Sts. Joachim and Anna with Virgin Mary

The Entrance of Mary into the Temple

Joachim and Anna regarded their child to be a miraculous gift of God. Just as Hannah and Elkanah had dedicated their child, Samuel, to the service of God, they too, dedicated the child Mary to the Lord.

When Mary was close to the age of three-four, she was brought to the Temple by her parents, to live and to serve there together with other young girls dedicated to God. (Israeli researchers have recently been able to prove that some kind of girl’s service in the Temple corresponds with historical facts.) The girls serving at the Temple would be given various duties. At the same time, they would also receive and education. Upon reaching the age of 12 or 13, they had to leave the Temple service; but those living nearby continued to do knitting and sewing work for the
Temple.

In the East, the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God is celebrated on November 21. The origins of this feast dates back to the fifth century. It took several hundred years before it was universally observed throughout the East.

In the West, this feast did not take root until the end of the fourteenth century. By the fifteenth century, it spread throughout Western Europe.

IF IT’S A GOOD THING, KEEP AT IT!

“It’s always too early to quit”
– Norman Vincent Peale.

Are there times in your life when you have quit? Most of us have quit at something, and most of us have ended up regretting it. Perhaps you endeavored to start a consistent workout routine but quit after a few sessions because it was “too hard.” Or maybe you started to pray the Rosary daily or to read the Holy Scriptures consistently or some other spiritual practice and gave up after a week or so. Most worthy endeavours are difficult: they get easier, however, and the benefits we reap in the end are certainly worth it. If you find yourself getting discouraged, take stock of your plan and maybe ease up on yourself a bit, but don’t quit.

Quitting isn’t an option. If I am tempted to quite something beneficial today, I will take some deep breaths and begin again!

Apostle St. Philip

Pylypivka (Pre-Christmas Fast)

Ukrainian Catholics refer to the pre-Christmas fast period as Pylypivka or St. Philip’s Fast, as it always begins on the day after the feast of St. Philip the Apostle, November 15.  It ends on December 24th.

This fast once had very strict rules.  Today, the Church encourages us to abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.  We are also required to practice the spirit of sacrifice, penance, especially charity.  To prepare to celebrate the joy of Christmas, we fast, we pray more and we increase our acts of love and compassion. Continue reading

George Weige

Ukraine Rising

“This is not only about us; this is also about you”: a church leader on his country’s struggle for freedom.

–By George Weigel

What are the most essential governmental reforms for the future of Ukrainian civil society?

Is the task of uprooting the “culture of corruption” in Ukraine one that can be completed in a generation?

How did Metropolitan Hilarion’s intervention at the extraordinary synod of 2014 strike you?

How does your Church respond to the charge from the Moscow Patriarchate that it has been involved in 'politics' over the past year?

To those familiar with the history of the 'Lviv Sobor,' it seemed as if Metropolitan Hilarion was tacitly affirming that “council” as a genuine ecclesial act, although all competent historians regard it as an action directed by the NKVD. How do you briefly explain, to those who don’t know the story, the sequence from the 'Lviv Sobor' to today?

What are the most important things Ukraine’s friends in the West can do for the country in the next six months? In the next year?

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies

St. Josaphat, Archbishop and Martyr

St. Josaphat, Archbishop and Martyr

St. Josaphat was born in the year 1580, in the city of Volodymyr (Belarus). His parents, Gabriel and Maryna Kuntsevych, named him John. When he was four or five years old, while his mother was explaining the icon of Jesus crucified, he felt a spark of divine love fall into his heart. It never went away. From that day, he always remembered going to church with joy, to read and to sing, to pray and to meditate upon God. Continue reading

Who is the “Lazarus” of My Life?

Do you and I really possess the homes in which I live? – “No,” says John Chrysostom, “they are on only on loan to us from God while we remain in that place.

Lazarus homeDo you and I possess the clothes that we wear? – “No,” says John Chrysostom, “they are on loan to us until we wear them out, or until we give them away to someone in greater need.”

Do I possess this body that you see before you?No, it was lent to me by God when I was born, and he will take it back when I die. Continue reading

Christian Life Is a Continuous Battle Against the Devil

Pope Francis HomilyFrancis Calls on Christians to Put on God’s Armor to Resist Temptation

Pope’s Morning Homily
Vatican City, October 30, 2014 (Zenit.org)

“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.” These words from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians were at the center of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta. Continue reading