SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Wed. Feb 10
Thu. Feb 11
Our Lady of Lourdes
1. In what year did Our Lady’s appearance at Lourdes occur?
2. Where is Nursia– the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica?
(a) Northern Italy
(b) Central Italy
(c) Southern Italy
(d) on Sicily
(e) on the west coast of Greece
(f) in the old Roman territory of North Africa
When did the Presentation of the Lord take place?
(a) before the
visit of the shepherds in Bethlehem
(b) after the visit
of the wise men
(c) after Joseph
and Mary returned from Egypt.
(d) before the
death of King Herod
(e) after the
slaughter of the holy innocents
The presentation took place 40 days after birth in Israel and there is no reason to believe anything different was observed by Mary and Joseph.
2. How old was
Jesus when Mary was visited by the wise men?
While we cannot know exactly, since Herod ordered the killing of all children up to 2 years old, we should not expect to find Jesus being carried around as a newborn at the time of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. This challenges the popular notion of the wise men visiting the manger! The wise men, whose visit prompted King Herod to take action, must have visited when Jesus was between 1 and 2 years old.
God bless you!
Once again, we are delighted to provide you with our Weekly Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours…and our Guide to Christian Prayer. We are encouraged by the continued increase in subscribers to this guide and we know that it is God’s will to bring us together as a single voice of prayer throughout the world, that we might fulfill St. Paul’s prayer:
"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 15:6)
On a personal note, please continue to remember me (William) in your prayers as I prepare to lead nine CLAA fathers on a missionary visit to the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica to visit and work with the Missionaries of the Poor. We will be there from Feb. 16-27 and will of course be leaving a lot of work behind here in the US–that is part of the cost of such work. Pray that the Lord would bless our time together, building relationships upon a foundation of Christian faith and service and bless our efforts to relieve the sufferings of the poor–many of whom are our Catholic brothers and sisters.
If you are interested in learning more about the missions work of the CLAA, contact us.
God bless you all,
William & Dania Michael
Classical Liberal Arts Academy
Right: An Austrian commemorative coin celebrating religious orders, represented by the images of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. Kind of odd, though, that individuals who lived in voluntary poverty are honored with a coin.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10
Back in 480 AD, in Nursia of Italy, two parents celebrated the birth of twins. Surely Dad celebrated his wife’s healthy delivery, as Mom recovered and nourished two infant souls. We can imagine a tired Mom slipping away into a needed rest, holding her two little ones quietly against her breast.
Today, we could not understand the history of the world without those two little babies. The boy grew to become St. Benedict, the father of western Monasticism–perhaps the most influential Christian in European history. The girl was Scholastica, who grew to become the leader of a religious community of women in Italy and wonder-working saint. She is the patron saint of nuns and we celebrate her memorial on Wednesday, February 10.
Scholastica is known most for her life-long spiritual friendship with her famous brother. One famous story is told of Scholastica’s demand that her brother not return to his monastery, but remain in spiritual conversation with her. He insisted on leaving and she prayed that God would not allow him to leave and a terrible storm quickly moved in that kept Benedict in his seat. Imagine such blessed "fighting" among children! Anyway, we ought always to look past great children to their parents and ask, "What can we do to know something of their success?"
Among Catholics today, it is common to speak of the happiness of large families. Many Catholic families are open to life and receive children as gifts from the Lord. However, a true philosophy of the family doesn’t consist merely in being open to reproduction. In fact, the Scriptures warn that there is nothing intrinsically good about having a great number of children. Sirach speaks these very strong words:
"Desire not a brood of worthless children, nor rejoice in wicked offspring. Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD. Count not on their length of life, have no hope in their future. For one can be better than a thousand; rather die childless than have godless children!"
Thus, any suggestion that the number of children alone is a sign of blessing and happiness fails to tell the whole truth. There is no merit raising a mob of bad children who do not know, love and serve God. Sirach says one good child would be better than these–and that childlessness would be better than raising godless children. These words challenge us to take Christian parenting a little more seriously than planning birthday parties and after school activities for our children. "A brood" is a not a badge of honor but a burden to be borne for the glory of God.
This leads us to contemplate the experience of this holy mother and father in Nursia! Not only did they avoid the evil of rearing evil children, but they enjoyed the unique experience of raising twin saints ! We read of Scholastica that she was dedicated from an early age by her parents to the Lord and we should not be surprised to see such parents understanding rightly their duty: to give their children for the Lord. We looked at the presentation of Jesus in the temple last week and saw the Blessed Virgin doing just this along with her chaste spouse, St. Joseph.
Parents today raise children too much for themselves, as though their children were given them to be servants of their parents’ happiness. What we find routinely among the lives of saintly children is their parents’ fervent devotion, which led them to offer everything they possessed–including their children–to the service of God and His Church. Let us learn from their example and consider whether saintly children is the goal of our parenting decisions and family culture.
Let us endeavor to make our homes little Nursias, where brother and sister saints are raised for the Lord’s service. May the Lord grant that our children may be known in years to come for their intimate spiritual friendships as Benedict and Scholatisca were. When we establish such heavenly nurseries we will enjoy the true blessing of large families that the Psalms speak of:
"Happy are all who fear the LORD, who walk in the ways of God. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper: Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table. Just so will they be blessed who fear the LORD."
Sts. Benedict and Scholastica, pray for us.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES
THURSDAY, FEB. 11
As we celebrate the (optional) feast of Our Lady of Lourdes this week, we’d like to recommend to you one of our family’s favorite films as an excellent way of teaching your children about the apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes (France) to the young lady we now know as St. Bernadette.
"The Song of Bernadette" is a powerful film that movingly teaches the story of St. Bernadette’s life and calling. She lived in poverty, had bad health and struggled in school, but was chosen by the Lord for her humility to be famously visited by Our Lady.
What is most significant for us to learn from this feast day and story is that the challenges our Church faces today are not to be addressed as though we were fighting political enemies with our own strength. In France at the time Bernadette lived, modernism was quickly taking hold of a every part of society. The solution to that error, though, was not better schools, more Catholic political action, etc.. It was a miraculous appearance of Our Lady that simply shut the mouths of the arrogant unbelievers. Instead of becoming a center for modern thinking and "progress", the Lord chose to make Lourdes a center for miracles and pilgrimages for us crazy people who believe in things we cannot see.
Let us remember St.Paul’s words as we face enemies similar to those that the faithful in Lourdes did:
"Although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses."
Celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes as God’s triumph over human "wisdom"–and watch the Song of Bernadette. You’ll be encouraged and your children will have a beautiful example in St. Bernadette. You can order a copy through the CLAA Bookshop, or read it–and shipping is free in the U.S.
The Song of Bernadette (DVD, $14.98)
The Song of Bernadette (Book, $18.95)
THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS
To pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you will need your own prayer book(s). In buying them, you will have two basic options: the one volume abridged version, called "Christian Prayer", or the full four volume Liturgy of the Hours set.
The ultimate difference between the two is in the Office of Readings. If you desire to pray/read the Office of Readings, you will need the 4 volume set. The Office of Readings includes a complete year’s worth of daily readings from Scripture and the Church Fathers that correspond to the Church calendar.
However, if you intend only to pray Morning and Evening Prayer or maybe add Midday and/or Night Prayer, you will only need the one volume version. This edition is so easy to use that our 6 year-old son manages it by himself during our daily prayers.
Most people end up buying Saints’ biographies and Bibles anyway, but tend to have a hard time bringing them all together into a profitable routine of personal devotional reading. Instead of that, it may be best to buy the four folume set and make the Office of Readings your primary source for daily readings on the saints and the Scriptures. You can always read more if you find the selections leave you desiring more, but we tend to "bite off more than we can chew" when it comes to starting devotions. This is why the Office of Readings is so helpful.
NEED PRAYER BOOKS?
Buy your prayer books from the CLAA Bookshop and we’ll ship them in the U.S. for FREE.
LOTH 1-Vol. Christian Prayer ($37.00)
LOTH 1-Vol. Christian Prayer, Large Print ($38.00)
LOTH 4-Vol. Imitation Leather ($149.00)
LOTH 4-Vol. Genuine Leather ($175.00)
LOTH 4-Vol. Large Print, Imitation Lthr. ($198.00)
ABOUT THE CLAA
The Classical Liberal Arts Academy provides a complete study program like that enjoyed throughout Church history by the saints and beyond Church history by the patriarchs and philosophers of the ancient world. While some originally thought such a program would be of no interest to modern families, the CLAA has seen close to 600 distance learning students enrolled in our first year!
In the Fall of 2010, the CLAA will be opening two important new courses for children and adults. Our Biblical Studies
program will provide a complete 5-year Bible study program founded upon St. Augustine’s classic manual for Biblical interpretation: De Doctrina Christiana. The course will be taught by Dr. Nathan Schmiedicke of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (PA).
We will also be opening the Schola Scriptorum (Writers’ School), which restores completely the classical training program known to history’s greatest writers and poets.
In addition to our classical liberal arts courses, we offer courses that are great for adults. Music History (Jared Haselbarth, St. Charles Seminary) walks students through the development of music from a philosophical and theological perspective and features hours and hours of enchanting listening. Our Praeceptor Training (William Michael, CLAA Director) provides adults with a complete survey of the history of liberal arts education and is recommended to anyone interested in education.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.