December 18, 2014
THE O ANTIPHONS
As her final phase of preparation for Christmas, the Church recites or chants the O Antiphons during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. The O Antiphons express the Church’s longing for and expectation of the Messiah, and her startled wonderment at the fullness of grace which the Christ-Child is about to bestow on the world.
Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one — Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia — the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” In these words, the Lord Jesus, for whose coming we prepare in Advent and to whom we address these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us. The O Antiphons not only bring intensity to our Advent preparations, but they bring our preparations to a joyful conclusion.
Dec. 17 – O Sapientia: O Wisdom (Eccl 24: 5), you came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sir 24: 30) and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wis 8: 1). Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isa 40: 14).
Dec. 18 – O Adonai: O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (Exod 6: 13) of the house of Israel (Matt 2: 6), you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3: 2); on Mount Sinai, you gave him your Law (Exod 20). Come, and with outstretched arm, redeem us (Jer 32: 21).
Dec. 19 – O Radix Jesse: O Root of Jesse, you stand for the ensign of all mankind (Isa 11: 10); before you, kings shall keep silence and, to you, all nations shall have recourse (Isa 52: 15). Come, and save us, and do not delay (Hab 2: 3).
Dec. 20 – O Clavis David: O Key of David (Apoc 3: 7), Scepter of the House of Israel, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens (Isa 22: 22). Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10).
Dec. 21 – O Oriens: O Rising Dawn (Zac 6: 12), Radiance of the Light eternal (Hab 3: 4) and Sun of Justice (Mal 3: 20), come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10; Lk 1: 78).
Dec. 22 – O Rex Gentium: O King of the Gentiles (Hag 2: 8), Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one (Eph 2: 20). Come, and save poor man whom you fashion out of clay (Gen 2: 7).
Dec. 23 – O Emmanuel: O Emmanuel (Isa 7: 14; 8: 8), our King and Lawgiver (Gen 49:10; cf. Ezek 21: 32), the Expected of the nations and their Savior (Isa 33: 22), come, and save us, O Lord our God.
(cf. www.Catholicculture.org, accessed 12/2008)
In JM + JT,
The General Judgement
December 15, 2014
Continuation of the Seventh Article of the Apostle’s Creed
” From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead “
The General Judgement
In this post I am going to be focussing on the General Judgement. Like I stated in the last post we are one day closer to the second coming of Christ, therefore we are one day closer to our final and General Judgement. So, let us be prepared ! One item about the General Judgement that I would like to clear up right from the start. If , after our Particular Judgement, we are graced with the Beatific Vision (seeing God face to face in Heaven), we don’t have to worry that God might change His mind. In other words, if we are in heaven or purgatory after we die here on earth, than we don’t have to worry that at the General Judgement that God may decide to change His mind and toss us in Hell. It doesn’t work that way. I am going to borrow a line that some of my protestant brothers and sisters occasionally use, “ Once saved, always saved.” Of course, I am only using “once saved always saved” in reference to the particular and general judgements. Another day, we will look at the false doctrine of “once saved always saved”, but not today. I really hope that didn’t confuse anyone.
To use an analogy that is Catholic, the General Judgement is to the Particular Judgement what Confirmation is to Baptism. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, our Baptism is actually completed and strengthened. It is like this at the General Judgement, it is a confirmation of sorts, of our Particular Judgement. Or, if we are alive on earth and have not actually died when the General Judgement takes place, than it will be likened to getting Baptism and Confirmation one after another or combined. Like I said, just using an analogy to help in explaining the General Judgement.
So, what can be expected at the General Judgement. Well folks, to be very blunt, this is what EVERYTHING is leading up to. EVERYTHING is pointing to this very moment in history. HIS story, get it…This is His story and He has so kindly and lovingly willed us to be a part of it and to share in His love.
God , in His wisdom, mercy and justice will reveal to the world, and everyone who ever lived , how each person actually fit into the grand scheme of time. The General Judgement is social. We will all be unveiled publicly, every single last one of us. All of our acts of charity, or evil for that matter, will be open and exposed for each and everyone to see. We will also see how these acts played out, and the long lasting and life changing effects that good, and evil had on mankind as a whole. Gods mercy, and His justice will all make sense at that time. A thought occurred while meditating on this topic. You know how sometimes we ask God the question WHY? Why God, did this or that child die. How could you let so many people get killed? Why did you let my mother get cancer? Why did my dad die at 63 and now my mom is without her husband? … God, in His love, compassion, understanding, mercy and justice will answer ALL of these questions, every single one of them. Not because He has to, because He will. All will be explained, and all will also make complete and perfect sense to everybody, and I mean everybody.
Now, here are a few references to the General Judgement taken from scripture. Here is where the Truth speaks and should wake us up a lot, hopefully. The reason I say this is because the choices we make, and the actions we take, while here on earth, will decide for us whether we choose to go to Hell, or to Heaven. Yes, we decide whether we go to Heaven or Hell by what we do, or by what we do not do for that matter. God confirms our decision. Once we die, our will is fixed, no turning back from this point. So lets get this right folks, and use the long standing teachings of the Catholic Church to be our sure and certain guide, to hopefully get to Heaven with Gods grace.
Oh yes, the Scripture references to the General Judgement. Let us look at Matthew Chapter 25, and these verses speak for themselves. Little commentary is needed here. Here goes, ”  And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.  And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.  Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” All the angels, yes it says ALL the ANGELS! That is a lot of angels, billions and billions , maybe more. Oh, and notice that Jesus is coming as a King in His majesty, and going to be judging us. One more thing, notice how Jesus tells us that the kingdom is, and was actually prepared for us from the beginning of the world. Prepared for us, for you. I love that part. Just saying…
Their is more here from Matthew 25, let us look ”  For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.  Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?  And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?  Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?  And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.  I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.  Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?  Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.” Notice what it states in verse 41. Hell was not prepared for us, but for the wicked devil and his demons. So why would we ever choose this horrible eternity. Let us choose to try and take part in Gods Holy will for us and try to participate with abundance of grace that is available to us through prayer and the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. So much grace is available to us through the Catholic Church, it is amazing!
One more point that I definitely have to cover is that the General Judgement will take place after the resurrection of our bodies. We will all face the Just Judge with body and soul. Also, our eternal destiny will also be in body and soul, either in Heaven or in Hell.
A couple more pieces from Sacred Scripture about the General Judgement from Luke Chapter 12 ”  For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops.  And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him.” This is Jesus speaking here , we should listen up probably.
From Psalm 48 in Douay Rheims, or 49 in RSV we read in verse  Hear these things, all ye nations: give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world.  All you that are earthborn, and you sons of men: both rich and poor together. And in Canticles Chapter 8 verse  Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.
St John also speaks about the General Judgement in Chapter 5 of the Gospel verse: ” Wonder not at this; for the hour cometh, wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God.  And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” Judgement here is condemnation by the way.
Next post, we will be looking at Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and or, some combination of these topics. So, that being said, if you have made it this far in this post good for you, their is hope after all. I know some people just balk or altogether, or just shut right down when the word hell is brought up. It is as if they are gonna live forever, or some may even be convinced that the actual place doesn’t exist. Some people are gonna be in for one huge surprise. Well, believe me, and much more, believe the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ, that Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are all more real than the false bill of goods that the world has been trying to feed us.
If these topics make you feel uneasy that is a good sign. If these topics shut you right down or you choose to completely look the opposite way and pretend its all not real, maybe you should consider going to Sacramental Confession. Confession makes these topics a little easier to stomach, really you should try it. I try and go at least every couple of weeks. It is amazing how after going to Confession regularly makes these topics easier to look at.
As always feel free to comment, criticize or just say hello in the comment box at the top of the post
til next time, unless of course Jesus comes back before I write my next post, just saying, we never know the day or the hour…
May Almighty God Bless us and protect us from the world, the devil and ourselves
The Seventh Article of the Apostles’ Creed
December 5, 2014
” From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead ”
Chapel of Bones in Alcantarilha, Portugal
As we begin to take a look at the Seventh Article of the Apostle’s Creed, I ask you to take a few minutes to meditate, or ponder the moment of your death, sitting, or standing before Almighty God, about to be judged, for how you spent your life here on earth. Just a couple of thoughts before we begin. First, we all will die and most do not know exactly when. Second, we ALL will be judged for how we lived our life, like it or not, we cannot evade this. We must accept that all of us are actually born to die in a sense, but it’s how we live, that will decide how we will spend our life in eternity.
I have just ended my 30 day Ignatian retreat with the Marian Catechist Apostolate. As a result of the spiritual exercises, I was able to ponder such subjects of life, death, heaven, hell and purgatory. One of the insights I acquired during these exercises is the relationship between free-will and time, curious. We are all taught that one gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours is that of our free-will. It occurred to me, that another gift that God has given us that is uniquely ours, is time. Both of these gifts, if used wisely, with Gods grace, should be gifted back to Our Lord, freely on our part. It also occurred to me, how I have abused this precious gift of time that God has so graciously gifted me with. Sometimes, I thank Him for the generous extension He has given me. A result of others prayers, I am certain, especially my dear mother. So, when thinking of the end it also occurred to me that our actual ETERNAL FUTURE, depends upon our present here in time. From the finite to the eternal. This is very serious business folks. Every moment matters and our eternal future is riding on our Yes to Gods will and the time He allows us here on this earth. Eternity is a long, long, long, long, long……..long time, eventhough we will be outside time, that is how long eternity is. Its even longer than that! So let us all stop wasting our time and give some of it at least, back to God, along with our wills.
So, on with the catechesis shall we. We have two kinds of judgement, and we will be taking a look at the first type in this post. The two types are called the Particular Judgement that happens immediately after we die, and we have what is called the General Judgement at the end of the world.
St Paul in the Book of Hebrews in Chapter 9: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”. We will be immediately judged according to how we lived our lives as soon as we die. It is very important to remember that our stay here on earth is limited, and is used to test our entrance into the heavenly kingdom. God, is so merciful! He sends us so many messengers, and so many graces. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven, but we also need to show that we want to be with Him in Heaven as well. All of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church are specifically God given, to help us to gain eternity with Him in Heaven. Not only that, but the Sacraments also give us a taste of Heaven on earth, especially in the Holy Eucharist.
When we die, in the most simplest terms, our souls leave our bodies. We will be judged according to our works, more specifically on our charity. Have we sacrificed our time and our lives for others, for God. Have we tried to pray for those who have offended, or hurt us. Have we turned away from temptations that would lead us away from God. Have we taken that extra minute to spend with family, with a stranger, with that annoying man or woman? Was I constantly picking away at how this or that person lived out their Catholic Faith? These are some of the questions I ask myself at times. Believe me, I fail at these questions many times, I’m just grateful for some bit of awareness.
This is our chance, actually, this is our Grace, not chance. This is our time here on earth, that God has specifically chosen for us to be in. This is nothing to complain about. We are here, right now, to give Glory to God! We are all called to be little “praises of Glory” as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity says. All the graces are available, right here, right now. The exact same graces are here now that were here during St Teresa of Avila’s time, as St Athanasius’ time, Saint Francis of Assisi’s time…… the Grace is available! We are called to be saints, here and now in this moment of time that God has graced us with.
So let us not fear death, but pray for a happy death ; a life lived for God, with His Grace, and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as my compass. Rest assured, if we are obedient to His will, to the best of our ability, we shall be eternally happy. If we live a life of selfishness and refuse His grace til the moment we die, we shall be eternally in misery. The choice is obvious, isn’t it? Lets stop wasting time and try and take part in Gods Holy Will. It is wise to remember what it reads in Holy Scripture, from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 7: “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin. “
May Almighty God protect us from the World , the devil, and ourselves
For the Greater Praise of Glory!