Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers

Thought for the Day – 25 December  – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Thought for the Day – 25 December  – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

On this day, the Church focuses especially on the newborn Child, God become human, who embodies for us all the hope and peace we seek.  We need no other special saint today to lead us to Christ in the manger, although his mother Mary and Joseph, caring for his foster-son, help round out the scene.

But if we were to select a patron for today, perhaps it might be appropriate for us to imagine an anonymous shepherd, summoned to the birthplace by a wondrous and even disturbing vision in the night, a summons from an angelic choir, promising peace and goodwill.   A shepherd willing to seek out something that might just be too unbelievable to chase after and yet compelling enough to leave behind the flocks in the field and search for a mystery.

On the day of the Lord’s birth, let’s let an unnamed, “non-celebrity” at the edge of the crowd model for us the way to discover Christ in our own hearts—somewhere between skepticism and wonder, between mystery and faith.   And, like Mary and the shepherds, let us treasure that discovery in our hearts.

The precise dating in this passage sounds like a textbook on creationism.   If we focus on the time frame, however, we miss the point.   It lays out the story of a love affair: creation, the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, the rise of Israel under David.   It climaxes with the birth of Jesus.   From the beginning, some scholars insist, God intended to enter the world as one of us, the beloved people.   Praise God! (Fr Don Miller OFM)

In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential.   In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will.   Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.

Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God.   And in His presence may our hearts burst forth in prayer: “Show us, Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps 85:8).in a society - pope holiness - 25 dec 2017

And a Holy and Happy Christmas to All!  May the Christ Child live in your hearts!my-christmas-wishes

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

“The Lord entered her
and became a servant;
the Word entered her
and became silent within her;
thunder entered her
and His voice was still;
the Shepherd of all, entered her
He became a Lamb in her
and came forth bleating.”

St Ephrem the Syrian (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe lord entered her - st ephrem - 25 dec 2017

“The One who is seated
on the throne of heaven
is laid in a stable.
A God Who is beyond access
is touched by the hands
of human beings!”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe one who is seated - st john chrysostom - 2016

“The angel sent of God, Gabriel,
had said to blessed Mary:
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon you
and the power of the Most High
shall overshadow you.
And therefore also the Holy,
which shall be born of you,
shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
But of this same Spirit,
of whom Christ was born
out of the womb
of the immaculate Mother,
is reborn the Christian,
out of the womb of holy Church.
True peace for him lies solely,
in not being separated from the will of God,
in loving those things only,
which are beloved of God.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe angel sent of god - st pope leo the great - 25 dec 2017

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God…Isaiah 52:10isaiah 52 10

REFLECTION – “Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.   The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;  no longer are we alone and forsaken. The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life.   The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin.   Today we once more discover who we are!   Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.   Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.   We must not be laggards;  we are not permitted to stand idle.   We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger.   This is the reason for our joy and gladness:  this Child has been “born to us”;  he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).   The people who for for two thousand years has traversed all the pathways of the world in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace” and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”…HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2015today we once more discover who we are!-pope francis christmas 2015

PRAYER – Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men.   Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all the ages, to bring Your light to all nations.   Come, come, let us adore our Holy Babe of Bethlehem, through whom we pray, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever amen.o come let us adore him - dec 2016

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Christmas Prayer
By St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share with all our hearts
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women this peace
for which they sometimes seek so desperately
and which You alone can give to them.
Help them to know one another better,
and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them also,
Your beauty, holiness and purity.
Awaken in their hearts
love and gratitude for Your infinite goodness.
Join them all together in Your love.
And give us Your heavenly peace, amen.christmas prayer of st pope john XXIII - 2017

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

25 December – The Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

25 December – The Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas.   Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Saviour.   Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy.   “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”   The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity.   Christmas time begins on 24 December with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ.   White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.The Nativity of the Lordthe nativity of the lord.cropped

The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy.   The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us.   The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled.   With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth.   The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity:   “For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind;  so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen.”

Christmas says to us – alone we can’t profoundly change the world to remedy it.   Alone, we can make the world better or worse but we can’t save it.   Christ came therefore, because left to ourselves; we couldn’t escape the ‘mortal disease’ that has enveloped us from the first moment of conception in our mother’s womb.   This gives us hope, true hope and true Christian optimism:   I can’t do it but He is there!   This is the mystery of grace synthesised in the human figure of God incarnate.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day are moments of contemplation.   We consider, in many dimensions, the mystery of love that was incarnated for us.   First of all, we contemplate the light and joy, without forgetting Jesus and Mary’s sorrows and sufferings and the many difficulties that had surrounded them:  the cold, the uncomfortable place, the dangers….. It would be good to accompany these thoughts by reciting and meditating slowly on the Holy Rosary, preferably in front of a crib.  ‘Blessed grotto of Bethlehem that testified to the wonders!   Who, in this hour would not turn our hearts?   Who would not prefer the opulent palace of the King?’   (Abbot Guéranger, L’Anno Liturgico, Alba 1959 [orig. franc. 1841], I, p122).da vinci

Listen to the way that St Bonaventure, the seraphic doctor, invites us to contemplate this scene in his ‘Meditation on the life of Jesus Christ’:   ‘You have also lingered, bent your knee, adored the Lord God, venerated His Mother and greeted Joseph, the holy old man, with reverence.  Therefore, kiss the feet of the baby Jesus, who lies in the manger, and pray that the Holy Virgin will allow you to hold Him.   Take Him between your arms, hold Him and see His lovable face, kiss it with reverence and rejoice with Him.  You can do this because He has come to bring salvation to sinners and He has humbly conversed with them, finally giving Himself as food’. (cit. in Guéranger, pp 136-137)

Christmas also reminds us of the great mystery of God’s people, of the Church acquired through Christ’s blood, animated by the life giving Spirit, governed by the legitimate shepherds in communion with the successor of Peter.   On this day in which the Word came to earth, assuming human nature, body, and soul, how can we not think about His Mystical Body that is animated by the Holy Spirit?   ‘For this reason, by no weak analogy, [the Church] is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word.   As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body’ (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, n.8).Jacob_de_Backer_-_The_Nativity_-_WGA1127

Holy Christmas also reminds us of the mystery of Mary as Mother of God, mother of the Incarnated Word and mother of His mystical body, the Church.   Christmas encourages us to contemplate Jesus together with Mary, reflecting on Jesus with ‘His mother’, as recounted many times in the Gospels.   If our faith must be fully evangelical, it can not neglect a sane and profound devotion to the Mother of God, as she shows us the easiest way to reach Jesus.madonna and child - christmas day post

Happy Birthday Jesus, our Lord and our God!

For a post on the Tradition  Bible Time From the Creation to The Birth of Jesus go here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/25-december-the-solemnity-of-the-birth-of-our-lord-jesus-christ/

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY

The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord and Memorials of the Saints – 25 December

Nativity of the Lord (Solemnity)

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse
Bl Jacopone da Todi
St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
St Peter Nolasco
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.