Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, The WORD

The Meaning of the Christmas Wreath

The Meaning of the Christmas Wreath

+Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

In the General Roman Calendar, this date is the last day of Advent, Christmas Eve, and also (beginning with the vigil Mass) is the first day of Christmas time. The liturgical texts express wholehearted confidence in the imminent coming of the Redeemer. There is much joyous expectation. Most families have their own observances, customs that should be preserved from generation to generation. Today is the last day of our Christmas Novena.

Throughout Advent we have seen how the preparation for Jesus’ coming became more and more precise. Isaiah, John the Baptist and the Virgin Mother appeared throughout the season announcing and foretelling the coming of the King. We learn today that Christ according to His human nature is born at Bethlehem of the House of David of the Virgin Mary and that according to His divine nature He is conceived of the Spirit of holiness, the Son of God and the Second Person of the Trinity.

The certitude of His coming is made clear in two images. The first is that of the closed gate of paradise. Since our first parents were cast forth from the earthly paradise the gate has been closed and a cherubim stands guard with flaming sword. The Redeemer alone is able to open this door and enter in. On Christmas Eve we stand before the gate of paradise and it is for this reason that Psalm 23 is the theme of the vigil:

Lift up your gates, O princes,
Open wide, eternal gates,
That the King of Glory may enter in. . . .

The opening of the eternal gates through
which the King of Glory may enter is indicated
by the wreath on the door of our homes at Christmastide.
The Advent wreath, which accompanied the family
throughout the season of preparation may be taken down.
The violet ribbons are removed and it is gloriously
decorated with white, red and gold.
It is then placed upon the door as a symbol
of the welcome of Christ into our city, our home and our hearts.
On Christmas Eve the whole house should be strewn with garlands
and made ready for the Light of the World.
The crib is set in a special place of honour,
for tonight the central figure of the Nativity scene is to arrive.

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Posted in ADVENT

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Advent Christmas Eve! – 24 December 2016

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Christmas Eve! – 24 December 2016

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Daily Meditation:
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
“temple of God’s Word”
because she was so ready to do God’s will.
As we approach this anniversary of our redemption,
let’s spend the day placing our life in God’s hands
embracing the ways He will come to us
and let us be His instruments for others.

Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.

Closing Prayer:
Oh, God-With-Us,
For so long You have promised
forgiveness, peace, salvation.
Now in my heart, I am filled with joy
because of Your coming.

Thank You for Your promises and for the way I can trust in You.
I feel a new freedom in my life
and a courage I have not known before.

I know You came to save me and bring new life
and I am so grateful to You.
Let me show my thankfulness
with my life.
You have brought me through the darkness
and into the light of Your saving grace.

Guide my feet on the way of peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

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Posted in ADVENT, CHRISTMASTIDE!, NOVENAS

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child
DAY NINE – 24 December

The Birth Of Jesus In The Stable Of Bethlehem.

O Adorable Infant Jesus!
I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Your feet, if I did not know that You Yourself invites me to draw near You. It is I who by my sins have made You shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since You have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners, forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned You, my Saviour and my God, who are so good and who have loved me so much.

In this night, in which You bestowest great graces on so many souls, grant Your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also. All that I ask of You is the grace to love You always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on fire with Your holy love. I love You, O my God, who have become a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease from loving You ever more.

O Mary, Mother of the Babe who is God and my Mother, you can obtain everything from Your Son by your prayers. This is the only favour I ask of you
Do you pray to Jesus for me. Amen.

day-9-christmas-novena

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 24 December

Thought for the Day – 24 December

A CHRISTMAS REFLECTION

St Alphonsus Liguori

“A child is born to us, and a son is given to us” -Isa. 9:6

CONSIDER that after so many centuries, after so many prayers and sighs, the Messiah, whom the holy patriarchs and prophets were not worthy to see, whom the nations sighed for, “the desire of the everlasting hills,” our Saviour, has come;  He is already born and has given Himself entirely to us: “A child is born to us, and a son is given to us.”
The Son of God has made Himself little, in order to make us great.
He has given Himself to us, in order that we may give ourselves to Him.
He has come to show us His love, in order that we may respond to it by giving Him ours.
Let us, therefore, receive Him with affection.
Let us love Him and have recourse to Him in ill our necessities.
“A child gives easily,” says St. Bernard; children readily give anything, that is asked of them. Jesus came into the world as a child in order to show Himself ready and willing to give us all! good gifts: “The Father hath given all things into his hands.”
If we wish for light, He has come on purpose to enlighten us.
If we wish for strength to resist our enemies, He has come to give us comfort.
If we wish for pardon and salvation, He has come to pardon and save us.
If, in short, we desire the sovereign gift of divine love, He has come to inflame our hearts with it and, above all, for this very purpose, He has become a child and has chosen to show Himself to us worthy of our love, in proportion as He was poor and humble, in order to take away from us all fear and to gain our affections.
“So,” said St. Peter Chrysologus, “should He come who willed to drive away fear and seek for love.” And Jesus has chosen to come as a little child to make us love Him, not only with an appreciative but even a tender love.
All infants attract the tender affection of those who behold them- but who will not love, with all the tenderness of which they are capable, a God whom they behold as a little child, in need of milk to nourish Him, trembling with cold, poor, abased and forsaken, weeping and crying in a manger, and lying on straw?
It was this that made the loving St. Francis exclaim: “Let us love the child of Bethlehem, let us love the child of Bethlehem. Come, souls and love a God who has become a child and poor, who is so lovable and who has come down from heaven to give Himself entirely to you.”

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Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December

“Christ is the Morning Star,
who, when the night of this world is past,
gives to His saints the promise of the light of life,
and opens everlasting day.”
– St Bede the Venerable

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.”
-St Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.”  – St Augustine

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Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 December

One Minute Reflection – 24 December

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us……..Jn 1:14

REFLECTION – The sun’s rays light up the world without separating themselves from the sun.   In like manner, the Son of God comes down to earth to enlighten us without separating Himself from the Father with Whom He is entirely one………..St Anthony of Padua

PRAYER – Come Lord Jesus and give me new courage, for I trust in Your love. By Your renewed coming at Christmas and in the Eucharist, raise me to heavenly glory.  On the Memorial of Sts Tarsilla and Emiliana, we implore them to Pray for us, amen.

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Posted in ADVENT, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers

Our Morning Offering – 24 December

Our Morning Offering – 24 December

Nativity Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in Your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
Amen

st-bernard-nativity-prayer

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint/s of the Day – 24 December

Saint/s of the Day – 24 December – Sts  Tarsilla and Emiliana (6th Century) Virgins

Tarsilla and Emiliana were two paternal aunts of Saint Gregory the Great and it is this holy Pope who narrates their touching story. They renounced the world together, together consecrated their virginity to God and remained in their house as if in a convent, far removed from the conversation of the world. Encouraging one another to virtue by discourse and example, the two sisters soon made considerable progress in spiritual life.

They had a sister named Gordiana, who had taken the same way but little by little fell back into affection for the world, to the great grief of Tarsilla and Emiliana. With gentleness they reproached her, but the inconstant spirit of Gordiana soon forgot their charitable lessons. One day Tarsilla had a vision, in which Pope Saint Felix, her uncle, appeared to her and showed her a palace of marvelous beauty, saying to her: Come; I will receive you into this habitation of light. She fell ill with a fever the next day, which rapidly grew worse. While in her agony, with her eyes lifted to heaven, she cried out to those surrounding her, Make way! Jesus is coming! Soon after speaking these words, as she gazed at the vision, her soul was delivered from the bonds of the flesh. It was 24 December. The fragrance with which the room was filled confirmed the vision the virgin had had before dying.

A few days afterwards she appeared to her sister Emiliana, saying: My sister, come! I did not celebrate with you the birth of the Lord, but together we will celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. If you call only me, Emiliana replied, what will become of our sister Gordiana? Come, Tarsilla answered sadly; Gordiana has decided to remain with the worldlings. And after that vision, Emiliana fell ill and joined her sister for the feast day.

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints for 24 December

St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux
St Emiliana of Rome
St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto
St Hanno of Worms
Bl Ignacio Caselles García
St Irmina of Oehren
St Mochua of Timahoe
Bl Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli
Bl Peter de Solanes
St Trasilla
Bl Venerandus of Clermont

All the Holy Ancestors of Jesus
Blessed Mercedarian Brothers – (4 beati)
Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati)
Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints)
Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints)