Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Four – 19 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Four – 19 December

Day Four
The Life Of Humiliation Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

The Sign which the angel gave the shepherds to help them find the newborn Saviour, points to His lowliness:  “This shall be a sign to you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  No other newborn baby who was wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, could be found anywhere else but in a stable.   Thus in lowliness the King of heaven, the Son of God, chose to be born, because He came to destroy the pride that had been the cause of man’s ruin.
The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer was to be treated as the vilest of men on earth and that He was to be overwhelmed with insults.   How much contempt had not Jesus indeed to suffer from men!   He was called a drunkard, a trickster, a blasphemer and a heretic.   What ignominies He endured in His Passion!   His own disciples abandoned Him;  one of them sold Him for thirty pieces of silver and another denied having ever known Him.   He was led in bonds through the streets like a criminal; He was scourged like a slave, ridiculed as a fool, crowned with thorns as a mock king, buffeted and spit upon and finally left to die, hanging on a cross between two thieves, as the worst criminal in the world.   “The noblest of all,” says Saint Bernard, “is treated as the vilest of all.”   But the Saint adds, “The viler Thou are treated, the dearer Thou art to me.   The more I see Thee, my Jesus, despised and put to shame, the more dear and worthy of my love dost Thou become to me.”DAY FOUR NOVENA TO THE CHRIST CHILD - 19 DEC 2017 - NO 2

O Dearest Saviour,
You have embraced so many outrages
for love of me,
yet I have not been able to bear one word of insult
without at once being filled with resentful thought,
I who have so often deserved to be trodden
under foot by the demons in hell!
I am ashamed to appear before You,
sinful and proud as I am.
Yet do not drive me from Your presence, O Lord,
even though that is what I deserve.
You have said, that You will not spurn,
a contrite and humbled heart.
I am sorry for the offenses
I have committed against You.
Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend You again.
For love of me You have borne so many injuries;
for love of You, I will bear all the injuries that are done to me.
I love You, Jesus, who was despised for love of me.
I love You above every other good.
Give me the grace to love You always
and to bear every insult for love of You.
O Mary, recommend me to your Son;
pray to Jesus for me.


Thought for the Day – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

Thought for the Day – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-202) on the Incarnation, the Word of God born for us as Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, the sign of our salvation.   He comes to restore God’s likeness in us and lead us to glory.

God is man’s glory.   Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all his wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in his conduct with men.   That is Paul’s reason for saying:   God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that he may have mercy on all.   He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God and cast off from immortality and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in his power and if man perseveres in God’s love and in obedience and gratitude to him, he will receive greater glory from him.   It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the one who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned.   He wanted to invite man to take on his likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father that would lead to the vision of God and endowing man with power to receive the Father.   He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man to open the way for man to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.

For this reason the Lord himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel.  It was the Lord himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved.   For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man and says:  I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God.   Again, he says: I am a wretched man;  who will free me from this body doomed to die?   Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same:  Hands that are feeble, grow strong!   Knees that are weak, take courage!   Hearts that are faint, grow strong!   Fear not; see, our God is judgement and he will repay.   He himself will come and save us.   He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.

This excerpt from St Irenaeus’ monumental work, Against Heresies (Lib 3,20, 2-3; SC 34, 342-344) speaks of the incarnation, the birth of the Word of God as Son of Man, as the sign of our salvation.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for 19 December one of the last days of Advent.   It was originally written around 185 AD.

St Irenaeus of Lyons
Born about 130, St Irenaeus was one of the most important of the Early Church Fathers of the 2nd Century.   His life reveals the cosmopolitan nature of the Roman Empire at the height of its power.   Though Irenaeus ultimately became bishop of what is now Lyons, in Southern France, he grew up and was educated in Smyrna, located in modern-day Turkey.   There Irenaeus had personal contact with St Polycarp, one of the Apostolic Fathers who in turn knew the Apostle John, son of Zebedee.   Before becoming bishop, Saint Irenaeus apparently studied in Rome where he was influenced by St Justin Martyr. His major work, Against Heresies, which appeared around the year 185 exposed the absurdities of the Gnostic cults of the day and included a strong presentation and defense of Catholic Christianity.   It is the earliest compendium of Christian theology surviving from ancient times and is the first work that cites virtually every book of the Christian writings that we now call the New Testament.   Irenaeus is said to have won the crown of martyrdom around the year 200 AD.   He is honoured in the Roman liturgy on 28 June.he is the word of god - st irenaeus - 19 dec 2017


Quote of the Day – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

Quote of the Day – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

God’s Sign

“God’s sign is His humility.
God’s sign is that He makes himself small;
He becomes a child;
He lets us touch him and He asks for our love.
How we would prefer a different sign,
an imposing, irresistible sign of God’s power and greatness!
But His sign summons us to faith and love
and thus it gives us hope:  this is what God is like.
He has power, He is Goodness itself.
He invites us to become like Him.
Yes indeed, we become like God if we allow ourselves
to be shaped by this sign;
if we ourselves learn humility and hence true greatness;
if we renounce violence and use only the weapons of truth and love.”

Pope Benedict XVI (2009)god's sign - pope benedict - 19 dec 2017


One Minute Reflection- 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

One Minute Reflection- 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked…Psalm 71:3-4apsalm 71-3 - 19 dec 2017

REFLECTION – “‘The Lord is near!’   What can the whole year offer us more precious, lovely and joyful?   Christmas is the shining Feast of nature and of life, full of grace and charm.   Everything comes to us from that Child whom his Mother gives to every one of us and presents to the whole world!” …St Pope John XXIIIthe lord is near - st john XXIII - 19 dec 2017

PRAYER – Deepen our faith, Lord God, as we celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation by which You revealed to the world, the splendour of Your glory, through the Virgin Mary, when she gave birth to Your Son.   As we meditate and pray about Your Son’s coming, help us to grasp its meaning in a way that is personal and profound. Through Him whom You sent to save us, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.   Come, Lord Jesus! Amenrejoice - 19 dec 2017


Our Morning Offering – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

Our Morning Offering – 19 December – Tuesday of Gaudete Week

Hail, Heavenly Beam
9th Century Catholic Advent Prayer
By Cynewulf tr Israel Gollanz

Hail, heavenly beam,
brightest of angels Thou,
sent unto men upon this middle-earth.
Thou art the true refulgence of the sun,
radiant above the stars
and from Thyself illuminest
forever, all the tides of time.
And as Thou, God indeed,
begotten of God,
Thou Son of the true Father,
wast from aye,
without beginning, in the heaven’s glory,
so now Thy handiwork in its sore need
prayeth Thee boldy, that Thou send to us
the radiant sun
and that Thou come Thyself
to enlighten those who for so long a time
went wrapt around with darkness
and here in gloom
have sat the livelong night,
shrouded in sin.hail heavenly beam - cynewulf - 19 dec 2017

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, The WORD

Tuesday of Gaudete Week – 19 December 2017

Tuesday of Gaudete Week – 19 December 2017
“The Lord is at hand; come, let us adore Him!”

Daily Meditation:
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
for your prayer has been heard.“…Luke 1:13

The Lord’s coming promises us a time
when we need not fear. It will indeed be a time
of purifying, a time of humility and trust in God.
We ask for the grace to be like the child
whose mind is changed and says, “Yes”
to our Lord’s call.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.

Today’s Daily Reflection – Intercessions:
God the almighty Father stretched forth his hand again to
take possession of the remnant of his people. Let us
make our prayer to Him:
Lord, may Your kingdom come.

Lord, grant that our works of penance may please You,
– and that we may be ready for Your kingdom which is so near.
Prepare a path in our hearts for the coming of Your Word,
– and let His glory be revealed among us.
Bring low the mountains of our pride,
– and fill up the valleys of our weakness.
Break down the wall of hatred that divides the nations,
-and make level for mankind the paths to peace.

that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication:
Come, to deliver us, and tarry not.o root of jesse - 19 dec 2017.jpg

Closing Prayer:
Lord of such compassionate wisdom,
How often do I exalt myself and ignore You?
I look over the heads of my more humble brothers and sisters,
not seeing how they rely on You so much more than I do.
Help me to learn from them to make You
the centre of my life.
You invite me to not be ashamed
of what I have done in my life,
but instead offer me a refuge.
Let me call out to you; hear me:
Give me the grace to see those around me
who are brokenhearted.
Guide me in staying with them in their sorrows.
I ask for the courage to help them in all the ways they need it
and to be Your servant on this earth.
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.
Amentuesday of gaudete week - 19 dec 2017


Posted in ADVENT, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 December – Blessed Pope Urban V (1310-1370)

Saint of the Day – 19 December – Blessed Pope Urban V (1310-1370) Priest, Monk, Abbot, Bishop, Canon lawyer, brilliant scholar, teacher –  born Guillaume de Grimoard in  1310 Grizac Castle, Languedoc, France , Bl Urban was Pope from 28 September 1362 to his death in 1370 and was also a member of the Order of Saint Benedict.   Patronages: Architects,Teachers,Benedictines, Missionaries.  He was the sixth Avignon Pope and the only Avignon pope to be beatified.   Even after his election as pontiff, he continued to follow the Benedictine Rule, living simply and modestly.   His habits did not always gain him supporters who were used to lives of affluence.
Urban V pressed for reform throughout his pontificate and also oversaw the restoration and construction of churches and monasteries.   One of the goals he made upon his election to the Papacy was the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches.   He came as close as some of his predecessors and successors but did not succeed.


Blessed Urban V was born to the nobility, one of four children of Guillaume de Grimoard, Lord of Bellegarde and of Amphélise de Montferrand;   his brother later became a cardinal and papal legate.   Guillaume became a Benedictine monk at the priory of Chirac, France in 1327.   He was ordained a Priest at the Chirac monastery in 1334.   He studied literature and law in Montpellier, France and then law at the University of Toulouse, France.    He received a doctorate in Canon Law on 31 October 1342 and was known as one of the most learned men of his day.

He was appointed prior of Nôtre-Dame du Pré in the diocese of Auxerre, France by Pope Clement VI and then the Abbot of Saint-Germain en Auxerre monastery on 13 February 1352.   He became the Benedictine Procurator-General at the Papal court.   Bl Urban taught canon law in Montpellier, in Paris and in Avignon, France and was appointed Vicar-general of the diocese of Clermont, France c 1350 and then of the diocese of Uzès, France in 1357.

He served as papal legate in Italy several times and became an advisor to Pope Innocent VI and the Apostolic Nuncio in Italy.

In September 1362, then, Bl Urban was Apostolic Nuncio in Italy when Pope Innocent VI died.   The Conclave to elect his successor opened on 22 September.   On 28 September, they elected him as the new Pope.   He was not initially informed of the result, instead he was requested to return immediately to Avignon to “consult” with the Conclave.   The cardinals feared the reaction of the Romans to the election of another French pope and so kept the results of the election secret until Urban’s arrival a month later, at the end of October.   Upon his arrival, Urban accepted his election and took the pontifical name of Urban V.   When asked the reason for the selection of his new name, he was said:  “All the popes who have borne this name were saints”.

Urban was not even a bishop at the time of his election and had to be consecrated before he could be crowned.   This was done on 6 November by Cardinal Andouin Aubert, the Bishop of Ostia.   At the conclusion of the consecration Mass, Urban V was crowned. Urban V was the sixth pope in the Avignon Papacy.


As pope he eschewed the pomp of the throne and continued to live by the Benedictine Rule, which led to opposition from courtiers who preferred a more regal life in court.   He cut tithes in half, supported students, clerical training, seminaries and colleges, worked to re-unite Latin and Greek Christians, fought the heresies of the day, built churches and monasteries, restored many that had fallen on hard times or fallen away from discipline.   He fought absentee bishops, bishops of multiple dioceses and simony, founded a university in Hungary, restored the medical school in Montpellier and approved the establishment of the University of Krakow.

He preached crusade against the Viscontis in Italy, accusing them of theft of Church property.   He also promoted a crusade against the Turks in 1363 but little came of it as many of the leaders died of natural causes before troops could be put into the field.

Urged by Saint Bridget of Sweden and by Saint Catherine of Siena to return the papacy to Rome, he moved his court back to Rome, entering the city on 16 October 1367, the first pope to do so in 60 years.   He was met by jubilant Romans and clergy. He re-discovered relics of Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostle in the papal chapel of the Lateran basilica when he prepared to say Mass there on 1 March 1368;  they were later placed and new reliquaries and enshrined.   However, outbreaks of plague and violence in the city led him to return to France, arriving there on 24 September 1370.   He fell ill soon after and his remaining weeks were ones of physical decline.

His body was interrred in the chapel of John XXII in the cathedral of Sante Marie de Domps in Avignon and his relics were moved to the abbey church of Saint-Victor in Marseille, France on 31 May 1371 where they were interred in a tomb Urban built for himself.   His Beatification Cause was opened by Pope Gregory XI and many miracles were documented through Urban’s intervention but the process ground to a halt when the papacy returned to Rome and the Cause of an Avignon Pope was a low priority
Finally on 10 March 1870 he was Beatified by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmation).




Posted in ADVENT, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 19 December

St Anastasius I, Pope
St Augustine Moi Van Nguyen
St Avitus of Micy
Bl Berengar of Banares
Bernard Valeara of Teramo
Bl Bogumila Noiszewska
St Boniface of Cilicia
Bl Cecilia of Ferrara
St Dominic Uy Van Bui
St Fausta of Sirmium
St Gregory of Auxerre
St Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
St Johannes Gogniat
St Jordi Sampé Tarragó
St Josep Albareda Ramoneda
Bl Kazimiera Wolowska
Bl Konrad Liechtenau
St Manirus of Scotland
St Meuris of Alexandria
St Nemesius of Alexandria
St Phanxicô Xaviê Hà Trong Mau
St René Dubroux
Ribert of Saint-Oyend
St Stêphanô Nguyen Van Vinh
St Thea of Alexandria
St Timothy the Deacon
St Tôma Nguyen Van Ðe
Bl Pope Urban V
Bl William of Fenoli

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (6 beati): A group of Mercedarian monks noted for their dedication to the Order’s rule, for their continuous prayer life and their personal piety.
• Blessed Bartolomeo of Podio
• Blessed Giovanni of Verdera
• Blessed Guglielmo de Gallinaris
• Blessed Guglielmo of Prunera
• Blessed Pietro of Benevento
• Blessed Pietro of Gualba

Martyrs of Nicaea – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only surviving details are four of their names – Darius, Paul, Secundus and Zosimus. They were martyred at Nicaea, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).

Martyrs of Nicomedia – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than the names of five – Anastasius, Cyriacus, Paulillus, Secundus and Syndimius. They were martyred in 303 at Nicomedia, Asia Minor.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Virtually each day of the year a Group are celebrated, usually individually but sometimes an entire Monastery or Convent or Lay Movement were martyred together. Today we remember:
• Blessed Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
• Blessed Jordi Sampé Tarragó
• Blessed Josep Albareda Ramoneda