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 THREE – 2 December

Mary, Teacher of Prayer

The Lord will grant you the ability to discover many other aspects of the faithful response to grace of the blessed Virgin. And to know these facets of her life is to want to imitate them: her purity, her humility, her fortitude, her generosity, her fidelity… But now I want to speak to you of an aspect that in a way encompasses all the others because it is a condition for spiritual growth. I’m speaking of her life of prayer.
To take advantage of the grace which our Mother offers us today and to follow up at anytime the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the shepherd of our souls, we ought to be seriously committed to talking with God. We cannot take refuge in the anonymous crowd. If interior life doesn’t involve a personal encounter with God, it doesn’t exist – it’s as simple as that.
There are few things more at odds with Christianity than superficiality. To settle down to routine in our Christian life is to dismiss the possibility of becoming a contemplative soul.
God seeks us out, one by one. And we ought to answer Him, one by one: “Here I am, Lord, because you have called me.”
We are ordinary Christians. We work at the most varied professions. All our activity takes place amid everyday circumstances. Everything follows a customary rhythm in our lives.
The days seem the same, even monotonous . But don’t forget that our condition which is apparently so common has a divine value. God is interested in everything we do, because Christ wishes to become incarnate in our things, to vivify from within even our most insignificant actions.

Review these thoughts in your prayer. Take occasion of them to tell Jesus that you adore Him.  And thus you have a formula to become contemplatives in the middle of the world, amid the noises of the street, at all times and in all places.  This is the first lesson we should learn in the school of intimacy with Christ. And in this school, Mary is the best teacher, because the Virgin always kept this attitude of faith, of supernatural vision, regardless of what happened around her: “And his mother kept all these words in her heart.” (Christ is Passing By, 174)

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour and on the events that they had taken part in.   She must have marvelled at all the great things that God, in His boundless mercy, had done for His people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards His people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.” The early  Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)

Let us Pray

Let us ask the blessed Virgin to make us
contemplatives, to teach us to recognise the
constant calls from God at the door of our
heart. Let us ask her now:

Our mother, you
brought to earth Jesus,
who reveals the love of
our Father God.
Help us to recognise Him
in the midst of the cares of each day.
Stir up our mind and will,
so that we may listen to the voice of
God, to the calls of grace.”


Sunday Reflection – 2 December – “The Eucharistic Face of Christ”

Sunday Reflection – 2 December – First Sunday of Advent

The Eucharistic Face of Christ

In the Cenacle, together with Our Blessed Lady and the Apostles, one contemplates the Eucharistic Face of Christ.   The commandment of the Lord on the night before He suffered, “Do this in commemoration of me” (Lk 22:19), was certainly obeyed by the Apostles during the days that separated the Ascension of the Lord from Pentecost. The Mother of the Eucharist was there.   The very Face that disappeared into the heavens over the Mount of Olives on the day of the Ascension re-appears in every Holy Mass, hidden and yet shining, through the sacramental veils.

The Priestly Prayer of Christ to the Father, first uttered in the Cenacle on the night before He suffered, is wondrously actualised in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.   It is Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who stands at the altar with His Face turned toward the Father and His pierced Heart open for all eternity, that out of it we may receive the life-giving torrent that is the Gift of the Holy Spirit.   In some way, the final chapters of Saint John’s Gospel are a sustained contemplation of the Face of Jesus turned toward us and lifted to the Father.
Contemplate the Face of Jesus, portrayed in the Fourth Gospel, the Holy Spirit will surely draw you into His filial and priestly prayer to the Father. One who receives the Body and Blood of Christ, receives the very prayer of Christ into his soul.   The grace of every Holy Communion is that of Christ praying to His Father in us and for us.

Through the adorable mystery of the Eucharist, the Face we so long to contemplate, is set before our eyes and burned into our souls.   “It is given to us, all alike, to catch the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, with faces unveiled;  and so we become transfigured into the same likeness, borrowing glory from that glory, as the Spirit of the Lord enables us” (2 Cor 3:18). – (Fr) Dom Mark (vultusstblogs)through the adorable mystery of the eucharist - dom mark vultus christi - sun reflection 2 dec 2018


Thought for the Day – 2 December – “Watching”

Thought for the Day – 2 December – Today’s Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36, The First Sunday of Advent, Year C

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”...Luke 21:36

By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Excerpt from Sermon 22advent-watching waiting preparing - 2 dec 2018-bl john henry newman watching sermon 22

“I conceive it may be explained as follows:—Do you know the feeling in matters of this life, of expecting a friend, expecting him to come and he delays? Do you know what it is to be in unpleasant company and to wish for the time to pass away and the hour strike, when you may be at liberty? Do you know what it is to be in anxiety lest something should happen which may happen or may not, or to be in suspense about some important event, which makes your heart beat, when you are reminded of it and of which you think the first thing in the morning? Do you know what it is to have a friend in a distant country, to expect news of him and to wonder, from day to day, what he is now doing and whether he is well? Do you know what it is so to live upon a person who is present with you, that your eyes follow his, that you read his soul, that you see all its changes in his countenance, that you anticipate his wishes, that you smile in his smile and are sad in his sadness, and are downcast when he is vexed and rejoice in his successes? To watch for Christ is a feeling such as all these; as far as feelings of this world, are fit to shadow out, those of another.

He watches for Christ who has a sensitive, eager, apprehensive mind, who is awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in seeking and honouring Him; who looks out for Him in all that happens and who would not be surprised, who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed, if he found that He was coming at once.

And he watches with Christ, who, while he looks on to the future, looks back on the past and does not so contemplate what his Saviour has purchased for him, as to forget what He has suffered for him. He watches with Christ, who ever commemorates and renews, in his own person, Christ’s Cross and Agony and gladly takes up that mantle of affliction which Christ wore here and left behind Him, when he ascended. And hence in the Epistles, often as the inspired writers show their desire for His second coming, as often, do they show, their memory of His first and never lose sight of His Crucifixion in His Resurrection. Thus if St Paul reminds the Romans that they “wait for the redemption of the body” at the Last Day, he also says, “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” If he speaks to the Corinthians of “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he also speaks of “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” If to the Philippians of “the power of His resurrection,” he adds at once “and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” If he consoles the Colossians with the hope “when Christ shall appear,” of their “appearing with Him in glory,” he has already declared that he “fills up that which remains of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh for His body’s sake, which is the Church.” [Rom. viii. 17-28. 1 Cor. i. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 10. Phil. iii. 10. Col. iii. 4; i. 24.]

Thus the thought of what Christ is, must not obliterate from the mind, the thought of what He was and faith is always sorrowing with Him, while it rejoices. And the same union of opposite thoughts is impressed on us in Holy Communion, in which we see Christ’s death and resurrection together, at one and the same time, we commemorate the one, we rejoice in the other; we make an offering and we gain a blessing. {325}

This then is to watch – to be detached from what is present and to live in what is unseen, to live in the thought of Christ as He came once and as He will come again, to desire His second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of His first. And this it is, in which we shall find that men in general are wanting. They are indeed without faith and love also but at least they profess to have these graces, nor is it easy to convince them that they have not. For they consider they have faith, if they do but own that the Bible came from God, or that they trust wholly in Christ for salvation and they consider they have love, if they obey some of the most obvious of God’s commandments. Love and faith they think they have but surely they do not even fancy that they watch.

What is meant by watching and how it is a duty, they have no definite idea and thus it accidentally happens that watching, is a suitable test of a Christian, in that it is that particular property of faith and love, which, essential as it is, men of this world do not even profess that particular property, which is the life or energy of faith and love, the way in which faith and love, if genuine, show themselves.

…Year passes after year silently Christ’s coming is ever nearer than it was. O that, as He comes nearer earth, we may approach nearer heaven! O, my brethren, pray Him to give you the heart to seek Him in sincerity. Pray Him to make you in earnest. You have one work only, to bear your cross after Him. Resolve in His strength to do so. Resolve to be no longer beguiled by “shadows of religion,” by words, or by disputings, or by notions, or by high professions, or by excuses, or by the world’s promises or threats. Pray Him to give you what Scripture calls “an honest and good heart,” or “a perfect heart” and, without waiting, begin at once to obey Him with the best heart you have. Any obedience is better than none—any profession which is disjoined from obedience, is a mere pretence and deceit. Any religion which does not bring you nearer to God is of the world.
You have to seek His face – obedience is the only way of seeking Him. All your duties are obediences. If you are to believe the truths He has revealed, to regulate yourselves by His precepts, to be frequent in His ordinances, to adhere to His Church and people, why is it, except because He has bid you? and to do what He bids is to obey Him and to obey Him is to approach Him. Every act of obedience is an approach,—an approach to Him who is not far off, though He seems so but close behind this visible screen of things, which hides Him from us. He is behind this material framework, earth and sky are but a veil, going between Him and us, the day will come when He will rend that veil and show Himself to us. And then, according as we have waited for Him, will He recompense us. If we have forgotten Him, He will not know us but “blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when He comes, shall find watching … He shall gird Himself and make them sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch and find them so, blessed are those servants,” [Luke 12:37, 38.]

May this be the portion of every one of us!

It is hard to attain it but it is woeful to fail.

Life is short, death is certain and the world to come, is everlasting.”luke 21 36 - be vigilant - life is short, death is certain and the world to come everlasting - 2 dec 2018 1st sun advent


Quote/s of the Day – 2 December – The Memorial of Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)

Quote/s of the Day – 2 December – The Memorial of Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)

“Even as God is common to all,
the sun shines upon all trees.”
(The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage)

“Knowledge of ourselves teaches us
whence we come,
where we are
and whither we are going.
We come from God
and we are in exile.”
[Ruysbroeck the Admirable (1925)]

“God is more interior to us
than we are to ourselves.
His acting in us,
is nearer and more inward,
than our own actions.
God works in us,
from inside outwards,
creatures work on us,
from the outside.”
(Spiritual Espousals)even as god, god is more interior, knowledge of ourselves - 2 dec 2018 bl john van ruysbroeck

“If we would God discern
The world we must despise,
His love and hate must learn,
See all things with His eyes.
And we must self forgo
If God we would attain,
His grace must in us grow
And ease us from all pain.
So shall we sing His praise
And be at one with Him,
In peace our voices raise
In the celestial hymn,
That with quadruple harmony
And all mellifluous melody,
In Heaven resounds eternally.
(The Seven Steps of the Ladder of Spiritual Love)

Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)if we would god discern - john van ruysbroeck - 2 dec 2018


Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori – 2 December – The First Sunday of Advent

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori
2 December – The First Sunday of Advent

Day 1

The Redeeming Plan

“Consider how God allowed 4,000 years to pass after the sin of Adam before He sent His Son on earth to redeem the world.   And in the meantime, what fatal darkness reigned on the earth!   The true God was not known or adored, except in one small corner of the world.   Idolatry reigned everywhere;  devils and beasts and stones were adored as gods.…If Jesus Christ had come into the world immediately after the Fall of Adam, the greatness of this favour would have been but slightly appreciated.   Let us, therefore, thank the goodness of God for having sent us into the world, after, the great work of redemption was accomplished.”St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

The days are coming—oracle of the LORD—when I will fulfil the promise made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.   In those days, at that time, I will make a just shoot spring up for David;  he shall do what is right and just in the land.   In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; this is the name they shall call her: “The LORD our justice.”…Jeremiah 33:14–16

Creator and creating God, You give me such a delightful and wholesome gift in a new beginning.   Pride, rebellion and temptation called to me and I pulled away from You. These identical issues continue to cause sin in the lives of Your people.

Rather than true confession, like the first Adam, I seek
to blame others for the troubles in my life.

Forgive me of my sins.

Allow me to begin this Advent sojourn, by restoring me to a fresh start and new beginning with and in You.   Amen.

Whatever is at the centre of your life will be the source of your security, peace, wisdom, and power.   Decide today to make Jesus the centre and source of everything in your life.

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchadvent - preparing the way - day one - 2 Dec 2018


Our Morning Offering – 2 December – The First Sunday of Advent – My Supreme and only Lord and Love

Our Morning Offering – 2 December – The First Sunday of Advent

My Supreme and only Lord and Love
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

The more, O my dear Lord,
I meditate on Your words, works,
actions and sufferings in the Gospel,
the more wonderfully glorious
and beautiful I see You to be.
And, therefore, O my dear Lord,
since I perceive You to be so beautiful,
I love You
and desire to love You more and more.
Since You are the Goodness,
in the whole world of being
and there is nothing like You
but You are infinitely more glorious
and more good than even
the most beautiful of creatures,
therefore, I love You with a singular love,
a one, only, sovereign love ….
And, I would lose everything,
whatever, rather than lose You.
For You, O my Lord,
ae my supreme
and only Lord and Love.
AmenMy supreme and only Lord and Love - bl john henry newman - 2 dec 2018

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Saint of the Day – 2 December – Blessed Jan van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1381)

Saint of the Day – 2 December – Blessed Jan van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1381) – Priest, Hermit, Mystic, Spiritual Director and Spirtual Writer – born in c 1293 near Brussels, Belgium and died on 2 December 1381 at Groenendael, Belgium, of natural causes.   Known as John  “the Admirable”  “the Ecstatic Doctor,” “the Divine Doctor.”Blessed John Ruysbroeck

Jan van Ruysbroeck was a Flemish mystical writer who greatly influenced mystical teaching in the late Middle Ages and whose name is associated with the religious renewal in the Lowlands that also produced, The Imitation of Christ.   He was born near Brussels in 1293 and was raised by a devout mother who trained him in a life of holiness.
At the age of eleven, he went to Brussels to live with an uncle, Jan Hinckaert, a Priest and Canon of St Gudule’s.   Jan studied for the Priesthood and was Ordained in 1317. Under his uncle’s roof he continued to live a life of retirement and study and began the writings that were to be the basis of his spiritual teaching: The Spiritual Espousals, The Kingdom of Lovers, and The Tabernacle.

Together with his uncle and another Canon, Francis van Coudenberg, Blessed Jan Ruysbroeck withdrew to a hermitage near Soignes for a life of greater solitude and a number of disciples joined them.   They decided to inaugurate a formal religious institute and adopted the Rule of the Canons of St Victor.   John was made the Prior of the new institute.x-ruysbr2

This period, from his religious profession (1349) to his death (1381), was the most active and fruitful of Ruysbroeck’s career.   During this time, his fame as a man of God, as a sublime contemplative and a skilled director of souls, spread beyond the bounds of Flanders and Brabant to Holland, Germany and France.   He had relations with the nearby Carthusian house at Herne and also with several communities of Poor Clare Franciscans.

Excellent writings continued to come forth from his pen: The Book of the Sparkling Stone, The Little Book of Enlightenment, and The Book of the Twelve Beguines.   Literally, Ruysbroeck wrote as the spirit moved him.   He loved to wander and meditate in the solitude of the forest adjoining the cloister;  he was accustomed to carry a tablet with him and on this to jot down his thoughts as he felt inspired so to do.   Late in life he was able to declare that he had never committed anything to writing save by the motion of the Holy Spirit.

Jan van Ruysbroeck’s writings are considered classics of spirituality, anticipating the writings of St John of the Cross in their clarity and doctrine.   He strongly opposed the quietist tendencies of many of his contemporaries.   His solid theological background and his ability to make clear the sure path of spiritual progress gave him a wide reading and his books are lucid commentaries on the Augustinian doctrine of the life of grace.

For several years before his death, Jan lived in a small cell, just outside the cloister of his monastery.   In his eighty-eighth year, he asked to be taken to the community infirmary, where he prepared himself for death.   He died on 2 December1381.

After Jan’s death in 1381, his relics were carefully preserved and his memory honoured as that of a saint. Many of his spiritual children called him the  “the Admirable”, Ecstatic Doctor or Divine Doctor.

When Groenendaal Priory was suppressed by Joseph II in 1783, his relics were transferred to St Gudule’s, Brussels, where, however, they were lost during the French Revolution.   John was Beatified on 1 December 1908, by St Pope Pius X.10-francs-1981-jan-van-ruusbroec_74_0510440474168ef05L

No authentic portrait of Jan is known to exist but the traditional picture represents him in the canonical habit, seated in the forest with his writing tablet on his knee, as he was in fact found one day by the brethren—rapt in ecstasy and enveloped in flames, which encircle without consuming the tree under which he is resting.


Memorial of Our Lady of Liesse and of the Saints – 2 December

Our Lady of Liesse/Our Lady, Cause of our Joy: An ancient statue of the Madonna and Child. It was brought from Egypt to France during the Crusades by three Knights of Malta who had been briefly captured by Saracens. It was enshrined at Liesse, diocese of Soissons. The original statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. A duplicate was installed and crowned in 1857. Patronage: Diocese of Soissons, France.

1st Sunday of Advent Year C (2018)

St Athanasius of the Caves
St Avitas of Rouen
St Bibiana (4th century died c 361) Martyr
Biography here:

St Chromatius of Aquileia
St Evasius of Brescia
Bl Francisco del Valle Villar
St Habakkuk the Prophet
Bl Ivan Sleziuk
Bl John Amero
Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)
St Lupus of Verona
Bl Maria Angela Astorch
St Nonnus of Edessa
St Oderisius de Marsi
St Pimenio in Rome
St Pontian
Bl Rafal Chylinski
Bl Robert of Matallana
St Silvanus
St Pope Silverio

Greek Martyrs of Rome – (9 saints): Several Greek Christians martyred in the persecutions of Valerian – Adria, Aurelia, Eusebius, Hippolytus, Marcellus, Mary Martana, Maximus, Neon and Paulina. They were martyred by various means between 254 and 259 in Rome, Italy and are buried in the Callistus catacombs, Rome.

Martyrs of Africa – (4 saints): Four Christians martyred in Africa in the persecutions of Arian Vandals – Januarius, Securus, Severus and Victorinus.