Barbies and the Baby Jesus: A History of the Nativity Set

We have four Nativity sets in my house: not out of overindulgence but out of sheer necessity. One set is for my five year old, who likes to take a more 'interactive' approach to the Nativity, including putting Disney princesses and Barbies into the Biblical narrative. Last year when I asked why the baby Jesus was in Barbie's convertible, she responded, 'Barbie is baby-sitting, Daddy… the trip to Bethlehem left Mary and Joseph very tired.'

You may have a Nativity set beneath your Christmas tree or on a table inside your house. You almost certainly have one on display somewhere around your local Church…

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Why Do Catholics Pray to Statues?

Catholics do not pray to statues.

That would be idolatry and therefore, a violation of the First Commandment. If a person prays to a statue out of superstition, believes that the statue has special powers or is even God – that is idolatry.

However, this is not what Catholics do when they pray in front of a statue. Catholics worship with their whole person and all of the senses. A statue, or any other piece of religious art, is intended to draw the soul deeper into prayer by helping the senses to recall the mystery that it represents.

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Consubstantial: What Does That Mean?

But when we talk about the union of God the Father with God the Son, it is not enough to just say that they are the same. They are both God … one God in three unique Persons. By asking us to now use the word consubstantial when we pray the Creed (remember, the Creed is a statement of what we believe as Catholics) the Church is reminding us of the importance of professing that the Father and the Son are the exact same substance.

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Happy Feast of Saint Ambrose: The Sweet-Tongued Saint?

If you find yourself under attack for your faith, Saint Ambrose is a great intercessor to have in your corner. When you stand for truth, not only do you defend the faith, but you will also help others to abandon the world's lies in favor of the freedom only found in Jesus Christ. Ambrose brought many souls to Christ, and he baptized one person you'll probably recognize: a certain guy by the name of Augustine. Wherever he went, Ambrose preached the truth … something it seems he had been born to do.

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What is Advent?

To God everything is exposed: all of our faults, imperfections, personal secrets but also all of our talents, traits, successes and achievements … that's the good news. The even better news is that God is always seeking you and me.

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Why Do Catholics Have to Attend Sunday Mass?

When we skip Mass on Sunday, we are violating our covenant with God. We are saying to God, 'I don't need to be united to you. I don't need to worship you.' It may seem innocent, but we are actually declining His marriage proposal. We are not showing up for our own wedding.

When we make a decision to deny His invitation to covenant we are saying we don't want a relationship with Him. Because our God loves us and is a gentleman, he allows us to do this.

However, it’s a grave sin to miss Mass.

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Funny Mass Stories

After the man picks up the statue, he turns around and immediately walks out of the church with it. Middle of the Wedding. Just takes the statue out of the church. It's a huge church.

We sat down for the first reading and I realize that the bride has to lay flowers at the statue of our lady … it's in the program. And there's no statue of Our Lady whatsoever because someone has stolen it from the church during the wedding!

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What is Mass?: A Wedding Feast

Now a lot times we think the bride wears the white dress to show that she’s a virigin or that she’s pure, and that is part of the tradition. In this case, the linen garment shows in an outward way that on the inside is pure. This is one of the reasons that in Corinthians the Church says before you go to receive the Eucharist, you should be in a state of grace. You should not have serious sin. You should not have mortal sin in your soul. You should go to Confession before you go to Communion.

What the Church is trying to teach us, what God is revealing to St. John to reveal to us is Revelation. The book of Revelation is not a book of damnation and hell; the book of Revelation is about a wedding.

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Did You Know?: The Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena, Italy

Lately he had been having doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Was the bread and wine really transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus?

He said Mass at the Church of St. Christina. As Peter raised the Host and consecrated it blood started flowing out of it, onto his hands and the altar. God was telling him (and us) that yes, He is truly present in the host.

Peter was confused and tried to hide the blood.

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What is Mass?: A Resurrection Celebration

Let's be honest. Mass … it's boring, right? Growing up, that's what I thought. In grade school, we went to daily Mass, while wearing ugly, green, plaid uniforms, with an old lady playing the organ. At that point, I would rather watch paint dry.

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