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 Five – 7 December
O most holy Mother,
I beg you to obtain for me
pardon of all my sins,
to serve your Son
more faithfully from now on
the grace to praise Him
with you forever in heaven.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
and the Prayer for the Protection of all 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 EIGHT – 7 December
Mary, our teacher in everyday life
We must imitate her natural and supernatural refinement. She is a privileged creature in the history of salvation, for in Mary “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.”
But she is a reserved, quiet witness. She never wished to be praised, for she never sought her own glory. Mary is present at the mysteries surrounding the infancy of her Son but these are “normal” mysteries, so to speak. When the great miracles take place and the crowds acclaim them in amazement, she is nowhere to be found. In Jerusalem when Christ, riding a little donkey, is proclaimed king, we don’t catch a glimpse of Mary. But after all have fled, she reappears next to the Cross. This way of acting bespeaks personal greatness and depth, the sanctity of her soul….(Christ is Passing By, 173)
To become God-like, to be divinised, we must begin by being very human, accepting from God our condition as ordinary men and women, and sanctifying its apparent worthlessness. That is how Mary lived. She who is full of grace, the object of God’s pleasure, exalted above all the angels and the saints, lived an ordinary life.
Mary is as much a creature as we are, with a heart like ours, made for joy and mirth as well as suffering and tears. Before Gabriel communicates God’s plan to her, our Lady does not know she has been chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Messiah. She sees herself as a humble creature. That is why she can acknowledge, with full humility, that “he who is mighty has done great things” in her. (Christ is Passing By, 172)
We can’t forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things – what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!
For that’s what explains Mary’s life – her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the specific circumstances in which God wants us to live. (Christ is Passing By, 148)
Let us Pray
We turn to Our Lady for protection, because we can be quite sure that each of us, in our own state in life – priest or lay-person, single, married or widowed – if we are faithful in the daily fulfilment of our duties, will achieve victory on this earth, the victory of being always loyal to Our Lord. And afterwards we will reach Heaven and rejoice for ever in the friendship and love of God, with the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe, 24 May 1970)
Hail Mary full of grace!
It’s fair, gentle Lady,
for me to ask you for a present,
a proof of your affection –
contrition, compunction for my sins,
sorrow of love.
Hear me, O Lady, my life, my hope.
Take me by the hand
and if there is anything in me now
that is displeasing to my Father God,
make me see it,
and between the two of us,
we’ll tear it out.
Thought for the Day – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church
“Holy Bishop Ambrose – about whom I shall speak to you today – died in Milan in the night between 3 and 4 April 397. It was dawn on Holy Saturday. The day before, at about five o’clock in the afternoon, he had settled down to pray, lying on his bed with his arms wide open in the form of a cross. Thus, he took part in the solemn Easter Triduum, in the death and Resurrection of the Lord. “We saw his lips moving”, said Paulinus, the faithful deacon who wrote his Life at St Augustine’s suggestion, “but we could not hear his voice”. The situation suddenly became dramatic. Honoratus, Bishop of Vercelli, who was assisting Ambrose and was sleeping on the upper floor, was awoken by a voice saying again and again, “Get up quickly! Ambrose is dying…”. “Honoratus hurried downstairs”, Paulinus continues, “and offered the Saint the Body of the Lord. As soon as he had received and swallowed it, Ambrose gave up his spirit, taking the good Viaticum with him. His soul, thus refreshed by the virtue of that food, now enjoys the company of Angels” (Life, 47).
On that Holy Friday 397, the wide open arms of the dying Ambrose expressed his mystical participation in the death and Resurrection of the Lord. This was his last catechesis – in the silence of the words, he continued to speak with the witness of his life.
Like the Apostle John, Bishop Ambrose – who never tired of saying: “Omnia Christus est nobis! To us Christ is all!”– continues to be a genuine witness of the Lord. Let us thus conclude our Catechesis with his same words, full of love for Jesus: “Omnia Christus est nobis! If you have a wound to heal, He is the doctor; if you are parched by fever, He is the spring; if you are oppressed by injustice, He is justice; if you are in need of help, He is strength; if you fear death, He is life; if you desire Heaven, He is the way; if you are in the darkness, He is light…. Taste and see how good is the Lord, blessed is the man who hopes in Him!” (De Virginitate, 16, 99). Let us also hope in Christ. We shall thus be blessed and shall live in peace.”
Pope Benedict – Excerpt, General Audience, Catechesis on St Ambrose, 24 October 2007
Quote/s of the Day -– 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church
Note: I am still unable to make images so these are taken from this site.
“Rise, you who were lying fast asleep… Rise and hurry to the Church: here is the Father, here is the Son, here is the Holy Spirit.”
“The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church’s foundation is unshakeable and firm against assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world, constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbour of salvation for all in distress.”
“All the children of the Church are priests. At Baptism, they received the anointing that gives them a share in the priesthood. The sacrifice that they must offer to God is completely spiritual – it is themselves.”
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”
“If it is “daily bread,” why do you take it once a year? . . . Take daily what is to profit you daily. Live in such a way that you may deserve to receive it daily. He who does not deserve to receive it daily, does not deserve to receive it once a year.”
“When we speak about WISDOM, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about VIRTUE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about JUSTICE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about PEACE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about TRUTH, and LIFE and REDEMPTION, we are speaking about CHRIST.”
St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church
Our Morning Offering – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church
O Lord, Give me a Heart to Love You Prayer of St Ambrose (c 340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Lord, who has mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of Your Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore You,
a heart to delight in You,
to follow and enjoy You,
for Christ’s sake.
Saint of the Day – 7 December – St Ambrose (c 340-397) – Father and Doctor of the Church
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memory of St Ambrose, the brilliant Bishop of Milan who influenced St Augustine’s conversion and was named a Doctor of the Church.
Like Augustine himself, the older Ambrose (born around 340) was a highly educated man who sought to harmonise Greek and Roman intellectual culture with the Catholic faith. Trained as a lawyer, he eventually became the governor of Milan. He manifested his intellectual gifts in defence of Christian doctrine even before his baptism.
While Ambrose was serving as the governor of Milan, a bishop named Auxentius was leading the diocese. Although he was an excellent public speaker with a forceful personality, Auxentius also followed the heresy of Arius, which denied the divinity of Christ. Although the Council of Nicaea had reasserted the traditional teaching on Jesus’ deity, many educated members of the Church – including, at one time, a majority of the world’s bishops – looked to Arianism as a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan version of Christianity. Bishop Auxentius became notorious for forcing clergy throughout the region to accept Arian creeds.
At the time of Auxentius’ death, Ambrose had not yet even been baptised. But his deep understanding and love of the traditional faith were already clear to the faithful of Milan. They considered him the most logical choice to succeed Auxentius, even though he was still just a catechumen. With the help of Emperor Valentinan, who ruled the Western Roman Empire at the time, a mob of Milanese Catholics virtually forced Ambrose to become their bishop against his own will. Eight days after his baptism, Ambrose received episcopal consecration on 7 December 374. The date would eventually become his liturgical feast.
Bishop Ambrose did not disappoint those who had clamoured for his appointment and consecration. He began his ministry by giving everything he owned to the poor and to the Church. He looked to the writings of Greek theologians like St Basil for help in explaining the Church’s traditional teachings to the people during times of doctrinal confusion.
Like the fathers of the Eastern Church, Ambrose drew from the intellectual reserves of pre-Christian philosophy and literature to make the faith more comprehensible to his hearers. This harmony of faith with other sources of knowledge served to attract, among others, the young professor Aurelius Augustinus – a man Ambrose taught and baptised, whom history knows as St Augustine of Hippo.
Ambrose himself lived simply, wrote prolifically and celebrated Mass each day. He found time to counsel an amazing range of public officials, pagan inquirers, confused Catholics and penitent sinners. The people of Milan never regretted their insistence that the reluctant civil servant should lead the local church. His popularity, in fact, served to keep at bay those who would have preferred to force him from the diocese, including the Western Empress Justina and a group of her advisers, who sought to rid the West of adherence to the Nicene Creed. Ambrose heroically refused her attempts to impose heretical bishops in Italy, along with her efforts to seize churches in the name of Arianism.
Ambrose also displayed remarkable courage when he publicly denied communion to the Emperor Theodosius, who had ordered the massacre of 7,000 citizens in Thessalonica. The chastened emperor took Ambrose’s rebuke to heart, publicly repenting of the massacre and doing penance for the murders.
“Nor was there afterwards a day on which he did not grieve for his mistake,” Ambrose himself noted when he spoke at the emperor’s funeral. The rebuke spurred a profound change in Emperor Theodosius. He reconciled himself with the Church and the bishop, who attended to the emperor on his deathbed.
St. Ambrose died in 397. His 23 years of diligent service had turned a deeply troubled diocese into an exemplary outpost for the faith. His writings remained an important point of reference for the Church, well into the medieval era and beyond.
At the Catholic Church’s Fifth Ecumenical Council – which took place at Constantinople in 553, and remains a source of authoritative teaching for both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians – the assembled bishops named Ambrose, along with this protege St Augustine, as being among the foremost “holy fathers” of the Church, whose teaching all bishops should “in every way follow.”
St Agatho of Alexandria
St Anianas of Chartres
St Antonius of Siya
St Athenodoros of Mesopotamia
St Buithe of Monasterboice
St Charles Garnier
St Geretrannus of Bayeux
Bl Humbert of Clairvaux
St John the Silent
St Martin of Saujon
St Mary Joseph Rosello
St Nilus of Stolbensk
St Polycarp of Antioch
St Sabinus of Spoleto
St Servus the Martyr
St Theodore of Antioch
St Urban of Teano
St Victor of Piacenza