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 Seven – 9 December
O Lady of Guadalupe,
we beg you that parents
live a holy life
and educate their children
in a Christian manner;
that they bless and praise God
for the grace and blessing
of their children;
that children obey
and follow the directions of their parents;
that all members of the family
pray and worship together.
This we ask of you, O Mother.
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.
Sunday Reflection – 9 December – The Second Sunday of Advent
Pope Pius XII and Mediator Dei
The question remains, then, of just how one participates actively “in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church”. Pope Pius XII situates active participation in a personal and corporate adhesion to the sacrifice of Christ who, in every Holy Mass, exercises His priesthood and offers Himself as a spotless victim to the Father.
One comes to Holy Mass, then, not after the manner of a consumer looking seeking spiritual gratification but, rather, as an offerer bearing to the altar the oblation of his own life, as a royal priest set over all created things in order to raise them heavenward in the Great Thanksgiving (Eucharist) and as a victim, a sacrificial lamb ready to be made over to God in Christ. In Christ and in the members of His Mystical Body are the prophetic words of Abraham to Isaac wondrously fulfilled: “God Himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8). Pope Pius XII writes:
“All the elements of the liturgy, then, would have us reproduce in our hearts the likeness of the divine Redeemer through the mystery of the cross, according to the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, “With Christ I am nailed to the cross. I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Thus we become a victim, as it were, along with Christ to increase the glory of the eternal Father.
Let the faithful, therefore, consider to what a high dignity they are raised by the sacrament of baptism. They should not think it enough to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice with that general intention which befits members of Christ and children of the Church but let them further, in keeping with the spirit of the sacred liturgy, be most closely united with the High Priest and His earthly minister, at the time the consecration of the divine Victim is enacted and, at that time, especially when those solemn words are pronounced:
“By Him and with Him and in Him is to Thee, God the Father almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory forever and ever”; to these words in fact the people answer, “Amen.”
Nor should Christians forget to offer themselves, their cares, their sorrows, their distress and their necessities in union with their divine Saviour upon the cross.”
Thought for the Day – 9 December – The Memorial of St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548) “The eagle who speaks”.
At the dawn of Mexican evangelisation Saint Juan Diego holds a place all by himself; according to tradition, his indigenous name was Cuauhtlatohuac, “The eagle who speaks”.
His lovable figure is inseparable from the Guadalupe event, the miraculous maternal manifestation of the Virgin, Mother of God, both in iconographic and literary memorials as well as in the centuries-old devotion which the Mexican Church has shown for this Indian so loved by Mary.
Similar to ancient Biblical personages who were collective representations of all the people, we could say that Juan Diego represents all the indigenous peoples who accepted the Gospel of Jesus, thanks to the maternal aid of Mary, who is always inseparable from the manifestation of her Son and the spread of the Church, as was her presence among the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.
The information about him that has reached us praises his Christian virtues – his simple faith, nourished by catechesis and open to the mysteries, his hope and trust in God and in the Virgin, his love, his moral coherence, his unselfishness and evangelical poverty. Living the life of a hermit here near Tepeyac, he was a model of humility.
The Virgin chose him from among the most humble as the one to receive that loving and gracious manifestation of hers which is the Guadalupe apparition. Her maternal face and her Saint image which she left us as a priceless gift is a permanent remembrance of this. In this manner she wanted to remain among you as a sign of the communion and unity of all those who were to live together in this land. The recognition of the cult which for centuries has been paid to the layman Juan Diego takes on a special importance. It is a strong call to all the lay faithful of this nation to assume all their responsibilities, for passing on the Gospel message and witnessing to one faith active and working in the sphere of Mexican society.
From this privileged spot of Guadalupe, ever-faithful heart of Mexico, I wish to call on all the Mexican laity, to commit themselves more actively to the re-evangelisation of society. The lay faithful share in the prophetic, priestly and royal role of Christ (cf. Lumen Gentium, 31) but they carry out this vocation in the ordinary situations of daily life. Their natural and immediate field of action extends to all the areas of human coexistence and to everything that constitutes culture in the widest and fullest sense of the term. As I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici: “In order to achieve their task directed to the Christian animation of the temporal order, in the sense of serving persons and society, the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in public life, that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good” (n. 42).
Catholic men and women of Mexico, your Christian vocation is, by its very nature, a vocation to the apostolate (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 3). Therefore, you cannot remain indifferent before the suffering of your brothers and sisters, before the poverty, corruption and outrages committed against the truth and human rights. You must be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Matthew 5:13-14).
Thus the Lord says once more to us today: “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Juan Diego too shines before you, raised by the Church to the honours of the altar, we can invoke him as the protector and the advocate of the indigenous peoples.
Beloved Juan Diego, “the talking eagle”! Show us the way, that leads to the “Dark Virgin” of Tepeyac, that she may receive us in the depths of her heart, for she is the loving, compassionate Mother, who guides us to the true God.
Pope John Paul II at the beatification of Saint Juan Diego, 6 May 1990
“Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – The Second Sunday of Advent
“How I wish you were ….hot or cold! But because you are lukewarm … I will spew you out of my mouth!….”
“The Word of God moves swiftly. He is not won by the lukewarm nor held fast by the negligent. Be attentive to His message and diligently follow the path God tells you to take. For He is swift in His passing.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori
9 December – The Second Sunday of Advent
God sent the Son to restore us to life.
“Consider that sin is the death of the soul, because this enemy of God deprives us of divine grace, which is the life of the soul. Therefore, we miserable sinners, were dead and condemned but God, through the immense love which the Father bears for us, determined to restore us to life. How die He accomplish this? He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die, so that by His death, God might restore us to life.
Behold our Redeemer who has come “so that we might have life to the full.” For this purpose, Jesus accepted death, so that He might give us life. It is reasonable that we should live only in God. It is reasonable that Jesus should be the only sovereign of our heart, since He has spent His blood for us.”
“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways shall be made smooth and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
“O my God! Who would be so ungrateful a wretch, as to believe that Jesus died to secure the love of sinful humanity and yet refuse to love Him.”
Almighty and merciful God,
let neither our daily work
nor the cares of this life,
prevent us from hastening
to meet Your Son.
Lord, make straight
the winding ways within us.
Draw us to repent!
Enlighten us with Your wisdom
and lead us into His company,
that we may love Him
and do homage to Him.
It is John the Baptist coming out of the desert breathing the fire of repentance, dressed like an animal, who is the one preparing and making ready. This hints to us that the rest of the gift (Jesus at Christmas) will not be the perfect, shining diamond we would like but will represent the rougher side of life. The poor, the lame, the outcast and the sick will be part of the experience of the Christ Child in the stable and the adult Christ on the roads of Galilee. We are asked to prepare and to be ready, to accept this rough gift this Christmas!
Our Morning Offering – 9 December – The Second Sunday of Advent
Dear Lord, I Approach You (Prayer before Holy Communion) By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
with simplicity of heart,
in good and stable faith
and at Your command,
I approach You,
full of confidence and adoration,
truly believing that You are present
in this Sacrament, God and Man.
It is Your will that I receive You
and bind myself to You in love.
Most merciful Lord,
I beg of You that special grace,
that my soul may melt and overflow
with Your love,
never concerning myself again
with any other comfort but Your own.
Saint of the Day – 9 December – St Peter Fourier C.R.S.A. (1565-1640) Priest, Founder, Reformer, Confessor, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher, Apostle of Prayer, Penance and Charity, Marian devotee – “the Good Father of Mattaincourt”“le bon pere de Mattaincourt” – born Pierre Fourier and died on 9 December 1640 at Gray, Haute-Saone (modern France) of natural causes.
Peter Fourier was born at Mirecourt, Lorraine, on 30 November 1565. At fifteen he was sent to the University of Pont-à-Mousson. His piety and learning led many noble families to ask him to educate their sons. He became a Canon Regular in the Abbey of Chaumousey and was ordained in 1589. By order of his abbot he returned to the university and became proficient in patristic theolog – he knew the “Summa Theologica” of St Thomas by heart.
Before saying his first Mass he passed several months of retreat in the exercises of prayer, penance and tears. He was then sent to complete his theological studies at the university of Pont-au-Mousson, also in Lorraine. There Father Jean Fourier, a relative who was Rector of that University, directed him admirably. His progress in virtue and the sacred sciences placed him high in the opinion of the Cardinal of Lorraine and Bishop of Metz, who desired to have him in his diocese; he offered him a parish where his talents would bring him advancement. But the young priest, wishing to flee all honours, declined, to return to his Abbey.
After his return to his canonical community, however, he was subjected to two years of hostility and abuse by his fellow canons, even by some accounts a case of attempted poisoning. He chose not to confront his abbot with the situation and accepted this persecution patiently. The care of local parishes in that region of France was routinely entrusted to the many abbeys and priories of canons. In 1597, when his abbot was assigning him a post, Fourier passed over two prestigious options and accepted the post of vicar of the parish of Mattaincourt in order to combat the indifference to religion widespread in the town, and to counter nascent Calvinism in the area. He went on to spend the next twenty years of his life serving its people.
To this end, Fourier instituted two major reforms that showed his intelligence and concern for his flock. The first of these was to improve the financial lives of his community by setting up a community bank, from which the townspeople could borrow without interest. His motto in serving the parish was ‘to feed only one person, was to to be of use to all.’ His second innovation was in his preaching style, where he employed dialogues with small groups of his parishioners to explain better their Catholic faith to them. He had his pupils engage in dialectics on Sundays on the various virtues and vices in practice by the congregation. This style proved immensely successful.
Fourier led an extremely ascetic way of life while serving the people of his parish. He would spend much of the night in prayer. He refused the services of a housekeeper, even when his own stepmother offered to provide his care. His severe self-denial enabled him to direct much of the income of the parish to the needy of the town. He himself would often spend the night nursing the sick of the town.
The success of Fourier’s pastorate in inspiring his flock to a greater fidelity to the faith was brought to the attention of the local bishops of the region. They prevailed upon him to go about to different parishes to preach to the people. He did so and, as a result of seeing the situation of the populace throughout the region, he was struck by the depths of their ignorance and superstition.
Together with the Blessed Alix Le Clerc, in 1597, Fourier founded the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of St Augustine, who were committed to the free education of children, taking a fourth vow to that goal. Soon there were six schools run by his spiritual daughters. He played an active role in their education, being credited with the invention of the blackboard and its use in the classroom, as well as the division of students into classes of a similar level of instruction. By the time of his death, the number of schools run by the canonesses had grown to forty. They went on to spread throughout France, Germany and England.
Fourier’s vision also extended to the life of his own Order. He sought to revive a spirit of fervour and discipline in the communities of the canons regular. In 1621 the Bishop of Toul, Jean des Porcellets, chose him to organise the canonical communities in his diocese. He, therefore, entrusted the ancient Abbey of St Remy in that city to Fourier and six companions, where they could lead the way of life he envisioned. Within four years, eight houses of the Order had embraced his reform. In 1625 they were formed into a new congregation of all the priories of canons in the duchy. To reinforce the reform, any canons who wished to join had to undergo a new novitiate and profession of vows. Otherwise they could retire with a pension from the canonical life. On 11 February 1628 they were officially named the Congregation of Our Saviour by the Holy See.
The method of reform established by Fourier served as a model for the reform of the canons regular in the Kingdom of France, where, with the support of Cardinal Rochefoucauld, the Congregation of France was established with these same conditions. In 1625, Fourier was charged with preaching to the people of the Principality of Salm-Salm, which had embraced Calvinism. Within six months his gentle persuasion and efforts were rewarded with the re-establishment of Catholicism in the realm.
Fourier himself was elected as Abbot General of the congregation in 1632. He hoped to guide his fellow canons to caring for children, as the canonesses were doing. This vision never took root among the men, however.
After the invasion by the Kingdom of France of the Duchy of Lorraine in 1632 under Cardinal Richelieu, Fourier refused to swear an oath of loyalty to King Louis XIII of France. Thus he and his community were forced to flee their monastery in 1636, taking refuge in the town of Gray in the neighbouring County of Burgundy. Fourier and the canons with him were occupied in that city nursing plague victims. It was there that he died on 9 December 1640.
His spiritual sons, his spiritual daughters, the good people of Gray in Bourgogne, who had welcomed him and whom he had served admirably during an epidemic of the pestilence, all wanted the honour of possessing his mortal remains. But so did also the parish of Mattaincourt. To the reformed Order of Saint Augustine this privilege was granted officially but the pious women of Mattaincourt, blocking the church door, would not permit the Canons to resume their journey with the coffin, after they had stopped in his former parish for a day or so. His heart had already been left to the parish of Gray.
St Peter spread everywhere devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. More than two centuries before the Miraculous Medal in 1830 and the proclamation of the dogma in 1854, he saw to the distribution of large quantities of a medal he had struck, on which were engraved the words – “Mary was conceived without sin.”
Miracles abounded at his tomb, as they did during his lifetime, by his prayers. He was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1730 and Canonised by Pope Leo XIII in 1897. St Peter Fourier is honoured by a statue of him in St Peter’s Basilica among the founders of religious orders.
The vision of Fourier was exported to Canada in 1654 by St Marguerite Bourgeoys CND (1620-1700), who was the president of a sodality of volunteers associated with the work of the cloistered canonesses. Moving to New France at the invitation of its governor, she became one of the early founders of the new colony. There she established the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, which was the first to provide education to the children of the colonists, as well as to the Native American children. Her work has been highly successful both there and in the United States of America.
St Adam Scotus
Bl Agustín García Calvo *
Bl Antonio Martín Hernández *
St Auditor of Saint-Nectaire
St Balda of Jouarre
St Bernhard Mariea Silvestrelli
St Budoc of Brittany
Bl Carmen Rodríguez Banazal *
St Caesar of Korone
Bl Clara Isabella Fornari
St Cyprian of Perigueux
Bl Dolores Broseta Bonet *
Bl Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray *
St Ethelgiva of Shaftesbury
Bl Isidora Izquierdo García *
Bl José Ferrer Esteve *
Bl José Giménez López *
Bl Josefa Laborra Goyeneche *
Bl Josep Lluís Carrera Comas *
St Julian of Apamea
Bl Julián Rodríguez Sánchez *
St Leocadia of Toledo
St Liborius Wagner
Bl María Pilar Nalda Franco *
St Michaela Andrusikiewicz
St Nectarius of Auvergne
St Peter Fourier C.R.S.A. (1565-1640)
St Proculus of Verona
Bl Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat *
St Syrus of Pavia
St Valeria of Limoges
St Wulfric of Holme
Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (10 beati): The memorial of ten Mercedarian friars who were especially celebrated for their holiness.
• Arnaldo de Querol • Berengario Pic • Bernardo de Collotorto • Domenico de Ripparia • Giovanni de Mora • Guglielmo Pagesi • Lorenzo da Lorca • Pietro Serra • Raimondo Binezes • Sancio de Vaillo
Martyred Salesians of Valencia – (5 beati)
Martyrs of North Africa – (4 saints): Twenty-four Christians murdered together in North Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Bassian, Peter, Primitivus and Successus.
Martyrs of Paterna – (7 beati)
Martyrs of Samosata – (7 saints): Seven martyrs crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area of modern Turkey) for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Emperor Maximian over the Persians. They are – Abibus, Hipparchus, James, Lollian, Paragnus, Philotheus and Romanus. They were crucified in 297 in Samosata (an area in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War – (13 beati):
• Blessed Agustín García Calvo
• Blessed Antonio Martín Hernández
• Blessed Carmen Rodríguez Banazal
• Blessed Dolores Broseta Bonet
• Blessed Estefanía Irisarri Irigaray
• Blessed Isidora Izquierdo García
• Blessed José Ferrer Esteve
• Blessed José Giménez López
• Blessed Josefa Laborra Goyeneche
• Blessed Josep Lluís Carrera Comas
• Blessed Julián Rodríguez Sánchez
• Blessed María Pilar Nalda Franco
• Blessed Recaredo de Los Ríos Fabregat