“When you get confirmed, what happened to the Apostles is the exact same thing that will happen to you . . . maybe minus the visible tongues of fire . . . I don’t know, I’m not making any guarantees. But the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit will actually be upon you. This is what happens in the Sacrament of Confirmation, that we receive these gifts. And these gifts are what? St. Paul writes about them in the book of Galatians – the fruits of the Spirit are: love, and joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You receive the power to live a new life, not just for yourself but for other people.”
Category Archives: Church History
We’re in a time where our leaders and beliefs are under a lot of scrutiny. It’s not always a popular thing to stand up for the Gospel these days. However, it wasn’t easy to stand up for the Gospel back in the days of the Early Church, either.
It’s ironic because I think it should have been easier back then. I have to pull out scripture to show people what Jesus said and did. The Apostles just had to say “Guys, don’t you remember two weeks ago on the boat when Jesus said this and that?”
I had grown up a Presbyterian Christian who believed that as long as you were a Christian who believed in Jesus, you belonged to the “church.” It didn’t matter which church you belonged to or where you went to worship on Sundays, it just mattered if you believed in Jesus. If you believed in Jesus, you were doing just fine.
There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
In the works of Cardinal Ratzinger I met a man of not only extraordinary intellect and clarity, but of a deep faith and profound humility, a man living in the love and knowledge of the Truth Incarnate – in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. And it was (and still is) Jesus Christ who seemed to permeate his entire being, so much so that my own insatiable thirst for Truth, for the very Person of Jesus Christ, became increasingly set ablaze.
In Cardinal Ratzinger I knew I had found a trusted guide and teacher in the fullness of the Christian faith. It was then that I became an unofficial member of the “Ratzinger Fan Club.”
First, while the prophecy is supposed to have been written down by Saint Malachy in the 12th century, it was never spoken of even once before it surprisingly appeared out of nowhere at the very end of the 16th century. For a prophecy that supposedly predicts the Apocalypse in great detail, that’s an amazing fact! Would a true prophecy really go more than 400 years without being mentioned even a single time? I don’t think so.
Second, while the prophecy proves to be rather accurate about all the popes before the 16th century, it is extremely vague and inaccurate for the popes who came after.
I couldn’t help but think, though, that in the world’s excitement to see history made with the upcoming papal conclave and all of the talk about who the “candidates” are – that we have forgotten about the man who has guided our Church through some of the most challenging times in history.
Pope Benedict XVI in his eight years as pope will leave behind an amazing legacy, and one that as a teen you should know about.
Each of the three was given a special role in the Church. Peter was the “rock” on which Jesus would build His Church (Matthew 16:18-19). As every group needs a leader, someone to cast the deciding vote, so did the apostles and the bishops. Simon Peter, the fisherman, rose to the occasion. In his line are popes who become saints and popes who were less than saintly; yet every pope was given special authority by God to guide the Church for a time.
Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters’ weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor’s house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.
My goal in life is to be a saint, and I hope yours in too, so we need to ask ourselves – how do I treat people when I disagree with them?
Look actions 1 – 4 above and replace ‘St. Peter’ with whomever you disagree with. Are you more likely to gossip about the person, tell other people how wrong they are, or even fight with the person? Or are you mature enough to respectfully talk with the person and still give them the honor they deserve?
If we’re focused on what we can get out of God and not what we can give to Him, then our worship is selfish. Christ is faithful, but when we expect something in return we put Him in a box. Shifting our focus on what we can give Him frees us to receive His love the way He wants to give it.
The Magi did exactly that, and to Christ the true present was their presence.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
Twelve drummers drumming.
A few years ago I got to attend a drum line competition for one of my teens. I’d say it was pretty much like twelve drummers drumming. Actually, I had no idea that a percussion only band could sound like that. It was pretty cool. Today we come to the end of the song and the end of the Christmas season.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
Eleven pipers piping.
Have you ever heard bagpipes? They have a distinct and loud sound. When in I was in high school, a family friend was visiting. She was an accomplished musician who played many instruments, including the bagpipe. For whatever reason that afternoon, she actually played the bagpipe in the house. It was so loud. It became my and my brother’s instant opinion that bagpipes are made for outside spaces or very, very large indoor spaces—never inside the house!
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
The dancing continues today with the lords getting involved. For a better context of lord, think Lord and Lady, Duke and Duchess, Prince and Princess, etc. The United Kingdom has a “House of Lords,” which is part of the Parliament. Of course, I doubt they are physically leaping . . . or playing leap frog, for that matter.
So, let’s just jump (or leap) right in to what the ten leaping lords can represent.
Day 9 On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . Nine ladies dancing. Adding to the good food from yesterday, we now have dancing. Don’t these dancers evoke images of the great Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker? Not only are there at least nine ballerinas dancing, there are mice and nutcrackers and swords and more dancing. Can’t you hear Tchaikovsky’s music of the Sugar Plum fairies? Whether you like ballet or any kind of dancing, you will like what these nine Read more [...]
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
Today we begin the celebration phase of the song; we have had the perfect number of birds. Now, we have a festive gathering. Let the celebration begin!
We start with food. Have you ever milked a cow? The closest I ever came was visiting a dairy farm as a child. I remember looking at cows and the distinct, unpleasant smell. Moreover, I remember the end of these trips which always resulted in great ice cream. From milk comes a lot of great party food, including nacho cheese.
Whereas there are geese (day six) in my neighborhood, there are not swans. Never fear, though, there is a nearby lake whose owners brought in swans.
Or at least, there were swans. They were picked off and eaten one by one by a river otter who would hunt them from under the water. The swans had no chance of escape because their wings were clipped. The otter was eating a rather expensive supper because swans are not cheap.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
Today we have reached our half-way point of our 12 Days of Christmas. Are you still celebrating the birth of the Messiah or have you moved back in to your normal routines? Do you still have your nativity scene up, inching the magi closer to the stable each day as we get closer to Epiphany? Are you moving closer to Christ or away from Him?
The six geese-a-laying can represent the six days of creation.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
Five golden rings.
When we get to day five in the song, the music slows down, and we take a break from birds to focus on something that most everyone finds valuable – gold. It would only make sense for a true love to give golden rings to his beloved. Actually, the five rings is where we see another variation on the lyrics. Sometimes it is golden rings and other times gold rings. Believe it or not, the gold rings actually stand for pheasants.
Actually, the lyric is colly birds. Yeah, four colly birds. Apparently there was something lost in translation from Europe to the United States, where we sing calling birds instead of colly birds.
What is a colly bird? I was hoping you’d ask.