Monday, November 19, 2012
Look Out for Santa Claus
First, a little business! Our booklets are now available. At the moment there are four from which to choose. The Poor Souls in Purgatory (and how to suffer for them), Suffer the Children (suffer is sometimes the operative word), Modern Dilemmas #1 (Harry Potter, tattoos and the Modesty Pyramid) and finally, Sacramentals #1 Scapulars (our own terror Alert System). We're so excited!
Someone asked this a couple of weeks ago and I just saw it:
going to a Pamplona party - do you have a st Fermin?
Not a s a medal, but we can put any saint you'd like on a glass pendant. Also, the first letter of the first word in a sentence is supposed to be capitalized.
So enough of that.
I have been obsessed with this story since our post the other day on mean saints:
Didn't St. Nicholas punch somebody?
Yes, Santa Claus punched Arius the heretic right in the head at the Council of Nicaea. Or so the story goes.
Santa Claus had a rough time of it in the years preceding whapping Arius, so we can cut him a little slack. He had spent years in prison during years of Christian persecution, during which he had been tortured. He was saintly that whole time, giving other people his gruel and going without himself, for example. He didn't get out until Constantine became the Emperor and made everyone leave the Christians alone.
St. Nick was a bishop with a lot of clout, pun intended. When Arius started running around saying that Jesus wasn't divine all a big meeting was called by the Emperor Constantine. (You are familiar with this meeting because you recite the result of it at every Mass.) St. Nicholas was invited because of his stature in the community.
Way back in the 325 AD all the bishops gathered in Nicaea because Christianity was growing so fast that all kinds of crazy notions and half baked writings were being taken as gospel. Pun intended. Writings like the Book of Thomas, which includes the sadly hilarious "Killer Baby Jesus" stories, where Jesus childishly cripples people who aggravate Him. No wonder Arius didn't think Jesus was divine.
The leaders of the Church were particularly upset by the spread of Arianism and took on Arius and his heresy at the Council. When they were done, they wrote up the "Apostle's Creed" in a direct response to what is known as the "Arian Heresy" to slam the lid on that nonsense once an for all. But before they slammed the lid, St. Nicholas slammed Arius upside the head.
Don't think for a second that St. Nick punched Arius and everyone applauded and wrote a prayer and that was the end of it as the angels sang in Heaven. No. St. Nick was demoted and censored. At least until Jesus himself had a talk with the other bishops. Then Nicholas was reinstated.
Lucky for all the little children on Christmas morning. And on Easter morning for that matter, because the other thing they decided at the Council of Nicaea was when we would celebrate Easter.
If only Arius had straightened himself out, perhaps he would have been the one flying around with a sleigh full of toys in the wee hours of Christmas. As it is,, he gets a lump of coal and a black eye.