Please consider a Christmas donation to The Paralysis Recovery Foundation

The Paralysis Recovery Foundation is unique in that, rather than focusing on research for the future, we work to help paralyzed people in the present, to achieve the highest quality of life possible with the best tools and treatments available today.

The Paralysis Recovery Foundation was started in 2018 by Rob Heitz, a recovered quadriplegic, with the purpose and goal of assisting paralyzed persons to receive the most complete rehabilitation therapy potentially available to them, even when insurance coverage has run out.

I would like to personally ask you to consider supporting our cause by making a donation and/or helping to inform others by sharing our mission through email and social media. Our campaign will begin on December 1st, Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving, and continue through the end of the year.

You can learn more and make a tax-deductible donation on our website here: www.paralysisfoundation.org/donate.

Our goal on Giving Tuesday is to raise $2,500 and gain 250 Facebook likes. The first accumulated $1,000 will be matched by an anonymous donor, so your gift could have double the impact!

By the end of 2020, we are aiming to raise enough funds to support one of our partner clinics, NeuroHope, which has lost ~$45,000 this year due to COVID-19. We want to make sure that NeuroHope can keep their doors open and continue helping people restore their lives!

Other Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ParalysisFoundation

Instagram: www.instagram.com/paralysisrecoveryfoundation/

Twitter: twitter.com/ParalysisOrg

Something to remember

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Submitted by Bob Stanley

The Nativity of Christ: Its Historic Reality

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The fact is that after centuries of trying to cast doubt on the reality of Christ’s Incarnation into this world, we must say that all the evidence, when carefully examined, indicates that Christ lived in a definite time and place. He was who he said he was. No other explanation suffices to account for the evidence. The effort to show that Christ was unreal or something else has failed.

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The Vatican’s official English-language translation of Pope Francis’ prepared homily, to be delivered in Italian, during Christmas Eve Mass

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“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”(Is 9:1).

This prophecy of Isaiah never ceases to touch us, especially when we hear it proclaimed in the liturgy of Christmas Night. This is not simply an emotional or sentimental matter. It moves us because it states the deep reality of what we are: a people who walk, and all around us – and within us as well – there is darkness and light. In this night, as the spirit of darkness enfolds the world, there takes place anew the event which always amazes and surprises us: the people who walk see a great light. A light which makes us reflect on this mystery: the mystery of walking and seeing.

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A few extra-biblical things you probably didn’t know about St. John the Baptist

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When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.

Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.

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Editor’s note: We know from scripture that St. John the Baptist was born during Passover, in the spring. We also know that St. John was conceived and subsequently born 6 months before Jesus Christ – meaning that Jesus was most likely born in the month of September or October. (Add 6 to 3 or 4 and you get September or October – NOT December.)

But Jesus may well have been conceived in late December, so there’s still plenty of reason for joy. Plus – there have been a number of modifications (not to mention outright errors and “slippage”) to the calendar over the years, so December 25 may be correct, after all!

Merry Christmas! 

Emmanuel (God with us): Why the real presence of Jesus Christ is so important for proper worship.

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by Doug Lawrence

From all eternity, up until the physical conception and subsequent birth of Jesus Christ … in the flesh … man perceived God as a mysterious, awesomely powerful, largely unknowable being, whose divine essence was thought to consist of pure spirit.

Christmas fundamentally changed man’s perception of God as well as the reality of his divine person-hood,  since we know now that God, as part of his true nature … assumed a distinctive, eternal, human soul, along with a (now) resurrected and glorified human body. A body that is presumably … fully compatible with both heaven and earth.

So, after Jesus’ relatively short, earthly human existence was complete, it would have been quite appropriate, as well as completely truthful, to exclaim, “My God, how you’ve changed!”

The terms of God’s New Covenant substantially incorporate and memorialize that profound change in many ways, none more important than the definitive liturgical sacrifice of the New Covenant … the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … where the memorial symbolism of the traditional Hebrew Passover Feast is replaced by the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ … the true Lamb of God … who takes away the sins of the world.

Jesus did that … just as he subsequently suffered and died for us … in the flesh … and as one of us, in every way … except for sin.

Hence, from that moment forward, anyone who desires to fully worship Jesus Christ … in spirit and truth … i.e. “body and spirit” … can no longer be fully satisfied with his spiritual presence alone, despite the way some choose to interpret the following passage:

Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven. For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

It’s very nice to know that God is listening to our prayers, and that he is there for us, whenever we gather in his name, but the difference (to we human faithful) between God being present in a purely spiritual sense and being  truly physically present for us … body, blood, soul and divinity … as in the Holy Eucharist … is a difference of such magnitude that it is impossible to put into words.

If it wasn’t for the incarnation, where God took on flesh and became one of us, in order to save us from our sins and reconcile heaven and earth, we would all still be hopelessly enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

Catholics incorporate all of this and more into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the essential liturgy given to us by Christ himself, at the Last Supper, where we give correct praise and proper worship to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit … with, in and through Jesus, who is the perfect mediator and who remains the only acceptable sacrifice for sin … becoming truly present for us on the altar, at every Mass.

Presented with a sacrifice such as this, we can be assured that God will always find it pleasing and acceptable, and that he will graciously respond, even in the face of our many iniquities and human failings, since at least one of us humans present there (Jesus) has already attained divine perfection.

Without Jesus Christ, truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity … God with us … at the very center of our divine worship … we miserable sinners have very little to offer up to God. But at Mass … with Christ, in Christ, and through Christ … in the unity of the Holy Spirit … we have the ability to invariably please God, become the recipients of all his graces … and successfully maintain in our hearts the blessed hope of spending an eternity with him, in heaven.

Attempting to worship God any other way begs the question: Why would God have gone to all the trouble of becoming man, instituting the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, becoming a living sacrifice for the sins of the world, rising again from the dead and personally founding his one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, if not to have things done the way he set them up?

Why indeed!

More here

And here

Christmas is the day God permanently and eternally perfected mankind, in and through his son, Jesus Christ.

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

520     In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man”, who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.

521     Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. “By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.” We are called only to become one with him, for he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us in his flesh as our model:

We must continue to accomplish in ourselves the stages of Jesus’ life and his mysteries and often to beg him to perfect and realize them in us and in his whole Church… For it is the plan of the Son of God to make us and the whole Church partake in his mysteries and to extend them to and continue them in us and in his whole Church. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us.

The sign of swaddling clothes: A live baby wrapped up – as if for burial …

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The mystery of the newborn Christ as wrapped in swaddling clothes, that is, a live baby as wrapped up as if for burial, pre-foretells the resurrection when Christ would set aside His swaddling clothes, His burial shroud, when He awoke from the sleep of death in His glorified body.

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Seen on the web:

The Middle Eastern culture developed a way to deal with in-journey deaths. Each person would take a long, thin, gauze-like cloth and wrap it around their waist many times. This would be one of the bottom layers of clothing. This cloth would be reserved for death. If someone died during the journey, their friends or family would remove the “swaddling cloth” and wrap them from head to toe so they could compete the journey.

The baby Jesus was wrapped in Joseph’s death cloth. The sign for the shepherds wasn’t that they’d find a baby wrapped in a blanket in a manger. The sign was that they’d find a baby prepared for death. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. That was his purpose. This was shown even from the instance of his birth.

What a God.

Lana said…

So the baby Jesus was wrapped in the death clothes of a man named Joseph, and thirty three years later was buried in the tomb of a man named Joseph?

You’re right. What a God.

“God sent forth his Son”

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

486     The Father’s only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is “Christ”, that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”

II. … BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY

487     What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

Mary’s predestination

488     “God sent forth his Son”, but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary”:

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.

489     Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established.”

A King Size Bed

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Submitted by Bob Stanley

Why the old prohibition against “graven images” does not apply to authentic Catholic statuary and religious art

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

476     Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ’s body was finite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate.

477     At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.” The individual characteristics of Christ’s body express the divine person of God’s Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted”.

Editor’s note: When the Eternal Word took on flesh and became the corporal image of a heavenly thing, the old prohibition against graven images became moot, since nobody with even a bit of sense would ever choose to worship a lump of stone or wood or clay … once they had actually seen the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, made man for us … or his authentic, church approved, holy image.

Saint John says as much, here:

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

For people of grace, there is simply no mistaking it … and there also remains very little “room” for foolish and sinful idolatry.

On of the great joys of the Feast of Christmas … at least for faithful and properly educated Christians … is finally being able to identify (and personally address) the previously unknowable, ineffable God … who is Christ, the Lord.

To know him is to love him. And that is the primary thing!

Michael J. Matt writes about “Reclaiming the Catholic Feast of Christmas”. Hint: It’s all about the Christ Child!

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Over the years many Catholic families have adopted the old Christ Child tradition, believing it to be a beautiful means of restoring the true meaning of Christmas while strengthening Catholic identity in children. And it can be gradually implemented, of course.

Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), for example, can still be invited to visit the Catholic home on Christmas morning but in a dramatically reduced capacity, perhaps leaving a few stocking stuffers above the mantle and moving on.

As it was in Catholic homes throughout Christendom, Christmas must become all about the Christ Child once again. And a truly merry Christmas remains forever predicated on careful observance of Advent. No Christmas trees, no lights, no good things to eat until December 25, when the time of waiting comes to an end and all of Christendom rejoices at an event so magnificent even a two-year-old gets it. Christ is to be born—and the world, the flesh and the Devil will never change that reality, no matter how hard they try. 

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Everything you’ve heard about the supposed Pagan origin of Christmas is false.

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It is much hyperventilation over nothing really. Not only is it false, but it is based on such poor scholarship that it ought to be embarrassing to anyone who embraces it.  Sadly, it would seem the whole modern world has embraced this error, a serious error, which ought to give use some pause.

It’s time to learn some real history….

USCCB Advent Calendar and Other Resources

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Visit the site

Victims describe horror of Christmas Nigerian Catholic church attack

The bomb exploded as Esther Ibu walked out of the church, her five-month-old son in her arms, the power of the blast throwing her and the boy to the ground and leaving death all around her.

“Before I knew it, I started seeing dead bodies, people burning into ashes,” the woman in her 30s said, sobbing as she sat in a wheelchair at a hospital in the capital holding her son and waiting to be x-rayed, her right leg bandaged.

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The whole point of Christmas: Jesus Christ came to free the faithful from the “curse” of the Law.


Glory to God in the highest:
and on earth peace to men of good will.

(Luke 2:14)

by Doug Lawrence

Days after the annual Christmas celebration, people continue to ask, “What’s the point?”

Aside from the modern emphasis on mass consumerism, the main point of Christmas is fairly simple, if you happen to like mysteries:

Jesus Christ, who is God, took on flesh and became man in order to save us from our sins, which under the old Mosaic Law, or the more recent Muslim variation known as Sharia, still carry with them the penalty of death and hell.

Since no naturally born human being is without sin, all are uniformly and irrevocably cursed to the same, decrepit fate. In fact, things are actually much worse than anyone could possibly imagine.

Satan was the supernatural entity in charge of enforcing the death penalty … ruling ruthlessly over an evil earthly dominion that we brought down on ourselves, through Adam’s fall from grace.

The incarnate Jesus, the divine Son of God, who is also the Son of Adam (man) was infinitely good, just and holy … and he was also more than powerful enough to destroy Satan’s evil dominion … making possible the reconciliation of sinful mankind, with God.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary satisfactorily atoned for Adam’s (mankind’s) sins. Christ’s glorious resurrection three days hence, furnished absolute proof of Christ’s (and through him, man’s) victory over the powers of death and hell.

According to the grace and power of Jesus Christ … King of Kings … Lord of Lords … the new and perfect head of all mankind … eternal salvation would now be freely offered to every generation … through the Catholic Church that Jesus personally founded.     

Thanks to Christ and his Church, baptized Christians are no longer under the curse of the law … no longer under Satan’s evil dominion … but are instead, living temples of the Holy Spirit, adopted children of God and citizens of heaven … subject only to the gracious and merciful judgment of Jesus Christ.

But what of the Ten Commandments? Aren’t Christians still “bound” by these?

Under the terms of the Old Covenant, there was no remedy for the “curse of the law”. Any sin, no matter how minor, would suffice to permanently and irrevocably condemn. But when we fail today, Christians have Jesus and the grace-giving sacraments of the New Covenant (Catholic) Church on which to rely … so condemnation under the law (breaking a commandment) no longer need be permanent or irrevocable. Hence, Jesus Christ is now the final recourse for every Christian. Not any law.

Does that mean Christians (and particularly Catholics) get some sort of a free pass?

No. If anything, we’ll be judged to an even higher standard than our Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan friends.
(See Luke 12:47-48)

When Jesus came, he did all that was necessary to free mankind from eternal slavery to Satan, sin and death. The last thing he did, just before he ascended to Heaven, was to appoint and empower the leadership of his universal (Catholic) Church, which from the Day of Pentecost forward, according to the power of the Holy Spirit, would continue to be the universal sacrament of salvation for the world, until Jesus comes again, at the end of time.

It is through the sacraments and good offices of the Catholic Church, paid for by Christ’s own blood, that we might be permitted to freely receive absolute forgiveness for even the most heinous violations of God’s law, and hope to experience a total restoration of the sanctifying grace that was lost through our illicit and sinful acts.

The Catholic Church, and particularly the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood, acts in Christ’s stead until he comes again … exercising God’s awesome authority, according to his inestimable love and abiding favor (grace) … for the benefit of the “People of God” (members of the Church).

Non-Catholic Christians (and others) should note that for all of this, there is no known substitute.

The only sure way for anyone to hope to escape the curse of the law and render his/her soul pleasing and acceptable to God, is through full, faithful, and constant participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church, of which Jesus Christ remains the “head”.

In short … if Jesus didn’t come, we would all still be hopelessly caught up in our sins and destined for an eternity in hell. Now, thanks to Jesus, it’s possible for anyone to receive forgiveness of sins and hope to spend eternity in heaven with God, simply by becoming a faithful and active member of his one, holy, apostolic and universal church … the Catholic Church.

That, my friends, is the whole point of Christmas … and it also pretty much explains “the meaning of life” as well.

“Deep” background

December 21st … one of my favorite days of the year.

Dec. 21st. One of my favorite days of the year. I drive to work around 7 AM and it’s usually around sunrise. In October and November I can actually see the days getting shorter as my drive gets darker and darker. Well it gets no darker as of today. Now the days start getting longer again. Pretty soon the sun will be up when I get into the car.

I always pointed this fact out to my children as they were growing up hoping they would enjoy this day too.

The ancients also noticed this. They had no TV, or movies or X boxes. When the sun set, they had that big screen TV called the sky and they became good at studying planetary motion, the stars, astrology, etc. They knew that at the end of December, the days light lasted longer. They even made our Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday December 25th. They knew that the light of the world and the lengthening daylight had something in common. No one really knows the exact date of our lord’s birth.

It’s also one of the main reasons we put up lights and light candles in our Churches. These are all symbolic, and are constant reminders of the true light of the world – Jesus the Christ.

Also, December 25th is the day the pagan Romans celebrated the feast day of Sol Invictus (The sun god). We made it the feast day for the birth of the Son OF God.

So happy first day of winter and enjoy December 25th when the true Light of the world became man and enjoy the lengthening (where we also get the word Lent) of days.

AndyP/Doria2

What happens when you put a “live” nativity scene in the middle of the Occupy D.C. camp?

See for yourself

Just in time for Christmas: 11 Things You Might Like to Know About Reindeer

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“Polls year after year show 70% of the people prefer being wished ‘Merry Christmas’ than ‘Happy Holidays.’”

This year the evergreen’s role is at stake. Rhode Island’s Gov. Lincoln Chafee has decided the Christmas tree in the State House cannot be called a “Christmas tree” but must be called a “holiday tree.” According to press releases, John Leyden, who owns Big John Leyden Christmas Trees and yearly donates the tree for the State House, said he may take it back because it’s not a holiday tree.

Liberty Counsel said the governor is even ignoring a resolution passed recently by the state Legislature that states trees during this season should be called “Christmas trees.”

Said Staver: “Anyone knows the green, pointed, prickly thing we decorate in December is called a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree celebrates only one holiday. It’s called Christmas. Everyone knows a Christmas tree is used to celebrate Christmas, not Hanukkah, not New Year’s.”

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