Etymology

O Antiphons – Messianic Titles

If we arrange the titles of the O Antiphons in reverse order, we receive a lovely message:  ero cras, Latin for “tomorrow, I will come.”  Take a look at the chart below:

MESSIANIC TITLES OF THE “O” ANTIPHONS

Date

Title

Language

Translation

Dec 17th

Sapientia

Latin

Wisdom

Dec 18th

Adonai

Hebrew

LORD

Dec 19th

Radix Jesse

Latin

Flower of Jesse

Dec 20th

Clavis David

Latin

Key of David

Dec 21st

Oriens

Latin

Radiant Dawn

Dec 22nd

Rex Gentium

Latin

King of Nations

Dec 23rd

Emmanuel

Hebrew

God-with-us

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(at right is shown the star marking the place in Bethlehem where Christ entered the world)

Tomorrow indeed our Lord comes to us.  He comes not as a conquering hero, but rather, as a vulnerable, darling child born in a cave.  Kept warm by the livestock that share their shelter with Him.  God has touched our world — and changed it forever.

Merry Christmas to all of you – please remember to keep the “Mass” in Christmas.  We’d love to celebrate this holy event with you at Mass.  God bless you who seek the one who comes.

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O Antiphons – Wisdom – Dec 17

Tonight at Vespers the O Antiphons begin.  Tonight, the first night, features holy Wisdom.  Here is the text of the Antiphon from the Liturgy of the Hours:

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.  Come and show your people the way to salvation.

Wisdom is an oft-misunderstood notion, particularly in our modern age.  The ancient Greeks considered wisdom among the greatest virtues to strive for.  In fact, the word philosophy in Greek means “lover of wisdom.”  But what is wisdom, and why should we seek it?

Wisdom is the combination of intelligence and discretion.  It’s one thing to know facts and concepts and methods, that’s intelligence.  But it’s equally important to know when to use those bits of information, and in what circumstances they are useful.

Wisdom is learned through experience, and typically, a trait associated with life experience.  In Sacred Scripture we see the Holy Spirit associated with Wisdom, and a section of the Old Testament is called the Wisdom literature.

All the O Antiphons make reference to revealed truths of the Messiah, traits, characteristics, prefigurement, and titles of our Lord.  All those who seek the King born in the city of bread should begin with wisdom.

The Psalmist teaches us “the fear of the Lord is the first stage of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10)  May we all advance in wisdom through adoration of the one true God.

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Do Not Adjust Your Set

This week we celebrate Gaudete Sunday – the 3rd Sunday of Advent.  There is a Lenten counterpart to Guaudete Sunday, called Laetare Sunday, which occurs on the 4th Sunday of Lent.

pepto-bismolIn days of old, when the fasting and preparation seasons of Advent and Lent were stricter, the faithful recognized these particular Sundays as marking the we’re more than halfway there points of the penitential seasons.

But today, most people recognize Gaudete or Laetere Sunday by the rose vestments worn during the liturgy.  I typically make a light-hearted comment at the beginning of Mass, as our vestments are really, really rose.  Most people would identify the color as pink, but I don’t want to think of myself as a dude that wears pink.

Anyway, you need not adjust your TV, those vestments are the proper color for the day.

We are not celebrating the feast of Pepto-Bismol or anything like that — but we should be celebrating regardless.

Both guadete and laetere are Latin words that mean rejoice.  Although the Entrance Antiphons are rarely used today (normally replaced by an entrance hymn), if you were to hear them you would recognize where the terms come from:

  • 3rd Sunday of Advent = Gaudete in Domino sempe — Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again, rejoice!  (Philippians 4:4-5)
  • 4th Sunday of Lent = Laetare, Jerusalem — Rejoice, Jerusalem rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow  (Isaiah 66:10-11)

Rejoice for your King will soon enter our world anew.  The miracle of God-made-man shall dawn upon us and refresh our tired selves.

No doubt you’ve heard homilies recently about why we should rejoice, even in these troubled times.  Of how things could be worse, and are, in fact, worse for many people.  All that is true, and all of it is legitimate.

But this season calls us at a more foundational level – a level not steeped in economic conditions and anxiety of what’s to come.  At our very core we are creatures of our God – the work of His hands.  And the unbelievable generosity and love He has for us is shown in the gift of His coming to earth as one of our own.  God-with-us, Emmanuel.  Heaven touches earth in a small cave in Bethlehem.

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Week of Witnesses

This week is one filled with witnesses. A week of red vestments at the liturgy. A week of powerful examples for us all to model our lives after.

The Greek word for ““witness”” is martyr, and the liturgical calendar this week features three feast days of martyrs:

  • Monday, Oct 17th St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • Tuesday, Oct 18th St. Luke
  • Wednesday, Oct 19th Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues & their companions


St. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch (Peter was the first), and the person that first used the term “Catholic” to describe the Church. Like most of the Apostolic Fathers, he was martyred for his faith in Jesus. He was killed by animals in the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Coliseum in 107.

St. Luke was both an Evangelist, writing a the Gospel attributed to him, as well as the Acts of the Apostles, and a companion of the Apostle Paul. He gave his life in witness to our Lord Jesus in Greece, where he was crucified, probably on an olive tree.

Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions were French Jesuit missionaries serving in Canada from 1625 to 1649, when they were were martyred — some tortured to death, others decapitated. This group of eight Jesuits became known as the North American Martyrs, and were canonized in 1930. The names of the companions were: John de la Lande, Gabriel Lalemant, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Rene Goupil and Noel Chabanel.

Some people might think that the days of the martyrs are long gone. That most of the martyrs came during the early formation of the Church, and the ensuing persecutions by various Roman emperors. While it is true that many were martyred during these times; unfortunately the days of the martyrs are anything but over.

There are more martyrs of the 20th century then any previous century in the life of the Church. Thousands of new martyrs have offered their lives even in these latter days, primarily in Africa and Asia. Christianity is persecuted in many countries even today, with torture being used commonly against Christians.

Take a moment and pray for our brothers and sisters who suffer so badly because of their belief in Christ; they need our prayers and support. How beautiful a world it will be when all are afforded religious freedom. Until that day we will continue to have fearless role models that make present today the same fire and fervor that Ignatius, Luke and the Canadian Jesuits exhibited.

Pray for us, holy martyrs of God!

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Angels Watching Over Me

Angel is the Greek word for “messenger.” Today is the feast day of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, archangels.

Much confusion exists about angels today – fueled mainly by a movement within the country toward a so-called “spirituality.” Not the traditional definition of the word, but rather the hijacking of the term by those who profess something along these lines:

  • I think that all religions are more or less the same
  • It doesn’t matter where (or if) you go to church, as long as you live a moral life and believe in Jesus
  • Therefore – I prefer to call myself not religious but rather, spiritual


The short-comings of such thoughts are many – but I think at the core this is driven by a disordered fascination with individualism that is rampant in America today. These old-fashioned denominations are okay for some, but I have some personal, unique insight that just can’t be met by them. I’ll do my own thing – I’ll journey with God in my own way.

And in typical American style, this spirituality movement has been snatched up by clever marketers who make all sorts of angel stuff these days. Books, prints, statues and the like. Lots of the materials available are quite poor theologically (by any denominational viewpoint).

As you go about your day ponder these thoughts about angels:

  • Angels do not have bodies – they are spirits possessing intellect and free will – only in encounters with humans in Scripture do they assume the use of a body
  • Sacred Scripture identifies nine choirs of angels – angels, archangels, virtues, powers, principalities, dominations, thrones, cherubim and seraphim
  • Angels are often depicted as “fairies” assisting people with decisions and such – this is not the nature of an angel
  • Angels are incredibly powerful – MUCH more powerful that humans – an angel could will that the earth smash into the sun and it would happen
  • Angels are not God – they are God’s messengers – sometimes tragic things happen to people, that is the nature of free will in a fallen world, not because your guardian angel wasn’t looking out for you


Categories: Catechetics, Etymology, Ranting, Saints | 1 Comment

Our father among the Saints . . .

John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople . . .

Today is the feast day of John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church. The name ‚Chrysostom translates from Greek as ‚“golden mouth‚” or ‚“golden throat,‚” a reference to his incredible preaching.

(this mosaic is from Hagia Sophia, tenth century)

Mistranslation has occasionally suggested that some of St. John‚’s writings were anti-Semitic; but this is not true. His Orations Against the Judaizers, is sometimes sloppily translated as Orations Against the Jews. Of course a reading of this work in context yields what in fact is a polemic against those in fourth-century Antioch who were trying to Judaize the Christian community.

Many consider John to be the finest Christian preacher. On many occasions his homilies would go on for hours, captivating the people and astonishing them with his oratorical skill.

He revised the Divine Liturgy that is used in Eastern Churches (both Orthodox & Catholic) even to this day.

All who preach ought to be inspired and moved by the abilities of this great saint. His teaching is clear, his exhortations thrilling, and his exegesis rock-solid.

Pray for us, O Golden-Mouthed One, that we might be inspired with your zeal for the Gospel!

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What’s in a name?

Rev. Mr. Chris

The title of this blog is a nod to two (or would it be three?) converging presences in my life:

  1. My two older brothers, Rick & Larry gave me the nick-name “Mr. Chris” many years ago.
  2. The honorific for a deacon is “Rev. Mr. ___________”

So, upon completing my diaconate formation and receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders, my family and close friends simply extended the nick-name to “Rev. Mr. Chris.”

Here’s my favorite photo of the day I went from Mr. Chris to Rev. Mr. Chris:

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