Saint Thomas Becket

Becket“Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered … the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith… All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown.”

Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, bishop and martyr (1117-1170). Canonized by Pope Alexander III not three years after the archbishop’s death. Let us pray for the bishops and the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom through Becket’s intercession.

Holy Innocents

Holy InnocentsOur Church gives us, on this fourth day of Christmas, the  liturgical commemoration of the baby boys –martyrs — the very first martyrs (you’ll recall that Saint Stephen, whose feast was commemorated on December 26th, was the first martyr of the Age of the Church).

Scholars tell us that  Bethlehem was a small town so the the number of the Innocents was probably no more than 25. These boys  died not only for Christ, but in His place.

The vestments are red or purple, the color of mourning; the Alleluia and Gloria are not sung.

Laurence Housman gives us a poem, “The Holy Innocents”

When Christ was born in Bethlehem,
Fair peace on earth to bring,
In lowly state of love He came
To be the children’s King.

And round Him, then, a holy band
Of children blest was born,
Fair guardians of His throne to stand
Attendant night and morn.

And unto them this grace was giv’n
A Saviour’s name to own,
And die for Him Who out of Heav’n
Had found on earth a throne.

O blessèd babes of Bethlehem,
Who died to save our King,
Ye share the martyrs’ diadem,
And in their anthem sing!

Your lips, on earth that never spake,
Now sound th’eternal word;
And in the courts of love ye make
Your children’s voices heard.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Child,
Make Thou our childhood Thine;
That we with Thee the meek and mild
May share the love divine.

Saint Stephen

St StephenToday is the feast of Saint Stephen, whose name means “crown,” and the first disciple of Jesus to be a martyr. Saint Stephen was the first deacon of our Church;  the apostles discerned that they needed assistants to look after the care of the widows and the poor. As you know from the Acts of Apostles, seven deacons were selected by prayer and ordained for service.

In fact, sacred Scripture reveals that Stephen’s face looked like the face of an angel as he spoke of Jesus as the promised Savior. His listeners were greatly disturbed at his teaching. Having dragged Stephen outside the city walls of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”  He then fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.

Let us pray for the courage and honesty of Saint Stephen in the face of trial. Let us, too, pray for deacons.

Latin Mass offered on Christmas Day in New Haven

nativityThe Traditional Latin Mass will be offered at 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Day at Saint Stanislaus Church, New Haven. The Saint Gregory Schola will sing the Missa Cantata.

“Iesus Christus, Deus homo: Jesus Christ, God-man. This is one of “the mighty works of God,” which we should reflect upon and thank him for. He has come to bring “peace on earth to men of good Will,” to all men who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God — not just the rich, not just the poor, but everyone: all the brethren. We are all brothers in Jesus, children of God, brothers of Christ. His Mother is our mother” (St. Josemaria Escriva).