Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES

Thought for the Day – 3 December “Praying Advent with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation – “The Joy of the Gospel”

Thought for the Day – 3 December “Praying Advent with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation – “The Joy of the Gospel”

Pope Francis begins by warning us about how our culture impacts us and robs us of our joy and our compassion:

The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures and a blunted conscience.   Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.   God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of His love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades.   This is a very real danger for believers too.   Many fall prey to it and end up resentful, angry and listless.   That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life;   it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ. 

Then, Pope Francis offers the remedy for this danger – our personal relationship with Jesus:

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting Him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.   No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.[ Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete in Domino (9 May 1975)] 

The Holy Father suggests this prayer:

Now is the time to say to Jesus:  “Lord, I have let myself be deceived;  in a thousand ways I have shunned Your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with You.   I need You.   Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into Your redeeming embrace”.now is the time - pope francis - the joy of the gospel - 3 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS

Quote/s of the Day – 3 December 2017 – The First Sunday of Advent

Quote/s of the Day – 3 December 2017 – The First Sunday of Advent

“In the first Coming He comes in the flesh and in weakness;
in the second, He comes in spirit and in power;
in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty;
and the second Coming is the means
whereby we pass from the first to the third.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Churchin the first coming - st bernard - 3 dec 2017

It is Advent. All our answers remain fragmentary.
The first thing we have to accept is, ever and again,
the reality of an enduring Advent.
If we do that, we shall begin to realise
that the borderline between “before Christ” and “after Christ”
does not run through historical time, in an outward sense
and cannot be drawn on any map;
it runs through our own hearts.
Insofar as we are living on a basis of selfishness, of egoism,
then even today, we are “before Christ.”
But in this time of Advent, let us ask the Lord to grant
that we may live less and less “before Christ”
and certainly not “after Christ,” but truly “with Christ and in Christ” –
with Him who is indeed Christ yesterday, today and forever.

Joseph Ratzinger (1964) aka Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIit is advent - ratzinger - benedict - 3 dec 2017

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 December

One Minute Reflection – 3 December 2017

For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross………….Heb 12:2Hebrews 12 - 2 - 3 dec 2016

REFLECTION – I am in a country whee all the niceties of life are lacking.
But I am filled with many inner consolations. Indeed, I run the risk of crying my eyes out because of my tears of joy!…..St Francis Xavier (Saint of the Day)I am in a country - st francis xavier - 3 dec 2016

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant me the inner consolation to possess spiritual joy in all circumstances, Let me be so united with You that I will joyfully bear with all tribulations. St Francis Xavier be my example and pray for me! Amenst francis xavier - pray for us - 3 dec 2016

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH

THE ADVENT WREATH

THE ADVENT WREATH

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolises the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul and the everlasting life found in Christ. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death and resurrection.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Saviour.

Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolise the prayer, penance and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.

The progressive lighting of the candles is the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead. The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. The unlighted candles represent the dark ages before the coming of Christ. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve.

In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer devotion using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows:

Today the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Your blessing upon this wreath and grant that we, who use it, may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from You abundant graces. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent: “O Lord, stir up Your might, we beg You and come, that by Your protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Your deliverance. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.

During the second week of Advent, the father prays: “O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Your only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve You with pure minds. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.

During the third week of Advent, the father prays: “O Lord, we beg You, incline Your ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Your visitation. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.

Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, “O Lord, stir up Your power, we pray You and come. With great might help us, that with the help of Your grace, Your merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.

Since Advent is a time to reignite, refresh and renew our faith, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas.
There are many beautiful booklets and prayers available to augment your Advent devotions with the family, which include short Scripture texts and Reflections – it is a lovely practice in Catholic families to nominate a different child and/or member of the family for each of the four weeks, to prepare and read these devotions. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

 

USING THE ADVENT WREATH DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Advent ends, of course, with Christmas Eve but that’s no reason to put the Advent wreath away.   Many people add a large white candle to the centre of the wreath and light it, along with the other four, starting on Christmas and going all the way through Epiphany. It’s a good way to remind ourselves that Christ is the reason for the preparations we made during Advent and it also helps us remember that Christmas doesn’t end on Christmas morning after all the presents have been opened.THE ADVENT WREATH - HISTORY, MEANING AND DAILY PRAYERS - 3 DEC 2017

DAILY ADVENT PRAYER
Henri J M Nouwen

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send Your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces
to hear Your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things
look forward to Your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of Your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of Your presence.
We are Your people,
walking in darkness,
yet seeking the light.
To You we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”daily advent prayer by henri nouwen

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 3 December 2017

Our Morning Offering – 3 December 2017

I Will Love You, Lord
By St Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555)

I will love You, Lord,
in every way
and without setting limits to my love.
You set no limits
to what You have done for me;
You have not measured out Your gifts.
I will not measure out my love.
I will love You, Lord,
with all my strength,
with all my powers,
as much as I am able.
Amen

I will love you Lord - st thomas of Villanova - 22 sept 2017

Posted in ADVENT, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, The WORD

The First Sunday of Advent – Year B – 3 December

Today the Church begins the season of Advent, which is divided into two parts, from the first Sunday to 16 December, we prepare for the future coming of Jesus and from 17 to 24 December, we recall his historical coming.   The Church is a pilgrim Church.   It journeys between this twofold coming of Jesus.   During this journey, the Church, like any other pilgrim, goes through a threefold experience of loneliness, hope and watchful waiting.   In moments of crises and struggles, we feel that we have been abandoned by God.   It is not that God has deserted us but that we have forgotten or ignored His presence with us.   Even in such situations, we have to believe that another world is possible.   It is only those who see the invisible who can do the impossible.   We ought to hop for the intervention of the Lord and wait for it patiently, just as the Church waits vigilantly for the second coming of the Lord.   As we begin this season of Advent and a new Liturgical Year today, let us ask the Lord to grant us a deep sense of security and assurance during our journey of faith, a journey towards a new world of love, joy and peace.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord!

Father, all powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere
to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When he humbled himself to come among us,
he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago
and opened for us the way to salvation.

Now we watch for the day,
hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours
when Christ will come again in his glory.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest.

Today’s Readings – Daily Meditation:
Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem dwell secure.
We begin Advent coming to the Lord who promises to keep us safe. In awe we say:

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul!”
Psalm 25

Let’s begin this week with a deeply felt prayer.
Even if we don’t know exactly what we need or long for,
today, let’s try to express our desire for God’s help and assistance.

The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. Jeremiah 33

He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
Psalm 25

Today’s Daily Reflection – Intercessions:
To God our Father, who has given us the grace
to wait in graceful hope for the revelation of
our Lord Jesus Christ, let us make our prayer:
Show us Your mercy, Lord.

Sanctify us in mind and body,
– keep us without sin until the coming of Your Son.

Make us walk this day in holiness,
– and live upright and devout lives in this world.

May we be clothed in our Lord Jesus Christ,
– and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Lord, help us to stand watchful and ready,
– until Your Son is revealed in all His glory.

Closing Prayer:
Lord God,
I sense Your power, Your might
and I stand in awe, painfully aware
of how poor and weak I am before You.

As I begin this Advent journey,
teach me to turn to You in my fear and sorrow.
I don’t want to keep making my heart hard against You
turning a deaf ear to Your invitation.

Only You can help me to soften,
to be like the clay in Your gentle potter’s hands.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen. (Creighton University)the first sunday of advent - 3 dec 2017 - stay awake