Reality Magazine December 2019

Reality Magazine December 2019




Many of us probably caught our first glimpses of the great masterpieces of Western Art by seeing them on Christmas cards. One of the great painters of the mystery of Christmas was the Dominican friar, John of Fiesole, better known as Fra Angelico. Fr Michael Dunleavy, himself a Dominican of Black Abbey, Kilkenny, is an expert on the work of his Dominican brother. In an article, “Venite Adoremus”, he invites us to come and behold some of the beautiful paintings in which Fra Angelico helps us to contemplate the mystery of God’s coming among us in the Incarnation at Christmas. Maria Hall introduces us to the saints who are known as ‘the companions of Christ’ because their feast-days, or heavenly birthdays, fall alongside his earthly one. In an earlier Catholic culture, they were honoured with special foods and drinks in their honour. To give us some taste of it, Maria gives us a recipe for a mulled wine in honour of St John the Evangelist (Feast 27 December). Have you ever watched an episode of “Who do you think you are?” in which celebrities in search of their roots sometimes find surprising things hidden in the branches of the family tree. Jonathan Burroughs applies this formula to the genealogy of Jesus and his family at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew and shows us that there are some skeletons in Jesus’ family background. Jonathan is one of the new generation of Irish Catholic biblical scholars. He studied biblical languages in Rome, did his doctorate in Maynooth and is now teaching in Mary Immaculate / St Patrick’s Thurles. He is the husband of Elaine, who has a doctorate in geography, and they are the parents of two young children, Faye and Jake. Fr Colm Meaney’s “Letter from the Philippines” tells the story of the death of a poor man that might well be read against the story of a baby who was born in a stable and proclaimed a message of justice for people like Ruben. Finally, may your Christmas not be like that of Dr Dumbledore of Hogwarts Hall. “One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books” (JRR Rowling). Actually I would settle for the books! Happy Christmas to you all.

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