Aside from observing that it would be nice if everybody would decide to be nice, that's all I've got to say about the 43rd WDoP.
Today is also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Which doesn't mean that Catholics worship Mary and think God is less than Mary because He's her child. But, if that's what you really feel, deeply and sincerely: that's what you feel.
I am, though, going to write a little about Jesus. And, while I'm at it, Mary.
Before I do, though, a link to something from the Holy See (if you're an American, odds are you call it "the Vatican."):
- "Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI"
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and 42nd World Day of Peace, St Peter's Basilica (January 1, 2009)
Catholics! We've Even Got Rules About the RulesI'm Catholic, so for me and my house today was a day when we went to Mass and refrained from servile work. Or, rather, my oldest daughter and I went to Mass. The rest were too sick: and yes, we're also obligated to maintain our health, and not infect others; so sometimes we're obligated to skip an obligation. I don't say that being Catholic is easy: just that it's a really good idea.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a page that might answer some questions about holy days of obligation in America:
Catholicism isn't a 'roll your own' religion, where people pick and choose what they feel like believing and what they don't: but there's a fair degree of leeway for local customs and culture. Some of my ancestors, for example, liked to drag trees inside around this time of year - but that's another topic.
Short answer? God. And he made it stick. Which is another topic.
One thing about my lord: He is not a person to politely refrain from making definite statements. Like the time he was in the temple area in Jerusalem:
"Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.' "
A bit earlier, in that burning bush incident, there was this:
"God replied, 'I am who am.' Then he added, 'This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.' "
And yes, I know: that's in English. The words of Jesus were recorded in another language. So was the whole Moses-God dialog. There are some interesting footnotes discussing that sort of thing, like footnote 24 for John 8 and footnote 6 for Exodus 3.
When Jesus said (as translated into English) "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM" - I'm inclined to think that what he really meant to say was "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM."
Looks to me as if Jesus was trying to say that he was around before Abraham, and that he and God were - well, comparable.
I don't think it's all that much of a stretch, from this and other points, to think that Jesus is God.
And, Mary is the mother of Jesus. So, "Mary, Mother of God" is - given the earlier assumptions - a fairly reasonable title.
465, for starters) (There's a pretty good article on Arianism on the EWTN.com website)
I don't understand how God the infinite, eternal, all-present, could become one of us - or how one of us could be "...eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father...." But I'm okay with the idea that God is smarter than I am, and knows more, too.
That's Jesus: the God-man. "One in being with the Father" as the Nicene Creed puts it.
I've told my kids that one way to look at it is that "he's human, on his mother's side." But yeah: Jesus is God, one person in the Trinity - and no, Christians aren't polytheists, which is yet another topic.
Yeah, we Catholics make a pretty big fuss over her. It's "veneration," not "worship:" and I was impressed with Mary long before I started learning what the Catholic Church was really about. It took guts, accepting the assignment Gabriel delivered. (Luke 1:26-38)
I don't see a problem with paying attention to Mary, because her message to us is what she told the servants at that wedding: " 'Do whatever he tells you.' " (John 2:5)
- "The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph"
(December 27, 2009)
- "Yesterday was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe"
(December 13, 2009)
- "Feeling Forgiven: My Faith and Emotional Perks"
(November 24, 2009)
- "Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas"
(August 11, 2009)
- "Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church: Yeah, She's Pretty Important"
(August 11, 2009)