Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three – 18 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three – 18 December

Day Three
The Life Of Poverty Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

God so ordained that, at the time when His Son was to be born on this earth, the Roman emperor should issue a decree ordering everyone to go to the place of his origin and there be registered in the census.   Thus it came about that, in obedience to this decree, Joseph went to Bethlehem together with his virgin wife when she was soon to have her Child.
Finding no lodging either in the poor inn or in the other houses of the town, they were forced to spend the night in a cave that was used as a stable for animals and it was here that Mary gave birth to the King of heaven.   If Jesus had been born in Nazareth,   He would also, it is true, have been born in poverty but there He would at least have had a dry room, a little fire, warm clothes and a more comfortable cradle.   Yet He chose to be born in this cold, damp cave and to have a manger for a cradle, with prickly straw for a mattress, in order that He might suffer for us.

Let us enter in spirit into this cave of Bethlehem but let us enter in a spirit of lively faith.
If we go there without faith, we shall see nothing but a poor infant
and the sight of this lovely child shivering
and crying on his rough bed of straw may indeed move us to pity.
But if we enter with faith and consider that this Babe is the very Son, God,
who for love of us has come down on earth
and suffers so much to pay the penalty for our sins,
how can we help thanking and loving Him in return?DAY THREE NOVENA TO THE CHRIST CHILD - 18 DEC 2017

O Dear Infant Jesus,
how could I be so ungrateful and offend You so often,
if I realised how much You have suffered for me?
But these tears which You shed,
this poverty which you embraced for love of me,
make me hope for the pardon of all the offences
I have committed against You.
My Jesus,
I am sorry for having so often turned my back on You.
But now I love You above all else.
“My God and my all!”
From now on You, O my God,
shall be my only treasure and my only good.
With Saint Ignatius of Loyola I will say to You,
“Give me the grace to love You; that is enough for me.”
I long for nothing else;
I want nothing else.
You alone are enough for me,
my Jesus, my life, my love.
O Mary, my Mother,
obtain for me the grace
that I may always love Jesus
and always be loved by Him. Amen


Thought for the Day – 18 December – Monday of Gaudete Week and the Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916) – Called “the Angel of Charity”

Thought for the Day – 18 December – Monday of Gaudete Week and the Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916) – Called “the Angel of Charity”

Try to gather together more frequently to give thanks to God and to praise Him.   For when you come together frequently, Satan’s powers are undermined and the destruction that he threatens is done away with in the unanimity of your faith.   Nothing is better than peace, in which all warfare between heaven and earth is brought to an end.

None of this will escape you if you have perfect faith and love toward Jesus Christ.  These are the beginning and the end of life:  faith the beginning, love the end.  When these two are found together, there is God and everything else concerning right living follows from them.   No one professing faith sins: no one possessing love hates.   A tree is known by its fruit.   So those who profess to belong to Christ will be known by what they do. For the work we are about is not a matter of words here and now but depends on the power of faith and on being found faithful to the end.

…Nothing is hidden from the Lord but even our secrets are close to Him.   Let us then do everything in the knowledge that He is dwelling within us that we may be His temples, and He, God within us.   He is and will reveal Himself, in our sight, according to the love we bear Him in holiness.

St Ignatius of Antioch (35-108)

(excerpt from a letter to the Ephesians by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr, Father of the Church)

Faith means the fundamental response
to the love that has offered itself up for me.
It thus becomes clear that faith is ordered primarily
to the inconceivability of God’s love,
which surpasses us and anticipates us.
Love alone is credible;
nothing else can be believed
and nothing else ought to be believed.
This is the achievement, the ‘work’ of faith:
to recognise this absolute prius,
which nothing else can surpass;
to believe that there is such a thing as love, absolute love
and that there is nothing higher or greater than it.

Cardinal Hans Urs Von Balthasar (1905-1988)faith means - card hans urs von balthasar - 18 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 18 December – The Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916) – Called “the Angel of Charity”

Quote/s of the Day – 18 December – The Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916) – Called “the Angel of Charity”

“It is better to err by excess of mercy
than by excess of severity. . .
Wilt thou become a Saint?
Be severe to thyself but kind to others.”

“Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchmercy-imitates-god-st-john-chrysostom-17-nov-2017

” Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works.
There is the goal;
that is why we run:
we run toward it and once we reach it,
in it we shall find rest.

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchlove-is-itself-st-augustine-17-nov-2017

“Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others…
For my part I will glorify You by making known
how good You are to sinners, that Your mercy is boundless.”

St Claude de la Colombiere S.J. (1641-1682)lord-i-am-in-this-world-st-claude-de-la-colombiere-17-nov-2017


One Minute Reflection – 18 December – The Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)

One Minute Reflection – 18 December – The Memorial of Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)

Abide in me and I in you.   As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me…John 15:4

REFLECTION – “Keep a quick pace, without looking behind and concentrate on the one goal -God Alone!   To Him the glory, to the others joy, for me to pay the price and never make others suffer.   I shall be very strict with myself and full of charity towards the others – love gratuitously offered is the only thing that remains.” – Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)keep a quick pace - bl giulia - 18 dec 2017

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant we pray, that we may always cling with all our strength to You. Teach us to see the face of Your Son in all, to be a vehicle of love to all.   Blessed Giulia, such was your life of charity and love, please pray for us, amenbl giulia valle - pray for us


Our Morning Offering – Monday of Gaudete Week – 18 December

Our Morning Offering – Monday of Gaudete Week – 18 December

6th Century Catholic Advent Hymn
tr. E Caswall (1814-1878)

Hark! a Herald voice is calling;
‘Christ is nigh!’ it seems to say,
‘Cast away the dreams of darkness,
waken, children of the day!’

Startled at the solemn warning,
let the earth-bound soul arise.
Christ her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

Lo!, the Lamb so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heaven.
Let us meet Him with repentance,
pray that we may be forgiven.

So when next He comes with glory,
wrapping all the earth in fear.
May He then as our Defender,
on the clouds of heav’n appear.

Honour, glory, praise and blessing,
to the Father and the Son,
with the everlasting Spirit,
while unending ages run.hark a herald voice is calling - 6th cent hymn - 18 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers

Gaudete Week – Monday 18 December

Gaudete Week – Monday 18 December

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

Daily Meditation:
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David...Jeremia 23:5

The longing of God’s people lead to a hope
that God would save them.
God would replace their corrupt kings
and send them a saviour.
May our longing these days bring us closer
to our God’s desire to save us,
to shine the Light of Christ
on the darkness of our sin.

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.…Psalm 72:12-13

Today’s Daily Reflection – Intercessions:
Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, light from light,
lead us into the light and reveal His holiness.
With confidence, let us make our prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus!
Light that never fades, dispel the mists about us,
– awaken our faith from sleep.
Guard us from all harm today,
– may Your glory fill us with joy.
Give us unfailing gentleness at all times,
– toward everyone we meet.
Come to create a new earth for us,
-where there will be justice and peace.

of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with outstretched arms.o lord and ruler - 18 december

Closing Prayer:
Is it that I haven’t seen You, God?
Have I been looking someplace else for You?
Or have my eyes been covered
by the distractions in my life?
And yet You are so faithful in Your love for me.
I see now with a new vision and great hope,
because my heart is enraptured by Your love.
I pray to You and feel the power of Your coming,
like a light on the path before me
guiding me to return Your love even more.
Let me raise my voice
with new courage and deep joy
to give You praise with my life.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.monday of gaudete week - 18 dec


Saint of the Day – 18 December – Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)

Saint of the Day – 18 December – Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916) – Religious – 26 June 1847 at Aosta, Italy – 18 December 1916 at Borgaro Torinese, Turin, Italy of natural causes.   She was beatified on 25 April 2004 by St Pope John Paul II.   Patronage – teachers.   Blessed Giulia was an Italian Roman Catholic nun and a professed member of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joan Antida Thouret; she later assumed the religious name of “Nemesia” upon becoming a professed nun. Following her profession she became an educator in Turin and the surrounding areas and was known for her careful attention to people’s individual educational needs.

Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)

(Direct translation from the Vatican Italian – please excuse some ‘strange’ phraseology.)

Giulia is the name chosen by her parents Anselmo Valle and Cristina Dalbar.   She was born in Aosta on the 26th June 1847 and was baptised on the same day in the ancient collegiate church of Saint Orso.

She spends the first years of her life within a happy family who rejoiced at the birth of another child, a sister for Vincent.   But the mother died when Giulia was only four.   The two orphans are thus entrusted first to the care of the paternal relatives in Aosta and later to the maternal ones in Donnas.   Here they find a calm environment.  The school, catechism and the preparation for the sacraments take place at home under the guide of a priest who was a family friend.

When Giulia is eleven, she is sent to France in Besançon, in a boarding school run by the Sisters of Charity where she could continue her schooling.   Her separation from the family caused her a new suffering, a new experience of solitude directing her towards a deep friendship with “the Lord who keeps her mother with Him”.

In Besançon she learned French thoroughly, enriched her culture and becomes skilful in housework.   Her delicate goodness matured and it rendered her loveable and attentive towards the others.   Five years later, Giulia returned to her valley but her house at Donnas is no longer there.   Her father got married again and moved to Pont Saint Martin.   Here the familiar situation is strained and living together is not so easy.   Her brother Vincent cannot stand her:  he goes away….Giulia remains and out of her solitude crops up the stimulus to seek what her family couldn’t provide for her, to look after those who experiment her same sorrowful event and find out ways and means that express friendship, understanding, kindness and goodness for everyone.

In that period, the sisters of Charity came to settle at Pont Saint Martin.   In them, Giulia rediscovered her teachers of Besançon, the daughters of Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret who give her help and encouragement.   She observes the life-style that they offer to God and to the others and chooses to become one of them.   When her fathers presents her the suggestion of a prosperous marriage, Giulia doesn’t hesitate:  she has promised her life totally to God :  she only desires to become a Sister of Charity.

On the 8th September 1866 her father accompanies her to the Monastery of Santa Margherita in Vercelli where the Sisters of Charity run a noviciate.

A new, peaceful and joyful life starts for her in spite of the suffering separation.   It’s now a matter of building a deeper relationship with God, of knowing herself and the mission of the community in order to accomplish God’s will.   Giulia starts joyfully her new journey.   Every day she discovers what she must lose or acquire: “Jesus strip me of myself, let me be wrapped in you. Jesus I live for you, and I die for you…” is the prayer that already accompanies and will continue to accompany her during her lifetime.

At the end of the noviciate, together with the new habit she receives a new name:  r. Nemesia.   It’s the name of one of the earliest martyrs of the church.   She is happy with the name and makes out of it a life’s program :  to witness at all costs, totally and for ever her love for Jesus.

She is sent to Tortona, in St Vincent’s Institute where she finds several activities:  an elementary school, cultural courses, a boarding school and an orphanage.   She teaches both in the elementary school and French in the higher classes.   That’s the favourable ground where she can sow kindness.  Sr Nemesia is present where humble work is to be done, where there is pain to be relieved, where apprehension hinders good relationships, where fatigue, pain and poverty put limits to life.   A voice immediately spreads within the institute and in the city: “Oh, the heart of Sr. Nemesia!

Everyone is convinced to have a particular place in this heart that knew no boundaries: Sisters, orphans, pupils, families, poor, the clergy of the nearby seminary, young soldiers of the numerous barracks of Tortona turn to her and seek her as if she were the only Sister present in the house.

When she is nominated superior of the community at the age of forty, Sr Nemesia feels perplexed but she remembers that:  to be a superior means “to serve” and therefore she can give herself without any limits.   Thus she humbly faces the ascent.   The traces the main contents of her programme:

Keep a quick pace, without looking behind and concentrate on the one goal:  God Alone ! To Him the glory, to the others joy, for me to pay the price, never make others suffer.   I shall be very strict with myself and full of charity towards the others:  love gratuitously offered is the only thing that remains.”

Her charity knew no limits.   In Tortona she is called “our angel”.

In the morning of the 10th of May 1903,  the orphans and the boarders find a message addressed to them from Sr Nemesia:  “I am leaving happily, I entrust to our Lady… I shall follow you in every moment of the day”.   She left alone at 4 o’clock in the morning, after 36 years… In Borgaro, a small country in the vicinity of Turin, there is a small group of young girls waiting to be accompanied along a new path, towards the total self-gift to God and to serve him later in the poor… They are the novices of the new province of the Sisters of Charity…  The method of her formation remains always the same:  that of kindness, understanding that educates to renouncement out of love, patience that knows how to wait and how to find the correct way that is convenient to everyone.

Her novices recall : “She knew each one of us, she understood our needs, she treated us according to our characters.”

The character of the Provincial Superior which “was perfectly opposite to hers”, disagreed with her method.   She was in favour of a rigid, strong and immediate method. Such a difference in their points of view caused relevant contrasts which found their expression in reproaches and humiliations.   Sister Nemesia accepted everything in silence, smiling as she went ahead, without hurrying and without neglecting her responsibilities:   “From one station to the other, let us continue our way in the desert…and if the desert is deaf, your Creator is always listening…”

Sr Nemesia’s path nears the end.   Already thirteen years have passed since her arrival in Borgaro.   About five hundred novices have learnt from her how to walk on the paths traced by God.   She has given everything   now the Lord asks her to “hand over” to others even “her noviciate”.

The prayer that has become hers since the beginning:  “Jesus strip me of myself, let me be wrapped in You” has accompanied her throughout her life.   Now she can say “I don’t exist any more”.   She has given up everything.   It’s the perfect offering of an existence fully offered to Love.

Sr. Nemesia dies on the 18th December 1916.

Posted in ADVENT, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 18 December

Our Lady of the Expectation – This Feast originated in Spain. When the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) was transferred to 18 December because of the regulation forbidding feasts in Lent, it remained on this date after the Annunciation was again celebrated on its original date. It impressed on the faithful the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin as the time of her delivery approached.

our-lady-of-expectation (1)the expectation
St Auxentius of Mopsuetia
St Basilian of Laodicea
St Bodagisil of Aquitaine
St Desiderius of Fontenelle
Bl Eugenio Cernuda Febrero
St Flannán of Killaloe
St Gatianus of Tours
Bl Giulia Valle
St Malachi the Prophet
St Mawnan of Cornwall
Bl Miguel San Román Fernández
St Phaolô Nguyen Van My
St Phêrô Truong Van Ðuong
St Phêrô Vu Van Truat
Bl Philip of Ratzeburg
St Rufus of Philippi
St Samthann of Clonbroney
St Theotimus of Laodicea
St Winebald of Heidenheim
St Zosimus of Philippi

Martyrs of Northwest Africa – 42 saints:
Mercedarian Redeemers – 6 beati – These are a group of Mercedarian friars who worked together, under the leadership of Saint Peter de Amer, to ransom (e.g., redeem) prisoners and minister to them after.