#MoralStory: The Meaning Of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh to Jesus

Matthew 2 tells us that the magi, or wise men, travelled from the East in search of the Christ child. They inquired of King Herod where they might find Him, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). Upon finding the baby Jesus, “they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

Gold is a precious metal and as such was a very valuable commodity. Its value could very well have financed Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt. The Bible does not tell us any other significance to these three gifts; however, tradition has it that there is a deeper meaning for each of the three. Gold is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible. Pagan idols were often made from gold and the Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10-17). The gift of gold to the Christ child was symbolic of His divinity—God in flesh. Read more…

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Journey of the Magi

*

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

*

T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991).

* Read more…

#ShortNews: Grand imam condemns attacks on Coptic Christians

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar condemned recent terrorist attacks on Coptic Christians “in the strongest terms” and called upon Egypt’s Muslims to celebrate Christmas to show their solidarity with Christians.

“All Egyptian people are urged to stand firm against this evil conspiracy” and to join “their Coptic brethren in celebrating the anniversary of Christ’s birth,” said Ahmed el-Tayeb, whom some Muslims regard as the highest Sunni Muslim authority.

Read More: https://gulfnews.com/opinion/editorials/egyptians-are-united-against-terror-attacks-1.2150172

#ShortNews: VIetnam: conviction of Catholic activist confirmed

Maria Trần Thị Nga is the mother of two children of three and five years and is famous for her defence of the rights of Vietnamese migrant workers and victims of land dispossession by the government, a recurrent measure in the country. Through the social networks, the activist has repeatedly denounced liberticide policies and corruption among the leaders of the Communist Party. In May 2014 she was seriously injured by a group of thugs armed with metal tubes, leaving her with a broken leg.

Arrested January 25, 2017, Nga is found guilty of “propaganda against the state”. The sentence and trial have aroused harsh criticism. The prayers of the Vietnamese Catholics and the appeal of Human Rights Watch for her release are unheard by the government.

Read More: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Conviction-for-Catholic-activist-Maria-Tr%E1%BA%A7n-Th%E1%BB%8B-Nga-confirmed-on-appeal-42689.html

#ShortNews: Pope’s January prayer intention: religious freedom in Asia

In the vastly diversified cultural world of Asia, the Church faces many risks and her task is made more difficult by the fact of her being a minority.

These risks, these challenges are shared with other minority religious traditions, with whom we share a desire for wisdom, truth and holiness.

When we think of those who are persecuted for their religion, we go beyond differences of rite or confession : We place ourselves on the side of the men and women who fight to avoid renouncing their religious identity.

Let us pray for all of them, so that Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

Read More: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/pope–let-us-pray-for-religious-liberty-in-asia.html

The Holiness Of Remorse

O God, you will not scorn….
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me (Psalm 51).

On the scripture  (Jonah 3:1-10) that the people of Nineveh took an honest look at their sinfulness and repented. But did they repent merely to avoid God’s punishment? Or did they actually feel remorse?

When we seek forgiveness only because we feel guilty, we’re repenting for selfish reasons. We’re protecting ourselves from the punishment of God and the disapproval of others. The central focus of our repentance is ourselves.

On the other hand, when we feel remorse, it’s because we care about our relationship with God and we care about those who’ve been affected by our sin. We’re alarmed by the damage we’ve caused. What matters most to us is that others are hurting. We feel deep regret that someone is suffering because of what we’ve done. Read more…

Blessed Imelda Lambertini

Imelda Lambertini was born in 1322 in Bologna, the only child of Count Egano Lambertini and Castora Galuzzi. Her parents were devout Catholics and were known for their charity and generosity to the underprivileged of Bologna. On her fifth birthday, she requested to receive Holy Eucharist; however the custom at the time was that children did not receive their First Holy Communion until age 14. Imelda would sometimes exclaim: “Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?”

At the age of nine, though her wish for receiving Holy Communion had not been granted, Imelda was allowed to enter the Dominican convent as a young postulant in Valdipietra, near Bologna, which was unusual to do for a girl at her age.

One night on May 12, 1333, the day of the vigil of the Ascension, the now eleven-year-old Imelda stayed late in the chapel to pray after Mass. She had begged to be allowed to make her First Holy Communion on this feast, but was again denied. Each denied request increased her love and desire for the Real Presence of Jesus in her soul. Read more…