Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers, The WORD

Wishes for a Happy and Holy 2018!

My Wishes to You All
for a Blessed and Grace-filled 2018

May he give you what you desire
and make all your plans succeed.
Then we will shout for joy over your victory
and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.
May the LORD answer all your requests...Psalm 20:4-5

new year wishes 1 jan 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Thought for the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Reflect on this.
Jesus, Who is God, is the only natural-born son who chose His mother.
He had a plan for her life and she accepted it with her fiat, her yes given to the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation.
For that we are eternally grateful and indebted to Mary, who was given to us to be our mother by her Son from the Cross.

And if anyone ever suggests to you that you love Mary too much, answer,
“Oh no, I could not possibly love Mary too much
because I could never love her as much as she is loved by her son!”

Blessed Virgin Mary,
who can worthily repay you
with praise and thanksgiving
for having rescued a fallen world
by your generous consent?
…accept then such poor thanks as we have to offer,
unequal though they be to your merits.
Receive our gratitude
and obtain by your prayers the pardon of our sins.
Take our prayers into the sanctuary of heaven
and enable them to bring about our peace with God
…Holy Mary, help the miserable,
strengthen the discouraged,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for your people,
plead for the clergy,
intercede for all women consecrated to God.
May all who venerate you,
feel now your help and protection. …
Make it your continual care to pray for the people of God,
for you were blessed by God
and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world,
who lives and reigns for ever. Amen

St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctorto mary mother of god - st augustine - 1 jan 2018

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD - PRAY FOR US

Posted in CCC, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote/s of the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

“It becomes you to be mindful of us,
as you stand near Him
Who granted you all graces,
for you are the Mother of God and our Queen.
Help us for the sake of the King,
the Lord God Master Who was born of you.
For this reason you are called ‘full of Grace’…”

St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Churchit becomes you to be mindful - st athanasius - 1 jan 2018

“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
he is severed from the Godhead.
If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin
as through a channel
and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her
(divinely, because without the intervention of a man;
humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation),
he is in like manner godless.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchif anyone does not believe - 1 jan 2018

“What the Catholic faith believes about Mary
is based on what it believes about Christ
and what it teaches about Mary,
illumines in turn, its faith in Christ”

CCC No 487ccc no 487 - 1 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord and the first day of the Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

One Minute Reflection – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord and the first day of the Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.…Luke 2:19

REFLECTIONS – “Today’s liturgy celebrates the solemnity of the Mother of God.
Mary is the one who was chosen to be Mother of the Redeemer, sharing intimately in his mission.
In the light of Christmas, the mystery of her divine motherhood is illumined.
Mary, Mother of Jesus who was born in the Bethlehem cave,
is also the Mother of every man and woman who comes into the world.
How is it possible not to commend to her the year that is beginning,
to implore a time of serenity and peace for all humanity?
On the day when this new year begins under the blessed gaze of the Mother of God,
let us invoke the gift of peace for each one and all.”…St Pope John Paul – 1997mary is the one who was chosen - st john paul - 1 jan 2018

PRAYER – God, our Father, since You gave mankind a saviour through blessed Mary, virgin and mother, grant that we may feel the power of her intercession when she pleads for us with Jesus Christ, Your Son, the author of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.mary mother of god pray for us - 1 jan 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DEVOTIO, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL PRAYERS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for January 2018

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention
for January 2018

Religious Minorities in Asia

That Christian and other religious minorities
in Asian countries, may be able to practise
their faith in full freedom.

the holy father's prayer intention january 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY NAME

Monthly Catholic Devotions: JANUARY is the Month of THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS

1 January – Catholic Devotion of the Month – The Most Holy Name of Jesus

In Philippians 2, St Paul tells us that “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”   From the earliest days of Christianity, Christians have known the great power of Jesus’ Holy Name.   As the once-popular hymn commanded:

All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Small wonder, then, that the Church sets aside the first month of the year in honour of the Holy Name of Jesus. hrough this devotion, the Church reminds us of the power of Christ’s Name and encourages us to pray in His Name.  In our society, of course, we hear His Name uttered quite often but all too frequently, it is used in a curse or blasphemy.  In the past, Christians would often make the Sign of the Cross when they heard Christ’s Name uttered in such a manner and that’s a practice that would be worthwhile to revive.   

What has happened to the tradition of honouring the Holy Name of Jesus?

By way of concretising respect for the name of Jesus in a formal way the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 decreed that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious name is recalled, especially during the sacred mysteries of the Mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head”.
As regards what is to be done in Mass today, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says: “A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saint in whose honour Mass is being celebrated” (GIRM 275).
The importance of honouring the holy name of Jesus is seen too in the feast of that name, which has been celebrated, at least at the local level, since the end of the 15th century.   The feast was inserted into the universal calendar by Pope Innocent XIII in 1721 and is now celebrated on 3 January.

Given the widespread misuse of the names of God and Jesus today in ordinary life, as well as on television, in films and in other forms of entertainment, it is especially important to do all we can to restore respect for the name of God.
Bowing our head when we pronounce or hear the name of Jesus is a good way to do this.
Also important is to make an internal act of reparation whenever we hear the name of God or Jesus blasphemed.
It should hurt us that the object of our love is mistreated in this way.
It may very well be that the custom of bowing the head at the name of Jesus will pass out of general use, as have other laudable customs in recent times but that does not prevent us personally from continuing to live it and passing on to our children this ancient custom.

LET US EACH ONE BRING IT BACK for the very Angels in Heaven bow at the name of Jesus. And even the demons in Hell.BOW YOUR HEAD!

1 january 2018 - the most holy name

Another good practice that we could take to heart during this Month of the Holy Name of Jesus is the recitation of the Jesus Prayer. his prayer is as popular among Eastern Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, as the rosary is among Roman Catholics but it’s not as well known in the West.   This month, why not take a few minutes to memorise the Jesus Prayer and pray it during those moments of the day when you are between activities, or travelling, or simply taking a rest?   Keeping Christ’s Name always on our lips is a good way to ensure that we draw ever nearer to Him.

THE JESUS PRAYER
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinnerthe jesus prayer - 1 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL MESSAGES, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

1 January 2018 – The 51st World Day of Prayer for Peace

1 January 2018 – The 51st World Day of Prayer for Peace

The World Day of Prayer for Peace was first observed on 1 January 1968, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI. It was inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII and with reference to Paul’s encyclical Populorum Progressio.

Our Holy Fathers, have used this day to make magisterial declarations relevant to the social doctrine of the Church on such topics as the United Nations, human rights, women’s rights, labour unions, economic development, the right to life, international diplomacy, peace in the Holy Land, globalisation, migrants, refugees and terrorism.the 51st world day of peace - 1 jan 2018

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 
51st WORLD DAY OF PEACE

1 JANUARY 2018

Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace

1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace

Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night,[1]  is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.   Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.”  [2]  In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others.   Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home.   Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited.   By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.”[3]   Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.[4]

2. Why so many refugees and migrants?

As he looked to the Great Jubilee marking the passage of two thousand years since the proclamation of peace by the angels in Bethlehem, Saint John Paul II pointed to the increased numbers of displaced persons as one of the consequences of the “endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansings”[5] that had characterised the twentieth century.   To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organised violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond.

Yet people migrate for other reasons as well, principally because they “desire a better life, and not infrequently try to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.”[6]   They set out to join their families or to seek professional or educational opportunities, for those who cannot enjoy these rights do not live in peace.   Furthermore, as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, there has been “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation”.[7]

Most people migrate through regular channels.   Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow.

Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.   Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]

All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.

3. With a contemplative gaze

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”[9]   These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem.   The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice”[10] – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed.   They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.   We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth.   Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.

4. Four mileposts for action

Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[12]

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence.   It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[13]

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited.   I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate:  “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.”[14]

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people.   This will enable them not only to cultivate and realise their potential but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation.   The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.   And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”[15]

“Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community.   Saint Paul expresses it in these words:  “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.”[16]

5. A proposal for two international compacts

It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.   As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures.   For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process.   Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalisation of indifference.

Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community.   Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed – or better welcomed – also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding.

The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities.[17]   The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts.    This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to the very origins of the Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time.

6. For our common home

Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II:  “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”[18]   Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia.

Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death. On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory.   This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters.   Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”[19]

From the Vatican, 13 November 2017

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 31 December – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Our Morning Offering – 31 December – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Our Lady, Mother of God
By St Germanus (378-448)

Our Lady
Your name is
Our Lady.
You alone are
Mother of God
and raised high
over all the earth.
O Spouse of God,
we celebrate you
with faith,
we honour you
with longing,
we venerate you
with awe;
at every moment
we exalt you
and reverently proclaim
you blessed.
Amenour lady, mother of god - 1 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL MESSAGES, SAINT of the DAY

1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Start the New Year With Jesus’ Mother—and Our Own

In the early centuries of the Church, once Christmas began to be celebrated as its own feast on 25 December (having originally been celebrated with the Feast of the Epiphany, on 6 January, the Octave (eighth day) of Christmas, 1 January took on a special meaning. In the East, and throughout much of the West, it became common to celebrate a feast of Mary, the Mother of God, on this day. This feast was never established in the universal calendar of the Church, however, and a separate feast, celebrating the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ (which would have taken place a week after His birth), eventually took hold of 1 January. With the revision of the liturgical calendar the Feast of the Circumcision was set aside, and the ancient practice of dedicating 1 January to the Mother of God was revived—this time, as a universal feast.
One of the earliest titles given by Christians to the Blessed Virgin was Theotokos—”God-bearer.” We celebrate her as the Mother of God, because, in bearing Christ, she bore the fullness of the Godhead within her. As we begin another year, we draw inspiration from the selfless love of the Theotokos, who never hesitated to do the will of God. And we trust in her prayers to God for us, that we might, as the years pass, become more like her. O Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!Mary2017_1100x754

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 1st January 2017

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart! (Lk 2:19).   In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days.   Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.   Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history.   She learned how to be a mother and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son.   In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognise the maternal tenderness of God.   With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise.   With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people.octave-day.mary mother of god - 2016jpg

In the Gospels, Mary appears as a woman of few words, with no great speeches or deeds but with an attentive gaze capable of guarding the life and mission of her Son and for this reason, of everything that he loves.   She was able to watch over the beginnings of the first Christian community and in this way she learned to be the mother of a multitude.   She drew near to the most diverse situations in order to sow hope.   She accompanied the crosses borne in the silence of her children’s hearts.   How many devotions, shrines and chapels in the most far-off places, how many pictures in our homes, remind us of this great truth.   Mary gave us a mother’s warmth, the warmth that shelters us amid troubles, the maternal warmth that keeps anything or anyone from extinguishing in the heart of the Church the revolution of tenderness inaugurated by her Son.   Where there is a mother, there is tenderness.   By her motherhood, Mary shows us that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong. She teaches us that we do not have to mistreat others in order to feel important (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 288).    God’s holy people has always acknowledged and hailed her as the Holy Mother of God.

To celebrate Mary as Mother of God and our mother at the beginning of the new year means recalling a certainty that will accompany our days:   we are a people with a Mother;   we are not orphans.

Mothers are the strongest antidote to our individualistic and egotistic tendencies, to our lack of openness and our indifference.   A society without mothers would not only be a cold society, but a society that has lost its heart, lost the “feel of home”.   A society without mothers would be a merciless society, one that has room only for calculation and speculation.   Because mothers, even at the worst times, are capable of testifying to tenderness, unconditional self-sacrifice and the strength of hope.   I have learned much from those mothers whose children are in prison, or lying in hospital beds, or in bondage to drugs, yet, come cold or heat, rain or draught, never stop fighting for what is best for them.   Or those mothers who in refugee camps, or even the midst of war, unfailingly embrace and support their children’s sufferings.   Mothers who literally give their lives so that none of their children will perish.   Where there is a mother, there is unity, there is belonging, belonging as children.

To begin the year by recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary, in the maternal face of the Church, in the faces of our own mothers, protects us from the corrosive disease of being “spiritual orphans”.   It is the sense of being orphaned that the soul experiences when it feels motherless and lacking the tenderness of God, when the sense of belonging to a family, a people, a land, to our God, grows dim.   This sense of being orphaned lodges in a narcissistic heart capable of looking only to itself and its own interests.   It grows when what we forget that life is a gift we have received – and owe to others – a gift we are called to share in this common home.

It was such a self-centred orphanhood that led Cain to ask:  “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).   It was as if to say:  he doesn’t belong to me;  I do not recognise him.   This attitude of spiritual orphanhood is a cancer that silently eats away at and debases the soul.   We become all the more debased, inasmuch as nobody belongs to us and we belong to no one.   I debase the earth because it does not belong to me;  I debase others because they do not belong to me;  I debase God because I do not belong to him and in the end we debase our very selves, since we forget who we are and the divine “family name” we bear.   The loss of the ties that bind us, so typical of our fragmented and divided culture, increases this sense of orphanhood and, as a result, of great emptiness and loneliness.   The lack of physical (and not virtual) contact is cauterising our hearts (cf. Laudato Si’, 49) and making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion.   Spiritual orphanhood makes us forget what it means to be children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, friends and believers.   It makes us forget the importance of playing, of singing, of a smile, of rest, of gratitude.

Celebrating the feast of the Holy Mother of God makes us smile once more as we realise that we are a people, that we belong, that only within a community, within a family, can we as persons find the “climate”, the “warmth” that enables us to grow in humanity and not merely as objects meant to “consume and be consumed”.   To celebrate the feast of the Holy Mother of God reminds us that we are not interchangeable items of merchandise or information processors.   We are children, we are family, we are God’s People.

Celebrating the Holy Mother of God leads us to create and care for common places that can give us a sense of belonging, of being rooted, of feeling at home in our cities, in communities that unite and support us (cf. Laudato Si’, 151).2.2.2.x-collection-detail-sirani_virgin_and_childMother-of-GodVirgin and Child (Luis De Morales)

Jesus, at the moment of his ultimate self-sacrifice, on the cross, sought to keep nothing for himself, and in handing over his life, he also handed over to us his Mother.   He told Mary:   Here is your son; here are your children.   We too want to receive her into our homes, our families, our communities and nations.   We want to meet her maternal gaze. The gaze that frees us from being orphans; the gaze that reminds us that we are brothers and sisters, that I belong to you, that you belong to me, that we are of the same flesh.   The gaze that teaches us that we have to learn how to care for life in the same way and with the same tenderness that she did:  by sowing hope, by sowing a sense of belonging and of fraternity.

Celebrating the Holy Mother of God reminds us that we have a Mother.   We are not orphans.   We have a Mother.   Together let us all confess this truth.   I invite you to acclaim it three times, standing [all stand], like the faithful of Ephesus:  Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God.BallymoteChurchoftheImmaculateConceptionNorthAisleMadonnaandChild20100923

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

1 January 2018 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord, 51st World Day of Peace and Memorials of the Saints

Mary, Mother of God (Solemnity) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCePGwykjag

Circumcision of the Lord (Feast):   Though He was not bound by law, Christ wanted to fulfill the law and to show His descent in the flesh from Abraham and so was circumcised on the eighth day of his life (Luke 2:21) and received the name expressive of His office, Jesus, (Saviour).   He was, as Saint Paul says, “made under the law”, that is, He submitted to the Mosaic Dispensation, “that he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).   “The Christ, in order to fulfil all justice, was required to endure this humiliation and bear in His body the stigma of the sins which He had taken upon Himself.”   The circumcision took place, not in the Temple, though painters sometimes so represent it but in some private house, where the Holy Family had found a rather late hospitality.   The public ceremony in the synagogue, which is now the usage, was introduced later.
As Christmas was celebrated on 25 December, celebration of Circumcision fell on the first of January.   In the ages of paganism, however, the solemnisation of the feast was almost impossible due to orgies connected with the Saturnalian festivities being celebrated at the same time.   Even in our own day the secular features of the opening of the New Year interfere with the religious observance of the Circumcision and tend to make a mere holiday of that which should have the sacred character of a Holy Day.   Saint Augustine of Hippo points out the difference between the pagan and Christian manners of celebrating the day:   pagan feasting and excesses were to be expiated by Christian fasting and prayer.   The Feast was kept at an early date in the Gallican Rite, as is clearly indicated in a Council of Tours in 567, in which he Mass of the Circumcision is prescribed.   The feast celebrated at Rome in the seventh century was not the Circumcision as such, but the octave of Christmas.   The Gelasian Sacramentary gives the title “In Octabas Domini”, and prohibits the faithful from idolatry and the profanities of the season.   The earliest Byzantine calendars (eighth and ninth centuries) give for the first of January both the Circumcision and the anniversary of Saint Basil.   The Feast of the Circumcision was observed in Spain before the death of Saint Isidore in 636.   It seems, therefore, that the octave was more prominent in the early centuries and the Circumcision later.   As paganism passed away the religious festivities of the Circumcision became more conspicuous and solemn, yet, even in the tenth century, Atto, Bishop of Vercelli, rebuked those who profaned the holy season by pagan dances, songs, and the lighting of lamps.

Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord

World Day of Peace:    Feast day dedicated to peace.   It first observed on 1 January 1968, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI.   It was inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII and with reference to Paul’s encyclical Populorum Progressio.    Our Holy Fathers have used this day to make magisterial declarations relevant to the social doctrine of the Church on such topics as the United Nations, human rights, women’s rights, labour unions, economic development, the right to life, international diplomacy, peace in the Holy Land, globalisation, migrants, refugees and terrorism.

Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus – But now celebrated on 3 January, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Bl Adalbero of Liege
St Baglan of Wales
St Basil of Aix
Bl Bonannus of Roio
St Brogan
St Buonfiglio Monaldi
Bl Catherine de Solaguti
St Clarus of Vallis Regia
St Clarus of Vienne
St Colman mac Rónán
St Colman Muillin of Derrykeighan
St Concordius of Arles
St Connat
St Cuan
St Demet of Plozévet
St Elvan
St Eugendus of Condat
St Euphrosyne of Alexandria
St Fanchea of Rossory
St Felix of Bourges
St Frodobert of Troyes
St Fulgentius of Ruspe
St Gisela of Rosstreppe
St Gregory Nazianzen the Elder
Bl Hugolinus of Gualdo Cattaneo
Bl Jean-Baptiste Lego
Bl Jean of Saint-Just-en-Chaussée
St Joseph Mary Tomasi
St Justin of Chieti
Bl Lojze Grozde
St Maelrhys
St Magnus the Martyr
Bl Marian Konopinski
St Mydwyn
St Odilo of Cluny
St Odilo of Stavelot
St Peter of Atroa
St Peter of Temissis
Bl René Lego
St Sciath of Ardskeagh
St Severino Gallo
St Telemachus
St Thaumastus of Mainz
St Theodotus
St Tyfrydog
Bl Valentin Paquay
St Vincent Strambi
St William of Dijon
St Zedislava Berka
St Zygmunt Gorazdowski

Breton Missionaries to Britain
Martyred Soldiers of Rome: Thirty soldiers martyred in Rome as a group during the persecutions of Diocletian. We don’t even known their names. They were martyred c 304 at Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Africa – 8 saints: Eight Christians martyred together in Africa, date unknown. The only details we have are four of their names – Argyrus, Felix, Narcissus and Victor.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Andrés Gómez Sáez