Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amazon’s FREE Virgin Mary Book Give-Away Starts Today | Courageous Priest

Amazon’s FREE Virgin Mary Book Give-Away Starts Today | Courageous Priest

Click the above link to get a free Kindle edition of a new book on the Immaculate Conception published by the creators of the Courageous Priest blog. It is free, so you have nothing to lose! If you don't have a Kindle or the Kindle app for iPhone, you can simply download a free Kindle software to your PC or Mac, or use the online Kindle Cloud Reader. In other words, this won't cost you a penny to start enjoying this new book. Check it out!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The "O" Antiphons

Father Z describes the "O" Antiphons as, "short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55......The Magnificat is sung during Vespers, evening prayer. The O Antiphons begin on 17 December, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (24 December). The seventh and last antiphon is sung at Vespers on 23 December. They are called the "O Antiphons" because they all begin with the letter-word "O": they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles. They are fervent prayers asking Our Lord to come to us."  (

As usual, I'm always late with these sort of things (seeing as how it is already December 21 before posting this).  Perhaps you could do a retroactive meditation on these antiphons to catch up, and then finish them through December 23. 

The O Antiphons: 17 December O Sapientia
LATIN: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 18 December O Adonai
LATIN: O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.. ENGLISH: O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

The O Antiphons: 19 December O Radix Jesse
LATIN: O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare. ENGLISH: O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 20 December O Clavis David
LATIN: O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris. ENGLISH: O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and lead forth the captive who sits in the shadows from his prison.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 21 December O Oriens
LATIN: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis. ENGLISH: O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 22 December O Rex Gentium
LATIN: O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti. ENGLISH: O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 23 December O Emmanuel
LATIN: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster. ENGLISH: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

Follow the link to Father Z's blog ( if you want to listen to chants, see relevant Scripture passages, and see some reflections for each day. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


St. Ambrose the silent reader

You may have heard me mention this before, but one of the best resources for Catholic education is  This is St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology started up by Dr. Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina.  I have found it to be a great resource to take free online courses (including audio lecture courses), and download dozens of free talks on various topics.  There is also a resource library containing many great links that are very informative.  So if you don't have this website bookmarked, do it now!  Here are the places that I recommend you visit frequently:

The last link (other audio resources) is where I recently discovered a radio conversation on St. Ambrose that I found very interesting.  Mike Aquilina was the guest and was discussing the life of St. Ambrose.  I'm in the process of listening to the other audio files on the saints that are listed on that webpage, but the discussion on St. Ambrose was intriguing.  I highly recommend listening to it, as I found a new appreciation for St. Ambrose.  Click HERE for the specific link to this St. Ambrose discussion. 

Here are some fun facts that Mike Aquilina brought up about Ambrose:
  • In his day, bishops were often chosen by the popular consensus of the people.  He was chosen to the episcopate for Milan, Italy at the age of 35 before he was even baptized!  He was only a catechumen studying Christianity at the time (it was often common for people to delay their baptism's until later in life during his day).  Therefore, he received the grand slam of sacraments (baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, and ordained as a bishop) all in succession.  He reigned from 374-397 taking the place of an Arian bishop and restoring orthodoxy to his diocese.  
  • Due to his being a recent convert when becoming bishop, he is quoted as saying, (paraphrasing) "I am teaching you what I am still learning myself!".  This did not stop him from becoming one of the greatest minds of the Church (when the Holy Spirit says you are ready, I guess you are ready....). 
  • He was a fierce opponent of Arianism (which denied that Christ was divine).
  • He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church from the Latin West (along with St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great). 
  • When the printing press was invented around 1440, the writings of St. Ambrose were one of the most printed works (despite the fact that he had been dead for over a millenium).  In fact, you can still find some of his writings HERE (he is the third person down the list).  In the discussion that Mike Aquilina has on the radio show, he stated that of all the early fathers of the Church, Ambrose was one of the easiest to read as he was known for keeping things very simple and straightforward.     
  • He was considered to be one of the great hymn writers of his day.  In keeping with his reputation of keeping things simple, his hymns were noted for being simple so that lay people could sing along.  He was one of the forerunners of using great hymns during Mass, and laid the foundation for other future hymn writers for the Church.  
  • The Ambrosian Rite which he developed still survives to this day as a Western liturgical rite.  Most people know of the various Eastern liturgies (Byzantine, Maronite, etc.), but few people realize that there is actually another Western Rite besides the Roman Rite, and it is the Ambrosian Rite.  It risked being suppressed after the Second Vatican Council, but its survival may possibly be attributed to the sympathies of then Pope Paul VI who was the former bishop of Milan and had belonged to the Ambrosian Rite.  You can read all about it HERE.  Interestingly, this Rite incorporates Ambrosian Chant which is distinct from Gregorian Chant, which is used in the Roman Rite (or was formally used in most places unfortunately.....).
  • St. Ambrose was a spiritual director for St. Monica (the mother of St. Augustine).  He is quoted as telling St. Monica, (paraphrasing) "maybe you should spend less time talking to Augustine about God, and spend more time talking to God about Augustine".  This led to St. Monica's long journey of prayer for several years, and the grace of God would eventually win Augustine over, and he would become one of the most influential figures (not just religious figures, but overall figures) that shaped the development of Western culture.  St. Augustine writes glowingly of St. Ambrose and mentions that Ambrose was one of the main figures that influenced him in his conversion.  One could argue that without Ambrose, there would be no Augustine.  St. Augustine is the most quoted person in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; quoted even more than St. Thomas Aquinas. 
  • In the discussion that Mike Aquilina had on the radio show, he told a story that St. Augustine was once visiting St. Ambrose and was astonished to see Ambrose just looking at a book.  During their time, reading out loud was the norm.  St. Ambrose was considered the father of silent reading.  Up until then, I guess nobody ever thought about reading silently to yourself.  Augustine says of Ambrose in Book 6, chapter 3 of his Confessions:
    • When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.

I find it amazing that Augustine (and others of his day) found the concept of silent reading to be such a novel thing.  I guess I learn something new every day.  You can read more about this HERE

If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful saint, check out these sites: