Sunday, December 27, 2009

Because of the Good News X

Posted by Webster 
In October, I called a temporary halt to these weekly good-news summaries. But with visions of Mary over Egypt making news during the final days of Advent and with two air disasters averted on the day we celebrate Our Lord’s birth among us, this week all but screams: Good News! Even an attack on Pope Benedict was foiled.

There is a great line buried in Mark Shea’s reflection on the Mary-over-Egypt phenomenon, and it could apply to the whole week, indeed to the entire Christian Fact: We can scoff about such “visions,” Shea writes, and many do, but “The thing is, sometimes God shows up.” Isn’t that Christmas in a nutshell?

The Christian Fact became a bit more vivid this week with news that archaeologists had discovered the remains of a Nazareth village from two thousand years ago.

As I wrote at the beginning of the week, the Visitation is my favorite Mystery of the Rosary, so I was touched by The Anchoress’s meditation on the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. Especially with its quote from one of the novels I enjoyed this year, Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede. (The image here is cribbed from Elizabeth’s post.)

Beautifully, miraculously, the Visitation celebrates two women as the parents of Our Lord and his herald, John—after that endless line of men listed by Matthew.

I spent my Christmas in Vermont with the four most important people in my life, all women (Katie, Martha, Marian, and Mom). My only regret was missing the Christmas Vigil Mass at St. Mary’s and not singing with my friends in the choir, backed by bells, timpani, and Fred’s magisterial organ. So I read other accounts of Midnight Mass wistfully, but especially this one from Suzanne Temple at “Blessed Among Men.”

Of course, Midnight Mass can be a disaster too!

Since working my way through his Catholic Christianity in RCIA two years ago, I frequently have looked to Peter Kreeft for understanding, and I got it again this week with this meditation on the real meaning of Christmas.

The Pope’s meditation on the meaning of the Christmas tree also caught my eye.

And Sr. Anne at “NunBlog” reminded us that even the fat man in the red suit has profound meaning for Catholics who celebrate him as a saint.

What I love about Pat McNamara’s blog of Catholic history is how it reminds us of the countless Catholics who have contributed to our nation’s history and culture. In a week that’s alternately about the Baby Jesus and football, I enjoyed reading about Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s training at a Jesuit high school. (The pic is from Joe Pa’s senior yearbook, courtesy of Pat.)

We’re still not sure that Shakespeare was a Catholic—which would be the ultimate vindication of Catholics in Anglo culture—but the evidence continues to mount.

Finally, some acknowledgments:

To Frank, who jumped into this YIMC adventure with both feet and who has always loved “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” I send along this clip courtesy of “The Deacon’s Bench.”

To Izy of Izyperspective, thanks for this lovely acknowledgment. Anyone who features GK Chesterton and MF (“Flannery”) O'Connor in her blog’s sidebar is worth following.

And to Kevin at New Advent, who has supported this blog since Labor Day and without whose daily, nay hourly, summaries of Catholic news this paltry weekly summary would be impossible—may the Christmas Season bring you joy!