Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Two – 17 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Two – 17 December

Day Two
God’s Love Revealed In His Being Born An Infant.


When the Son of God became man for our sake, He could have come to earth as an adult man from the first moment of of His human existence, as Adam did when he was created.  But since the sight of little children draws us with a special attraction to love them, Jesus chose to make His first appearance on earth as a little infant and indeed as the poorest and most pitiful infant that was ever born.
“God wished to be born as a little babe,” wrote Saint Peter Chrysologus, “in order that He might teach us to love and not to fear Him.”
The prophet Isaiah had long before foretold that the Son of God was to be born as an infant and thus give Himself to us on account of the love He bore us:  “A child is born to us, a son is given to us.”

My Jesus, supreme and true God!
What has drawn You from heaven to be born in a cold stable, if not the love which You bear for us men?
What has allured You from the bosom of Your Father, to place You in a hard manger?
What has brought You from Your throne above the stars, to lay You down on a little straw?
What has led You from the midst of the nine choirs of angels, to set You between two animals?
You, who inflames the seraphim with holy fire, are now shivering with cold in this stable!
You, who sets the stars in the sky in motion, cannot now move unless others carry You in their arms!
You, who give men and beasts their food, has need now a little milk to sustain Your life!
You, who are the joy of heaven, do now whimper and cry in suffering!
Tell me, who has reduced You to such misery?
“Love has done it,” says Saint Bernard.
The love which You bear us men has brought all this on You!DAY TWO NOVENA TO THE CHRIST CHILD - 17 DEC 2017


O Dearest Infant!
Tell me, what have You come on earth to do?
Tell me, whom do You seek?
Yes, I already know.
You have come to die for me, in order to save me from hell.
You have come to seek me, the lost sheep, so that,
instead of fleeing from You, I may rest in Your loving arms.
Ah my Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love and my all!
Whom will I love, if not You?
Where can I find a brother, a friend,
a spouse more loving and lovable than You are?

I love You, my dear God; I love You, my only good.
I regret the many years when I have not loved You
but rather spurned and offended You.
Forgive me, O my beloved Redeemer;
for I am sorry that I have treated You thus and I regret it with all my heart.
Pardon me and give me the grace never more to withdraw from You
but constantly to love You in all the years that still lie before me in this life.
My love, I give myself entirely to You;
accept me and do not reject me as I deserve.
O Mary, you are my advocate.
By your prayers you obtain whatever you wish from your Son.
Pray to Him then to forgive me
and to grant me holy perseverance until death. Amen


Thought for the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday and the “O Antiphons” (17-24 December)

Thought for the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday and the “O Antiphons” (17-24 December)

17 December marks the beginning of the “O” Antiphons an ancient part of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve.   These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ.   The Church recalls the variety of the ills of man before the coming of the Redeemer.   The antiphons beg God with mounting impatience to come and save His people.   The order of the antiphons climb climatically through our history of Redemption.

In the first, O Sapientia, O Wisdom, we take a backward flight into the recesses of eternity to address Wisdom, the Word of God.
In the second, O Adonai, O Lord of Israel, we have leaped from eternity to the time of Moses and the Law of Moses (about 1400 B.C.).
In the third, O Radix Jesse, O Root of Jesse, we have come to the time when God was preparing the line of David (about 1100 B.C.).
In the fourth, O Clavis David, O Key of David, we have come to the year 1000.
In the fifth, O Oriens, O Radiant Dawn, we see that the line of David is elevated so that the peoples may look on a rising star in the east and hence in the sixth, O Rex Gentium, O King of All Nations, we know that He is king of all the world of man.
This brings us to the evening before the vigil
and before coming to the town limits of Bethlehem,
we salute Him with the last Great O, O Emmanuel, God-with-us (from He Cometh by Fr McGarry).o antiphons

As Elsa Chaney in Twelve Days of Christmas states, “They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Saviour.”

The “O” Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
The first letter of the Messianic titles:
Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—spell out Latin words ERO CRAS, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”

A small and simple way to celebrate the great tradition of the “O Antiphons” is to add them to the your Advent Wreath prayer with your family.

O Come, o Come Emmanuel! – “Tomorrow, I will come.”ero cras - tomororow i will come - 17 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

“Gaudete in Domino semper”

“Rejoice in the Lord always”

Philippians 4:4-5philippians 4 4-5

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Churchthe very son of god - st gregory of naziazen


One Minute Reflection – 17 December – The Memorial of St Josep Manyanet (1833-1901)

One Minute Reflection – 17 December – The Memorial of St Josep Manyanet (1833-1901)

“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”…John 14: 26

REFLECTION – “From the beginning, the Holy Spirit has brought forth men and women who have remembered and spread the truth revealed by Jesus.   One of these was St Josep Manyanet, a true apostle of the family.   Inspired by the school of Nazareth, he carried out his plan of personal sanctity and heroically devoted himself to the mission that the Spirit entrusted to him.   He founded two religious congregations.   A visible symbol of his apostolic zeal is also the temple of the Holy Family of Barcelona…St John Paul at the Canonisation Mass, 16 May 2004st john paul on st josep manyanet - 17 dec 2017

PRAYER – Holy God, we pray for all families, most especially our fellow Catholic families, that they may live as their model – the Holy Family of Nazareth.   May St Josep Manyanet bless all families and help them follow the example of the Holy Family in their homes! Grant this we pray, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, josep manyanet pray for us


Our Morning Offering – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

Our Morning Offering – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

Alma Redemptoris Mater
(Loving Mother of the Redeemer)

Loving mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven,
star of the sea,
assist your people
who have fallen
yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature
you bore your Creator,
Yet remained a virgin
after as before.
You who received
Gabriel’s joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.

Marian Antiphon Traditionally Said from Advent to CandlemasALMA REDEMPTORIS MATER - 17 DEC 2017


Gaudete Sunday – the Third Sunday of Advent – 17 December 2017

Gaudete Sunday – the Third Sunday of Advent – 17 December 2017

“The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.”

Gaudete Week
Our week begins with “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.   It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon on Sunday.   The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.”   This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose coloured, and the rose coloured vestments often used at the Eucharist.
The second part of Advent begins on 17 December each year.   For the last eight days before Christmas, the plan of the readings changes.   The first readings are still from the prophesies but now the gospels are from the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. We read the stories of faithful women and men who prepared the way for our salvation. We enter into the story of how Jesus’ life began.   These stories are filled with hints of what His life will mean for us.   Faith and generosity overcome impossibility.   Poverty and persecution reveal glory.gaudete sunday

Mary said:
“My being proclaims
the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit finds joy
in God my saviour,
For he has looked upon
his servant in her lowliness;
all ages to come shall
call me blessed.
God who is mighty
has done great things for me,
holy is his name;
His mercy is from age to age
on those who fear him.
He has shown
might with his arm;
he has confused the proud
in their inmost thoughts.
He has deposed the mighty
from their thrones
and raised the lowly
to high places.
The hungry he has given
every good thing,
while the rich
he has sent empty away.
He has upheld Israel his servant,
ever mindful of his mercy;
Even as he promised our fathers,
promised Abraham and
his descendants forever.”
Luke 1:46-50

Daily Meditation:

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks…1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We begin this third week of Advent asking to feel the joy
that comes from knowing our Lord’s coming to us is near.
In these precious days ahead, we are praying, longing, hoping
in the background of our everyday lives.
His mission is to the poor, the brokenhearted, prisoners and captives.
His mission is for us.
It is “good news,” full of healing, liberty and release.
We can smile today as we imagine the freedom He has won for us
and how liberating it will be to live it, with Him, for others.
It is right to give our God thanks and praise.

The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it… 1 Thessalonians 5:24

As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:19-11

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.

You came forth from the mouth of the Most High
and reaching from beginning to end,
You ordered all things mightily and sweetly.
Come and teach us the way of prudenceO WISDOM - 17 DEC 2017

Closing Prayer:
I lift my heart up to You, Lord,
to thank You for the blessings
You shower on me each day.
You are the ‘joy of my soul.’
I know that in Your great love,
I am held and protected by You.
I pray and listen to the good news You send;
I ask and feel the healing.
I am freed by You
from the things in this world
that let me hide from You.
I rejoice, I rejoice, down to my soul.
Help me to prepare my heart
to be open and able to receive Your immense love.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.gaudete sunday - 17 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 December – St Josep Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901)

Saint of the Day – 17 December – St Josep Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901) – Priest and Founder of of the Sons of the Holy Family and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of which orders he is the Patron.

Josep Manyanet was born within a large and Christian family on 7 January 1933 in Northeastern Spain, in the city of Tremp, province of Lleida.   He was baptised on the same day at his parish Church of our Lady of Valldeflors, patroness of the city.   At a very early age, when he was five years old, he was offered to our Lady by his mother.   He had to work to complete his schooling with the Piarist Fathers in Barbastro and at the Seminaries of Lleida and Urgell.   He was ordained priest on April 9, 1859.
After twelve years of hard work in the Diocese of Urgell at the service of his bishop as private secretary, librarian of the seminary, administrator of the chancery and secretary for pastoral Visitations, he felt God’s call to become a religious priest and to found two religious congregations.header - st josep

Founder and Apostle of the Holy Family:
With the approval of his bishop, he founded, in 1864, the religious congregations of the Sons of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph and, in 1874, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth with the mission to honour, imitate and propagate the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Christian formation of families, especially through the catholic education of children and youth and through priestly ministry.
With constant work and prayer, with and exemplary life full of virtues, with loving dedication and solicitude for the souls, he guided and encouraged for almost forty years, the formation and expansion of his Institutes, opening schools and centres of ministry in several towns in Spain.   Today both Institutes are present in several European countries, in North and South America and in Africa as well.
Specially called by God to present to the world the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, he wrote several books and booklets to spread the devotion of the Holy Family.   He founded the magazine La Sagrada Familia and promoted the idea of the construction of a Basilica dedicated to the Holy Family.   The Temple, as yet unfinished in Barcelona, (due for completion in 2020) was built by the architectural genius and Servant of God Antonio Gaudí, destined to perpetuate the virtues and examples of the Family of Nazareth and to be the universal spiritual home of all families.

His Train of Thought:
Blessed Josep Manyanet endeavoured to spread the Gospel, both through his preaching and his writings.   He wrote many letters, books and booklets for the formation of the members of his religious Institutes, for families and children and for the management of schools.   One of the highlights is the School of Nazareth and Home of the Holy Family (Barcelona 1895), his spiritual autobiography in which through the dialogues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with a literary character called Desideria, describes a process of Christian and religious perfection inspired in the spirituality of the home and school of Nazareth.
His book A Priceless Family Gem (Barcelona 1899) is a guide for marriages and families, which reminds them of the dignity of the sacrament of marriage as a vocation and the important task of the Christian education of their children.
The spirit of the Holy Family is a book of meditations dedicated to the members of his religious Institutes, where he describes their vocation, identity and mission within the society and the church.   There is an edition of his Selected Works (Madrid 1991).   A forthcoming edition of his Complete Works will enrich those already published.   The first volume is already on the way.

Illnesses and Death:
His many endeavours were not free of difficulties.   He also had to endure physical illnesses along his life but his constancy and fortitude, nourished by his humble obedience to the will of God, helped him to overcome all of them.
Because of his poor health, due to open sores on his side, which he labelled God’s mercies for 16 long years, on the 17th of December of 1901, full of virtues and good deeds, was called by God to his eternal home, in his school “Jesús, María y José” of Barcelona, central place of his work, surrounded by children, with the same simplicity that characterised all his life.   His last words were his fervent prayer Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.
His remains are kept in a burial chapel at the same school were he died, accompanied by the prayer and gratitude of his religious sons and daughters as well as the numerous youth, children and families that, because of his example, live their lives close to God and to his teachings.San Josep Manyanet

Witness to Holiness:
His saintly life impressed many people who came in contact with him.   The Process of Canonisation was formally introduced in 1956.   Once the practice of all virtues in a heroic grade was officially recognised by the church in 1982 and proof of a healing miracle attributed to his intercession, Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed in 1984. Now with the approval of another miracle through his intercession, his canonisation is scheduled to take place in Rome, on May 16, 2004.
Pope John Paul II has stated that the sanctity demonstrated by Josep Manyanet stems from the Holy Family.   He was called by God, so that “in his name every family on earth may be blessed”.   The Holy spirit guided him to boldly proclaim the “Gospel of the family”.   His inspiration was that “all families may imitate and bless the Holy Family of Nazareth”. That is: “to build a Nazareth in every home”, and to make of every family a “Holy Family”.
His canonisation brings forth the truth of his sanctity and the unending value of his message from Nazareth.   That makes him a Prophet of the family and the protector of our families.


Happy 81st Birthday Papa Francis! 17 December 2017

Happy 81st Birthday Papa Francis! 17 December 2017

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, look down, in Your mercy, upon Your servant, Pope Francis, whom You have appointed to preside over Your Church and grant, we beseech You, that today on his 81st Birthday, You will bless him and protect him.

May he, both by word and example, edify all those under his charge; so that, with the flock entrusted to him, he may arrive at length unto life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Congratulations Pope Francis!81 today PAPA FRANCIS- 17 dec 2017

Before ending his visit to Myanmar on 30 November this year, Pope Francis turned to the nation’s young Catholics, urging them to pursue lives of faith, hope and love.

Celebrating Mass in Yangon’s St Mary’s Cathedral, the pope asked the youth to serve their tiny church and their struggling nation with prayer, solidarity and a defense of human rights.

The cathedral was packed full of teenagers and young adults, many of whom were wearing traditional outfits.   Despite their numbers, the atmosphere was hushed except for the chirping of birds in the trees outside the open windows.   Thousands of young people also filled the gardens surrounding the cathedral, hoping for a close-up encounter with the pope.

In his homily, Pope Francis, whose 81st birthday is less than three weeks away, said he wanted to speak to the young as a grandfather.   The Bible, he told them, “asks us to think about our place in God’s plan” and to proclaim God’s love and mercy.

“As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the church, to your own country and to the wider world.” he said. “You are ready to bring good news to your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice and for the growth of that love and peace which Jesus brings.”

Pope Francis’ grandfatherly advice to them was to find a place away from the noise and distractions of modern life where they could learn to listen to God in prayer.   And he encouraged them to rely on the help of the saints, who were men and women who made mistakes but learned to trust in God’s mercy.

“You know that Jesus is full of mercy,” the pope told the young people. “So share with him all that you hold in your hearts: your fears and your worries, as well as your dreams and your hopes.

“Cultivate your interior life, as you would tend a garden or a field,” the pope continued. “This takes time;  it takes patience.    But like a farmer who waits for the crops to grow, if you wait the Lord will make you bear much fruit, a fruit you can then share with others.”

Finally, Pope Francis told them, be young and be bold.

“Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think,” he said. “And don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between.   The Gospel always grows from small beginnings.   So make yourselves heard.”

Posted in ADVENT, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 17 December

St Briarch of Bourbriac
St John of Matha
St Josep/José Manyanet y Vives
St Judicaël
St Lazarus of Bethany
BL Mariano Alarcón Ruiz
Bl Mathilde Téllez Robles
St Maxentiolus
St Modestus of Jerusalem
St Olympias of Constantinople
Bl Peter of Spain
St Sturmi of Fulda
St Tydecho
St Wivina
St Yolanda

Martyrs of Eleutheropolis – (60+ Martyrs-Beati): Approximately 60 Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army of emperor Heraclius; they were murdered as a group for their faith by invading Saracen Muslims. We know the names of two of them – Calaoicus and Florian. 638 in Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin), Palestine.