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Advent Playlist

For a long time I had been looking for music to listen to during Advent, but with so much emphasis on Christmas, a lot of times it feels as if Advent gets overlooked. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with listening to the different Mass settings for Christmas because it gets you pumped for what your choir will be singing at Midnight Mass (and you’re currently awake enough to appreciate it), but sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and listen to music that talks about how we’re waiting for Christ to be born/return for the Second Coming.

Finally, I have found such a playlist! Enjoy!

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A Talking Dog Learns about Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of my favorite apparitions of the Blessed Mother. Ever since I was little, I loved hearing the story of how she appeared to St. Juan Diego…and one of the sources I heard it from was the last place I expected.

Back in the 1990s, there was a TV show called Wishbone, which was about a Jack Russell Terrier that loved classic literature (Wishbone was my first exposure to Phantom of the Opera, but that’s a story for another day). One of the episodes actually covered Our Lady of Guadalupe and told the story of her apparition. For a long time I couldn’t remember if this had actually been an episode or if I had imagined the whole thing, but lo and behold, YouTube proved I wasn’t crazy.

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Vespers Antiphon for the Feast of St. Nicholas

I posted this last year for the Feast of St. Nicholas, but I thought it was cool and decided to share it again. I really loved seeing all the different countries’ depictions of him.

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Advent Begins All Over Again…

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
Who mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears!

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel!

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All Saints’ Day

Yep, it’s one of my favorite feast days again.

Fun fact–All Saints’ Day wasn’t always celebrated in November. It was originally celebrated on May 13 to commemorate the day Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon as a basilica in honor of the Blessed Mother and all of the martyrs, but Pope Martin III transferred it to November 1 after consecrating a chapel in honor of St. Peter and all of the saints on that day. It’s been celebrated on November 1 ever since–in the Roman Church, anyway; many of the Eastern Catholic Churches still observe the original May 13 feast.

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Christ the King 2017

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

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A Story of St. Michael the Archangel

Today is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, so I thought it would be appropriate to share this video. It’s the original radio broadcast of a letter written by a Marine to his mother while he was stationed in Korea in 1950. This young Marine had a strong devotion to St. Michael the Archangel (after whom he was named), and that devotion ended up saving his life. You can also read the text of the letter here as well as below.

Dear Mom,

I wouldn’t dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard, but I have to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don’t worry, you hear me, don’t worry. I was wounded but I’m okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn’t have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I have always prayed to St. Michael. When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? “Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh corps of Heaven adorning…” You know the rest of it. Well, I said it every day, sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting, but always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold; my breath was like cigar smoke. I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I’d ever seen. He must have been over 6 feet 4 inches and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near me.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, “Cold ain’t it.” And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather!

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly.

I looked at him, “I’ve never seen you before. I thought I knew every man in the outfit.”

“I just joined at the last minute,” he replied, “the name is Michael.”

“Is that so,” I said surprised, “that’s my name too.”

“I know,” he said, and then went on saying the prayer, “Michael, Michael of the morning…”

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn’t I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time, and then he broke the silence.

“We’re going to have some trouble up ahead.” He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn’t see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself; well with the commies all around us, that’s no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in thick great globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out, and I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

“Michael!” I shouted in sudden alarm. I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, “This will stop shortly.”

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol. There was no one in sight. We lost them in the heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them, seven commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

“Down Michael!” I screamed, and hit the frozen earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.

Mom, those guys couldn’t have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits, but there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least that’s what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit. Now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I thought I was dying. Maybe I was even dead. I remember thinking, “Well, this is not so bad.”

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock, but it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that’s the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me; I don’t know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment’s rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

“Where’s Michael?” I asked. I saw them look at one another. “Where’s who?” asked one.

“Michael, that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us.”

“Kid,” said the sergeant, “you weren’t walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in, when you disappeared in the snow.”

He looked at me, curiously. “How did you do it, kid?”

“How did I do what?” I asked half angry, despite my wound. “This Marine named Michael and I were just…” “Son,” said the sergeant kindly, “I picked this outfit myself and there just ain’t another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it.”

He paused for a minute. “Just how did you do it, kid? We heard shots, yet there hasn’t been a shot fired from your rifle, and there isn’t a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there.”

I didn’t say anything; what could I say? I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then, the sergeant spoke again. “Kid,” he said gently, “every one of those seven commies was killed by a sword stroke.”

That is all I can tell you, Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain, but that is what happened.

Love, Michael

St. Michael, pray for us!

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