Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!

O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
iacentem in praesepio.
Natum vidimus et chorus angelorum
collaudantes Dominum. Alleluia

O great mystery and wonderful sacrament,
that beasts should see the newborn Lord
lying in a manger.
The newborn we have seen and a chorus of angels
praising the Lord. Alleluia

Quem vidistis pastores?
Dicite, annunciate nobis quis apparuit?
Natum vidimus et chorus angelorum
collaudantes Dominum. Alleluia

Whom have you seen, shepherds?
Speak, tell us who has appeared?
The newborn we have seen and a chorus of angels
praising the Lord. Alleluia
Let us enter into the mystery and allow our whole selves to be transformed by its wonder and message.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Reflecting on Christmas

O admirabile commercium:
creator generis humani,
animatum corpus sumens
de virgine nasci dignatus est;
et, precedens homo sine semine,
largitus est nobis suam Deitatem.

O wonderful gift:
the creator of the human race,
taking our flesh upon him,
deigns to be born of a virgin;
and, coming forth without seed of man,
bestows his Divinity upon us.
Growing up, I loved Christmas primarily because of the gifts that I received. But what is the spiritual significance of Christmas? What is the real gift? Well, I knew Christmas to be Christ's birthday - but is that all it is? A birthday? Absolutely not. Some mock the Catholic disposition toward the baby Jesus. They ask,
On your birthday, do you get out all of your baby pictures? Of course not. You're an adult now! So why do you Catholics still have Jesus in the crib on His birthday?
Yes, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. But celebrating the birth of Christ is no mere birthday. Rather, it is the celebration of an event, and that event is God taking on human flesh and becoming a human child, being born of a Virgin. This is the Son of God in full humility. Christmas is therefore a recalling to mind of the awesome beauty and mystery of the Incarnation. This is what the baby Jesus represents - the fruit of the most extraordinary event in human history. The true gift. O admirabile commercium!
For me life is Christ

If you have met Christ, live Christ, live with Christ! Proclaim it in the first person, as genuine testimony: "For me life is Christ." That is true liberation: to proclaim Jesus free of ties, present in men and women, transformed, made new creatures. Why instead at times does our testimony seem to be in vain? Because we present Jesus without the full seductive power of his person, without revealing the treasures of the sublime ideal inherent in following him; and because we are not always successful in demonstrating conviction, translated into living terms, regarding the extaordinary value of the gift of ourselves to the ecclesial cause we serve.

Brothers and sisters: it is important that men see in us dispensers of the mysteries of God, credible witnesses of his presence in the world. We frequently remember that God, when he calls us, asks for not only one part of our person but all our person and all our vital energies, so that we may announce to men the joy and peace of a new life in Christ, and guide them to a meeting with him. So let it be our first concern to seek the Lord, and, once we have met him, to observe where and how he lives, by being with him all day. Being with him, in a special way, in the Eucharist, where Christ gives himself to us; and in prayer, through which we give ourselves to him. The Eucharist must be performed and extended into our daily actions as a "sacrifice of praise." In prayer, in the trusting contact with God our Father, we can discern better where our strengths and weaknesses are, because the Spirit comes to our aid. The same Spirit speaks to us and slowly immerses us in the divine mysteries, in God's design of love for humanity, which he realizes through our willingness to serve him.

Pope John Paul II, January 26, 1979
In peace, this Christmas, let us each rise to the challenge of these words.

Monday, December 22, 2003


The earthquake rattled us quite a bit here in Santa Barbara, but there does not appear to be any substantial damage here or injuries as are reported in Paso Robles. This was a pretty long earthquake. It had to have lasted about 30 seconds, definitely the longest quake I remember.
Drop down dew, ye heavens

I had a pretty busy week last week! Work deadlines have been approaching quickly, and on top of it all, I came down with a nasty cold last Tuesday. Thankfully, it's just about run its course. One of the big projects that I've been working on is my presentation for the Texas Instruments Developer's Conference in Houston this coming February. I am a speaker this year along with a coworker. I'm really excited - I've decided to turn it into a mini-vacation and take a weekend to visit a few of the sites in Houston, particularly Our Lady of Walsingham as well as the NASA Johnson Space Center. But now is the precipice of celebration, for behold, the Lord comes quickly:
Sound the trumpet in Sion,
for the day of the Lord is nigh:
behold, He cometh for our salvation.
The crooked shall be made straight:
and the rough places plain:
come, O Lord, and be not tardy. Alleluia.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above
and let the clouds pour down righteousness:
let the earth open and bring forth the saviour.
Show us Thy mercy, O Lord,
and grant us Thy salvation:
come, O Lord, and be not tardy. Alleluia.
I'll be taking the one-hour drive north to the quaint and holy village of Santa Maria to spend Christmas with my parents and see some old friends.


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