Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Protection of the Unborn and all Human Life, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Madonna of the Americas, Patroness of the Unborn – Day One – 3 December
The miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Gospel in picture form. She is the Immaculate Conception, as the Apocalypse describes, “a woman clothed in the sun, with the moon at her feet.” Those who saw it realised immediately she is greater than the sun, moon, stars which they had worshipped as gods.
For people today in what is called the “New Age” she is also a sign not to worship the “forces” of nature. But she herself is not a goddess. She has her hands folded in prayer, her eyes looking down to humility. To whom is she praying? The clue is in the brooch under her neck. It has a small cross. But she is not only praying to God, she has God within her. You can see the compassion in the face of the Blessed Virgin. Hearing her tender message and gazing on this picture lesson of Catholicism, it is easy to understand that the Mother of Jesus is our Mother also! [Father Lawrence G Lovasik (1913–1986)]
The Prayer for the Protection of Human Life
is to be prayed everyday of the Novena.
Dearest Lady of Guadalupe,
fruitful Mother of holiness,
teach me your ways
of gentleness and strength.
Hear my humble prayer
offered with heartfelt confidence
to beg this favour………..
trusting always in your intercession.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be and the Prayer for the Protection of Human Life
Prayer for the Unborn and the Protection of all Human Life
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
we turn to you,
who are the protectress of unborn children
and ask that you intercede for us,
so that we may more firmly resolve to join you
in protecting all human life.
Let our prayers be united
to your perpetual motherly intercession
on behalf of those whose lives are threatened,
be they in the womb of their mother,
on the bed of infirmity,
or in the latter years of their life.
May our prayers
also be coupled with peaceful action
which witnesses to the goodness
and dignity of all human life,
so that our firmness of purpose may give courage
to those who are fearful and bring light
to those who are blinded by sin.
O Virgin Mother of God,
present our petitions to your Son
and ask Him to bless us with abundant life.
Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception By St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)
DAY FOUR – 3 December
Mary, Woman of Faith
She teaches us to have faith. “Blessed art thou for thy believing,” were the words of greeting uttered by her cousin Elizabeth when Our Lady went up into the hill country to visit her. Mary’s act of faith had been a wonderful one, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.” When her Son was born she contemplated the greatness of God on earth: a choir of angels was present and not only the shepherds but also important men of this world came to adore the Child. Afterwards,however, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt, to escape Herod’s murderous intent. Then, silence, thirty long years of simple, ordinary life, just like that of any other home in a small village in Galilee. (Friends of God, 284)
Lord, I do believe! I have been brought up to believe in You. I have decided to follow You closely. Repeatedly during my life I have implored Your mercy. And repeatedly too have thought it impossible that You could perform such marvels in the hearts of Your children.
Lord, I do believe but help me to believe more and better!
Let us address this same plea to Our Lady, Mother of God and our Mother and Teacher of faith: “Blessed art thou for thy believing. the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfilment.” (Friends of God, 204)
The Virgin did not merely pronounce her fiat, in every moment she fulfilled that firm and irrevocable decision. So should we. When God’s love gets through to us and we come to know what He desires, we ought to commit ourselves to be faithful and loyal and then be so in fact. Because “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Christ is Passing By, 173)
Don’t forget: if God exalted His Mother, it is equally true that He did not spare her pain, exhaustion in her work or trials of her faith. A village woman one day broke into praise for Jesus, exclaiming: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nourished you!” Jesus said in reply: “Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” It was a compliment to His Mother on her fiat, her “be it done.” She lived it sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silent sacrifice of each day. (Christ is Passing By, 172)
Let us Pray
“Mother!” Call her again and again. She is listening, she sees you in danger perhaps and with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace. Call her and you will find yourself with added strength for the new struggle. The Way, 516
Hail Mary, Holy Mother! I cry unto you, help and assist me, lead me mother, teach me and guide me. Amen
Thought for the Day – 3 December – The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)
“A near perfect imitation of Christ”
Francis Xavier believed no one was more ill-equipped than he to take the gospel overseas. But he was wrong. En route from Lisbon to Goa, Francis already displayed the cheerfulness and generosity that would become the trademarks of his work. Through his personal charm, he made friends with the toughest seamen on the ship. Then he engaged them in “apostolic conversations,” seeking to win them for Christ.
But Miracles, occurred frequently in his evangelisation to poor villages. Once, while travelling through a pagan territory, Francis learned of a woman who had been in labour for three days and was probably near death. Midwives and sorcerers were treating her with superstitious incantations. Xavier went to the woman’s home and called on the name of Christ to heal her. “I began with the Creed,” he wrote to Ignatius, “which my companion translated into Tamil. By the mercy of God, the woman came to believe in the articles of faith. I asked whether she desired to become a Christian and she replied that she would most willingly become one. Then I read excerpts from the Gospels in that house where, I think, they were never heard before. I then baptised the woman.” As soon as Francis baptised the woman, she was healed and gave birth to a healthy baby.
The woman’s family was so touched by this divine intervention that they invited Francis to instruct and baptise all of them, including the newborn. News then travelled quickly throughout the village. A representative of the Raja, the overlord, gave the village elders clearance to allow Francis to proclaim Christ there. “First, I baptised the chief men of the place and their families,” he wrote, “and afterwards the rest of the people, young and old.”
In another village, crowds besieged Francis, begging him to pray for ailing family members. Missionary and teaching duties overwhelmed him, so he enlisted some enthusiastic children to minister to the sick. He sent the children to the homes of the ill and had them gather the family and neighbours. He trained them to proclaim the creed and to assure the sick that if they believed, they would be cured. Thus, Xavier not only responded to requests for prayer but he managed to spread Christian doctrine throughout the village. Because the sick and their families had faith, he said, “God has shown great mercy to them, healing them in both body and soul.” The children of the village had become little miracle workers.
In his passion for spreading the gospel, in his simple obedience, in his humble disregard for himself, the saint was a near perfect imitation of Christ!
Quote/s of the Day – 3 December – The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)
“It is impossible to find a saint who did not take the “two P’s” seriously – Prayer and Penance.”
“I am in a country where all the niceties of life are lacking. But I am filled with many inner consolations. Indeed, I run the risk of crying my eyes out because of my tears of joy!”
“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a one’s progress, nor the nature of the task but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”
“When trying to evangelise, no tool is more effective, than that of personal witness. …People can argue with points of doctrine but no-one can argue, with a personal testimony!”
“Prayer is powerful! It fills the earth with mercy, it makes the Divine clemency pass from generation to generation, right along the course of the centuries. wonderful works have been achieved. through prayer.”
“If you are in danger, if your hearts are confused, turn to Mary!”
Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori 3 December – Monday of the First Week of Advent
Fullness of Grace
Behold the happy time is come which was called the designated time: “When the designated time had come, God sent his Son…to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it” (Gal 4:4). It is called the fullness of time because of the fullness of grace which the Son of God came to communicate to [us] by the redemption of the world.
THE INCARNATION, BIRTH AND INFANCY OF JESUS CHRIST Scripture Brothers [and sisters]: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. [Amen.] Finally, brothers [and sisters], we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God—and as you are conducting yourselves—you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus...1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2
Lord, it is my hope that I may always be in “your will
Sometimes I am selfish with my time and my own desires.
Today, help me sort out things in my life.
I need to make You the first priority in my life
and not the things that really do not matter.
Assist me in conducting myself in ways that are most pleasing to You.
Lord, it is my desire to live more for You this day.
Advent is a time to practice patience. Today, be patient with yourself and those around you. Spiritual growth is tender, it is holy ground. There is simply no greater investment.
Our Morning Offering – 3 December – The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)
I Love Thee, God, I love Thee By St Francis Xavier Translated by Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889)
I love Thee, God, I love Thee—
Not out of hope for heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach Thine arms out dying,
For my sake suffered nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death and this for me,
And Thou could see me sinning.
Then I, why should not I love Thee,
Jesu so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake, not to be
Out of hell by loving Thee,
Not for any gains I see,
But just the way that Thou didst me
I do love and will love Thee.
What must I love Thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God.
Saint of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552 – aged 46) – Priest, Missionary, co-Founder with St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) and St Peter Faber (1506-1546) of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) – he was born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta on 7 April 1506 at Javier, Spanish Navarre, Basque region and died on 3 December 1552 at Sancian, China of a fever contracted on a mission journey. Patronages: African missions, black missions, foreign missions (proclaimed on 25 March 1904 by St Pope Pius X), missionaries, navigators, parish missions, plague epidemics, World Youth Day 2011, Australia, Borneo, Brunei, China, East Indies, India, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Apostleship of Prayer, Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Fathers of the Precious Blood, Missioners of the Precious Blood, University of Saint Francis Xavier, 6 cities, 16 dioceses. His body is incorrupt.
St Francis was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris, in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time and was influential in evangelisation work, most notably in India. He also was the first Christian missionary to venture into Japan, Borneo, the Maluku Islands and other areas. In those areas, struggling to learn the local languages and in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. Xavier was about to extend his missionary preaching to China when he died on Shangchuan Island.
He was Beatified by Pope Paul V on 25 October 1619 and Canonised by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622. In 1624 he was made co-patron of Navarre. Known as the “Apostle of the Indies” and “Apostle of Japan”, he is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries since Saint Paul. In 1927, Pope Pius XI published the decree “Apostolicorum in Missionibus” naming Saint Francis Xavier, along with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of all foreign missions. He is now co-patron saint of Navarre with San Fermin. The Day of Navarre (Día de Navarra) in Spain marks the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier’s death, on 3 December 1552.
A young Spanish gentleman, in the dangerous days of the Reformation, was making a name for himself as a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris. He was aspiring, apparently, to a high dignity, until Saint Ignatius of Loyola decided to undertake the spiritual conquest of this ardent soul. What does it profit a man to gain the entire world, if he suffers the loss of his soul? Ignatius often repeated to the brilliant teacher. The words of Christ, joined to the example of Ignatius and his disciples, prevailed. It was not long before his gifted friend decided to labour for the glory of God, by adopting the evangelical life of an apostle, to which he was indeed called. He was among the first members of the Society of Jesus, those who with Ignatius made their religious vows in the church of Montmartre in Paris, on the feast of the Assumption in 1534.
On his way to Rome with the others, handicapped by severe penances he had imposed on himself, he remained in Venice and exercised a brief apostolate by caring for the sick in the city hospital. The others waited for him to regain his ability to walk. These first fervent Jesuits were intending to embark for the Holy Land but were prevented by a war. In Rome, Francis again went to a hospital to serve the sick and visited the prisons to encourage and console the poor inmates, while preparing for ordination with the others, according to the desire of the Pope.
Saint Ignatius having remained in Venice, the other five returned there afterwards. Francis was sent by Saint Ignatius to the Orient in 1534, where for twelve years he laboured unceasingly to win souls, sleeping only three hours a night, eating very little, and bearing the Gospel to Hindustan, to Malacca and as far as Japan. At all times thwarted by jealousy, covetousness and the carelessness of those who should have helped and encouraged him, he did not slacken in his apostolic endeavours despite opposition and the difficulties of every sort which he encountered.
Miracles accompanied him everywhere, he resurrected several who had died. His inexhaustible kindness was not the least of his assets in winning thousands of pagans to the Faith. He baptised so many that his arm became virtually disabled, ten thousand in a single month in the kingdom of Trevancor, where in the same space of time he saw to the building of forty-five churches. At Meliapour, site of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas, he found the marble on which the Apostle was sacrificed and which exuded blood the first time Mass was said upon it. Passing through various islands, cities and provinces of India, he strengthened his first conquests by additional preaching. He planted crosses in the public squares and overcame all obstacles.
Saint Francis is called Apostle of Japan as well as of India. There the pagan priests opposed and calumniated him and tried without success to outwit him in debates. Humiliated, they used subtle means to instil dislike for him in the minds of the court authorities. But he won the love as well as the respect of those he evangelised, blessing them with such miracles as filling the hitherto sterile sea of Cangoxima with inexhaustible reserves of fish. The vast kingdom of China appealed to his charity and he was resolved to risk his life to force an entry, when God took him to Himself. It was on 2 December 1552, that the Apostle of the Indies died on Sancian, an island facing the city of Canton in China, like Moses, in sight of the land of promise.
St Francis was first buried on a beach at Shangchuan Island, Taishan, Guangdong. His incorrupt body was taken from the island in February 1553 and was temporarily buried in St Paul’s church in Portuguese Malacca on 22 March 1553. An open grave in the church now marks the place of Xavier’s burial. Pereira came back from Goa, removed the corpse shortly after 15 April 1553 and moved it to his house. On 11 December 1553, Xavier’s body was shipped to Goa. The body is now in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, where it was placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket on 2 December 1637. This casket, constructed by Goan silversmiths between 1636 and 1637, was an exemplary blend of Italian and Indian aesthetic sensibilities. There are 32 silver plates on all the four sides of the casket depicting different episodes from the life of the Saint. The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptise his converts, was detached by Superior General Claudio Acquaviva in 1614. It has been displayed since in a silver reliquary at the main Jesuit church in Rome, Il Gesù.
St Abbo of Auxerre
St Agricola of Pannonia
St Alvaro González López
St Anthemius of Poitiers
St Attalia of Strasbourg
Bl Bernard of Toulouse
St Birinus of Dorchester
St Cassian of Tangiers
St Claudius of Africa
St Claudius the Martyr
St Crispin of Africa
St Edward Coleman
St Eloque of Lagny
St Emma of Bremen
St Francisco Delgado González
St Francisco Fernández Escosura
St Hilaria the Martyr
St Jason the Martyr
Bl Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer
St John of Africa
St Juan Bautista Ferris Llopis
St Julián Heredia Zubia
Bl Ladislao Bukowinski
St Lucy the Chaste
St Magina of Africa
St Manuel Santiago y Santiago
St Marcos García Rodríguez
St Maurus the Martyr
St Stephen of Africa
St Theodore of Alexandria
St Theodulus of Edessa
St Valeriano Rodríguez García
Zephaniah the Prophet
Martyrs of Nicomedia: Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian – Ambicus, Julius and Victor. c 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939.
• Blessed Alvaro González López
• Blessed Francisco Delgado González
• Blessed Francisco Fernández Escosura
• Blessed Juan Bautista Ferris Llopis
• Blessed Julián Heredia Zubia
• Blessed Manuel Santiago y Santiago
• Blessed Marcos García Rodríguez
• Blessed Valeriano Rodríguez García