Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)

DAY TWO – 1 December

Mother of us all, Mother of each of us

The divine Motherhood of Mary is the source of all the perfections and privileges with
which she is endowed.   Because of it, she was conceived immaculate and is full of
grace, because of it, she is ever virgin, she was taken up body and soul to heaven and
has been crowned Queen of all creation, above the angels and saints.   Greater than she,
there is none but God. “The Blessed Virgin, from the fact that she is the Mother of God, has a certain infinite dignity which comes from the infinite good which is God.” There is no danger of exaggerating.   We can never hope to fathom this inexpressible mystery; nor will we ever be able to give sufficient thanks to our Mother for bringing us into such intimacy with the Blessed Trinity.   (Friends of God, 276)

There is no heart more human than that of a person overflowing with supernatural
sense.   Think of Holy Mary, who is full of grace, daughter of God the Father, Mother of
God the Son, spouse of God the Holy Spirit.   Her heart has room for all humanity and
makes no distinction or discrimination.   Every person is her son or her daughter. (Furrow, 801)

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, brought Mary into his home, into his life.  Spiritual writers have seen these words of the Gospel as an invitation to all Christians to bring Mary into their lives.   Mary certainly wants us to invoke her, to approach her confidently, to appeal to her as our mother, asking her to “show that you are our mother.”
But she is a mother who anticipates our requests.   Knowing our needs, she comes quickly to our aid.   If we recall that God’s mercies come to us through the hands of our Lady, each of us can find many reasons for feeling that Mary is our mother in a very special way.   (Christ is Passing By, 140)

Because Mary is our mother, devotion to her teaches us to be authentic sons and daughters:  to love truly, without limit;   to be simple, without the complications which come from selfishly thinking only about ourselves;  to be happy, knowing that nothing can destroy our hope.   “The beginning of the way, at the end of which you will find yourself completely carried away by love for Jesus, is a trusting love for Mary.”   I wrote that many years ago, in the introduction to a short book on the rosary and since then I have often experienced the truth of those words.   I am not going to complete that thought here with all sorts of reasons.   I invite you to discover it for yourself, showing your love for Mary, opening your heart to her, confiding to her your joys and sorrows, asking her to help you recognise and follow Jesus.   (Christ is Passing By, 143)

Let us Pray

Mother, we thank you
for your intercession before Jesus.
Without you, we would not
have been able to reach Him.
How true it is
that one always goes to Jesus
and returns to Him
through Mary!


Thought for the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581) Martyr

Thought for the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581) Martyr

St Edmund Campion, SJ, ministered to Catholics in England at a time of Catholic persecution. Under the Tudor monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the Catholic Church was displaced by the Church of England. The English monasteries were dissolved by 1541 and Catholic clergy and laity were persecuted and killed.

Edmund Campion could have been the brightest star in Elizabethan England. He impressed Elizabeth with his welcoming oration when she visited Oxford University in 1569. Under her promised patronage his path to power and prestige was assured. Campion first thought to follow that path, being ordained originally as an Anglican deacon. But his heart was rooted in the Catholic faith. In 1571 Campion travelled to Douai, France, to study in the Catholic seminary. Several years later he walked to Rome, where he was accepted by the Jesuits. The next years Campion taught in Vienna and Prague.

Campion could have stayed safely in Prague but he heard the call to minister to Catholics in England. He could only do this travelling in disguise, celebrating the sacraments in secret and avoiding the many spies who sought him out. But Campion did not keep his mission a secret. He wrote and circulated the Challenge to the Privy Council to debate him on all issues between Protestants and Catholics. His mission began in 1580 but soon ended with his arrest in 1581.

After his arrest, Campion was convicted of treason, suffered the dislocation of his bones on the rack and still held his own in debates against his persecutors. Showing her esteem for his person, Elizabeth I met him, trying to draw him back into the Church of England. Campion remained steadfast in his Catholic faith. Finally, Campion was hanged, drawn and quartered on 1 December 1581.

Edmund Campion, SJ, was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI in edmund campion - tumblr_msjhgluugc1rrwnhfo1_1280

His very famous “Challenge” known as “Campion’s Bragge” is below:

Campion’s Bragge
St Edmund Campion SJ
London 1580

“To the Right Honourable, the Lords of Her Majesty’s Privy Council

Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors and
adventured myself into this noble realm, my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course.
Wherefore, providing for all events and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance, I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships to give it your reading, for to know my cause. This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labour.   For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession. And to the intent that the whole matter may be conceived in order and so the better both understood and remembered, I make thereof these nine points or articles, directly, truly and resolutely opening my full enterprise and purpose.
i.  I confess that I am (albeit unworthy) a priest of the Catholic Church and through the great mercy of God vowed now these eight years into the religion of the Society of Jesus. Hereby I have taken upon me a special kind of warfare under the banner of obedience and also resigned all my interest or possibility of wealth, honour, pleasure and other worldly felicity.
ii.  At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.
iii.  My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors — in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.
iv. I never had mind and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any
respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my
vocation and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts.
v.  I do ask, to the glory of God, with all humility, and under your correction, three sorts of indifferent and quiet audiences: the first, before your Honours, wherein I will discourse of religion, so far as it toucheth the common weal and your nobilities:  the second, whereof I make more account, before the Doctors and Masters and chosen men of both universities, wherein I undertake to avow the faith of our Catholic Church by proofs innumerable —Scriptures, councils, Fathers, history, natural and moral reasons: the third, before the lawyers, spiritual and temporal, wherein I will justify the said faith by the common wisdom of the laws standing yet in force and practice.
vi. I would be loath to speak anything that might sound of any insolent brag or challenge,
especially being now as a dead man to this world and willing to put my head under every man’s foot and to kiss the ground they tread upon.   Yet I have such courage in avouching the majesty of Jesus my King and such affiance in his gracious favour and such assurance in my quarrel, and my evidence so impregnable and because I know perfectly that no one Protestant, nor all the Protestants living, nor any sect of our adversaries (howsoever they face men down in pulpits, and overrule us in their kingdom of grammarians and unlearned ears) can maintain their doctrine in disputation.   I am to sue most humbly and instantly for combat with all and every of them and the most principal that may be found: protesting that in this trial the better furnished they come, the better welcome they shall be.
vii. And because it hath pleased God to enrich the Queen my Sovereign Lady with notable gifts of nature, learning and princely education, I do verily trust that if her Highness would vouchsafe her royal person and good attention to such a conference as, in the second part of my fifth article I have motioned, or to a few sermons, which in her or your hearing I am to utter such manifest and fair light by good method and plain dealing may be cast upon these controversies, that possibly her zeal of truth and love of her people shall incline her noble Grace to disfavour some proceedings hurtful to the realm, and procure towards us oppressed more equity.
viii.  Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness’ Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation.   Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes.   And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league — all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England — cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.   The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun;  it is of God;  it cannot be withstood.   So the faith was planted – So it must be restored.
ix. If these my offers be refused and my endeavours can take no place and I, having run
thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour.   I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us His grace and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.”

Saint Edmund Campion, Pray for England,

Pray for us all!st edmund campion pray for us - 1 dec 2018


Catholic Devotion for December – The Immaculate Conception

Catholic Devotion for December – The Immaculate Conception

The Solemnity of the The Immaculate Conception, is celebrated on 8 December.december month of the imm conception - 1 dec 2018

In 1854, Pope Pius IX’s solemn declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin.   In proclaiming the Immaculate Conception of Mary, as a dogma of the Church, the pope expressed precisely and clearly that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin.   This privilege of Mary’s, derives from God’s having chosen her as Mother of the Saviour, thus she received the benefits of salvation in Christ, from the very moment of her conception.

This great gift to Mary, an ordinary human being just like us, was fitting because she was destined to be Mother of God.   The purity and holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a model for all Christians.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of the Immaculate Conception of Mary:

490.  To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role”.   The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.   In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

491.   Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception  . That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1844: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.)

492.   The “splendour of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ – she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.”   The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.”

493.   The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.   By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.december-the-month-of-the-immaculate-conception

Immaculate Mary, Pray for the Church, the Mystical Body of your Son!immaculate mary - pray for us


The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for December 2018

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention
for December 2018

In the Service of the Transmission of Faith

That people,
who are involved in the service and transmission of faith,
may find,
in their dialogue with culture,
a language suited to the conditions
of the present time.

the holy father's prayer intention decembe 2018 - 1 dec 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) and Bl Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Both Martyrs

Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) and Bl Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Both Martyrs

“To be a Catholic is my greatest glory.”

St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581)to be a catholic is my greatest glory - st edmund campion 1 dec 2018

“The Gospel shows me,
that the first commandment is to love God,
with all my heart
and that it is necessary to do everything,
solely out of love.
Everyone knows,
that the first result of love,
is imitation.”

“Everything about us, all that we are,
should ‘proclaim the Gospel from the housetops’.
All that we do and our whole lives,
should be an example,
of what the Gospel way of life means in practice
and should make it unmistakably clear,
that we belong to Jesus.
Our entire being should be a living witness,
a reflection of Jesus.”the gospel shows me - everything about us-bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2018

“It is JESUS in this situation.”it is JESUS in this situation - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2018

“I would like to be sufficiently good,
that people would say,
‘If such is the servant,
what must the Master be like?’”

Blessed Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)i would like to be - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 1 December – Today’s Gospel: Luke 21:34–36

One Minute Reflection – 1 December – Today’s Gospel: Luke 21:34–36,Saturday of the Thirty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) and Bl Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Both Martyrs

“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare”…Luke 21:34

REFLECTION – ““But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare.”   You heard the proclamation of the eternal King.   You learned the deplorable end of “drunkenness” or “intoxication.”   Imagine a skilled and wise physician who would say, “Beware, no one should drink too much from this or that herb.   If he does, he will suddenly be destroyed.”   I do not doubt that everyone would keep the prescriptions of the physician’s warning concerning his own health.   Now the Lord, who is both the physician of souls and bodies, orders them to avoid as a deadly drink, the herb “of drunkenness” and the vice “of intoxication” and also the care of worldly matters.   I do not know if anyone can say, that he is not wounded, because these things consume him.

Drunkenness is therefore destructive in all things.   It is the only thing that weakens the soul together with the body.   According to the apostle, it can happen that when the body “is weak,” then the spirit is “much stronger,” and when “the exterior person is destroyed, the interior person is renewed.”   In the illness of drunkenness, the body and the soul are destroyed at the same time. The spirit is corrupted equally with the flesh.   All the members are weakened, the feet and the hands. The tongue is loosened.   Darkness covers the eyes. Forgetfulness covers the mind so that one does not know himself nor does he perceive he is a person.

Drunkenness of the body has that shamefulness.”…Origen (Homilies on Leviticus, 7) – (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today.but take heed luke 21 34 - i do not doubt - origen 1 dec2018

PRAYER – Let us praise You alone, Lord, with voice and mind and deed and since life itself is Your gift, may we live in Your presence, never ceasing to live as Your children of light.   Strengthen us good Father, to keep our lives free from the evils of the world and may we constantly be aware of the dangers we face.   Grant that by the intercession of St Edmund Campion and Blessed Charles de Foucauld, we may remain untempted by the evil pursuits which beset us.   Through Jesus our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, edmund campion pray for us no 2 - 1 dec 2018

bl charles de foucauld pray for us - 1 dec 2018


Our Morning Offering – 1 December – The Memorial of Blessed Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

Our Morning Offering – 1 December – The Memorial of Blessed Charles of Jesus/Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

Father, I abandon myself into Your Hands
By Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.
Amenfather, i abandon myself into your hands - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 1 December – Blessed Charles of Jesus/ Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)

Saint of the Day – 1 December – Blessed Charles of Jesus/ Charles de Foucauld OCSO (1858-1916) – Priest, Martyr, Religious Brother, Apostle of the Holy Eucharistic, of Prayer and Charity, Writer, Founder of various groups and fraternities for both religious and the laity, that include Jesus Caritas, the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus, among a total of ten religious congregations and nine associations of spiritual life. Though originally French in origin, these groups have expanded to include many cultures and their languages on all continents.   Blessed Charles was born on 15 September 1858 in Strasbourg, France as Charles Eugenie de Foucauld and died by being shot on 1 December 1916 at Tamanrasset, bl charles foucauld lg

Charles de Foucauld (Brother Charles of Jesus) was orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.

He lost his faith as an adolescent.  His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he could be strong willed and constant in difficult situations.   He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884).   Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith questioned him and he began repeating, “My God, if you exist, let me come to know You.”

On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search.   Under the guidance of Fr Huvelin he re-discovered God in October 1886.  He was then 28 years old.   “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for Him alone.”

A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him – to follow Jesus in His life at Nazareth.  He spent 7 years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria.  Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.CharlesdeJesus

Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar.   This region is the central part of the Sahara with the Ahaggar Mountains (the Hoggar) immediately to the west.   Foucauld used the highest point in the region, the Assekrem, as a place of retreat.   He wanted to be among those who were, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.”   He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, “a universal brother.”   In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to “shout the Gospel with his life”.   I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, ‘If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?’”FOUCAULD_I_INSTITUT_DU_VERBE_INCARNE

Living close to the Tuareg and sharing their life and hardships, he made a ten-year study of their language and cultural traditions.   He learned the Tuareg language and worked on a dictionary and grammar.   His dictionary manuscript was published posthumously in four volumes and has become known among Berberologists for its rich and apt descriptions.

On 1 December 1916, de Foucauld was dragged from his hermitage by a gang of armed bandits led by El Madani ag Soba, who was connected with the Senussi Bedouin.   They intended to kidnap de Foucauld but when the gang was disturbed by two guardsmen, one startled bandit (15-year-old Sermi ag Thora) shot him through the head, killing him instantly.   The murder was witnessed by sacristan and servant Paul Embarek, an African Arab former slave liberated and instructed by de Foucauld.

The French authorities continued for years searching for the bandits involved.   In 1943 El Madani fled French forces in Libya to the remote South Fezzan.   Sermi ag Thora was apprehended and executed at Djanet in 1944.

De Foucauld was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 13 November 2005 and is listed as a martyr in the liturgy of the Catholic charleslife

He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others – after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this “life of Nazareth” could be led by all.   Today the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld” encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.

In 1950, the colonial Algerian government issued a postage stamp with his image.   The French government did the same in 1959.

In 2013, partly inspired by the life of de Foucauld a community of consecrated brothers or monacelli (little monks) was established in Perth, Australia, called the Little Eucharistic Brothers of Divine Will.SOD-1201-BlessedCharlesdeFoucald-790x480

Posted in MARIAN Saturdays, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 1 December

Blessed Virgin Mary (Saturday Memorial 2018)

St Agericus of Verdun
St Agnofleta
St Alexander Briant
Bl Alphonsine Anuarite Nengapeta
St Ambon of Rome
St Ananias of Arbela
St Ansanus the Baptizer
Bl Antony Bonfadini
Bl Bruna Pellesi
St Candida of Rome
St Candres of Maestricht
St Cassian of Rome
St Castritian of Milan
Bl Charles of Jesus/de Foucauld OCSO (1858-1916)

Bl Christian of Perugia
St Constantine of Javron
St Declan
St Didorus
St Domnolus of Le Mans
St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581 aged 41) Martyr

St Eligius
St Evasius of Asti
St Filatus of Rome
St Florence of Poitiers
St Florentius
St Grwst
St Jabinus of Rome and Companions
Bl John Beche
Bl Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski
St Latinus of Rome
St Leontius of Fréjus
Bl Liduina Meneguzzi
St Lucius of Rome
Bl Maria Clara of the Child Jesus
St Marianus
St Marina of Rome
St Martinus
St Nahum the Prophet
St Natalia of Nicomedia
St Olympiades
St Proculus of Narni
St Ralph Sherwin
St Resignatus of Maastricht
Bl Richard Langley
St Rogatus of Rome
St Simon of Cyrene
St Superatus of Rome
St Ursicinus of Brescia

Martyrs of Oxford University: A joint commemoration of all the men who studied at one of the colleges of Oxford University, and who were later martyred for their loyalty to the Catholic Church during the official persecutions in the Protestant Reformation. They are:
• Blessed Edward James • Blessed Edward Powell • Blessed Edward Stransham • Blessed George Napper • Blessed George Nichols • Blessed Hugh More • Blessed Humphrey Pritchard • Blessed James Bell • Blessed James Fenn • Blessed John Bodey • Blessed John Cornelius • Blessed John Forest • Blessed John Ingram • Blessed John Mason • Blessed John Munden • Blessed John Shert • Blessed John Slade • Blessed John Storey • Blessed Lawrence Richardson • Blessed Mark Barkworth • Blessed Richard Bere • Blessed Richard Rolle de Hampole • Blessed Richard Sergeant • Blessed Richard Thirkeld • Blessed Richard Yaxley • Blessed Robert Anderton • Blessed Robert Nutter • Blessed Robert Widmerpool • Blessed Stephen Rowsham • Blessed Thomas Belson • Blessed Thomas Cottam • Blessed Thomas Pilcher • Blessed Thomas Plumtree • Blessed Thomas Reynolds • Blessed William Filby • Blessed William Hart • Blessed William Hartley • Saint Alexander Briant • Saint Cuthbert Mayne • Saint Edmund Campion • Saint John Boste • Saint John of Bridlington • Saint John Roberts • Saint Ralph Sherwin • Saint Thomas Garnet • Saint Thomas More