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What Are The Amazing and Transformational Catholic Christian Festivals of Pentecost and Easter April 12, 2012

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Have you ever wondered about Easter and Pentecost? Most have. Well, Easter is the Catholic Christian observance of the resurrection of Jesus, and Pentecost is the birthday of the Church Catholic. Both holidays are important, but, it is a horrible idea to start at this point, because the tale begins before this. Roughly age 30, Jesus began his public ministry, instructing and preaching in the country of Galilee. His message was about giving love to God and neighbors. His message was way out, and he claimed not only was he the Christ, but he was also God’s Only Begotten Son. These claims did not make him popular with the spiritual leaders and secular leaders at the time period. When the Lord entered Jerusalem, the people welcomed him like a king, but by the close of the week, he was crucified, and died on the cross, an occurrence commemorated on Good Friday. We aren’t quite to Whitsunday just yet, but be patient!

However, the tale did not end there. The Bible (specifically the 4 gospels) teaches that Jesus rose form the dead 3 days later, on Easter Sunday. The resurrection that occurred on the first Easter was bodily, that is the Lord rose from the dead in his identical body; it was not some spiritual body. Even though it was in the body, his resurrection was much more than a simple resusitation, and Jesus’ resurrected body had powers and traits that our bodies do not have. Mary Magdalene was the 1st witness to this miraculous event, and she told the apostles, that in turn told the entire known world about it. Because the resurrection obviously proved Jesus was God’s Son, and proved right his teachings, the resurrection became the capstone of Christian doctrine.

Thus, Easter is one of the earliest and most significant Christian holidays. It was called the “queen of feasts” and is observed based on the lunar calendar. It changes each year because of this. In the Church, the color is white, and shouts of “alleluia” are heard throughout the time period. The season commences on Saturday night with the venerable Easter Vigil, in which new converts are welcomed into Church and are baptized and/or Confirmed. The vigil frequently lasts for hours, and in the early Church lasted from dusk until the morning. Secular traditions include Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and the Easter bunny. Many of these traditions are related to the reality that Easter occurs in the spring, as rabbits and eggs are signs of fertility and renewal.

Jesus ascended to the Father 40 days after Easter, and the Apostles were perplexed and upset. For the next nine days they prayed with fervor, and on the fiftieth day after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Ghost came upon the apostles. The Bible said tongues of fire landed on them, and their messages were heard by everybody present in each individual’s native language. The Apostles were so filled with the Holy Ghost on this initial Pentecost that scoffers thought the disciples were inebriated. It was on this day that the Church started. All of this is outlined in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Church commemorates Pentecost 50 days after Easter. The liturgical color is red, a symbol of the flames that descended upon the Apostles. The twin themes of the Holy Spirit and the Church are celebrated, because of the original nature of the holy day. It was one of the historic periods of baptism in the Church, and is frequently called Whitsunday in many English-speaking churches.

The essayist suggests learning more about Easter and Pentecost as a way to deepen your faith.

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Good Friday and Holy Thursday – Two Very Important Christian Days October 29, 2011

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Many Christians are familiar with Christmas and Easter, but there are a lot of other notable holy days also. While I cannot consider all of them here, I want to highlight 2 feasts that fall back to back to each other: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Both are significant in the Church Catholic because they commemorate two highly notable events in the life of Jesus Christ and truths that affect our salvation. It is not a good idea to brush off these 2 hallowed and historic holidays. I am wondering here, are you pondering Good Friday Meaning?

First, let us discuss Maundy Thursday. It is a holiday that falls in the Thursday in Holy Week, which is also the Thursday prior to Easter Sunday. Also known as Holy Thursday, the Church Catholic celebrates the institution of the Eucharist on this day, as well as the establishment of the sacrament of holy orders. It was on this night, nearly two thousand years in the past, that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his followers. On that night, he identified the the Eucharistic elements with his sacred body and blood, and said “do this in memory of me.” He also cleaned his disciples’ feet at that meal, a tradition the Catholic Church still does during its modern including Holy Thursday liturgies. Jesus Christ also instituted a new commandment, for us to love one another like he has loved us. This is the “mandate” from which Maundy Thursday is named. Holy Thursday also begins the time period called the Triduum, which stops on Easter. As you are able to see, this is an notable day in the Church Catholic, because it commemorates the institution of the sacrament of Our lord’s body and blood, and the sacrament that guarantees the apostolic authority of the students of Christ!

Second, let’s remember Good Friday. It falls on the Friday before Easter, and commemorates the final happenings in the life of Our lord, his suffering, and death. It was on this Friday that our Lord gave his life for the humanity’s sins. He hung on the cross, surrounded by 2 regular criminals, bloodied, suffering, and left alone by his nearest followers.The process by which he walked to his place of death, and his final moments of suffering and death are recalled in the devotion of the stations of the cross, regularly used on Good Friday. This holiday is also a fast day in the Church. This means that Catholics are required to eat only one complete meal, as well as refrain from consuming animal flesh and meat based items on this date. This is a day of fast because we mirror the suffering of Jesus, and not eating is a way to do this. Basically, Good Friday is important because it is the date that the Lord gave up his life for our sins. His bloody death for us destroyed death and the grave, and showed us the way to suffer. This is the reason that a lot of Catholics frequently use a crucifix as a prayer tool, because we are reminded not only of what Jesus went through, but his death was where the battle for our salvation occurred. This is why Christians all over the world value the death of Jesus so much.

To wrap up, it is a good thing to celebrate Good Friday and Holy Thursday. Both commemorate important events in the salvation of humankind, and both days are essential to the worship life of the Church Catholic. So, this Holy Week, don’t forget to celebrate these two important holy days.

The essayist suggests celebrating the 2 holidays referenced previously, . One way is to attend a worship service on these holidays.

Enjoying A Joyful Christmas: Not Merely One Single Day October 28, 2011

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Many people are familiar with what is titled the “Christmas season.” It begins following Halloween when stores begin to stock up on Christmas decorations and commence to promote gifts to customers. Around Thanksgiving, most people commence their celebration of Christmas. Christmas lights and decorations go up on homes, the malls are crammed with customers, and most trees begin going up. Radio stations broadcast Christmas music, offices and people have parties, schools and churches have plays and musicals. The celebrations continue and become even more pronounced until December 25th, when the bash reaches its height. Gifts are exchanged, family meals are shared, and most individuals experience a spike in delight and empathy.

Then, the inevitable happens! The dreaded December 26th. That’s the day when adults return to work, the Christmas music finish, and the dude who was sharing universal love and peace only a few hours in the past is now ready to bite your head off since he has so much work to catch up on. All that’s left is a heap of presents that have lost their luster and a feeling wondering where all the mystery had gone.

A few years ago when researching Christmas, I found that individuals didn’t only commemorate Christmas Day; they celebrated Christmas as a period. For the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, they practiced Advent, a period of calm meditation and preparation to await the coming of Jesus. Throughout Advent, there were no decorations, no lights, and few celebrations. The emphasis was on waiting since Jesus had not yet symbolically come.

Then, when December 24th came, the lights and trees were made ready. The family would go to midnight mass, which is a worship service, and when they returned, the bash would begin because Christmas Day, the arrival of Jesus, had arrived. They would place up the tree, sing the carols, turn on the lights, and feast with the family.

Thus, Christmas Day was merely the beginning of Christmas as a period. The 12 Days of Christmas really do exist! They are the 12 days of celebration from Christmas Day (December 25th) throughout January 6th, the Christian holy day of Epiphany. The bash continues, although less so than the twelve Days, through the Sunday following Epiphany, called the Baptism of our Lord (Jesus). However, the celebrating isn’t quite finished! Tradition says that Christmas festivities can continue through February 2nd, which is the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary (or Candlemas)

What does this mean for us? It depends. Keeping Advent as a quieter, more contemplative time before Christmas can help us be less stressed out through the parties, the shopping, and the chaos. We can still enjoy the lights, the trees, the music, and the parties, but they’re linked with some Advent reflection.

Then, once Christmas Day comes, I keep the celebratory spirit alive through the Baptism of Jesus. I keep up the tree, leave the lights on, and listen to Christmas carols on CD or mp3. This system permits me to not only remain even keeled leading up to Christmas, but avoids the post-Christmas disappointment that used to arrive as clockwork on December 26th.

The author has created pages on Christmas Day and Christmas Prayer you may discover helpful.