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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 23, 1933     Arkansas Catholic
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December 23, 1933
 

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THE CHRST CHILD AND THE CRIB Once more the world is about to its feat joyous feast, h:imas'. IThe raph'et Isias ex- presses our deep feeling and elation at this time with the words: "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just." (Is. 45:8). During Advent the Church pro- ares for Christmas, and to empha- the joyous feast, she allows the to celebrate Mass three times, after the cock has crowed, at twilight and lasttly during the! re'as sermon of the fifth centuzy there appear the following words: "Oh, that I might see that crib in .which the Lord hath lain. Now, in doing honor unto Him, we Christians have replaced the crib of clay (the speaker uses the word "lueum" meaning brick) by one of silver. But to me the former hath higher value. Silver and gold belong to the hea- then, but the Christian faith craves [a modest crib." This crib is also I surrounded by the f.igures of the Gospel of the Nativity. Ir a .Cllristmas serlnon from the first part of the fifth century the speaker, pointing to a representation of the Birth of the Savior in the church, uses these words: "But why say it, anti why pronounce it? My eye is resting on the carpenter and the crib, the Christ Child and the (in! gallicantu, in dili,culo, in Virgin Mother!" Then he continues, rnissa diei) The hearts of men pray "I see the Holy Child, as Ite is wrap_ ithat the words of the angels "Glory 'ped in swaddling clothes, lying in 11o God in the highest, and pe'-lee on earth to men of seed will" may be- i the crib. Mary, the Virgin Mother, more and more evident. 'and Joseph are serving Him." It i.s ,easily understood that this There are other cribs of this type found in the churches throughout feast has played an iinportant part the Middle Ages. In Rouen, France, the manifestations of Christian'frl instance, there is a church n t since the dawn of Christianity. :which a crib with the Holy Child a,nd' In our endeavor to acquaint lhe the image of Mary had been erected reader with the sublime treasures . . . .... .Denind the altar In the twelfth cen- of liturgical art which the unurcn ....... " , . ; . .., l turf ue kDDO uerricus, relerrlng aspired, we reproduce some nms- . ......... . . o tne presenr.atlon .oI tne elro, uses ilrations, relative to this feast, which .. . , ...... . ' e lnese worus: metnI'en, o(lay you, have come down to us fron th , _ ......... e lanai we oo, nave iouno ne ,Jnll(1, last The dignity of the cone p- - in ..... [wrappeu swaaming cmhes, and tion of these pictures far exceeds ............. , ::.. . _ ;tying' in tne 'arid oI the altar. :that shown in the works prouucea ........... . I It was bt. lracls oi ASIS1, LISZ- in lateI centuries Smce the days  " 11226, who first popularized the re_ the Catacombs and the persecu" I presentation of the crib, as we know t|ons, there are found fewer reIer- . ......... _  o nis say rte aecided to re-e- ences to Christmas than to the Re- , ..... - ....... -' ..... b -I zorce ue zatn oi ne people oy ms aemptmn. This may be exp.mlnea._Y[means, and therefore erected a re- the fact that the true mrtn is ne I presentation of the real crib in the deliveran, ce of the soul from its l ....... ....  woous near Lirecclo, on unmsT;mas ortal frame, and  n sgnmcance : ' " e I eve. There was the crib, filled with this birth comes before that of th ....... '- ............. 11 nay upon wmcn was iala a repre- ooy Tnerelore i is natural na a . ......... .... . sensation oI ;fle uflrls; LJflllfl. lne references to tde igorious Victory ox and ass also were there. From of the Savior over life and death dqminate thos.o referring to 'His up- In the body of man. Probably the earltest picture pro- the symbolism of the Cata- eom, bs in its true sense is a fresco in the coemeterium of St. Sebastian. tiara the Christ Child is seen lying on a Criblike table. The parents are ot shown in this picture, while the ox and'the ass, well known from all representations of the Holy Nativity are present. These two animals, to Which seems to be given a deep sym- signifi,cance i n these older of the Holy Nativity, will discussed later. The bust of a YOUng man appears over the picture, la the m'anner in which the portrait of the Savior was shown at that time. This probably was done in o.rder to explain that the child in the crib was meant to represent the new born Savior. At the time of the painting of this picture, representations of the Savior in !the ,crib were obvious- ly not usual, or it would not have been necessary to explain the symbol by adding the 'likeness of Christ. To all probability then, this is the very first painting showing the Nativity of Christ, and the artist truly was inspired by he fervent and deeply touching oelebration, of the coming of the Savior, as depicted in the Christmas liturgy of the first cen- turies. On the Esquiline, one of the seven Raman hills, stands the Basilica of Maria Maggiore. The founda- tion f.or this Basilica was laid by :,?ope Liberius about 360 A. D. Ac- re  pious tradition, parts of e original crib were kept in this in a chest of silver, and it here that the popes ceebrated Christmas High Mass. In the century the church was dedicat- to the Virgin Mary by Pope III, with the addition "Ad pc," in other words meaning] Mary at the Crib." I From the Christmas sermon of this, which in part are still preserv- in the Vatican library, it is col- that a crib built of bricks serv- the popes as an altar. The Most Eucharist was laid on this altar } after the ,censer.ration, and thus Ymbolizes the Christ Child lying in the crib. Soon we find that this simple crib. i altar was removed and replced by ne richly decorated with silver and ) Other costly ornaments. In a Christ- if A BEST WISHES FOR MERRY CHRISTMAS REYER'S Watch Shop Main St. Pine Bluff, Ark. far and near the people thronged attout the crib, while ,St. Francis himself participated at the Holy Mass in deep emotion. He 'also preached a touching sermon about the Child of Bethlehem. It might be proper at this time to sa ysomething about the ox and ass which constantly appear together in 'all these earlier representations of the Uativity. Opinions are divided about their ,meaning. AIready in the third century they were explained by the words of Jes. 1:3. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood." This was taken for a prophecy of the crib of Bethlehem. The Latin Doctor of the Church, St. Hieromymus and St. Augustine ex_ plain the presence of these animals in this same man, her. However, their meaning may also be interpreted in another way. The ox was me'ant to symbolize the ews, who had to carry the yoke of the law, and an ass to symbolize the heathens. On one oc_ casion, St. Augustine sees in the ox the symbol of the shepherds (the Jew), and in the ass the synbol of the Three Wise Men from the East (the heathens). Since the time of St. Francis of Assissi the crib has spread more and nore. The meaning of the word "Crib" has been extended to include not only the manger in which the Child was laid, ,bu.t also the whole presentation of the stable of Bethle- hem with all those figures mentioned in the Gospel of the Nativity. The disciples of St. Francis of Assissi naturally were not eager to spread the custom of including the crib in their Christmas celebrations. In Italy, the mother country of this Saint, the carvings of these cribs in wood soon developed .into a great 'art, and the best among artists and crafts_ men have shown their skill in it. From there the custom has extended across the Alps, to Austria and Southern Germany. At first these cribs were exhibit_ ed in churches only, where they oc_ cupied a speci'al niche or small chap_ el. Later they found their way into the homes of laymen, and even to the present day many a family in the Old World prides itself on the possession of a truly artistic crib which is set up at Christmas to the honor of God. Later presentations of the Nativity have been extended to include other scenes. The sainted parents are shown on the way to Bethlehem, where they were called by the census of the emperor Au_ gustus. Then follows a picture of the Holy Night in the stable, with the shepherds in 'adoration grouped around the crib, their flocks at a distance in the field, and the sky full of angels singing their jubilant songs of praise. The net scene gives us the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East, ,presenting their gifts to the Holy Child, and lastly is shown the Flight to Egypt. FOLLOWING THE STAR By George Barnard The trouble with this drifting world is that there are too many leaders who d.o not lead, or who lead into wrong things; insufficient ap- preciation of real values. That is why there is so much work and so little progress; so nmch pleas- ure seeking and so little happiness; so much wealth side by side with so much poverty. In all the feverish rush to get things done there is so little pur- pose; in all the efforts to put wron; things right there is so nmch con- flict. The world's compass is out of ac- tio;n. It is not pointing to the Sar: because the greater part of the world has not seen the Star which the Wise Men saw, and following which they found Christ. "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and are come to adore Him." I think that if men today could see the star in the East, and if they knew it led to God, they would fol- low it. The Star has been foretold. And the Cross was foreold. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth. will draw all things to MyseLf." Cross Over Vatican The Cross, in this Holy Year which commemorates the nineteenth cen- tenary of Christ's death on Calvary, turns the. .inds of men also t Christ's birth at Bethlehem. As the Star told where Our Lord was, so the Cross tells where Christ's Vicar is. And the Cross is over the Vatican, Now we are  year furthe? away from His birth; a year nearer the Judgment. And that should not be a cause, of sadness but of joy, or we are a yeac nearer to meeting the Babe of Beth- lehem, whose birthday will be cele- brated with domestic joy wherever Christian. gather, I is the ,Cross today that marks the center of unity. It was to turn the eyes of the world to Christ and His Church that Pope Plus XI, Christ's Vicar and St. Peter's successor, declared this year a year of special grace and called all Christendom. to his feet. No other king or emperor, no oth- er religious leader, would have dared to fling that call and that challenge to the four ends of ,the earth. For ,he answer to the call would have ;hewn his weakness. But the world has flocked to Rome and has show , once gain the strength of Catholic faith, the depth of ,Catholic loyalty and the univer- sality of the acceptance of Catholic belief. After all the center of unity must be somewhere. Yet no one else claims it. Over Rome today hangs the Cross of the Crucified Christ and it is upon this Cross that the eyes of the world must be turned. It is the job of every Catholic to do his bit to see that the worhl turns to it. CHRISTMAS SIGHS TO OUR LADY Sweet Mother, tonight all the world is aglow With its beautiful Christmas lights-- And stories are told of the long, long ago, Of songs from celestial heights; Of angels who sang over snow-covered 'plains Their message of peace brought to earth; Of she.pherls who knelt at the heavenly strains, That told of a Savior's birth. Three kings from the East who had come afar To find the Messiah, their King, Led on by the light of a wonderful star, Their spices anti goht to Him bring. And oh! dearest Lady, the story is sweet! It thrills ev'ry heart when 'tis teht. 'Tis one that with tenderest love we repeat-- 'Tis one that will never grow old. I'm thinking, sweet Lady, tonight And yet, in the midst of its beautiful strain Of you, Dear you, ng Mother, suff'ring and pain Were yours on that first Christmas night. In cold and i.a poverty, beautiful Queen, You patiently, silently wept . The angels, I'm sure, must have mingled their tears With yours, while their virgil they kept. You must have been painfully weary that night And yet when your journey was o'er, The Virgin who carried our Savior, and God Sought rest on a rough, stablh floor. A.nd Mother-love gentle and pure, That man through your infant salvation should gain Was willing all grief to endure. Dea.r Mary, how gladly I'd offer my bed Your poor, aching body to rest A.nd if my own pillow could nestle your head And ah! with what fondness I'd whisper to you 'Twould seem. I were wondrously blest. When Jesus at length had been born, I'd say: "Let me hold Him, sweet Virgi.n, ,please do! Pressed close to my heart He'll be warm!" That tiny wee Formfrail--and helplessly weak--- Lay near you and cried in th- cold; You kissed every tear as it fell on His cheek, Ah- who could your heartache have told. Poor, tender young Mother, I'm sure that you still Watch down from your heavenly height, O'er Bethlehem's slumbering valleys and hills And think of that first Christmas night. A,nne M. Wyllie, State Sanatorium, Ark. ' All these men, who have intelli- gence and sensibilities, resent that. Bitterness had .eatm pretty deeply into the. souls of many of the jobless men with whom. I traveled to Rome following the Star and the Cross to the feet of Christ's Vicar. But when I came back with them along the same road they were dif- ferenL "Behold the. star which they had seen, in the East went before them until it came and stood over where the Child was." "... and what good has it done them., anyway? Why not ,spend the money on food?" some of my friends have asked. Well, the jobless men who went to Rome are not, as a class, much rich- er. Some of them found jobs in rath- er wonderful way. Maybe it was an a.nswer to their prayers: but that is God's secret. What I do know is that very many of the men have told me that they now have a purpose, in life. Life to them will never be meaningless again. What ever the future holds for them of disappointments, hardships, hunger and grief, they (they told me) will not fli.nch. It comes to this: they have se their compass by the Star: If the world will set its compass by the star, civilization will avoid the hoIs upon which its wreck, otherwise, may be imminent. to all the people of the earth to pay a penitential visit to Rome. Changed Millions of Lives That thought became a proelaw.t- tion. It wen out through the press and over the ether; it set in motion the machinery of travel; it induced people to alter their plans; it changed millions of lives in the five continents. On the roads in France and in Italy there are at this moment pil- grims who are walking from their re- :mote homes with their faces toward the Eternal ,City. Some are walking barefoot. From India pilgr;ms have gone, from Africa and Australia. Very many have gone from America. Forty separate groups, some of them more than 400 strong, have gone from Great Britain. In Rome the ancient streets, which speak of the age of the Church, arc filled with strange people who speak of the Church's universality. Prelates priests, peers and peasants mingle in the basicilieas nd on eche sidewalks All visit the Pope; all go away re- freshed by his blessing and by the grace obtained by their faith and obedience. If this is not the center of Chris- tendom, where is it? Civilization must have a center. This custom of erecting the crib I was recently in Rome with a big in honor of celebrating Christmas is party of unemployed men whose ex- ,by far older than the use of the penses had been paid by the readers Christmas tree; only in the last can- of a Catholic newspaper in England. turf has the latter bereave popular. These were men who had excuse In some ,cities of the Old World i for despair if ever anyone had excuse the tradition of the carving of cribs for it. An Italian newspaper wrote with their innumerable figures has bitterly of them that they looked been well preserved. There one may like an ordinary tourist party. But  still find people whose vocation it that paper did not know that if is to carve these figures throughou.t the whole year Then shortly before the holidays there is held a Christ- mas fair, such as the famous Christ- mas Fair of the city of Munich, Ba- varia. Here collectors a,d friends of the crib meet, and buy whatever they may find necessary for adorning and completing their own cribs. Not always did the Church favor the erection of cribs in church build- ings. For example, the Prince-Arch- bishop of Mai,nz prohibited this cus- tom as late as the year 1787, de- claring that religious enlightent had advanced far enough by tha.t time to dispose of such means of explain- ing the Holy Gospel of Nativity. In the time of St. Francis of Assissi, the crib was mean.t to illustrate the .sermon, but this flrt aim was soon discarded. From hls thne down to our days, the love for the crib has grown, and ia spite of setbacks due to phohibitive pronouncements, from time to time, it has gained a strong foothold throughout the Christian world. At mass one morning, so they say, the Pope was inspired to issue a call a man had a good suit it was because some charitable person had given it to him; if his shirt was whole it was because it was bought for him. Many of these men had nothing in the world; not even hope. Some of them had been out of work for four, five and six years. Able men. Good workers. Willing workers. Unable to get a job, while all around them were signs not only of prosperity but wanton extravagance to taunt them. Not a hand had, up till then, been held out to help them. They were becoming, not men, but a. social problem. They were the "un- employed," a class apart. Thevr they were becoming a new class called "unemployables." Still not because they could not work; still not because they would not work But just be- cause their demand for work inter- ferred with the, comfort of people who are comfortable. Changed on Journey Home That is why some people call for what they term birth-contol (mean- ing birth prevention), and steriliza- tien Not for their class but for the new race called the Unemployed. BU $ I 0,000.00 Confed" Watch So great in value that Bulova paid $10,000.00 to name 'itl IS jewels:band to' match. REYER'S WATCH SHOP All Work Guaranteed Pine Bluff, Arkansas Phone 407 521 Main Street When Thinking Of Hats Think Of CAPITAL CITY HAT COMPANY Little Rock, Arkansas SEVENTH STREET PRODUCE CO. RUFUS L. CHERRY, Manaser FANCY POULTRY & GUARANTEED FRESH EGGS 914 WEST SEVENTH STREET Will Appreciate Your Bu|ness LITTLE ROCK. ARKANS/L PHONE 4-0951 Mayflower Dairy Co' Phone 7525 POPE APPROVES OF MANILA FOR 1936 CONGRESS VATICAN CITY.--Manila, Philip- fine Islands, has bee selected de- finitely as the place at which the 1936' Internation Congress will be held. The selection was made at a meeting of the committee and was .announced following a audience which His Holiness Pope Plus grant- M on Saturday. , ] Addressing the committee, the Holy I Father blessed its efforts and ex-[ :press the hope the fruits of its work will be ever more abundant. Call on Us for Any Form ef INSURANCE Campbell, Mallory & Throgmorton Phone 4-0430 GENERAL AGENTS Aetna Floor Bankers Trust Bids. Little Rock. Ark. 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