The Feast of the Epiphany

aka: The Twelfth Night

The Epiphany by Edward Burne-Jones, 1888

We bless our friends at Fish Eaters for their magnificent work of teaching and leading us through all the Feasts of the Liturgical year. Please do take a tour through their website (fisheaters.com). Your Faith will be immeasurably enriched!

The Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas, and tonight is known as”Twelfth Night” (or “Twelfthnight”). It begins the celebration of Christ’s revealing His Divinity in three ways, which is formally celebrated tomorrow:

  • to the Magi who, guided by the great and mysterious Star of Bethlehem, came to visit Him when He was a Baby (Matthew 2:1-19)
  • through His Baptism by St. John, when “the Spirit of God descending as a dove” came upon Him and there was heard a voice from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1), and all Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity were manifest (Note: the Baptism of Our Lord is also commemorated on the 13th of January)
  • through His first public miracle – that of the wedding at Cana when Our Lord turned water into wine at the request of His Mother (John 2). Just as God’s first miracle before the Egyptian pharaoh, through Moses, was turning the waters of the Nile into blood, Our Lord’s first miracle was turning water into wine.

In many Catholic homes (especially Italian ones), it’s not Christmas Day that is for giving presents to children, but the Feast of Epiphany, when the gifts are given in a way related to the Magi. So today will have a “feel” of Christmas Eve, and because of the Epiphany’s association with the Magis’ gift-giving, tomorrow is often referred to colloquially as the “Little Christmas.”

It is today that the Three Kings should reach the creche (heretofore, they should be kept away from it) and that Baby Jesus should be adorned with signs of royalty, such as a crown, ermine, and gold or purple cloth. Set up golden candlesticks around the manger where He lies.

Along with the crowns, scepters, gold, and royal purple, peacocks are also a symbol for the day. They are more generally a symbol of immortality (and therefore a good symbol for Easter, too), but also a symbol of royalty and of the glory revealed by Christ today. The most profound symbols of all, though, are light as a symbol of theophany; wine in memory of the miracle at the wedding in Cana; water and the dove in memory of Christ’s Baptism by St. John; the Three Kings, their gifts, and the Star of Bethlehem.

The Magi and Their Gifts

Typified in the Old Testament by the Queen of Saba (Sheba), who entered Jerusalem “with a great train, and riches, and camels that carried spices, and an immense quantity of gold, and precious stones” in order to ascertain King Solomon’s greatness (III Kings 10), the three Magi entered Jerusalem bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the newborn King. The Fathers see in their gifts omens of Christ’s life:

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10 Ways to Really Have a

Happy New Year!

Beloved, I came across the article below and wanted to share it with you. It was written in 2014 by Father Peter Carota, a beloved priest of the Diocese of Stockton, California, who went home to his eternal rest in July of 2016. The initial title of Father’s article read:  “10 Ways to Really Have a Happy (Traditional Catholic) New Year.” I pray Father will not mind my omitting the words “Traditional Catholic.” What Father proposes is the only way to have a Happy New Year, whether or not one considers themselves to be a “Traditional” Catholic or a Catholic at all. Here is wisdom from above, which is the only source of true wisdom and means to eternal life.

We wish each of you a most blessed and holy New Year in the One who makes all things new!

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. and Daughters

1) Become Holy.
Without Holiness there is no Happiness.  Since Catholics and atheists all say “Happy New Year,” we, at least, truly know that the road to happiness is only through a life of holiness and sacrifice. That entails a firm commitment to grow in a deeper union with God. This will require making and taking time to pray and read the Bible. We want to be saints and help others be saints.

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Mother Miriam on

The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio!

Beloved, so many of you have called, written and prayed for Our Lord to provide another avenue for the live weekday program, “Heart to Heart with Mother Miriam,” it has been a wonderful encouragement to me. Alas, however, it has not been possible for me to respond to all. But our Blessed Lord has! And I am very happy for it.

Not too long after the cancellation of “Heart to Heart” by Relevant Radio, Jim Wright of The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network  in Buffalo, New York, called to see if we might continue “Heart to Heart” via their network. I met Jim and his outstanding team some years ago in Buffalo and am thrilled to become a part of their untiring efforts to broadcast the Truth of the Gospel in a charitable, faithful and uncompromising manner.

The Station of the Cross has ten networks primarily in the northeast portion of the country. However, as with Immaculate Heart Radio and Relevant Radio, you can listen in on live broadcasts via their website or your smart phone via their app, download the podcasts at any time, and again be able to.call in with your questions during the live shows,

The flyer below was put together by Jim and his staff. Feel free to send it on or publish in your parish bulletin. I look forward to starting off the New Year with our first broadcast on Monday, January 3rd!

Until then, beloved, I wish each of you a most blessed and holy Advent and Christmas, in the One who came that we might live,

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

 

 Blessed Gaudete Sunday!

The Lord is now near;
O come, let us adore Him.

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

“The Mystery of Advent” 

from Dom Gueranger’s “Liturgical Year”

If, now that we have described the characteristic features of Advent which distinguish it from the rest of the year, we would penetrate into the profound mystery which occupies the mind of the Church during this season, we find that the mystery of the Coming, or Advent, of Jesus is at once simple and threefold. It is simple for it is the one same Son of God that is coming; it is threefold because He comes at three different times and in three different ways.

‘In the first coming,’ says St. Bernard, ‘He comes in the flesh and in weakness; in the second, He comes in spirit and in power; in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty; and the second coming is the means whereby we pass from the first to the third.’

This, then, is the mystery of Advent. Let us now listen to the explanation of this threefold visit of Christ, given to us by Peter of Blois, in his third sermon de Adventu: ‘There are three comings of our Lord; the first in the flesh; the second in the soul; the third at the judgment. The first was at midnight according to those words of the Gospel: At Midnight there was a cry made, Lo, the Bridegroom cometh! But this first coming is long since past for Christ has been seen on the earth and has conversed among men. We are now in the second coming, provided only we are such as that He may thus come to us; for He has said that if we love Him, He will come unto us and take up His abode with us. So that this second coming is full of uncertainty to us; for who, save the Spirit of God, knows them that are of God? They that are raised out of themselves by the desire of heavenly things, know indeed when He comes, but whence He cometh or whither He goeth they know not. As for the third coming, it is most certain that it will be, most uncertain when it will be; for nothing is more sure than death, and nothing less sure than the hour of death. When they shall say, peace and security, says the apostle, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape. So that the first coming was humble and hidden, the second is mysterious and full of love, the third will be majestic and terrible. In His first coming, Christ was judged by men unjustly; in His second, He renders us just by His grace; His third, He will judge all things with justice. In His first, a lamb; in His last, a lion; in the one between the two, the tenderest of friends.’

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A Much Loved Hero of the Faith has gone to His Reward

Father Andrew Apostoli, EWTN host of Sunday Night Prime and a founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal will be greatly missed by us and by the millions whose lives he affected for all eternity. Here is a wonderful article on Father from the EWTN Family through EWTN’s National Catholic Register:

Franciscan Father Andrew Apostoli (1942-2017) (2004 EWTN photo)

DEC. 13, 2017

Father Andrew Apostoli Remembered as a

‘Bright Beacon of Light’

The EWTN Host and Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Co-Founder Dies Dec. 13 at Age 75

by Joseph Pronechen

NEW YORK — Franciscan Father Andrew Apostoli, EWTN host of Sunday Night Prime and a founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, died Wednesday at age 75, after a battle with cancer during the last several months.

His death came the morning after the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the patroness of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Every friar is consecrated to her under this title.

“Father Andrew conformed his life to Christ’s,” said Father John Paul Ouellete, community servant (superior) of the Friars of the Renewal, upon Father Apostoli’s death. “As a priest, he was led by his relationship with the Holy Spirit, Our Lady and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and continually worked toward the renewal of the priesthood.”

“As a Franciscan, St. Francis was the clear inspiration for his humility, humor and his simplicity in word and deed,” he added. “Father Andrew’s faithfulness and joy urge us to live the joy found in the Gospel.”

Father Apostoli was known to EWTN viewers who welcomed him into their homes for almost 25 years. This year marked his golden anniversary as a priest. He was ordained a priest to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin March 16, 1967, at St. Francis de Sales Church in Geneva, New York, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

By 2001, Father Apostoli became an authority on Archbishop Sheen’s works and served as the vice postulator of the archbishop’s cause for canonization, on which he worked until his final illness. He called the media-savvy priest, who was declared “Venerable” by the Church in 2012, his “father in Christ.”

Father Apostoli was one of eight Capuchin friars who founded the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) in New York City in 1987. A year later, he also founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal.

Read the remainder of the article including a video with Father Apostoli here (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/father-andrew-apostoli-remembered-as-bright-beacon-of-light)

A Blessed Second Sunday of Advent 2017

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

Beloved, I am getting this to you a day late, but did not want to not share with you a priest’s[1] homily from last Sunday – i.e., the First Sunday of Advent on this Second Sunday. To my mind, it contains our path–more, our marching orders, to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts, that we may truly love, honor and serve Him in this life, and be happy with Him in the next.

God bless and keep you throughout this week and each day until the coming of the Divine Babe in the Manger, the very Lord of life.


Today is the first Sunday of the liturgical year, and the beginning of Advent, the period of preparation for the coming of Christ on Christmas night. It was a common opinion among the Jews, accepted also by many of the early Christians, that four thousand years had elapsed between the fall of Adam and the coming of the Redeemer, four thousand long years of expectation. It is for this reason, possibly, that the Church, when arranging the liturgical cycles, gave Advent four Sundays, four weeks, each week representing, more or less, a thousand of those years.

But what is more important, is the manner in which we spend these four short weeks, the use we make of them or fail to make of them, will be a determining factor in our own future and eternal history. The happiness or the unhappiness of our eternal destiny will depend on our attitude to Christ. “To as many as received Him He gave the power of becoming Sons of God” (John 1:12). If we receive Him worthily, if we welcome Him as our Lord and Redeemer at Christmas when He comes to us in the form of a lowly baby, we will be able to lift up our head and our hearts to welcome Him when we meet Him at the judgment seat.

Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:25-33) contains our Lord’s own description of the general judgment or the

Second Coming of Christ. This particular Gospel has been chosen to help us begin the season of Advent well. The thought that a day of reckoning lies ahead, a day in which we will have to face Christ in His “power and majesty,” a day in which our innermost faults will be made known, and our every unforgiven sin will stand in testimony against us – such a thought will help us to put our accounts straight now and get our books in order while there is still time.

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A Blessed First Sunday of Advent 2017

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

On the first day of Advent, Catholic families will set up Advent wreath — a wreath of greenery adorned by a set of four candles — typically, three violet-colored, and one rose-colored to match the priest’s vestments on each of the days the candles are lit. The wreath is either set upon a table (especially the dining room table), on the family altar, on pedestals, an end table, etc., or it can by suspended by ribbons from the ceiling, such as from a light fixture. The candles can be long, slim tapers, small votives, or wide pillars. There can be pinecones and such adorning the greenery, but because Advent is a penitential season, it should not be highly decorated with colorful ornaments.

The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of eternity, and the greenery symbolizes hope and renewal. The colors of the typically-used violet and rose candles symbolize penance and joy, respectively.

Each candle also represents one of the four weeks of Advent, and one thousand years of the four thousand years that (at least metaphorically) passed between Adam and Eve to Christ’s coming.

The first candle also recalls the Patriarchs; the second candle recalls the Prophets; the third candle recalls St. John the Baptist; and the final candle recalls Our Lady.

If colored candles are used, the violet candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, and the rose candle is lit on the third Sunday (“Gaudete Sunday,” when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass), a day of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent and anticipate Christmas. In any case, whether colored or white candles are used, one more candle is lit each week at dinnertime, the progressive lighting of the candles symbolizing the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead. The candles are kept burning throughout the Sunday supper, and then are immediately blown out afterward (candles can be replaced and greenery freshened as needed).

At midnight on Christmas Eve, the Advent wreath is replaced by a white “Christ candle” that is suitably adorned with holly, or by being carved with symbols of Christ, etc. This Christ Candle is used until the Ephiphany or Candlemas, depending on the family’s particular Christmas customs. The greenery of the Advent wreath can now be decorated and turned into a Christmas wreath for use throughout the Christmas season.

Below is a prayer for the blessing of the wreath and the lighting of the candle for the First Sunday of Advent. We’ll include additional Sunday prayers prior to each Sunday of Advent. We give thanks to the excellent website of Fish Eaters 😊 for this and a fathomless wealth of information on our Holy Catholic Faith: https://www.fisheaters.com. Please do spend time searching through their site. You will find only clear and utterly trustworthy teachings on the Faith including many customs for you and your family!

Advent Wreath Rituals

The Day Before Advent
Blessing of the Wreath

Father or Oldest Son: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

First Sunday of Advent
As Mother lights the 1st candle

Scripture (John 1:1-5; Psalm 49:2-5, 71:2-8, 8-15):
Father: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life: and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty. God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him. He shall call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge his people. Gather ye together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices.

Give to the king thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s son thy justice: To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people: and the hills justice. He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor: and he shall humble the oppressor. And he shall continue with the sun, and before the moon, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth. In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken sway. And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.

Blessing:
Father: Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.

R. Amen. 

Father: Alleluia, alleluia. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis. Amen. (Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy; and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.) 

Newsletter: Pre-Advent 2017

Beloved Family,

We have missed writing to you and, after numerous complaints have begun posting somewhat regular updates on our website. Alas, we are still in Tulsa and continuing to seek a new home. Although we have not been able to move forward with our apostolate to the family in Tulsa, we are at peace in Our Lord’s blessed will and growing in grace and in the sweet assurance of His perfect ways and providence.

Earlier this year, we listened to the outstanding messages from the 2017 fourth annual Rome Life Forum, whose theme, “The family under attack: protecting parents as primary educators,” is very dear to our hearts. The Forum, co-sponsored by Voice of the Family together with Associazione Famiglia Domani, Family Life International New Zealand, Human Life International, LifeSiteNews and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, was held May 18-19, and featured utterly outstanding men of the Church.

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Real Catholic family life is the road

out of apostasy

His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Beloved, as we continue to search for a new home outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I want to tell you all that you have been very much on my heart – and that we, as a community, have been offering our daily Rosary for each and all of you, and especially for the restoration of the family.

In our update of June 22 below, I wrote of the Rome Life Forum, sponsored by Voice of the Family, which took place in May of this year under the theme, “The Family Under Attack: Protecting Parents as Primary Educators.” As much as I desired to urge every soul, especially every parent, either to watch the video presentations or to read the transcripts of the talks, I would guess that only a few of you were able to take the time to do so.

I just relistened to one most outstanding talk by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider who spoke on, The family: the first encounter with the beauty of the Catholic faith.” Bishop Schneider is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. I cannot recommend this holy bishop and his message to you highly enough. I pray you will take the time to listen to His Excellency’s talk below.
                                                                                God bless you,
                                                                                Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.