Advent – Prayer in Waiting

Advent is upon my soul.
Divine gift of season,
I listen for the cry of a First Born Son,
Begotten before Time begun,
And fleshed in the Virgin’s womb.

I come to her,
Who is the Ark,
Your Mercy Seat.
Kneeling beside her
In these pregnant moments,
I lay my head upon her lap.

Her wonderment and awe
In steadfast contemplation,
Inspire angels’ songs.

I hear their reverent voices
In my night.
Their chorus bids me come.
Come to the stable of simplicity.

Leave the noisy city for a deserted place,
The Wilderness whose hidden way
Leads to the waiting manger,
Now, in expectant readiness,
For the Food that will feed
The hungry world.

My Advent prayer:
Come, O Holy Infant!
Come to my straw!

By Joann Nelander

HOLY SATURDAY – The body of Jesus is in the tomb

Luke23_50_TheBurial_Bloch

Luke23_50_TheBurial_Bloch
HOLY SATURDAY – The body of Jesus is in the tomb but His soul is among the dead to announce the kingdom. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will Live (John 5:25). Consider what it must have been like for the dead in Limbo ( the “hell” of the Apostles’ Creed) to awaken to the voice of Jesus! Meanwhile The Disciples, heartbroken at the death of Jesus, observed the Jewish Sabbath in sorrow. They had forgotten the promise of Jesus that He would rise. We cannot forget His promise. We cannot forget.

We spend this day in quite reflection, weeping at the tomb of our Lord. Fasting and abstinence are recommended, but are not of obligation.

This night in our parish after sundown, at 8:30 pm, we gather for the Great Easter Vigil where we will experience Jesus rising from the dead. (Our Lord rose from the dead during this most blessed of nights, for the Gospels tell us that the faithful women went to the tomb very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and the tomb was already empty. That is why the Great Mass of Easter takes place at night.) We gather in darkness and light the Easter fire which reminds us that Jesus is light in the darkness. He is the light of the world. We attentively listen to Bible stories describing God’s saving work of the past. Suddenly, the church lights are lit and the Gloria is sung as we celebrate the moment of Christ’s resurrection. He Lives! As a Church we sing Alleluia for the first time in forty days. In the joy of the resurrection we then celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist for our Catechumens who have prepared many months for this night. Do everything you can to be present on this evening and invite friends and family to join. Our Vigil ushers in an Easter joy that never ends!

Of course the Easter Vigil fulfills the Sunday obligation – it is THE Great Mass of Easter (in fact, until the 5th century, it was the only Mass of Easter.)

Yes, the Easter Vigil is long (in our parish, about two and a half hours), but it is very beautiful. We keep it “moving right along”, and it has beautiful music.
A blessed and joyful celebration of Easter to you all!
Msgr. Douglas A. Raun
Pastor
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish
1502 Sara, Rio Rancho, NM

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The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope

The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.
Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces his human descent by bringing his ancestral line down to his mother’s husband, Joseph. On the other hand, Luke traces his parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.

No doubt the Son of God in his omnipotence could have taught and sanctified men by appearing to them in a semblance of human form as he did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance he engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when he accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before him. But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold the coming of one who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs who had gone before him. No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh. The divine nature and the nature of a servant were to be united in one person so that the Creator of time might be born in time, and he through whom all things were made might be brought forth in their midst.

For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful humanity, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Mystery of Man’s Reconciliation With God

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope:

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person – this must be said over and over again – is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.