The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas isn’t over yet! While many in our culture are already packing up the Christmas decorations, we are just beginning to celebrate Christ’s birth in the Church!

Here is a great article by CCH advisory board member, Dr. Peter Kreeft, that will help you and your family “look deeper” into the meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas from your team at CatholicsComeHome.org!

How can you be Christ in someone’s life today?

Take a moment to think about this question and make a resolution to show God’s love in a special way to someone you encounter, whether that be a family member, friend, or complete stranger!

Ideas: a note of care, a prayer offered, an unexpected visit or call, an email inviting them to Mass…be creative!

We are the Body of Christ. Let us always remember to serve and love all of our brothers and sisters.

Blessings to you and to those whose hearts you will touch today from CatholicsComeHome.org!

Happy Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist!

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, the great herald of the Gospel, preparing the way for Christ. John recognized his mission from God to point to the son of God and the coming of the Kingdom, and he lived that vocation with great passion…even unto death. His attitude toward Christ is summed up in his beautiful words:

“He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

We can all learn from John and point others toward Christ every day of our lives. How can you bring the Good News to people in your life today and this week?

John the Baptist, pray for us!

HAPPY EASTER!

Easter Exsultet

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Reflection: Finding Peace in Christ

“I have told you these things so that you will have peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

What troubles are you facing in life right now? Are you letting those worries and trials keep you from maintaining your interior peace? God is bigger than those burdens…He has conquered them! Do not allow yourself to lose peace, for the devil knows that you are at your weakest when he has caused you to lose the interior peace you have in Christ. God promises us he has everything under His control. Trust in that.

Challenge: What concrete things can you do this week to cultivate peace in your life?

On the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.” -John 20:8
“Seeing” and “believing” are important themes in John’s Gospel. St. Thomas was once who struggled with believing, but St. John the Apostle and Evangelist had an amazing strength of faith. He saw the empty tomb and immediately believed in the risen Christ.
How often do you struggle with total abandonment to belief in Christ? Is your faith in Christ as unwavering as the Beloved Disciple’s?
St. John the Evangelist, pray for us and our growth in faith in the Incarnate and Risen Logos!

Do you have a martyr’s love for Christ?

Today is the feast of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome.

This made me reflect…Do I have a martyr’s love for Christ? How do I die togoodconfession Christ everyday, even in little ways? Is my whole life a profession of my faith? In the face of persecution, do I love and stay true to Him all the more?

Read about the first martyrs of the Church of Rome here.

Recalling your Baptism during Lent

“When we let our life be illuminated by the mystery of Christ, we experience the joy of being liberated from all that threatens its full fulfillment.” -Pope Benedict XVI, April 3 Sunday Angelus

sacraments

Read more about the power of Baptism against sin and temptation according to our Holy Father in this article from Catholic News Agency.

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2011

“The Lenten period, which leads us to the celebration of Holy Easter, is for the Church a most valuable and important liturgical time, in view of which I am pleased to offer a specific word in order that it may be lived with due crucifixdiligence. As she awaits the definitive encounter with her Spouse in the eternal Easter, the Church community, assiduous in prayer and charitable works, intensifies her journey in purifying the spirit, so as to draw more abundantly from the Mystery of Redemption the new life in Christ the Lord (cf. Preface I of Lent)…”

Read the rest of his message here.

St. Hilary and Scripture

Today is the feast of St. Hilary, who, raised a pagan, found God in his encounter with Scriptures and would go on to become bishop of Poitiers in France and a great fighter of the Arian heresy. St. Hilary is a great example for us of how Scripture should guide our lives.

Are you taking time to read and pray with the Scriptures every day? If not, include this activity with your resolutions for 2011…it’s not too late! You’ll be surprised what God has in store for you when you take time to read the story of Christ’s life–to see how you fit into it!