Friday 19 December 2014

"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."

This verse, John 1:11, was chosen by Archbishop of Toronto Neil McNeil as the theme of his homily on 23 December 1917.  It was the fourth Sunday of Advent and the archbishop preached at St. Joseph's Parish, Highland Creek, and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Toronto.

Noted on the back of the homily is when and where it was preached.
Archbishop Neil McNeil fonds, MN AR04.06
In the archives, we have the administrative papers of all of our previous ordinaries. These records often include working copies of homilies, articles, and addresses.  Drafts can be very interesting to researchers because they provide some insight into the author's thought process. For example, it's apparent that Archbishop McNeil abandoned his first theme ("There was no room for them in the inn," Luke 2:7) right off the bat.

Marginalia: "J. M. J." in the upper left corner of the first page stand for Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Archbishop Neil McNeil fonds, MN AR04.06
Marginalia can also be fascinating.  For example, the letters "J. M. J." in the upper left corner of the first page stand for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is common to find this notation at the top of essays and correspondence of a certain age. Catholic school children were often  taught to write J. M. J. on their page before starting their homework.

Taking time to form these letters is meant as a kind of prayer, invoking the Holy Family to inspire and oversee one's endeavours. The pious practice may also suggest a particular devotion to the Holy Family -  a physical reminder that everything one does is dedicated to J+M+J.

1 comment:

  1. ... "the bustle of Christmas shopping". bad then, worse now.