My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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St. Nicholas Feast Day

st. nicholas mosaic
Father Lew, via Flicr, licensed cc

St. Nicholas was a real person, and in fact a real bishop! 

The true story of Santa Claus begins with a man named Nicholas, who was born in 280 AD in the Village of Patara, on the coast in southern Turkey.  His parents, Theophanes and Nona had longed for a child for many years. Though their infertility was a great sorrow, the couple remained generous with their time and treasure and remained open hearted.  When they were finally blessed wtih their only child, they named him Nicholas and put him under the tutelage of his Uncle Nicholas for his spiritual education.

Sadly, Nicholas' parents died young when he was very young, making him a very wealthy young man. He used his inheritance to help the poor and the sick. After dedicating his life to God, he was made the Bishop of Myra as a young man. A popular bishop with the people, Nicholas was known for his generosity to the needy, his love for children and concern for sailors.

The young bishop would pay a price for his Christian devotion. The Emporor Diocletian (Yes, the very same Diocletian responsible for the martyrdom of St. Sebastian!) imprisoned him for five years, sometimes in solitary confinement.

After his release, Nicholas travelled to attend the Council of Nicea, in 325. He died 18 years later on December 6, 343 AD in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church.

You can read his story here.

It's clear that Nicholas was a courageous and loving bishop. I can't imagine that he would have remained silent while a woman in his diocese was publicly starved to death, or that he would have sat by while civil leaders verbally condone the killing of innocents while receiving our Lord in the Eucharist with the same mouths. In fact, we know how Nicholas dealt with heretics!  I think there is much to learn today from the strength and bravery of a saint such as Nicholas.

St. Nicholas's feast day always falls during the Advent Season, which makes him an Advent Saint. But St. Nicholas is also a good example of what we are trying to focus on during the Advent season - becoming faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Nicholas's life clearly reflected the way each one of us is called to show God's love and generosity to others, especially those in need. Stories of his goodness and kind deeds are told to illustrate this point for us.

Some ideas for celebration!

St. Nicholas Pancake breakfast!
Santa Pancakes in honor of St. Nicholas Day

or cupcakes for dinner!

december 2010 001

Have the children (and the children wanna-be's) put their shoes out on the eve of the feast, and then surprise them by filling the shoes with treats and candy!

One year we did NOT fill shoes with candy on the eve of the feast. Mr. Pete worked very late and and was working all the next day  although the kids put their shoes out, they are not getting filled until the night of the feast. I write this as a way of saying it's okay to live the liturgical life, but with family and work responsibilities, it's also okay to be flexible in our celebrations from day to day and from year to year!

My collection of St. Nicholas statues - (obtained over many, many years of craft sales, yard sales, and eBay finds!) come out on this day!
Ready for the feast of St. Nicholas

A few years ago we made a  St. Nicholas Spoon Saint!

He turned out like this:

Our assorted St. Nicholas statues come out today. .

Some resources for St. Nicholas Day:

Here is a not-so-well-known story about the saint:

St. Nicholas Resurrecting Three Children (oil on canvas)

Three little children sought the plain
Gleaners of the golden grain.
They lingered past the angel-song,
And dewy shadows swept along.
'Mid the silence of the wood
The butcher's lonely cottage stood,
"Butcher! lodge us for the night,
Lodge us till the morning light."
"Enter in, ye children small,
I can find a place for all."
The butcher seized a knife straitway,
And did the little creatures slay.
He put them in a tub of brine,
In pieces small as they were swine.
St. Nicholas, at seven years end,
His way did to the forest wend.
He sought the butcher's cottage drear:
"Butcher! I would rest me here!"
"Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
You are welcome, St. Nicholas!
Enter! enter, St. Nicholas!
There's place for you the night to pass."
Scarce had the Saint his entrance made,
He would the supper board was laid.
"Will you have of ham a slice?"
"I will not, for it is not nice!"
"Of this veal you'll take a bit?"
"No! I do not relish it."
"Give me of the little swine,
For seven long years have laid in brine!"
The butcher caught the words he said,
And forthwith from the portal fled.
"Butcher! butcher! do not flee,
Repent and God will pardon thee!"
St. Nicholas the tub drew near,
And lo! he placed three fingers there.
The first one said, "I sweetly rest!"
The second said, "I too am blest!"
The third replied, "Tis well with me,
In Paradise I seem to be!"

St. Nicholas throw

Be sure to visit the St. Nicholas Center today.
Also the Bounty of St. Nicholas Fair
My links for St. Nicholas on Diigo
and also my mega Advent links page!
See my other St. Nicholas links here!

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