Another Storm


(Like the song says, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful….”)

There’s a Winter Storm Warning in progress this afternoon, which may become a blizzard if the storm sidesteps a tad. Either way, it’s not a day to go for a leisurely stroll.

Folks on morning radio recited a long list of school closings and event cancellations.

None of which affected me. Not directly.

My weekly hour at the St. Faustina Adoration Chapel was yesterday. It was sincerely cold, a bit windy but no snow.

About the Adoration Chapel. We’re not adoring St. Faustina. I’ve talked about that before. (December 13, 2019)

Sauk Centre’s city website (saukcentre.govoffice2.com) includes a Snow Emergency statement:

Snow Emergency
“Effective at 11:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020, a Snow Emergency has been declared for the City of Sauk Centre till 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, 2020. Vehicles parked on the street are subject to ticket and towing. *On street/overnight parking is not allowed.*”

Makes sense to me. And I hope that folks who have vehicles but not reserved off-street parking find spots for their cars and trucks.

While I’m thinking of it, hats off to the folks running snow plows, emergency services: and working at stores and businesses that are open today.

Today’s Storm and Perceptions


(From National Weather Service, used w/o permission.)
(National Weather Service’s early afternoon map. (January 17, 2020))

The current storm — it’s expected to taper off Saturday evening — and others like it are part of the Upper Midwest experience.

I’ve spent the bulk of my life in this area, and grew up on the Minnes0ta-North Dakota border. For me, this is “normal.”

Other folks probably have different perceptions. Like the fellow I saw while living in San Francisco. I was walking to work. To a bus stop on my way to work, actually.

Anyway, I was wearing a windbreaker and a cap: more than enough to deal with the mildly cool temperature.

This other fellow was walking to some destination: wearing a snorkel parka with the hood extended, hands in the parka’s pockets. Maybe he’d lost a bet. Or thought he looked cool in the metaphorical sense. Or something else. Or maybe it really felt that cold to him.

Oddly enough, I don’t remember any wannabe prophets declaring that our usual winter weather is an anger-prone God’s judgement on us.

Maybe because it is our usual weather. Which has encouraged us to have equipment and procedures ready. And that’s another topic.

I’ve talked about weather, scapegoating and the Siloam tower before. (February 23, 2019; November 17, 2017; September 17, 2018; August 27, 2017)

What’s Next?

On the other hand, this sort of weather raises a question: what are we doing here?

Why did my ancestors decide to live in a place where water is a mineral for much of the year?

Denouncing non-tropical human settlement as an affront to the Almighty is an option.

Provided I take an ‘if God meant us to fly, we’d have wings’ attitude. And hope that nobody notices where I live.

Besides, I’m not bothered that humans can’t survive here without technology. Fire and clothing, at a minimum.

Partly because we have the necessary tech. The environment next to my skin is at a pleasant 77° Fahrenheit. Thanks to clothing, insulated walls and a furnace.

That temperature’s right around daytime conditions in part of humanity’s homeland. It’s a little cooler there at the moment, and an hour to two past midnight.1

Getting back to why humans moved here, and elsewhere. As I see it, we’re here because we’re human. Humans, some of us, travel. We wonder what’s over the next hill, and I’ve talked about that before. And probably will again.

Meanwhile, more snow has fallen. And I haven’t decided what to write next in the post I’d planned to work on today.

Maybe I’ll come up with an idea tomorrow. Then again, maybe not.

Not-necessarily-related posts:


1 Definitions and conditions:

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The Baptism of Jesus, and My Kids

Last week I said “we celebrate our Lord’s adoration by the magi, his baptism and the wedding feast at Cana.” I’d been talking about Epiphany.

So how come this Sunday is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord? It seems redundant.

Basically, it’s because I’m a Catholic and an American. And because it’s been two millennia since our Lord gave Simon a new name and scary responsibility. (Matthew 16:1619)

Quite a bit’s happened since then.

The Pax Romana ended with Commodus and the Year of the Five Emperors. (Yes, American politics could be worse.)

Constantine decriminalized Christianity. The Roman Empire transitioned from major power to nostalgic memory.1

Charlemagne was a major player in Europe when Pope St. Leo III was kidnapped.

A couple of Charlemagne’s envoys, backed by considerable muscle, interfered. Pope St. Leo III said Charlemagne was Emperor of the Romans on Christmas in the year 800.

Likely enough, that’s when Charlemagne started calling his territory the Römisches Reich or Imperium Romanum, depending on which language was appropriate in context.

Either way, it’s “Roman Empire” in my language. It wasn’t the Holy Roman Empire until the Imperial Diet of Cologne’s 1512 decree. Or 1557, when Frederick I Barbarossa’s empire was called “holy” in some document.2

Like pretty much everything else involving humans, it’s complicated.

I’ll give Charlemagne and Frederick I Barbarossa credit for political savvy. “Roman Empire” arguably held considerable mystique in the early 9th century. The same goes for “Holy Roman Empire” in 1512. Or 1557. Or whenever.

I also think Voltaire had a point.

“Ce corps qui s’appelait et qui s’appelle encore le saint empire romain n’était en aucune manière ni saint, ni romain, ni empire.
“This body which called itself and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.”
(Voltaire, via Wikiquote)

Fast-forward about seven centuries from Charlemagne.

The Renaissance was getting traction. And someone you probably never heard of painted a triptych for Jan Des Trompes — a city treasurer with even less name recognition.

Anachronism


(From Gerard Davic, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Detail of Gerard David’s ‘baptism’ triptych. (ca. 1505))

Around the time Leonardo da Vinci was working on the Mona Lisa, Gerard David painted a triptych of our Lord’s baptism.

Gerard David was an Early Netherlandish or Flemish Primitive artist. He was unimaginative. Or a mere imitator of greater artists. Or progressive. Opinions vary.

He had a successful career, died in 1523 and was forgotten. Until the 1860s, and that’s another topic.

Anyway, Gerard David put Jan Des Trompes and his family in the baptism triptych. Plus St. Elizabeth of Hungary and others. Understandably, I figure, since Jan Des Trompes commissioned the piece.

There’s a lot of symbolism and imagery going on here, but what jumped out at me was the anachronistic clothing.

The Trompes women and girls are wearing what someone at the University of Vermont called “transitional gowns” — “Moving towards the square neckline, full sleeves, natural waistline and separate bodice and skirt construction of the 16th century.”3

And they’re wearing hoods. Sort of.

Everyday Clothing and Monastic Uniforms

European men’s and women’s headwear varied from utilitarian scarves to escoffions and hennins — those things that look like birds’ nests and steeples.

Liripipes, too. And guimpes.

Apparel above and beyond reason inspired sumptuary laws. Lawmakers probably had other motives, too.

Rules about clothing and accessories have been around at least since Zaleucus wrote that a freeborn woman couldn’t have more than one slave tagging along, unless she was drunk. The freeborn woman, that is. And I’m drifting off-topic.

The Trompes headgear might be wimples, if they’d wrapped around the neck and chin. The headgear, I mean.

The ladies’ wardrobe was normal for moderately prosperous women in Europe during the early 1500s. But not the river Jordan’s banks in John the Baptist’s day. To my eye, it’s like a picture of Charlemagne in a belted tunic accompanied by someone wearing a jumpsuit.

Five centuries after Gerard David painted them, the transitional gowns and hoods look vaguely monastic.

That’s because many of today’s monastic uniforms began as everyday clothing. And everyday clothing has changed since St. Pachomius defined the Pachomian habit.

More than a dozen centuries after St. Pachomius, we’ve accumulated a vast supply of traditions (lower-case “t”) and rules. Some of them are still in use, some aren’t.

If the traditions didn’t exist, my guess is that members of a monastic order starting today would be wearing jeans and flannel shirts during the 25th century.

And that’s yet another topic.4

Jesus at the Jordan

Matthew, Mark and Luke talk about our Lord’s baptism. (Matthew 3:1317; Mark 1:911; Luke 2:2122)

John’s gospel reports what John the Baptist said about Jesus.

John the Baptist’s description of the Spirit coming down like a dove sounds like what’s in the other three gospels. (John 1:2834)

Some “Baptism of Jesus” pictures look like Gerard David’s. Some don’t. Artistic styles have changed at least as much as clothing.

But the “Baptism” pictures I’ve seen have one thing in common.

Pretty much everyone present is presentable. They’re the sort of folks you’d expect to see in a Bible study or church choir. Decent. Well-respected.

The Pharisees and Sadducees who came to the Baptist were presentable. By conventional standards. John the Baptist offered another perspective.

“When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?…”
(Matthew 3:7)

That must have stung.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were rubbing elbows with tax collectors, (Roman) soldiers and prostitutes. (Matthew 21:32; Luke 3:1014; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 535)

And this itinerant preacher with scruffy clothes was calling them a brood of vipers?!

Maybe I’m being unfair about their motives. Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism might have realized that their lives didn’t match their clique’s squeaky-clean standards. And have been willing to admit it and repent.

Jesus on Nazareth was another matter. Our Lord didn’t need “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)

So what was Jesus doing there?

I figure our Lord was identifying himself with sinners and starting his public ministry with a memorable and significant event. Our Lord’s baptism with water also prefigured his baptism by blood. And ‘fulfilled all righteousness.’ (Catechism, 528, 535537)

There’s more to it, of course.5

Baptism, Rescheduling and Something New

Baptism is important. Necessary.

It’s the first sacrament.

My baptism freed me from consequences of a really bad decision made by the first of us.

About that: Original sin isn’t the notion that we’re garbage. (September 19, 2018)

Our nature is wounded, not corrupted. We’re still made “in the divine image.” (April 23, 2017)

My baptism was a rebirth in the Spirit. It makes entering the kingdom of God an option for me. (Catechism, 12131274)

Like I said, baptism is important. Necessary. For me.

For Jesus of Nazareth, Son of the Living God, not so much.

Not for the same reasons, at any rate. God’s God, I’m not. Although I accepted God’s offer of adoption, and that’s yet again another topic. (April 21, 2019)

Which gets me back to Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Celebrating that event started as part of Epiphany. Centuries rolled by, and folks in my branch of Christendom got focused on the Magi during Epiphany.

I gather that rescheduling the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord as a separate celebration happened in the 20th century.

That probably upset folks who liked the Tridentine Calendar. And the Tridentine Calendar probably upset folks who thought the Council of Trent was a bad idea.

Then, in 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added five luminous mysteries to the rosary. The Baptism of our Lord is the first of them.

The Tridentine Calendar, Vatican II and Pope St. John Paul II’s luminous mysteries changed how we worship. Changed details. But not the essential details.6

An “Indelible Spiritual Mark”

Again, I think baptism is necessary.

It’s the sacrament that makes it possible for me to enter the kingdom of God.

When I became a Catholic, I didn’t have to decide whether or not to be baptized.

My parents had baptized me as an infant, in a mainstream Protestant church.

Baptism is a one-time thing. Mine left me with an “indelible spiritual mark” that can’t be erased. Or repeated. (Catechism, 1272)

Baptism isn’t a ‘get out of hell free’ card or a guarantee that I’ll enter heaven.

I have free will. I decide to act as if what I believe is true — or not. Then, at my particular judgement, I’ll decide whether or not to finally accept salvation. (Catechism, 10201050; 17301742)

Opting out of heaven strikes me as a daft idea, but it’s possible. (September 30, 2018; March 11, 2018)

Options, Knowledge and Hope

Given how I see baptism, you’d expect that my kids would have been baptized.

Four have been. Two haven’t.

My wife and I lost Joy in a miscarriage. Elizabeth died just before birth. The family almost lost my wife that time, too.

In each case, our child was not baptized.

I’m not happy about that.

But I don’t see how I could have arranged for them to receive the sacrament.

Things were hectic both times: particularly with Elizabeth’s stillbirth. And each time I didn’t know something was amiss until after they were dead.

The rules say I shouldn’t delay baptism if an infant is in danger of death. (Code of Canon Law, Book IV, Part I, Title I, Chapter III, 867868)

But baptizing someone who’s already dead? That’s not an option. Not for Catholics.

So, what’s happened to my two dead children?

The short answer is — I don’t know.

I’ve seen assertions that Catholics believe unbaptized infants go to hell. Maybe some Catholics believe that, but it’s not what the Church says.

The last I checked, the Church’s position on unbaptized infants is that we don’t know. And that the matter is still being discussed.

The notion that unbaptized kids go to hell probably comes from scholarly speculations during Europe’s Middle Ages. Putting it simply, the situation is not simple. Anything but.7

Looking at it from another angle, it is simple.

I couldn’t have Joy and Elizabeth baptized. They’re dead. So I must do what the Church does: “…entrust them to the mercy of God….” (Catechism, 1261)

Which is pretty much what I have to do about myself. And that’s still another topic:


1 “The grandeur that was Rome” (“To Hellen,” E. A. Poe)

2 Empires, politics and all that:

3 Anachronistic art:

4 Clothing, rules and change:

5 Baptism of Jesus:

6 Baptism and a feast:

7 What we known, what we don’t knonw:

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Christmas Continues

This blog still has “Christmas 2019” and a photo of a snow-covered Marian garden in the sidebar.

Some Americans take their Christmas decorations down promptly after December 25.

Others do so directly after Epiphany.

I’m an American, and I’ve still got that “Christmas 2019” photo up? An explanation may be in order. Or maybe not. I’ll explain, anyway.

I figure we’re still in Christmastide, which could have ended with Epiphany.1

But didn’t, apparently.

My region’s Christmas 2019 – 2020 calendar shows the Christmas season running until next Sunday, when we celebrate our Lord’s baptism. Again, sort of.

I’ve talked about that before, and plan to do so again:


1 asdfasdfasdf:

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12 Days of Christmas, Plus 1

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” seems like an anodyne to dissension and discord wreaking havoc in today’s world.

Generations of carolers have sung the simple tale of lords, ladies, maids, pipers, drummers and birds. Lots of birds.

But, like pretty much anything else, it’s not that simple.


A Song and Celebrations

Gifts, Quacking Ducks and Assorted Origins

'Twelfth Night Merry-Making in Farmer Shakeshaft's Barn,' from Ainsworth's Mervyn Clitheroe, by Phiz

The English Christmas carol started in France. Or northern England’s Newcastle upon Tyne region. Or maybe Scotland or the Faroe Islands. Or somewhere else.

The lyrics are variable.

The familiar “calling birds” have been canary birds, colley birds, collie birds, colly birds, colour’d birds, coloured birds, corley birds and curley birds.

One version includes ducks quacking.

I don’t know about the ducks, but I like the idea of curley birds. Possibly because I watched The Three Stooges as a child, and that’s another topic.

Then there’s all that gift-giving:

  • Gifts in “Twelve Days of Christmas”
    • 12 Partridges (1 x 12 = 12)
    • 22 Doves (2 x 11 = 22)
    • 30 Hens (3 x 10 = 30)
    • 36 Calling birds (4 x 9 = 36)
    • 40 Golden rings (5 x 8 = 40)
    • 42 Geese (6 x 7 = 42)
    • 42 Swans (7 x 6 = 42)
    • 40 Maids (8 x 5 = 40)
    • 36 Ladies (9 x 4 = 36)
    • 30 Lords (10 x 3 = 30)
    • 22 Pipers (11 x  2 = 22)
    • 12 Drummers (12 x  1 = 12)
  • 364 gifts total

It’s the sort of wanton wantonness that Puritans tried to outlaw. Unsuccessfully.

They had a point, though.

Midwinter celebrations have a long history of getting out of hand.

Ancient Rome had Saturnalia.

Medieval France had the Feast of Fools. Which was a small social revolution. Or was promoted by clergy. Or was something else.

England had Lord of Misrule. Until Henry VIII stopped it.

Oddly enough, I haven’t run across a discussion or condemnation of the maids, ladies, lords, pipers and drummers being given as gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

They’re not the sort of thing we see in card and gift shops.1

And that’s good news. Treating human beings like merchandise is a bad idea and we shouldn’t do it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2414)

Geese a-laying, Leaping Lords and Pipers Piping

Getting back to partridges in pear trees, leaping lords and all that — many folks have looked for hidden or lost meanings in the carol.

Perhaps because today’s lyrics lack an obvious message or story, and they think songs should be instructive.

Or maybe because many folks enjoy looking for hidden or lost meanings.

One chap said that the first seven days were all about birds.

Another suggested that the lyrics were a clandestine catechism for England’s closet Catholics. I’ve talked about Henry VIII’s wives, his nationalized church and a balky Lord Chancellor before. (January 6, 2019)

I gather that the clandestine catechism scenario is unlikely, since the song’s gifts weren’t uniquely Catholic.2 Makes a good story, though.

I suspect that the song spread and developed as it did because folks thought it was fun.

That doesn’t mean I think it’s meaningless in the pejorative sense. I’m pretty sure that things are fun for a reason. Many reasons, most likely. And that’s yet another topic.


Perceptions and the Catechism’s Subdivisions

An 11, or 12, Point List

A little quick checking into the clandestine catechism scenario led me to an article about Ann Ball’s “Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals.”

She said that the song’s true love and the partridge in a pear tree as Jesus.3

The partridge thing makes sense. The birds have a reputation for risking their lives by faking an injury and leading predators away from the nest.

The other gifts, according to Ann Ball, were more-or-less familiar parts of Catholic faith.

  1. Two turtle doves
    • The Old and New Testaments
  2. Three French hens
    • Faith, hope, and love
  3. Four calling birds
    • The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
  4. Five golden rings
    • The first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man’s fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Savior
  5. Six geese a-laying
    • The six days of creation
  6. Seven swans a-swimming
    • The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  7. Eight maids a-milking
    • The eight beatitudes.
  8. Nine ladies dancing
    • The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience (Forbearance), Goodness (Kindness), Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency (Chastity)
  9. Ten lords a-leaping
    • The Ten Commandments.
  10. Eleven pipers piping
    • The eleven faithful Apostles.
  11. The twelve drummers drumming
    • The twelve points of belief in The Apostles’ Creed.

Add the partridge, and you’ve got a 12-point list. Many or most of which are shared by all Christians: Catholic and Protestant.

Points of Belief and the Catechism’s Chapters, Articles and Paragraphs

Ann Ball’s twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed are in the Catechism.

I suspect that identifying Article 1 through Article 12 as points of belief is easier if you’re looking at the table of contents.

And if you decide to see the Articles in the Creed section as unique — not the Catechism’s subdivision between Chapter and Paragraph.

About that: Part One, Section Two, The Creeds, runs from paragraph 185 to 1065.

Which may explain why something-point lists are so popular. They’re a lot simpler, and arguably easy to remember.

Anyway, here’s the Apostles Creed as a 12-point list. The text is from the Catechism’s Part One, Section Two. (Catechism, Credo)

  • Apostles Creed
    1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
    2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
    3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
    4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
    5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
    6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
    8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    9. The holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,
    10. The forgiveness of sins,
    11. The resurrection of the body,
    12. And the life everlasting.
  • Amen

Turning Toward the Light

“We Saw His Star”

“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
“saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.'”
(Matthew 2:12)

The King Herod in Matthew’s second chapter isn’t the one who interviewed our Lord and (reluctantly) had John the Baptist’s head served on a platter.

The head-on-a-platter Herod was King Herod’s son. Somewhere along the line folks started calling him Herod Antipas. Or Herod Atnipater. The ‘magi’ one is Herod the Great.

I gather that Herod the Great is a controversial figure.

Some say he really was great. They’ve got a point.

Herod the Great made himself about as powerful as a Roman client king could be.

Having every male child in Bethlehem doesn’t seem all that great, which may be why some academics say it’s a non-event that never happened.

It’s recorded in Matthew 2:1618, and nowhere else. Not surprising, maybe, considering how many high-profile folks Herod the Great had killed. Besides, Bethlehem in those days was a no-account town.4 (January 15, 2017)

I’m getting ahead of the story.

Herod’s Solution


(From James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(James Tissot’s “The Magi in the House of Herod.” (ca. 1890))

The magi got Herod the Great’s attention by asking about the newborn king of the Jews.

“King of the Jews” was Herod’s title. His surviving sons weren’t babies, which strongly implied that there was another player in the game. One who was after Herod’s job.

The situation called for tact, diplomacy and decisive action.

Herod granted the magi a private audience, learned when and where the (perceived) usurper was born, and told them to report back when they’d found the kid.

The magi found Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. Having been tipped off that Herod should be kept out of the loop, they avoided Jerusalem on their way back.

Meanwhile, Joseph, Mary and Jesus hightailed it for Egypt, leaving before sunrise.

When Herod realized that the magi weren’t following his orders, he followed his usual policy: killing anyone who might be a threat.5

“Magi From the East”


(From James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(James Tissot’s “Journey of the Magi.” (1890s))

“We Three Kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar….”
(“We Three Kings,” John Henry Hopkins Jr. (1857))

That’s among my favorite songs: even though I know that the “kings” were magi, and that we don’t know how many of them there were.

Matthew’s “magi” may have become “kings” in my branch of Western civilization because someone read Psalm 72:11 and figured it connected with Matthew 2:1.

“Magi” comes to us from Avestan, by way of Persian, Greek and Latin. It’s the name of a religious caste who were, among other things, astrologers.

Back in their day, astrology was a respectable and respected natural philosophy. Over the last few centuries we’ve learned that its predictive power is nil. And, as a form of divination, it’s on a short list of bad ideas. (January 8, 2017)

But two millennia back, magi had a reputation something like the scientists at CERN.

We know there were more one magi, because the word is the plural of magus. Folks in my culture generally assume there were three of them because Matthew lists three gifts.

Other branches of Christianity often say there were 12 magi. Either way, they were probably from the Parthian Empire. Or somewhere else east of Judea.

I’m sure they have names. But I don’t know what they are. Not for sure.

We call them Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Sometimes Melchior is Melichior. Casper’s also called Gaspar, Jaspar, Jaspas, Gathaspa: and more variations on that theme. Balthazar’s name has variations, too: Balthasar, Balthassar, and Bithisarea.

Other folks have other names for them, and some Chinese Christians think one of the magi came from China.6 Which wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

“Just the Beginning of a Great Procession”

The magi “saw his star at its rising” and came to do Jesus homage. (Matthew 2:2)

Matthew doesn’t say what that star was, leaving the field open for speculation.

Folks have said the star was a pious fiction, a miraculous fulfillment of prophecy, and a wide assortment of astronomical phenomena.

Or, from one viewpoint, a Satanic sign which nearly got Jesus killed. Other folks say the star was a bunch of angels.

Books have been written and documentaries filmed, supporting various “Star of Bethlehem” ideas. One explanation, involving a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Regulus, explains why we celebrate Christmas on December 25.

Me? I figure Matthew’s “star” was something the magi noticed. And that light was among its important qualities. (January 6, 2019)

Which brings me to what comes after the 12 days of Christmas: Epiphany.7

That’s when we celebrate our Lord’s adoration by the magi, his baptism and the wedding feast at Cana. And rejoice that folks like me, gentiles, can turn toward “the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.” (Catechism, 528)

“The Epiphany is a feast of light. ‘Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you’ (Is 60:1). … He who is the true light, and by whom we too are made to be light, has indeed come into the world. He gives us the power to become children of God (cf. Jn 1:9,12). The journey of the wise men from the East is, for the liturgy, just the beginning of a great procession that continues throughout history….”
(Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI (January 6, 2012))

And that’s something to celebrate:


1 Celebrations, history, a song and slavery:

2 Speculations:

3 More speculation:

4 Herodian dynasty and Bethlehem’s boys:

5 My view:

6 Magi, mostly:

7 A star, light and hope:

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