West too, despite the opposition of Pope Gregory the Great d. The sufferings of childbirth were looked upon as part of the penalty imposed on Eve and on all her daughters. Yet it must be understood clearly that the Jews did not say there was actually any stain of sin on the mother in consequence of giving birth to a child, but merely a restriction imposed by law. With Christ's coming womankind was elevated and ennobled, and motherhood too was more clearly seen as something honorable, deserving a blessing rather than a purification.

The exact time of origin of this sacramental is not known, except that it is very ancient, and dates possibly from the first half of the fourth century. After giving birth to a child a mother may wish to give thanks to God in church for a safe delivery, and to obtain the Church's blessing. This has long been a devout and praiseworthy practice. The priest, vested in surplice and white stole assisted by a server who carries the aspersory , goes to the threshold of the church. The woman kneels there, holding a lighted candle. The rest of the rite speaks for itself; but it may be pointed out that psalm 23, which the priest recites over the woman, is a psalm of majesty, praise, and gratitude.

Antiphon: This woman shall receive a blessing from the Lord and mercy from God, her Savior; for she is one of the people who seek the Lord. Then the priest places the end of the stole hanging from his left shoulder in the hand of the woman and leads her into the church, saying:. Come into God's house. Adore the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, and thank God who has given you the grace of motherhood. The woman kneels before the altar, giving thanks to God for the benefits He has bestowed on her. The priest continues:. Almighty everlasting God, who by means of the blessed Virgin Mary's childbearing has given every Christian mother joy, even in her pains of bringing forth her child; look kindly on this servant of yours who has come in gladness to your holy dwelling to offer her thanks.

And grant that after this life, through the merits and prayers of that same blessed Mary, she and her child may be deemed worthy of attaining the happiness of everlasting life; through Christ our Lord. The "Collectio Rituum," both for Germany and the U. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, begotten before time was, yet willing to be an infant within time; who love childhood innocence; who deigned to tenderly embrace and to bless the little ones when they were brought to you; be ready with your dearest blessings for this child as he she journeys through life, and let no evil ways corrupt his her understanding.

May he she advance in wisdom and grace with the years, and be enabled ever to please you, who are God, living and reigning with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. The blessing of a woman after childbirth ought to be given by the pastor, if he is requested to do so. But any priest may impart it in any church or public oratory, in which case he should notify the superior.

The priest meets the woman at the threshold of the church, sprinkles her with holy water, and says:. God's peace be with you. Adore the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, and ask God to console and comfort you. Then he leads her and those who accompany her to the altar. They kneel before the altar; whereas the priest goes up to the altar predella, turns to them, and says the following:.

P: And lead us not into temptation. All: But deliver us from evil. Almighty everlasting God, lover of holy purity, who chose in your wisdom and goodness to call this woman's child to your heavenly kingdom; be pleased also, O Lord, to show your mercy to this servant of yours, comforting her with your love, helping her to accept bravely your holy will. Thus comforted by the merits of your sacred passion, and aided by the intercession of blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, and of all the saints, may she be united at last with her child for all eternity in the kingdom of heaven.

P: Our God is merciful. All: He is the Lord who watches over little children. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, begotten before time was, yet willing to be an infant within time; who love childhood innocence; who deigned to tenderly embrace and to bless the little ones when they were brought to you; be ready with your dearest blessings for this child these children as he she they journey s through life, and let no evil ways corrupt his her their understanding.

May he she they advance in wisdom and grace with the years, and be enabled ever to please you, who are God, living and reigning with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them. Advancing in virtue and wisdom before God and men, may he she reach a blessed old age and finally attain everlasting salvation. At the appointed time the children assemble in church under the tutelage of parents or teachers to ensure quiet and order.

When they are properly placed, boys and girls separate, the priest approaches and speaks to them very briefly and simply on a suitable topic. Then standing and facing them he says:. At the end of the psalm the antiphon is repeated. This psalm and its antiphon may be omitted if the blessing is imparted less solemnly or only to a few. Next the priest says:. Lord Jesus Christ, who embraced the little children when they came or were brought to you, and laying your hands on them blessed them and said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them.

Let them ever advance in your grace and goodness, the better to know you, love you, fear you, and serve you, and happily reach their blessed destiny. We ask this of you, Savior of the world, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. We beg you, Lord, through the intercession of the blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, to defend this family of yours from every kind of adversity; and as they offer their hearts to you, protect them in your kindness and mercy from all wiles of the enemy; through Christ our Lord.

God, who by your wondrous providence gave us your holy angels as our guardians, grant that we, your suppliants, may ever be shielded by their protection, and finally enjoy their fellowship in heaven; through Christ our Lord. Strengthen their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, sanctify their lives, foster their innocence.

Keep their minds intent on good, help them to prosper, give them peace, health, and charity. By your might and protection shield them always from every temptation of men or demons. And in your mercy may they finally attain the happiness and rest of Paradise; through Christ our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, who embraced the little children when they came or were brought to you here the priest extends his hands over them , and laying your hands on them blessed them and said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these; and their angels ever see the face of my Father;" we beg you to look with favor on the devotion of these boys and girls here present, and let your blessing come on them in fullest measure. In accord with ancient ecclesiastical discipline, pilgrims who are to visit the holy shrines should obtain a letter of recommendation from their Ordinary or pastor before they set out.

Having put their affairs in order, they prepare themselves with sacramental confession, assist at Mass and receive holy communion. In this Mass the Collect for pilgrims pro re gravi is said.

Magi, Wise Men, or Kings? It’s Complicated.

After Mass they kneel before the priest who says the following for the music see the music supplement :. Antiphon: May the almighty and merciful Lord lead you in the way of peace and prosperity. May the Angel Raphael be your companion on the journey and bring you back to your homes in peace, health, and happiness.

Then the Canticle of Zachary is said; and after the canticle the above antiphon is repeated. Then the priest continues:. God, who led the children of Israel dry-shod through the sea, and showed the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star; grant these pilgrims, we pray, a happy journey and peaceful days, so that, with your holy angel as a guide, they may safely reach their destination and finally come to the haven of everlasting salvation.

God, who led your servant, Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and kept him safe in all his wanderings; may it please you, we pray, also to watch over these servants of yours. Be to them, Lord, a help in their preparations, comfort on the way, shade in the heat, shelter in the rain and cold, a carriage in tiredness, a shield in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a haven in shipwreck; so that under your guidance they may happily reach their destination, and finally return safe to their homes.

Lord, we beg you to hear our request that you guide the steps of your servants along the path of well-being that comes from you, and that in the midst of this fickle world they may always live under your protection. Grant, we pray, O almighty God, that your family of pilgrims find a safe route; and heeding the admonitions of blessed John, the precursor, come finally to Him whom John foretold, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hear, Lord, our prayers, and kindly accompany your servants on their journey; and as you are present everywhere lend them your aid at all times, so that with you as their shield they will be defended from all dangers and pay you their homage of gratitude; through Christ our Lord. If there is only one pilgrim the prayers are said in the singular; but if the priest who bestows the blessing is a member of the pilgrimage they are said in the plural.

We beg you, Lord, be appeased, and lavish on your servants pardon and peace, so that being cleansed of all their transgressions they may serve you with tranquil hearts. Almighty everlasting God, the ruler of our lives and destinies, grant to your servants continual and abundant peace, so that those whom you have brought back safely to their various occupations may bask in the security of your protection.

God, the support of the lowly, you who console us by the love of our brethren; bestow your grace on our brotherhood, so that we may always see your presence in those in whom you live by your grace; through Christ our Lord. It deserves a place in the Ritual; and we are grateful to the N.

News Service for its permission to print it. Lord, they tell me I must pray; but how can I pray when I am so unhappy? How can I speak to you in the conditions in which I find myself? I am sad; I am angry. Sometimes I am desperate. I would like to curse rather than pray. I suffer deeply because everyone is against me and criticizes me because I am here, away from my own family and from my activities. I am without peace, and how can I pray, O Lord? I know you were good, you were wise, you were innocent. Yet they slandered you, they dishonored you, they tried you, they beat you, they crucified you, they put you to death?

But why? Where is justice? And you were able to forgive those who treated you so unjustly and so cruelly. You were able to pray for them. Indeed, they tell me that you allowed yourself to be put to death in that manner in order to save your executioners, to save all us sinful men.

And also to save me? If this is so, Lord, it means that one may be good at heart even though the condemnation of the courts of men weighs on one's shoulders. I too, Lord, feel at the bottom of my heart that I am better than others would believe. I know what justice is, what honesty is, what honor is, and what goodness is. Before you, these thoughts stir in me. Do you see them? Do you see how disgusted I am with my miseries?

Do you see that I would like to cry out and weep? Do you understand me, Lord? Is this my prayer? Yes, this is my prayer. From the depths of my bitterness I raise my voice to you. Do not reject it. You at least, who have suffered as I have, more than I have, you at least, Lord, listen to me. I have so many things to ask of you. Give me, Lord, peace of heart. Give me a tranquil conscience, a new conscience capable of good thoughts.

Indeed, Lord, to you I say it. If I have been remiss, forgive me. We all have need of forgiveness and mercy. I am praying to you for myself. And then, Lord, I pray to you for my loved ones, who are still so dear to me. Lord, assist them. Lord, console them.

Lord, tell them to remember me and to love me still. I have so much need to know that somebody is still thinking of me and loves me. And also on these companions in misfortune and affliction, together here in this prison, Lord, have mercy. Mercy on everyone. Yes, also on those who make me suffer, on all. We are all men of this unhappy world. But we are, Lord, your creatures, your likeness, your brothers, O Christ.

Have pity on us. To our poor voice we add the sweet and innocent voice of the Madonna, of the most blessed Mary, who is your Mother, and who is for us also a Mother of intercession and consolation. Lord, give us your peace; give us hope. The priest, vested in surplice and white stole, places the end of the stole on the head of the sick person, and reads the following passage from the Gospel.

If he blesses more than one he holds the stole above them with his right hand. P: A reading from the holy Gospel according to St. All: Glory be to you, O Lord. At that time Jesus said to His disciples: "The kingdom of heaven reminds me of a treasure buried in the field; as soon as a person discovers it, he hides it again, and off he goes in his joy and sells all his possessions and buys that field.

So it will be at the end of the world. The angels will go forth and separate the sinners from among the saints and consign them to the blazing furnace. There it is that weeping and gnashing of teeth will really be heard. Then he presents the end of the stole to the sick to be kissed, and sprinkles him with holy water, saying:. Lord Jesus Christ, as I, in all humility, enter this home, let there enter with me your peace and your mercy.

Let all wiles of the devil be driven far from here, and let your angels of peace take over and put down all wicked strife. Teach us, O Lord, to recognize the majesty of your holy name, and bless what we are about to do; you who are holy, you who are kind, you who abide with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. We entreat you, Lord, to look with favor on your servant who is weak and failing, and revive the soul you have created.

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Chastened by suffering may he she know that he she has been saved by your healing; through Christ our Lord. Merciful Lord, consoler of all who believe in you, we appeal to your boundless compassion that at my humble visit you will also visit this servant of yours, lying on his her bed of pain, as you visited the mother-in-law of Simon Peter.

Graciously stand by him her , Lord, so that he she may recover his her lost strength, and join with your Church in returning thanks to you, who are God, living and reigning forever and ever. May our Lord Jesus Christ be with you to guard you, within you to preserve you, before you to lead you, behind you to protect you, above you to bless you; He who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

If children who are ill are old enough to receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick, the same prayers and ceremonies are used as given in the chapter dealing with the visitation and care of the sick, depending on circumstances of time and illness.

But for younger children the following can be used:. Next he sprinkles the sick child, the bed, and the room without saying anything. Then he says psalm ; and after the psalm he continues:. God, by whose power all things grow to maturity, and once mature retain their strength, reach out your right hand to this boy girl who is afflicted at this tender age. Let him her regain health, grow up to manhood womanhood , and serve you in gratitude and fidelity all the days of his her life; through Christ our Lord.

Merciful God and Father, our unalloyed comfort, who, having the interests of your creatures at heart, are inclined in your goodness to bestow the grace of healing not only on the soul but on the body as well; be pleased to raise up this sick child from his her bed of suffering, and to return him her in full health to your Church and to his her parents. May he she then throughout the days of his her life, as he she advances in favor and knowledge in your sight and that of men, serve you in righteousness and holiness, and render you due thanks for your goodness; through Christ our Lord.

God, who in a marvelous way have disposed the ministries of angels and of men, mercifully grant that the life on earth of this boy girl may be under the protection of those who minister to you in heaven; through Christ our Lord. They shall lay their hands upon the sick and all will be well with them. May Jesus, Son of Mary, Lord and Savior of the world, through the merits and intercession of His holy apostles Peter and Paul and all His saints, show you favor and mercy. If he wishes, the priest may add the following passage from the Gospel, depending on the child's condition and the desire of the parents:.

As the priest says "The beginning," etc. The people are to be informed of the day, the time, and the church where the papal blessing will be given. When they are assembled in church a short and edifying instruction should be delivered to them in order to arouse a spirit of devotion and compunction.

After this the priest, vested in surplice and white stole, kneels at the altar and implores God's help as follows he is not assisted by anyone :. P: Lord, save your people. All: And bless your inheritance. Almighty and merciful God, grant us your aid from your holy place, and graciously hear the prayers of these people who humbly ask for pardon of their sins, and look for your blessing and your grace.

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Kindly reach out your right hand over them, and pour out your blessing in fullest measure, that fortified with your gifts they may come to everlasting life and happiness; through Christ our Lord. He then goes to the corner of the altar-steps at the epistle side, and blesses the people with one sign of the cross, saying in a clear voice:.

Priests who enjoy the faculty of imparting the papal blessing are obliged to observe the prescribed form, and may use this faculty only in the church designated. They may not use it on the same day or in the same city or place on and in which a bishop imparts it. If the Brief states that the papal blessing with plenary indulgence at the end of a sermon is to be given with a crucifix- -i.

And to us, your servants, be pleased to give everlasting grace together with creature needs, thus enabling us to praise and glorify and offer thanks to your holy name; through Christ our Lord. God, our refuge and our strength and source of all goodness, heed the holy prayers of your Church, and grant that we fully obtain whatever we ask for in faith; through Christ our Lord. Almighty everlasting God, who helped the illustrious St. Antony to emerge unscathed from the many temptations that beset him in this world; help also your servants to grow in virtue by his noble example, and to be delivered from the ever-present dangers of this life by his merits and intercession; through Christ our Lord.

Antony deliver them from all evil; through Christ our Lord. God, who supplied even dumb animals to lighten man's toil, we humbly entreat you to preserve these creatures for our use, since without them mankind cannot subsist; through Christ our Lord. Let the devil's power over them be utterly abolished, and do you, Lord, protect their life and health against recurrent sickness; through Christ our Lord.

Have pity on us, Lord, we beg you, and turn away every scourge from your faithful. Rid our beasts of the dread sickness that is destroying them, so that we who are justly punished when we go astray may feel your gracious mercy when we repent; through Christ our Lord.

Let your holy altars be adorned with the fruit of their industry. And let your faithful people, resplendent in silken apparel, acknowledge you with heartfelt praise as the donor of every good. We ask this of you who, with your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, live and reign forever and ever. The priest vests in surplice and purple stole, and coming to the field or place infested with these creatures, says:. We entreat you, Lord, be pleased to hear our prayers; and even though we rightly deserve, on account of our sins, this plague of mice or locusts, worms, etc.

Let this plague be expelled by your power, and our land and fields be left fertile, so that all it produces redound to your glory and serve our necessities; through Christ our Lord. Almighty everlasting God, the donor of all good things, and the most merciful pardoner of our sins; before whom all creatures bow down in adoration, those in heaven, on earth, and below the earth; preserve us sinners by your might, that whatever we undertake with trust in your protection may meet with success by your grace. And now as we utter a curse on these noxious pests, may they be cursed by you; as we seek to destroy them, may they be destroyed by you; as we seek to exterminate them, may they be exterminated by you; so that delivered from this plague by your goodness, we may freely offer thanks to your majesty; through Christ our Lord.

May you speedily be banished from our land and fields, lingering here no longer, but passing on to places where you can do no harm. In the name of the almighty God and the entire heavenly court, as well as in the name of the holy Church of God, we pronounce a curse on you, that wherever you go you may be cursed, decreasing from day to day until you are obliterated.

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Let no remnant of you remain anywhere, except what might be necessary for the welfare and use of mankind. Be pleased to grant our request, you who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. God, from whom every good thing takes its start and receives its steady and full growth; grant, we beg of you, that what we commence for the glory of your name may be carried to completion by the ever-present aid of your fatherly wisdom; through Christ our Lord.

May this blessing remain on this place and on those who live here now and always. A pastor or another priest may wish to sprinkle with holy water a particular home or the homes of the faithful in general. On entering the home he says:. Antiphon: Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. P: Ant. Hear us, holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God, and in your goodness send your holy angel from heaven to watch over and protect all who live in this home, to be with them and give them comfort and encouragement; through Christ our Lord. Pour out on them, Lord, heavenly dew in good measure, as well as an abundance of earthly needs.

Dwight Longenecker and forty-eight other pilgrims to the Holy Land. We were retracing the steps of the Magi from Jordan into Israel. The pilgrimage was based on the historical detective work that Fr. One of the main points of this intriguing book is to demythologize the story of the Magi and root them in history. Why does this story need demythologizing? It is these fable-parts that are used to attack the faith, calling it just another made-up myth of the Church.

Modern secularists like to cast a wide net, portraying not only Christmas, but also the life of Christ as fable. They say there was no virgin birth, no miracles, and no resurrection. According to them, we can know very little about the historical Jesus, what he did or said, or even if he existed at all. God becoming man is just another made-up story, falling into the genre of ancient Near East mystery religions. In short, Jesus is a myth. Worse yet, the people who believe the myth are foolhardy and weak of mind.

Christmas is scary! In one sense, they are right. Christianity is myth. Christianity highlights the themes of good and evil, tragedy and triumph, supernatural feats and ordinary failings. The archetypal hero with a thousand faces can be seen in the Bible. These profound undercurrents of truth run deeply through the human soul.

Christianity is a myth, but it is, as C. It is a story and in that sense one of a hundred stories; only it is a true story. Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton used myth in the truest and most profound sense of the word. This has been no more evident than in recent Biblical archeological discoveries. There are the caves at Qumran near the shores of the Dead Sea where nearly a thousand scrolls or fragments of scrolls were discovered beginning in These are the writings from the Jewish religious sect known as the Essenes, contemporaries of Jesus.

The archeological discovery found copies, in part or in whole, for nearly all the books of the Hebrew Bible, except Esther. More importantly, the 2,year-old scrolls show only minor divergences from modern translations of the Old Testament. This proves the many textual critics of the Bible wrong. The text of the Bible has remained intact and substantially unchanged throughout its history.

Ironically to some , this golden age is powered by scientific advancements and new disciplines; things like archaeoastronomy, Lidar studies, and ground penetrating radar, to name just a few. There are examples of new discoveries everywhere you go in Israel and Jordan. The fishing boat was radiocarbon-dated to between B. The Apostles would have fished in a boat exactly like this one. In , archeologists discovered the long-lost tomb of Herod at his Herodium fortress.

Christmas Bible Verses

In , while building a retreat house along the northern side of the Sea of Galilee, crews unearthed the remains of a first century synagogue at Magdala home of Mary Magdalene. In October , a renovation project funded by National Geographic was done at the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

An archeologist using ground-penetrating radar, however, proved them wrong. He was able to determine that the original cave walls were, in fact, still present. The simple cave is still there underneath the millennium of marble, icons and incense of the ornate Edicule shrine. Mortar samples, taken from between the limestone cave-surface and the marble slab of the tomb, carbon-dated to about A. This is exactly the right time frame when the Emperor Constantine would have discovered the tomb and built the current shrine around it. Constantine subsequently destroyed the pagan shrine and excavated the site around A.

Modern science again proved the historical veracity of Christianity. It is the site traditionally where the angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds tending to their sheep. The shepherds were the precursors to the Magi in worshiping the Christ child. The prophet Micah had made an ancient prophecy 8th century B. This is the prophecy that was cited to king Herod by his wise men, when the Magi came looking for the newborn king of the Jews. Herod also perverted this into his maniacal slaughter of the innocence in Bethlehem. The shepherds and the location were not coincidental either.

These were no ordinary sheep and no ordinary shepherds. It is fitting that when the shepherds came to the manger, they found not a baby lamb, but the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Diving even deeper into the Old Testament symbology, Jesus is the Passover lamb who must be eaten. Jesus was also placed in a manger i. Bossis lived from to , and who in her sixties began having an interior mystical-dialogue with Jesus. Her journal is a recording of this miraculous intimate conversation.

That is to say, private revelation must never contradict the deposit of faith, and even if it does not contradict the faith, it still does not necessarily need to be believed or followed by the faithful. The majority of private revelations are false. That being said, I believe it is possible that these are the words of Our Lord to Ms. In my humble opinion, they ring true. For example, Jesus tells Gabrielle on March 6, Jesus instructs Gabrielle on how to live every day for the Lord and consecrate every action to him.

We are all called to live holy lives 1 Pet. One of the ways we live holy lives is by actively participating in the sacraments, as he addresses Gabrielle on March 5, On October 11, , Jesus reminds Gabrielle, who was an actress, that we are all performing our actions on a grand stage before Heaven, and the saints, and angels:. Because you are all performing before the angels and saints. We are to live our lives in daily unity with Christ. We can unite our ordinary mundane lives with his life in the past.

Jesus lived the life of the God-man in ordinary circumstances, and so by doing, he divinized ordinary actions and supernaturalized ordinary life. The Catechism attests to this:. There is nothing difficult about this; it heals you of your usual poverty and wraps you in the richest garment. Jesus tells Gabrielle to practice the morning offering and to offer him things throughout the day from our daily routines. He tells her on October 15, On the same day, he spoke about making atonement for sinners. This is the symbiotic relationship of the communion of the saints. Jesus tells Gabrielle that we should do our part for the salvation of sinners by offering him everything in our lives:.

Time is short for saving so many souls.

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It is not merely by praying that they are saved, you know, but through the actions of even the most ordinary lives lived for God. Offer me everything. Absolutely everything, united to My life on earth. What wealth! Give it to poor sinners, most of them are just ignorant. You have known and received so much. Take pains to help them. You will comfort this heart of mine so full of tenderness, and you will satisfy justice.

You play your part in the unfinished symphony of my passion. Love these last sufferings. They are part of your travel wardrobe. In , Pope Pius XI wrote:. Precisely because Jesus is the God-man, we can ease his Passion in the past by our reparations and acts of love and mercy in the present. There are many more spiritual nuggets within. Prayer, the sacraments, sacrifice: this is all part of the intimate life of the soul.

It is a good meditation on living a Christ-centered daily life. The German bishops are keeping at it. Inter-denominational marriages and sharing the Eucharist. Thus, there is no mystical, individualistic, and emotional communion with Christ that can thought of apart from baptism and the Church membership. Yet, as Cardinal Raymond Burke points out, this exception is meant specifically for emergency, near-death situations. There are other, older, antecedents found in scripture to this idea of intercommunion. The Book of Exodus sheds light on the present controversy regarding the Paschal mystery.

After all, the Paschal mystery originated in Exodus, as a sketch of things to come. After the original Passover, the Israelites were permitted to leave Egypt. It was at the dramatic scene at Mount Sinai that the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were established as annual, obligatory feasts as part of the Covenant. Later, apparently, some of the non-Jews of the mixed multitude, in the midst of the Israelite congregation, wanted to partake also of the Passover lamb and Unleavened Bread — prefigurements to the Eucharist and the Mass.

How would Yahweh respond? Only then, can they participate. Even if one is baptized, the seal of the New Covenant like circumcision in the Old , as Protestants are, the Eucharistic prerogative remains: it shall be eaten in one house, and none of its flesh shall be taken outside the house, that is, the faith of the Church. Communion should be given only to Catholics within the one Catholic Church.

The faithful have no home but the one church. We must celebrate the Passover in the one house. Jerome confirms the parallelism of the Passover as the Mass, and the one house as the Catholic Church. The prefiguring shadow of the Eucharist inundated the Israelites throughout their wilderness wanderings. God was not subtle with His symbology. When the Israelites were hungry in the Sinai wilderness, God rained down bread from heaven for them to eat for forty years.

There is no middle ground to the Real Presence. Indeed, the Real Presence is pivotal to the faith. How can the German bishops allow admittance to the Bread of Life by those who also deny it? As St. I very much like the spirit of the message of the universal call to holiness for all Christians regardless of their state in life and vocation. I appreciate his mentioning of St. These are the apparent rhetorical jabs at more conservative, traditional-minded Catholics.

It is beneath the office of the Pope and against the unity of the Body of Christ to segregate the Church into separate political pockets. The Church is bigger and better than that.

Mystery of the Magi

The Church is transcendent, not political. Nevertheless, she is a diverse, big-tent community. The idea of scolding certain types of Catholics is ultimately not helpful and only deepens divisions. Critics have pointed in the document to his discussion on Gnosticism and Pelagianism. These were two ancient heresies that he warns have snuck back into the Church. Jesus did warn us about the pharisaical practice of following the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law.

This is a good point, which we should all fully absorb to avoid too much rigidity and scrupulosity in our faith. On the other hand, why does the Vatican seem to go out of its way to scold traditional Catholics? Are traditionalists really the main problem in the Church today? Certainly, the bigger issue seems to be those Catholics who have fallen away en masse from the doctrines of the Faith, ignore the social teachings, and ignore the sacraments of the Church.

I would posit that, in fact, it is these Christians who fit better with the neo-Gnostic and neo-Pelagian labels. This would align much more closely with ancient Gnosticism. In effect, they can do it on their own, earn their own salvation. The Exhortation spends quite a bit of time highlighting the fact that we cannot earn sanctifying grace, but it is a free gift from God.

We are justified by grace alone. Obviously, this is true enough. This is the same epithet of Pelagianism, however, that was a common accusation in the Protestant Reformation. It argues that the quality of life of the poor and the migrant has the same moral weightiness as the very life of a human person. This is a nonsensical untruth. The quality of life of a poor person, or a migrant, as awful as their circumstances might be, in no way reaches the moral equivalence of exterminating the life of a human being. This is a misleading liberal trope, usually used by liberal Catholic politicians to hide their unfaithfulness to the Faith.

The difficulty for many traditional Catholics under this Pope is the perception that he idolizes mercy to such a degree as to make doctrines and dogmas seem elastic, or at worst, irrelevant. We shall see over the next few years if this comes to a head with various social issues and synods. Pope Francis is a good Pope. Christians should not be sad and gloomy, despairing of past sins and anxiously questioning their salvation.

Rather, we should rejoice in the Lord and in the promise of our salvation. Ours should be a deep-seated spiritual joy befitting the children of God. He cites two models of our converted state of mind: in one, the penitent rightfully bewails having fallen into his past sins and misery; the other, the better way, is to rejoice in amazement at the goodness of God in rescuing him. The Lord Comes to Us: God loved us so much that He came down from Heaven to enter the world, and took on a body to suffer for us at Calvary.

Now, He remains with us in the hiddenness of the Blessed Sacrament, where He comes to dwell within us in Holy Communion. God is not anxious to preserve His loftiness before us, but approaches us with tenderness. He seeks love, not fear. He does punish sins, but He does so only to satisfy His perfect justice.

He punishes without anger or passion. Sin provokes His pity for us, and He stands ready to blot out our transgressions and remember them no more. Believe and Receive: How then should we act? This requires perseverance in our prayer daily. We should never fear a refusal or think we are a trouble to Him, but be certain that He is willing to grant with all His heart what we ask. Perpetual Dependence: Sometimes what we ask for may require us to pray for a long time.

Rogacci says this is a good thing. It reminds us that without God we can do nothing. Nothing is better fitted to humble our pride and give glory to God. We are utterly dependent upon the mercy of God and the merits of Jesus Christ. We should not dwell in anxious scrupulosity on our sins, but have a holy confidence in God. Spiritual Joy: Someone asked Jesus will only a few be saved? All of us were like the Prodigal Son who squandered his inheritance from the Father. Rogacci posits that sadness and depression can be used as weapons of the devil to harm us.

Sometimes this is unavoidable, and not always easy. Despite this, as children of God and heirs to the Kingdom, we have an underlying spiritual joy to sustain us. Holy Confidence: We are to have a simple holy confidence in our Father in Heaven who hears all that we ask and pray. Rogacci echoes the letter of St. I shall say it again: rejoice! Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.