'Tis the festival of Saint Zephyrinus, Pope (died 217), fifteenth (XV) Bishop of Rome (199-217): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Pontifex-link & Wikipedia-link Pontifex.
Commentary: Wayback Machine.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ursicinus of Cahors, Bishop & Abbot (died circa 535), Bishop of Cahors: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link (List); Wikipedia-link Cahors.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ursicinus of Saint Ursanne, Abbot (died circa 625; also spelt Hursannus, Ursitz, etc.), founding abbot of the Abbey of Saint Ursanne: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Dominic of Silos, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 1000-1073), rebuilding abbot of the Abbey of Saint Sebastian (later renamed Santo Domingo de Silos), abbot of the Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Santo Domingo & Wikipedia-link San Millán.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Thomas of Dover, Religious & Martyr, O.S.B. (died 1295; A.K.A. Thomas Hales, Thomas de Halys), martyred during the plundering of Dover Priory by French pirates: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Dover Priory.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Vincenzo Romano, Priest (1751-1831, the "Worker Priest," Anglicized as Vincent Romano): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Friday of the Third Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter seven, verses ten thru fourteen;
Psalm Twenty-four (R/. see: seven[c] & ten[b]), verses one & two, three & four(a/b) & five & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.
Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to be the mother of God.Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In the face of this overwhelming word, Mary is confused: "How is this possible, since I do not know man?" And she cannot begin to imagine the full consequences of accepting this invitation: shame, exile, violent pursuit, the final agony on Calvary.
And yet, despite her fear and despite the darkness, she says, "I am the maidservant of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say." At the crucial moment, Mary of Nazareth allows herself to fall in love with God, and in that moment of ecstasy, the Son of God enters the world for its salvation.
The human tragedy began with Adam and Eve’s grasp; the divine comedy commences with Mary’s letting-go. This is why the medieval commentators, with their delicious sense of the co-penetration of all parts of the Bible, observed that the "Ave" of the angel of the Annunciation reverses "Eva," the mother of all the living.
Reflect: Mary said, "Be it done to me as you say." Why is surrender such a critical part of falling in love with God?
"Advent of Hope" reflection (Array of Hope):
When Gabriel announces his news to Mary, she questions, “How can this be?” Mary’s question was full of hope. Her question was not about God's ability to make her a mother, but rather a question about how this would be accomplished. It is a strong tradition in the Church that Mary had vowed to remain a virgin and that her and Joseph were always to have a "celibate" marriage. Was God calling her to something new?Papal Quote o' the Day
The angel provides the answer to Mary's question. She will not give up her Virginity to conceive and bear the Messiah. God will be the one to act, and "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” We hope not only to live eternally in Heaven, but also that God will give His assistance and bring us there. Mary hoped in the Lord. She could not conceive and bear the Messiah on her own. She could not raise Him on her own. She could not stand beneath the cross without Divine assistance sustaining her. But, when she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit she received all she needed to be the mother of Christ.
When we offer ourselves to God, His Spirit will empower us to accomplish our vocation as well! What more joy could we have than to know God will make us what He wants us to be? When we follow God, and strive to do His will, He will take care of us and lead us. This is the joy of being a Catholic. We have no need to walk in the darkness of fear or worry, but only in the light of Hope. Today, spend 30 minutes in silent prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is our Hope. Turn over all anxiety and worry to Jesus who is our hope and He will make us all that He wants us to be.
"The salvation of the people principally depends on good pastors. Nothing contributes more to the ruin of souls than impious, weak, or uninformed clerics."Saint Quote o' the Day
—Pope Pius VIII (1761-1830, reigned 1829-1830)
"What is the idea that runs all through scripture? It is nuptials. The covenant is based on nuptials. As we used to say in the old marriage ceremony, 'Not even the flood took it away, not even sin.' There was the nuptials of man & woman in the garden of Eden, the nuptials of Israel & God in the Old Testament. In the prophet Hosea: 'I your Creator am our husband.' God is the husband of Israel. In that beautiful passage of the Book of Hosea, God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute, an worthless woman. She leaves him, betrays him, commits adultery, has children by other men, & when the heart of Hosea is broken, God says, 'Hosea, take her back, take her back. She's the symbol of Israel. Israel has been my unworthy spouse, but I love Israel, & I will never let her go.' Hosea taking back the prostitute is the symbol of God's love for his qahol, His church of the Old Testament. Now we come to new nuptials, the nuptials of divinity & humanity in our Blessed Mother."Chesterton Quote o' the Day
—Ven. Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)
"In the congested commerce of our time [Christmas] has come to stand rather for goods being sold than for gifts being given."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)