Tuesday, 20 February 2018

 

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Những tài liệu này thuộc quyền sở hữu của Trường Thánh Tôma Thiện. Khi sử dụng, quý vị đồng ý chỉ sử dụng trong việc giáo dục, không sử dụng cho việc kinh doanh dưới bất cứ hình thức nào. Quý vị cũng đồng ý sẽ không sao chép, thay đổi nội dung hoặc phân phối nếu chưa có sự chấp thuận của trường.

Nếu quý vị thấy tài liệu này hữu ích trong công việc giáo dục các em, xin giúp chúng tôi trang trải chi phí cho việc biên soạn để chúng tôi có thể tiếp tục cung cấp các tài liệu miễn phí trong tương lai. Xin chân thành cảm ơn quý vị.

DECEMBER 28 - FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men (or Magi) came from the east to worship him. Some say they were kings, others astrologers. They went to Herod, the king, looking for the newborn king of the Jews, the Savior.

Herod was a cruel and clever bully. When he heard that these Wise Men were looking for a newborn king, he began to worry about losing his throne.

But he did not let the Wise Men know what he was thinking. He called in his chief priests and asked them where the Bible says the Messiah was to be born. They answered: Bethlehem.

"Go and find out about this child," the wicked king said to the Wise Men. "When you have found out where he is, come and tell me. Then I, too, will go and worship him."

The Wise Men agreed and continued on their way, following the star. They found Jesus the Messiah, with Mary and Joseph. They adored him and offered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

But in their sleep an angel warned them not to go back to Herod. Then an angel asked St. Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus into Egypt. In this way, God spoiled Herod's plans to harm little Baby Jesus.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men had not come back to him, he became very angry. He was an evil, horrible man, and now the fear of losing his throne made him worse.

He sent his soldiers to kill all the little baby boys of Bethlehem in the hope of killing Jesus too. The soldiers had to obey his order. There was great sorrow in the little town of Bethlehem, as mothers wept when their beloved babies were killed.

These little children are honored today by the Church as martyrs. They are called the Holy Innocents.

DECEMBER 30 - ST. ANYSIA

Anysia was born in Salonika, Thessalonica in Greece. Thessalonica was an ancient city to which St. Paul himself had first brought the faith of Jesus.

Anysia was a Christian and she came from a rich but pious family. After her parents' death, Anysia took private vows of poverty and chastity and used her wealth to help the poor.

In those days, Christians in Thessalonica were treated very cruelly. The governor was a hard man who wanted to stop all Christians from meeting together for Mass.

But Anysia quietly slipped out one day to try and go to a Christian servoce. As she passed a gate called Cassandra, a guard saw her. Stepping out in front of her, he demanded to know where she was going.

Frightened, Anysia stepped backwards, tracing a cross on her forehead. Immediately the soldier grabbed her and shook her roughly. "Who are you" he shouted. "And where are you going?" Anysia took a deep breath and replied, "I am a servant of Jesus Christ, and I am going to the Lord's assembly."

"Oh yes?" sneered the guard. "I will stop that. I will take you to sacrifice to the sun god. Saying this, he snatched off her veil. Anysia struggled and spat in his face.

Finally, in great anger, he drew his sword and stabbed her with it. The saint fell dead at his feet. When the harassment ended, the Christians of Thessalonica built a church over the spot where St. Anysia had given her life for Christ. Anysia died around 304.

DECEMBER 29 - ST. THOMAS BECKET

Thomas Becket was born in London, England. After his parents died, he worked in an office. He loved hunting and other sports. When Thomas was about twenty-four, he went to work in the house of the archbishop of Canterbury and then began to study to become a priest.

He was handsome, very intelligent and pleasant to talk with. Soon he became a great favorite of King Henry II himself. People said that the king and Thomas were such close friends that they had only one heart and one mind.

When Thomas was thirty-six, King Henry made him his chancellor. As chancellor of England, Thomas had a large household and lived in grand style. Yet he was also very good to the poor.

Although Thomas was proud and quick-tempered, he did many hidden acts of penance. He prayed long hours, often until late at night.

When the archbishop of Canterbury died, the king wanted the pope to give Thomas this position. It would just mean that Thomas would have to be made a priest. But Thomas said that he did not want to be the archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas knew that, as archbishop, he would have to defend the Church from the king and that would mean trouble. "Your affection for me would turn into hatred," he warned Henry.

The king paid no attention and Thomas was made a priest and a bishop in 1162. At first, things were fine. But soon, the king began to demand money from the Church, which Thomas felt was not right.

The king grew more and more angry with his friend. Finally, he began to treat Thomas very unkindly. For a while, Thomas was tempted to give in to the king. Then he began to realize just how much Henry hoped to control the Church.

Thomas was very sorry that he had even thought of giving in to the king. He did penance for his weakness, and ever after held firm and only did what was right.

One day, the king was very angry. "Will no one rid me of this archbishop?" Some of his knights took him seriously and went off to murder the archbishop.

They attacked him in his own cathedral. Thomas died, saying, "For the name of Jesus and in defense of the Church, I am willing to die." It was December 29, 1170.

The entire Christian world was horrified at such a crime. Pope Alexander III held the king personally responsible for the murder.

Soon miracles began to happen at Thomas' tomb and he was proclaimed a saint by the same pope in 1173.

DECEMBER 31 - ST. SYLVESTER

St. Sylvester was pope during the reign of Emperor Constantine. In fact, Sylvester I became pope in 314 and he reigned until his death in 335 for twenty-one years. He had the Church of St. John Lateran and many other churches built.

Emperor Constantine at first was not a Christian and was very cruel to Pope Sylvester and the other Christians.

The emperor then found he had leprosy and arranged to have a pagan ceremony of some kind performed (something like a witchdoctor's rain dance). He was frightened and badly wanted to be cured.

Then Constantine had a dream in which St. Peter and St. Paul spoke to him. They told the emperor to go to Pope Sylvester for a cure.

Constantine hurried to the pope and asked if he could be baptized. The pope agreed and was happy to perform the baptism in the basilica of St. John Lateran.

During the Baptism ceremony Emperor Constantine was completely cured. From then on, Constantine not only allowed the Christian religion to continue, but encouraged and helped to spread it.

Pope Sylvester I was the first pope who was not a martyr to be proclaimed a saint. In the basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, a beautiful mosaic decorates one wall. It shows Jesus giving keys of spiritual power to Pope St. Sylvester I.

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