About Today

January 1

Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Solemnity

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them” (Num 6:22-27). [1]

Today is the Octave of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary – the Holy Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace. As we remember the ancient blessing God gave the Israelites, may we be reminded of the Incarnation. For through the Incarnation of the Son of God through Mary His Mother, the peace that the world cannot give begins to be among us. “Christian belief in the transcendent destiny of every human being gives urgency to the task of promoting peace and justice for all. [2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Numbers, The Fourth Book of Moses Commonly Called.”
[2] Benedict XVI, Homily, January 1, 2009.
[3] Benedict XVI, Financial Times, December 20, 2013.
Source: Divineoffice.org Evening Prayer I

About Today

December 28

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Feast

“Be subject to one another
out of reverence for Christ”
(Ephesians 5:21).[1]

Today we celebrate the Holy Family comprised of the child Jesus, Mary Most Holy, and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Together, they model a Christian family focused on both “human and supernatural virtues.” May the patterns of love and mutual care in this house of Nazareth elevate the love and peace in our own homes. [2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Ephesians, The Letter of Paul to the.”
[2] John Paul II, Angelus, December 29, 2002.
[3] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 658.
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

December 27

Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

Feast

St. John was a fisherman with his father, Zebedee, and brother, James, at the Sea of Galilee. To the brothers, Jesus bestowed the title “sons of thunder.” This beloved disciple participated in many of Jesus’ more private events including the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration, and the tender bestowing of his Mother Mary to St. John at the foot of the cross. He is credited with writing the Fourth Gospel.

St. John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” was the only one of the apostles to die not of martyrdom but of old age, around the year 100. Still, he has been honored as a martyr from the earliest days after his death, because of an incident related by Tertullian, in which John, while in Rome, was placed in a pot of boiling oil but emerged unharmed. The love which Jesus bears is never barren. Of this his sufferings and death are the strongest proof. As St. John had the happiness to be distinguished by Christ in his holy love, so was he also in its glorious effects.[1][2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “St. John the Evangelist.”
[2] Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, The Martyrology of the Monastery of the Ascension, 2008.
[3] “Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist” by Scott P. Richert, http://catholicism.about.com.
[4] Rev. Alban Butler, The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol. IV
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

December 26

Saint Stephen, The First Martyr

Feast

St. Stephen lived in first century Jerusalem and is noteworthy as the first Christian martyr. He was a deacon appointed by the Apostles to serve in Jerusalem among the Hellenistic Jews. Acts 7:54-60 tells of his martyrdom. St. Stephen’s preaching and performing of miracles incited hostility and he was stoned. He died, as Jesus did, asking that God forgive those who murdered him. His feast day has been celebrated since the 4th century.

Today, as we reflect on St. Stephan, let us follow his example of being a committed, fearless, forgiving disciple of Jesus and bear witness to our Lord, just as St. Stephan.[1][2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “St. Stephen.”
[2] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 1308.
[3] Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, The Martyrology of the Monastery of the Ascension, 2008.
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

December 25

The Nativity of the Lord

Solemnity

“And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face…” (Ezek 1:26-28). [1]

Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is born. We have prepared for this day and in glorious acclaim we join the celestial choir of angels who sing, “Glory to God in the highest heavens and peace on earth to people of good will”(Luke 2:14). Church Fathers comment that this angelic song, heard by shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth, unveils God’s personality in a new way. For before, God was known in splendor, in the radiant beauty of the cosmos and in the divine workings of creation. But now, at the onset of Christ’s birth in a manger, He makes Himself known as a child. A little baby, tender and in need of love, ushers in a new and special relationship with the Creator. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Ezekiel, The Book of.”
[2] Benedict XVI, Homily, December 25, 2008.
Source: Divineoffice.org Evening Prayer I