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Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Mary’

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Ah, yes, Christmas, that time of year with a winter nip in the air (unless you live in parts of Florida where record highs in the 80s are forecast this weekend) and the time of year when the thoughts of old school Protestants (meaning those few Protestants who still find the need to base their beliefs on a militant anti-Catholicism), New Age “pagans,” and militant atheists turn yet again to the supposed “pagan” origins of Catholicism. Along with Easter and Halloween, the Feast of Christmas is yet another of those celebrations we are told “prove” the pagan origins of Catholicism. After all, everyone knows Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular are nothing more than “dressed up” paganism. It’s just too bad everyone is wrong…

Instead of merely reposting my piece on the true, non-pagan, origins for the December 25th date of Christmas, I share this link to a wonderful piece by Rev. Dwight Longenecker which does an excellent job of explaining (yet again) once and for all the true background of the Christian celebration of Christmas on December 25th.

Allow me to highlight a few points from Rev. Longenecker:

1. The “pagan origin” claimants begin with the capital mistake of assuming that mere resemblance proves causality. Simply because two things resemble each other does not mean one is the cause of the other. Two things can be strikingly similar yet share absolutely no causal relationship what-so-ever. Simply because Christians and pagans observed certain feasts at similar times throughout the year does not mean one automatically caused the other.

2. The Roman feast most often associated with Christmas by the “pagan originists” is Saturnalia, a Roman feast for the god Saturn which was held from December 17 to 23. However, this feast, while occurring on the wrong date (if Christianity “co-opted” this feast, why not make the date of Christmas December 17th to really sock it to those pagans?), also had nothing to do with the imagery of the solstice and the return of the sun. The focus of this feast centered more on the theme of sacrifice-to-appease-the-gods-for-a-good-harvest.

3. The Roman feast associated with the solstice was Dies Natalis Sol Invictus. The only problem here is the inconvenient fact that this feast wasn’t instituted until around AD 278, well after the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, and for quite some time remained a rather minor feast with a small cult. Further, we find no evidence that Sol Invictus was celebrated on December 25th until AD 360 – decades after Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in AD 315. In fact, the promotion of the feast was due to the influence of Julian the Apostate who attempted to turn back the tide of Christianity sweeping the Empire. Huh, so that means Sol Invictus was used by the Roman authorities in an attempt to “win back” Christians to paganism, not the other way around.

4. The “pagan origins” nonsense completely ignores the fact that thousands (some sources say millions) of Christians lost their property and in many cases their lives over their complete refusal to, as Rev. Longenecker puts it, “offer so much as one grain of incense to the pagan gods.” Yet, the “pagan originists” would have us believe the very people who were giving their lives over refusal to participate in anything even resembling paganism suddenly decided to “co-opt” pagan festivals.

5. If we actually take time to read the historical record provided us in the writings of the early Church Fathers, we find a clear answer as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. As early as AD 386, we find a sermon by St. John Chrysostom linking the date of Christmas to the date of the Annunciation (the day the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus). The wording of his sermon suggests this linking was already a long-accepted tradition within the Church. We need to remember early Christians were primarily Jewish converts and thus the roots of Christianity are in Judaism, not Romanism. The Jews believed the world began on March 25th. They also believed great men died on the same date as the date of their conception. Therefore, we find the early Christians believed the date of Jesus’ conception was March 25th. Let’s count nine months and see what we find: December 25th.

So, just as I pointed out last time, the date of Christmas has nothing to do with Romans or paganism, but everything to do with early Jewish belief and the dating of Jesus’ conception by early Christians.

Merry Christmas!

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St Teresa of Avila (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Month of the Most Holy Rosary

Sunday, October 9 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost (Traditional) / 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Denis (Dionysius), Bishop, Patron Against Demons and Headaches, and Companions (Rusticus and Elecutherius) (3rd Century), Martyrs (Traditional, New)

St. John Leonardi (1609), Priest, Founder (Traditional, New)

St. Louis Bertrand (1581), Priest, Religious (Historical)

St. Dionysius the Areopagite (1st Century), Bishop, Martyr (Historical)

Monday, October 10 – Columbus Day (Observed)

St. Francis Borgia (1572), Priest, Religious, Patron of Portugal (Traditional)

St. Ghislain (Gislenus) (680), Abbot (Historical)

Tuesday, October 11

The Divine Maternity of Our Lord (Traditional)

St. Firminus (543), Bishop (Historical)

Wednesday, October 12 – Columbus Day

St. Wilfrid (709), Bishop of York (Historical)

Our Lady of the Pillar (36) (Historical)

Thursday, October 13

St. Edward the Confessor (1066), King and Patron of England (Traditional)

St. Gerald of Aurillac (909), Patron of Bachelors and the Handicapped (Historical)

Friday, October 14 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence (or Other Suitable Sacrifice)

St. Callistus I (222), Pope, Martyr (New, Traditional)

Saturday, October 15

St. Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila) (1582), Virgin, Religious, Doctor of the Church, Reformer of Carmel, Patroness of Headache Sufferers (New, Traditional)

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

September 15: The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the Saint Andrew Daily Missal:

Mary stood at the foot of the Cross where Jesus was hanging and, as Simeon had prophesied, a sword of sorrow pierced her soul. Powerless, “she saw her sweet child desolate in the anguish of death, and she received His last breath.” The compassion which her maternal heart felt at the foot of the Cross obtained for her as its reward the palm of martyrdom without death.

This feast was celebrated with great solemnity by the Servites in the seventeenth century. In 1817 it was extended by Pius VII to the whole Church so as to recall the sufferings she had undergone in the person of her exiled and captive head, delivered by the protection of the Blessed Virgin. Just as the first feast of the Sorrows of Mary, in Passiontide, shows us how she had her share in the sacrifice of Jesus, the second feast, in the Season after Pentecost, tells us of all the compassion which the Mother of the Saviour feels for the Church, the spouse of Jesus who is crucified in her turn and whose devotion to the Sorrows of Mary increases in these calamitous times. His Holiness Pius X in 1908 raised this feast to the rank of a solemnity of the second class.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

September 12: Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

From the Saint Andrew Daily Missal:

Just as a few days after Christmas we celebrate the holy Name of Jesus, so, after the Nativity of Mary we glorify her holy name. Eight days after the birth of the Virgin, according to the custom of the Jews, her holy parents inspired by God, say St. Jerome and St. Antoninus, gave her the name Mary. Wherefore, during the octave of the Nativity, the liturgy gives a feast in honour of this holy name.

Spain, with the approval of Rome, in 1513, was the first to celebrate it, and in 1683 it was extended to the whole Church by Innocent XI to thank Mary for the victory which John Sobieski, King of Poland, had just gained against the Turks who besieged Vienna and threatened the West.

The name of the Virgin,” says the Gospel, “was Mary.” The Hebrew name of Mary, in Latin Domina, means Lady or sovereign; for the authority of her son, Lord of the world, makes her a sovereign from her birth in fact as well as in name. Whence, as we call Jesus our Lord, we say of Mary that she is our Lady. To pronounce her name, is to proclaim her power.

Let us offer the Holy Sacrifice to God to honour the most holy name of Mary and to obtain by her intercession her continual protection.

Collect

Concede, quaésumus, omnipotens Deus: ut fidéles tui, qui sub sanctissimae Virginis Mariae nominee et protection laetántur; ejus pia intercession, a cunctis malis liberéntur in terries et ad gáudia aetérna pervenire mereántur in coelis. Per Dóminum nostrum.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that Thy faithful people, who rejoice in the name and protection of the most holy Virgin Mary, may by her loving intercession be delivered from all evils on earth and found worthy to come to everlasting joys in heaven. Through our Lord.

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St. Notburga (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 11 – 13th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 24nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

Sts. Protus and Hyacinth (257), Brothers, Martyrs (Traditional)

St. Adelphus (5th c.), Bishop (Historical)

St. Paphnutius (356), Bishop (Historical)

Monday, September 12 – The Most Holy Name of Mary (Traditional / New)

Tuesday, September 13

St. John Chrysostom (407), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Orators (New)

Wednesday, September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross (335, 629) (Traditional / New)

St. Maternus (1st c.), Bishop (Historical)

St. Notburga (1313), Virgin, Patroness of Peasants, Servants, and the Poor (Historical)

Thursday, September 15 – The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (Traditional) / Our Lady of Sorrows (New)

St. Nicomedes (90), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Catherine of Genoa (1510), Widow (Historical)

Friday, September 16 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence

St. Cornelius (253), Priest, Martyr and St. Cyprian (258), Bishop, Martyr (Traditional / New)

Sts. Euphemia, Lucy, and Geminianus (4th c.), Martyrs (Tradiationl)

Saturday, September 17

St. Robert Bellarmine (1621), Jesuit, Bishop, Cardinal, Doctor of the Church (New)

The Imprinting of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (1224) (Traditional)

St. Hildegarde (1179), Abbot (Historical)

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(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

September 8th: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962:

At the time of Mary’s birth the whole world was plunged into darkness. The heathen nations were steeped in vice and pride. The Jews, too, had corrupted their ways and departed from God. Everywhere there was sin and gloom, no bright spot on the face of the earth. But when Marty was born a light arose amid the darkness: the dawn of the glorious day that was to usher in the Redeemer. So, too, the darkness of the sinner’s soul is dispersed by Mary’s holy influence. Where the love of her is born in the soul, all becomes full of light, and Jesus comes to make His habitation there. Mary, in the first hour of her life, brought more glory to God than all of the Saints of the Old Testament. In her were made perfect the obedience of Abraham, the chastity of Joseph, the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, the prudence of Josue. It is because she is the model and pattern of these and all other virtues that she can communicate them to us.

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St Nicholas of Tolentino

September – Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 4 – 12th Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional) / 23nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Rosalia (1166), Virgin, Patroness of Palermo, Sicily (Historical)

St. Rose of Viterbo (1252), Virgin (Historical)

St. Marinus (4th Century), Hermit (Historical)

Monday, September 5

St. Laurence Justinian (1455), Bishop, First Patriarch of Venice (Traditional)

St. Bertin (698), Abbot of Saint-Bertin (Historical)

Tuesday, September 6

Blessed Bertrand of Garrigues (13th Century), Priest (Historical)

St. Eleutherius (585), Religious (Historical)

Wednesday, September 7

St. Regina (286), Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Poverty (Historical)

St. Cloud (560), Priest, Hermit (Historical)

Thursday, September 8 – Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (c. 15 BC) (Traditional / New)

St. Adrian (304), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Corbinian (Corbin) (725), Bishop (Historical)

Friday, September 9 – Obligatory Day of Abstinence

St. Peter Claver (1654), Priest, Jesuit, “Apostle of the Negroes” (Traditional – Some Places / New)

St. Gorgonius (303), Martyr (Traditional)

Saturday, September 10

St. Nicholas of Tolentino (1306), Priest, Religious, Patron of Mariners (Traditional)

St. Pulcheria (453), Virgin, Empress (Historical)

Bls. Apollinaris Franco, Charles Spinola, and Companions (1622), 205 Martyrs of Japan (Historical – Some Places)

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