To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously. The Pope today presented St. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, as a model of recollection. Silence "is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God," Benedict XVI said.
He suggested that the faithful establish in these days "a kind of spiritual dialogue with St. Joseph so that he helps us live to the fullest this mystery of faith. Joseph," dedicated the apostolic exhortation "Redemptoris Custos" Custodian of the Redeemer to the adoptive father of Jesus.
Joseph," observed Benedict XVI. Such a silence was "permeated with the contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to the divine will," Benedict XVI said. The Holy Father added: Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. In another place we read: Magnify the Lord with me.
The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God, and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.
Wreathed in Flesh Wendy M. Upper Rooms, , p. Message of the Christmas Tree: Life Is "Ever Green" St. The traditional "Christmas tree" is a very ancient custom which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general, the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: It reminds us of the "tree of life" see Genesis 2: The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is "ever green" if one gives: Nicholas note might read: As you can see, the possibilities are almost unlimited for these St.
Nicholas, patron of shoppers and gift-seekers, and make Christmas this year fun, creative and love-filled. Let us pause a moment to reflect: Advent calls believers to become aware of this truth and to act accordingly. It rings out as a salutary appeal in the days, weeks and months that repeat: Remember that God comes! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now! He is a Father who never stops thinking of us and, in the extreme respect of our freedom, desires to meet us and visit us; he wants to come, to dwell among us, to stay with us. God comes to save us. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 15,1: The Advent Season lives the whole of this polarity.
God is near us, so near that He became a child. We can communicate this joy simply: And the joy we give will certainly come back to us. In other words, the incarnation is the starting point of our divinization. We are thus not passive bystanders at the incarnation. The incarnation radically transforms the history of the world and the personal history of each of us.
Because of it, each of us must measure up to God's plan and play his proper role in it. We must admit, however, that the injection of these elements, especially at a time when both the liturgy and the knowledge of Scripture were in decline, has turned Christmas, for many, into the feast of tender piety; midnight Mass is the most important thing to these Christians, and the feast has no further influence on their lives.
This new life consists in our sharing the divine nature. Here again, the Church in her liturgy has been guided by the theology of the Fathers. In the patristic reading for the Office of Readings on Christmas, St. The liturgy links the birth of Christ with a renovation , or renewal, with our generation , or birth, and with a novitas , or newness of life, as opposed to a vetustas , or decrepitude the state of one who is worn, decayed, old, and feeble.
The whole of creation benefits from the re-creation that is the fruit of Christ's suffering and resurrection and that is already implicitly contained in his birth. The whole of creation, and not man alone, experiences the regenerative power of the incarnation. The world was of course already consecrated to a degree, since God was the one who had made it, but the presence of the Word within the cosmos restores its dignity and gives it the possibility of rebuilding itself with the elements already at its disposal. Every prayer begins with silent wonder before it turns to words.
Our first response to God is dumbstruck awe at who he is and what he has done for us. Christmas celebrates the dawn of the Light of the World. The powers of darkness are overcome by his coming to share our life. The long reign of sin is ended and grace has been poured out upon the earth.
The Sun of Justice has arisen, and evil is vanquished. Perhaps the hardest thing to remember about Christmas is this. The incarnation is an on-going process of salvation, while the nativity is the once-for-all-historical event of Bethlehem. We celebrate the stupendous fact of the incarnation, God entering our world so thoroughly that nothing has been the same since. And God continues to take flesh in our midst, in the men and women and children who form his body today. The Whisper of Christmas Joe E. His nativity began to be celebrated on Dec. At the very moment when the days are the shortest and darkness seems to have conquered light, the sun passes its nadir.
Days grow longer, and although the cold will only increase for quite a long time, the ultimate conquest of winter is sure. This astronomical process is a parable of the career of the Incarnate One. At the moment when history is blackest, and in the least expected and obvious place, the Son of God is born…".
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The glory of Christmas is that a gracious God became one of us to tell us that He loves us. And, in his or her Christmas giving, the genuine believer symbolizes his or her inner desire to spread this Good News. Today we celebrate Incarnation! The eternal God comes into the flesh and blood of humanity.
Christmas cards portray the little Babe, the Manger, the Magi, the shepherds. But these pieces of the story only touch the edge of the mysterious event which brings us together. The Good News is that the God of Mercy has come into the history of humanity to bring us perfect peace. For the peace of mind and heart and soul that the world cannot give, follow Jesus. And when you follow Jesus, do not be surprised to see others following you.
After all, the spirit of Christmas is contagious. The Word assumed our humanity and, in exchange, human nature was raised to divine dignity. The second act of the exchange consists in our real and intimate involvement in the divine nature of the Word.
And that one time changed the world. The infant born that first Christmas grew in wisdom and age and strength; he suffered and died and rose again; and he saved his people from their sins. Heart of Christmas Dr. Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls. Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes. Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again.
Bells on Christmas Day Pulpit Helps, , p. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was filled with sorrow at the tragic death of his wife in a fire in The Civil War broke out the same year, and it seemed this was an additional punishment. Two years later, Longfellow was again saddened to learn that his own son had been seriously wounded in the Army of the Potomac. Sitting down to his desk, one Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing.
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It was in this setting that Longfellow wrote these lines: I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men! And thought how, as the day had come The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good will to men! Till, ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good will to men! It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
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The wrong shall fail, The right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men! Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts. And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.
Christmas Prayer Soundings , Vol. May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts. May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others. May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved. May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? An anonymous author wrote the manuscript, Ancrene Riwle , whose purpose was to instruct three young ladies on religious and intellectual matters.
In it, he tells a story about a lady in a castle of clay, surrounded by enemies. She is cold and unresponsive to the brave knight trying to woo her, yet he rides out to joust for her and dies on the battlefield, his body his shield, stretched out on the Cross. Christ as a warrior was also a popular motif. In a poem by William Herebert, written in , Jesus is a young lord and valiant champion, not afraid of a good fight.
The main deity in the tentatively Indo-European pantheon of the Yazidis , Melek Taus , is similar to the devil in Christian and Islamic traditions, as he refused to bow down before humanity. In fact, there is no entity in Yazidism which represents evil in opposition to God; such dualism is rejected by Yazidis. In the Middle Ages , the Cathars , practitioners of a dualistic religion, were accused of worshipping Satan by the Catholic Church.
Pope Gregory IX stated in his work Vox in Rama that the Cathars believed that God had erred in casting Lucifer out of heaven and that Lucifer would return to reward his faithful. On the other hand, according to Catharism, the creator-god of the material world worshipped by the Catholic Church is actually Satan.
Wicca is a modern, syncretic Neopagan religion,  whose practitioners many Christians have incorrectly assumed to worship Satan. Much modern folklore about Satanism does not originate from the actual beliefs or practices of theistic or atheistic Satanists, but rather from a mixture of medieval Christian folk beliefs, political or sociological conspiracy theories, and contemporary urban legends.
Satan appears in several stories from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer ,  including " The Summoner's Prologue ", in which a friar arrives in Hell and sees no other friars,  but is told there are millions. John Milton 's epic poem Paradise Lost features Satan as its main protagonist. William Blake regarded Satan as a model of rebellion against unjust authority  and features him in many of his poems and illustrations,  including his book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ,  in which Satan is celebrated as the ultimate rebel, the incarnation of human emotion and the epitome of freedom from all forms of reason and orthodoxy.
Satan's appearance is never described in the Bible or any early Christian writings,   though Paul the Apostle does write that "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" 2 Corinthians The mosaic "Christ the Good Sheppard" features a blue angel which appears to the left hand side of Jesus behind three goats. Medieval Christians were known to adapt previously existing pagan iconography to suit depictions of Christian figures. Italian frescoes from the late Middle Ages onward frequently show Satan chained in Hell, feeding on the bodies of the perpetually damned.
Detail of Satan from The Last Judgement c. Satan Summoning his Legions by Thomas Lawrence. Satan and Death with Sin Intervening c. Satan Watching the Caresses of Adam and Eve c.
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Satan Arousing the Rebel Angels c. Job's Evil Dreams by William Blake. Depiction of Satan c. Alex Sanders , a former black magician, served as a consultant on the film to ensure that the rituals portrayed in it were depicted accurately. The film version of Ira Levin 's Rosemary's Baby established made Satanic themes a staple of mainstream horror fiction. References to Satan in music can be dated back to the Middle Ages. During the fifth century, a musical interval called the tritone became known as "the devil in Music" and was banned by the Catholic Church.
Tartini claimed that the sonata was a lesser imitation of what the Devil had played in his dream. In the early s, jazz and blues became known as the "Devil's Music" as they were considered "dangerous and unholy". Later, Robert Johnson claimed that he had sold his soul in return for becoming a great blues guitarist. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Figure in Abrahamic religions. This article is about the entity that is labelled "Satan". For the general concept of devils, see Devil.
For other uses, see Satan disambiguation. Sixteenth-century illustration by Simon Bening showing Satan approaching Jesus with a stone. The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer. During the early modern period , exorcisms were seen as displays of God's power over Satan. Devil in popular culture. Hooks — "As in Zechariah 3: An Introduction to Ancient Faith , page "There are so many features that Zoroastrianism seems to share with the Judeo-Christian tradition that it would be difficult to Historically the first point of contact that we can determine is when the Achaemenian Cyrus conquered Babylon..
Heaven, heroes, and happiness: University press of America. The Oxford dictionary of the Jewish religion 2nd ed. Some of our Author's Views: On this tradition, see A. Orlov, "The Watchers of Satanael: With Introduction and Notes, p. Retrieved 14 March Eisenberg Dictionary of Jewish Terms: In Jewish texts, the devil is sometimes an adversary and sometimes an embodiment of evil". The Laws of finger washing and the blessings after the meal" , yonanewman. Central tenets of this faith, based on the questions in the Belief-O-Matic quiz".
Moo; Robert Yarbrough 5 April Lucas; Christopher Green 2 May Fathers of the Third Century: Retrieved December 22, Retrieved December 29, Devil worship on the man-eating mountain". The Re-enchantment of the West. For them he is a freedom fighter The New God in Town".
Accusations of Satanism are traced from the witch hunts , to the Illuminati , to the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the s, with a distinction made between what modern Satanists believe and what is believed about Satanists. The Sources of the details that went into artistic representations of the Devil History History of the European Witch-craze Dec.
Portrayals of the Devil in Media". A History of Satanism in Popular Music".