Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Sign for the Humble

"The brightness of the sun is no sign, but an eclipse is. 
He said that on the last day, His coming would be heralded 
by 'signs in the sun,' perhaps an extinction of light. 
At Bethlehem the Divine Son went into an eclipse, 
so that only the humble of spirit might recognize Him."

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Painting: Howard Russell Butler, in US public domain due to age PD-US

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In Wordless Infancy

'He was created of a mother whom He created. 
He was carried by hands that he formed. 
He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. 
He, the Word, without Whom all human eloquence is mute.'

St. Augustine

Painting: Marianne Stokes

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In This Night That Stills Everything

'In this night of reconciliation, let none be angry or gloomy.  
In this night that stills everything, let nothing threaten or disturb.  
This night belongs to the sweet One; let nothing bitter or harsh be in it...
In this day of gladness, let us not spread sadness.'

St. Ephraem the Syrian


Painting: Bartolom√© Esteban Murillo

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

To Illumine the Earth

'Today the darkness begins to grow shorter and the 
light to lengthen, as the hours of night become fewer... 
Realize that the true Light is now here and, 
through the rays of the gospel, is illumining the whole earth.'

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Monday, December 21, 2015

To Spiritual Love

'I think the chief reason why the unseen God willed
to appear in the flesh and mix with men
was that He might draw to Himself the love of those
who were not able to love except in a carnal manner.
And so: He could lead them on to spiritual love.'

St. Bernard of Clairvaux 

Painting: Cortona,Virgin and Child with Saints

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Gift of Bread

'The little town of Bethlehem is taken from two Hebrew words 
which mean 'House of Bread.'
He Who called Himself 
'the living Bread descended from Heaven' 
was born in the 'House of Bread' 
and was laid in the place of food, the manger.'

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Painting: Duccio di Buoninsegna

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Seasonal Expectations

'Christmas is fast approaching. And now that Christ has 
aroused our seasonal expectations, He will soon fulfill them all!'

St. Augustine

Painting: Henry Mosler, Christmas Morning, 1916

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Message of the Christmas Tree

"The traditional Christmas tree is a very ancient custom which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: it reminds us of the 'tree of life' (Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, God's supreme gift to humanity. The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is 'ever green' if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening."

Pope St. John Paul II

Illustration by unknown artist, in US public domain due to age

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Sainthood From Trifles

'The holiness of saints does not
depend on anything sensational, 
but on little things
which seem but trifles 
in the eyes of the world.'

Pope St. John XXIII

Painting: Zhuravlev