V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father…
O most sweet infant Jesus, presented in the temple
by the Virgin Mary, embraced by Simeon, and revealed
to the Jews by Anna the prophetess. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.
* * *
Just in time for Christmas, the Holy Father has decided to put a little arsenic in the collective egg nog:
Ho, ho, ho, me laddies and me ladies, the fervorino in question contains the following “little sticks of dynamite” (my emphasis):
“The Gospel tells us nothing: whether [at the foot of the Cross] she said a word or not … She was silent, but in her heart, how many things did she tell the Lord! ‘You … told me that He would be great; You told me that you would give Him the Throne of David, His father, that He would reign forever and now I see him there!’ Our Lady was human! And perhaps she had the urge to say [out loud what she was telling God in her heart–indeed, where else could silent Mary have formulated this statement?]: ‘Lies! I was deceived!’ …
“But she, with silence, covered the mystery that she did not understand and with this silence she left this mystery [of God’s deception?] so that it could grow and flourish [cf. CCC 2088!] in hope [hope that God is not a liar?]. …
“[He concluded the sermon by saying,] ‘May the Lord give us all the grace to love silence, to look for it and to have a heart guarded by the cloud of silence [i.e. you foster your doubts if you like, but don’t pronounce them]….”
No biggie, of course, I mean, he’s only the pope. It’s not like it’s his job to strengthen the faithful in unity and preserve the Faith as it is has been–err, what?
All right, well… look… good Catholics should be grateful that we even have a pope, so let’s can the
sober vigilance neopelagian legalism, you big Grinch. After all, Pope Francis has given us enough good things to ponder this Advent with his recent praise for… garbage recyclers in Argentina?
Well, also… there was, like, his get-up speech about the parable of sharing, which was, like, totally Christmasey.
“[O]ur model is … is the polyhedron, which reflects the convergence of all its parts, each of which preserves its distinctiveness. Pastoral and political activity alike seek to gather in this polyhedron the best of each. There is a place for the poor and their culture, their aspirations and their potential. Even people who can be considered dubious on account of their errors have something to offer which must not be overlooked. It is the convergence of peoples who, within the universal order, maintain their own individuality; it is the sum total of persons within a society which pursues the common good, which truly has a place for everyone.” — EG §236
All in all, good to know: I guess the Magi will be regifting Jesus this year. Heads up, pagans! It’s the only Chrissstian thing to do.
Pope Francis prepares to ordain his first class of privately tutored seminarians. (All textbooks made from 100% recycled theology. All unchewed candles donated to the nearest food shelter.)
Meanwhile, the Holy Father is making the most of the final days of 2013 by continuing his deflationary leveling of the papacy, as reported by Whispers:
Beyond the difference of content, on its own the stark contrast of visuals made for a fitting underscore of the change this year has brought to Peter’s chair. Before, Papa Ratzinger would don his choir robes (the Santa-esque winter mozzetta of velvet and ermine, with the lace rochet) as one of the more towering antique papal thrones was brought out and placed atop a two step pedestal, but this time Francis … kept the modern, white-upholstered wood Popechair at floor level, along with continuing his usual practices of giving his remarks while standing [!], wearing nothing more than the house cassock, from which he’s recently ditched the use of the three-button oversleeves on the arms. (The oversleeves were abolished for all other prelates in 1968, but retained until now by the Roman pontiff.)
Typical agitator behavior. Standing “with the people”, dressing down “with the people”, scorching all trappings de l’Ancien Régime, and so on. For a pope, he seems awfully uncomfortable being the pope. (Cue something about the clothes make the man, but whatever, the kiddies like him, so who am I to judge?)
Meanwhile, the following, from the pope’s recent Christmas
warning message, takes on an interesting light in the context of his recent fixation with “silence” (12 Dec. and 20 Dec.) and the recent dramatic shuffling of the Congregation for Bishops:
“[W]hen the attitude is no longer one of service to the particular Churches and their bishops, the structure of the Curia turns into a ponderous, bureaucratic customs house, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God’s people.
Surely we haven’t forgotten the pope’s lapidary, deeply insightful, Magic 8-Ball poeticism from Evangelii Gaudium #94:
The other [form of spiritual worldliness] is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.
It’s not like such jabs aren’t to be expected from a pope who has been reported calling the curial court “the leprosy of the Church.” What is his antidote for such diabolical defection?
in the Curia alsomeans conscientious objection to gossip! We rightfully insist on the importance of conscientious objection but perhaps we, too, need to exercise it as a means of defending ourselves from an unwritten law of our surroundings, which unfortunately is that of gossip. So let us all be conscientious objectors; and mind you, I am not simply preaching! Gossip is harmful to people, our work and our surroundings.“
In other words, “You have been warned.” Or, as one friend put it, “Questioning [and inspecting] is only bad when you’re defending doctrine. Got it.”
“Liberté, égalité, fraternité!” — SOURCE: The Humble Pope: An Intimate Photo Biography (Rare Collector’s Edition! ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!)
Well, since my stage director has finally caught my attention, and I realize it’s not “nice” to be anything less that joyously jerrful these days, let me close with something positive, namely, a truckload of Catholic wisdom to counteract the noxious, modernist bathos of Pope Francis’s claims about Our Lady of Doubts:
St. Augustine said that “Mary first conceived in her heart by faith and then in Her womb” (cf. Sermon 293). Mary’s response, “may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), is a sign of Her full assent to the will of God, to the revelation received, to Her role in this redemptive mission. Only a heart full of faith like Mary’s can give that kind of assent to such a vocation and to all the unexpected events that would form that reality – a series of events that were far beyond human intelligence or human calculations.
From that moment, faith became for Mary the only pillar on which to sustain Her whole life and the only way to embrace, not only Her own mystery, but the mystery of Her Son…. All other events in Mary’s life could only be comprehended in the light of faith, a faith that allowed Her to perceive the hidden sense of things and situations and helped Her discover in all things the provident will of God….
Many times the external appearances of situations could have seemed enough to prove false Her faith. It was precisely at these moments when Mary “kept all things in her heart” (Luke 2:51)…. This reverent act of Mary of keeping all things in Her heart, especially those She did not fully understand, was an honest search for the hidden sense of the events that She knew by faith must exist, since the Lord could have never abandoned or misled Her.
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, presents Mary on a journey, on an itinerary of faith, that was manifested in all the different stages She lived during Her earthly life: “Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, She devoted Herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of Her Son….” (no.56).
Mary’s faith did not only sustain Her life, but it gave abundant fruit for our redemption since, as Lumen Gentium describes, by Her faith, Mary freely and fully cooperated in the work of human salvation. …
I believe that St. John, in this passage, wants to exalt Mary’s faith by presenting two elements in reference to this event:
First, Mary’s presence at the foot of the Cross. It is precisely at this place where the faith of the disciples and, logically, Mary’s faith, is put to the hardest test. Her presence manifests Her fidelity, Her constant abandonment to the designs of the Lord’s will, and a faith that is undiminished, unchanged and unaltered even in the darkest hours.
Second, in the words of Jesus, “Behold your son,” Mary is invited to expand the horizon of Her faith and the understanding of Her role, since Her motherhood is now moving beyond Her dying son; it is been extended to the reality of a spiritual maternity for all the children of God. This last will of Jesus on the Cross became, for Mary, a new annunciation of a conception and birth: The Church.
Mary’s faith was constant, not only present in the times of “apparent glory” when Her Son was performing miracles and had many disciples that believed in Him; it was just as strong when there was no “apparent glory,” when there were no supernatural manifestations or happenings to attract attention, and even when there were not that many disciples to believe – except one, the one that was with Her at the foot of the Cross.
The same faith that Mary had at the birth of Her Son was the one She had at the Cross. It required much faith to have in Her arms that defenseless baby, and to put him in the manger and believe that He was the God-man. It also required much faith to see Her Son totally disfigured and defenseless on the Cross, waiting for him to be placed in Her arms, to then be put in the sepulcher. Her faith allowed Her to continue to believe that, regardless of what appeared to be, He was the God-man.
That is how we say Mary Christmas in my hood.
Alas, Christmas can be a hard season for some families, especially when mom and dad fight; but that’s exactly the burden which our Papa has laid upon us by calling our Mama a doubter–something the psychologists call “projection”.