First of two parts
KING Henry VIII broke off ties with the Vatican. The reason: the pope refused to grant him permission to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn.
Henry VIII set up the Church of England and outlawed Catholicism. Thus, from 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics were not allowed to practice their faith.
Some who openly defied the ban were martyred. Some wily Jesuits, according to Megan Mckenna in Advent, Christmas and Epiphany wrote the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
A coded Catechism lesson, it was sung out loud as an outline of basic beliefs of the faith on Christmas Day until January 6, the Feast of Three Kings, which was then the end of the Christmas season.
Evidence points to the North of England, specifically Newcastle upon Tyre, as the origin of the carol.
A cumulative song, each verse is built on the previous verses:
On the first day of Christmas
My true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree
Second day–Two turtledoves
Third day–Three French hens
Fourth day–Four colly birds
Fifth day–Five gold rings
Sixth day–Six geese a-laying
Seventh day–Seven swans a swimming
Eighth day–Eight maids a-milking
Ninth day–Nine drummers drumming
10th day–Ten pipers piping
11th day–Eleven ladies dancing
12th day–Twelve lords a-leaping
Christ is the partridge in a pear tree
The invisible, incomprehensible God, unveiled His face on the first Christmas Day. And He looks like us.
This is the mystery, the wonder, the message, the joy and the reason we celebrate Christmas.
What humility for the Son of God, the Father, to come as a helpless Baby to a world He made, who “in Him we live and move and have our being,” as said in Acts 17:28, to “shine on those who are in darkness and death’s shadow,” and then “guide men into the path of peace,” according to Luke 1:79.
Old and New Testaments
The bible is the only “infallible source of theological truth.” Every true doctrine of the church can be found in the bible. It is divided into the Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew between 900 BC and 160 BC, and is composed of 46 books. It records Yahweh’s dealing with the chosen people—the Israelites and their response to Him.
The New Testament consists of 27 books written in Greek between 50 AD and 140 AD. The gospels written by Luke, John, Mark and Matthew, plus the Acts of the Apostles, Epistles and Book of Revelation are part of the New Testament.
The New Testament revolves around Jesus Christ, his person, life, death and resurrection to emphasize his relationship as Lord and Savior of man.
As Saint Augustine says, the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old is unveiled in the New, thus a unity in the two testaments.
The three theological virtues are faith, hope and charity, virtues which relate directly to the divine nature of God. As the foundation of Christian moral activity, they are infused to the soul by God.
Faith is belief in God and all that He has revealed to men and Holy church for Christians’ beliefs.
Hope is confidence to expect eternal life, the fullness of glory with God and the graces to merit it.
Charity is the greatest of all virtues. It is love for God above all things and of others for love of God. It is the virtue that “binds everything together in perfect harmony,” says in Colossians 3:14.
The virtues dispose Christians to live in relationship with the holy Trinity. They have God for their origin, motive, object—God known by faith, God hoped in and loved for his own sake, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1840.
Evangelists of the New Testament
The four evangelist of the New Testament wrote differently. Matthew’s style is that of a teacher; Mark, a preacher; John, a theologian, and Luke, a historian.
They wrote on the different aspects of Christ’s life on earth. Matthew emphasized Christ’s sermons, Mark on miracles, John on doctrines and Luke on parables.
Mark was dragged by horses until he died in Alexandria, Egypt. Luke was hanged in Greece. Matthew was slain with a sword in Ethiopia. John was put in a cauldron of boiling oil, escaped death miraculously and banished to Pathomos where he died of old age.
The first five books of the bible is collectively called Pentateuch, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
To Jews, this is the Law or Torah. The Pentateuch is the story of “Israel’s age-old relationship with God.”
Yahweh to the Jews is God who revealed himself to Moses as savior and Israel’s “unsteady response—murmurings, rebellions and infidelities,” until the Israelites reached the Promised Land and the birth of the nation Israel.
Creation of the world
God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. The story of creation is the origin of the world chronicled in Genesis.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters, according to Genesis 1:1-2.
On the first day, God separated light from darkness, called light, day; and darkness, night. Then, God created the waters, plants, sun, moon and stars, birds, land animals and man.
On the first three days God shaped creation and on the fourth to the sixth day, he populated His creation.
He rested on the seventh day.
To be concluded