A year full of promise



January 2017 – Part  2

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…and they offered Him gold, frankincense and myrrh

In the 4th century AD the Church began to use incense in the Eucharistic celebration, in which it came to symbolize the ascent of the prayers of the faithful and the merits of the saints.

Until the European Middle Ages its use was more restrained in the West than in the East.

After the Reformation incense was employed sporadically in the Church of England until widely restored under the influence of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century.

Elsewhere in both Eastern and Western Catholic Christendom, its use during divine worship and during processions has been continuous

Historically, the chief substances used as incense were such resins as frankincense and myrrh, along with aromatic wood and bark, seeds, roots, and flowers. The incense used by the ancient Israelites in their liturgy was a mixture of frankincense, storax, onycha, and galbanum, with salt added as a preservative.

 In the 17th and 18th centuries, natural substances began to be supplanted by chemicals used in the perfume industry, and this trend toward the use of synthetic substitutes in incense continues to the present day.

The domestic roots of a politics of nonviolence


If violence has its source in the human heart, then it is fundamental that nonviolence be practiced before all else within families.

The family is the indispensable crucible in which spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to communicate and to show generous concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness.

From within families, the joy of love spills out into the world and radiates to the whole of society.

An ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence between individuals and among peoples cannot be based on the logic of fear, violence and closed-mindedness, but on responsibility, respect and sincere dialogue.

Hence, I plead for disarmament and for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons: nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutual assured destruction are incapable of grounding such an ethics.

I plead with equal urgency for an end to domestic violence and to the abuse of women and children.

From the Message of Pope Francis on the World Day of Peace, 1/1/2017, §5

 The year’s cycle and the Church

people-holding-hands-in-a-circleFrom the beginning the Church followed the simple weekly rhythm, with the Holy Eucharist as her central act of worship, on every Sunday, commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.

Little-by-little, the liturgy was enriched, having always at its centre the Holy Eucharist.

Feasts celebrating various events from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs and Saints were added.

Soon, every day of the year was incorporated into the liturgical calendar of the Church.

Every feast in the Church is both, a commemoration and an activation!

A commemoration of a particular event of the life of Christ, the Virgin Mary or the Saints, and an activation of its meaning and effectiveness in our life nowadays.

Thus the year is sanctified through the prayer and liturgical action of the Church.


Christian unity

saint-peter-witht-the-keysFrom the 18th to the 25th of January, each year, a week of prayer has been instituted for the Christian unity.

All over the planet, Christians from different confessions and denominations pray together and organize various activities, so that, although the much-desired unity might not be immediately achieved at the ecclesial level, at least a rapprochement may follow at the communal and personal level.

Through our Baptism we are “living stones” in the Church’s edifice. It is, therefore, our duty to support her unity. The Lord wishes “one folk, one shepherd” (John 10, 16).

The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter is the durable and visible principle and the foundation of the unity among the bishops with each other, as well as of all the faithful with them.

(Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium)


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