Holy Card Image re-printed with loving permission from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration" blogspot
Hello my dear friends in Christ!
What another beautiful day we celebrate today in our Catholic faith! I keep telling people: Christmas is NOT just a day, but a SEASON and it does not end until Epiphany. But look around and see how many people take down their Christmas wreathes, decorations and Nativity scenes almost the day after Christmas! What a blessing to attend Mass and Christmas when it is still being celebrated!
Do you know that there are even denominations (not Catholic, of course) who do not even have a service on Christmas day? I find it unbelievable that there are people who claim to be Christians, and yet the only thing that they schedule on the day of our Lord's birthday celebration is breakfast/brunch and the opening of presents from each other. Isn't that sad? Well, we can certainly count on the Catholic faith to celebrate Mass, not only on Christmas, but each and every day of the year, and even more than once a day in some parishes. Praise God for this gift!
The baby Jesus that the Three Wise Men (Kings) adored is the SAME JESUS that we Catholics receive in the Eucharist . . . it is our Catholic belief that we are not receiving a simple little wafer of bread for communion, but rather that we are receiving Jesus HIMSELF into our bodies, minds, souls, and hearts. This is a KEY DIFFERENCE between Catholics and non-Catholics.
The Eucharist is not a symbol of Jesus, as it is to non-Catholics . . . the Eucharist IS JESUS, the very SOURCE and SUMMIT of the Holy Roman Catholic Faith. To receive Jesus in the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, a person MUST be Catholic, and be pure of mortal sin by confessing any of these grave sins to a Catholic priest. To receive Jesus in the Eucharist, one must not only be Catholic and free of mortal sin, but also who accepts the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Outside of that, a person is not to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO RECEIVE COMMUNION IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! Without receiving the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, we are more separated from Him than ever.
The same baby Jesus in the arms of the Blessed Mother in Bethlehem that the Three Wise Men worshipped is the VERY SAME JESUS IN THE TABERNACLE ON THE ALTAR TODAY! Let us go and reverently worship and adore Him, Jesus Christ, when He is exposed in the monstrance during Eucharistic Adoration. Let us genuflect and bow our heads when we enter the Church, before approaching the altar, and before receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. Come, let us ADORE HIM! Here is another gift of the Eucharist: Jesus, in the Eucharist, is NOT IN ANY OTHER CHURCH! There are no other altars and tabernacles! Why, because non-Catholics do not believe that Christ is present in a piece of bread that is passed around by members to each other once a month or so. In non-Catholic denominations, there is NO TRANSUBSTANTIATION by a priest who has had hands laid down upon him through apostolic succession all the way back to St. Peter!
When you stop and contemplate these fundamental, key differences for Catholics, it causes us to be in AWE, it causes us to be GRATEFUL, to be full of JOY that we alone are in the FULLNESS of Christ's Catholic Church!
In "In Conversation With God" Francis Fernandez states that Epiphany "reminds us that we should use every available means to bring our friends, relatives, and colleagues close to Jesus." Remember that the Three Wise Men returned to their own native countries to spread the Good News. How many people do you know that have left this beautiful Catholic faith due to ignorance and lack of full knowledge of the faith, and that need to be brought back to the faith that they lost? I know several in my family alone. My two adult children are not fully practicing Catholics. Partly because I did not know my faith well enough as a cradle Catholic myself . . . a product of the 60's and 70's. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's perfect grace, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my Heavenly Father and my Lord have brought me back HOME TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! Thus I continue to pray my rosary to Our Lady to intercede and present to her Son, my petitions for my childrens' full return to the practice of the Catholic faith and not simply the attendance of Mass on Christmas and Easter. These are some of my sufferings that I need to offer up also.
So my friends, let us follow the Magi in adoring our Savior and sing Him praise, "We adore you, O Jesus, and we worship you!"
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