Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Four – 19 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Four – 19 December

Day Four
The Life Of Humiliation Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

The Sign which the angel gave the shepherds to help them find the newborn Saviour, points to His lowliness:  “This shall be a sign to you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”    No other newborn baby who was wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, could be found anywhere else but in a stable.     Thus in lowliness the King of heaven, the Son of God, chose to be born, because He came to destroy the pride that had been the cause of man’s ruin.
The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer was to be treated as the vilest of men on earth and that He was to be overwhelmed with insults.   How much contempt had not Jesus indeed to suffer from men!   He was called a drunkard, a trickster, a blasphemer and a heretic.   What ignominies He endured in His Passion!   His own disciples abandoned Him;  one of them sold Him for thirty pieces of silver and another denied having ever known Him.   He was led in bonds through the streets like a criminal; He was scourged like a slave, ridiculed as a fool, crowned with thorns as a mock king, buffeted and spit upon and finally left to die, hanging on a cross between two thieves, as the worst criminal in the world.   “The noblest of all,” says Saint Bernard, “is treated as the vilest of all.”   But the Saint adds, “The viler Thou are treated, the dearer Thou art to me.   The more I see Thee, my Jesus, despised and put to shame, the more dear and worthy of my love dost Thou become to me.”

O Dearest Saviour,
You have embraced so many outrages
for love of me,
yet I have not been able to bear one word of insult
without at once being filled with resentful thought,
I who have so often deserved to be trodden
under foot by the demons in hell!
I am ashamed to appear before You,
sinful and proud as I am.
Yet do not drive me from Your presence, O Lord,
even though that is what I deserve.
You have said, that You will not spurn,
a contrite and humbled heart.
I am sorry for the offences
I have committed against You.
Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend You again.
For love of me You have borne so many injuries;
for love of You, I will bear all the injuries that are done to me.
I love You, Jesus, who was despised for love of me.
I love You above every other good.
Give me the grace to love You always
and to bear every insult for love of You.
O Mary, recommend me to your Son;
pray to Jesus for me.


Thought for the Day – 19 December – “You will be speechless….” Origen

Thought for the Day – 19 December – “You will be speechless….” Origen

“But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Luke 1:20

“You will be speechless… until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words”.   Voice and word are not the same thing where we are concerned, since a voice can be heard without it conveying any meaning, without words and the word can likewise be communicated to our minds without a voice, as in the wandering of our thoughts.    In the same way, since the Saviour is Word…, John differs from Him in being voice, by comparison with Christ, who is Word.   This is what John himself answered to those who asked him who he was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths’” (Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).

Perhaps this is the reason – because he doubted the birth of the voice that would reveal the Word of God – why Zachariah lost his voice but recovered it again when that voice was born who is the Word’s forerunner (Lk 1:64).   Since, for the mind to be able to grasp the word intended by the voice, we must hear the voice.   It is also why, according to the time of his birth, John is slightly older than Christ – for we perceive the voice before the word.   Thus John points to Christ since it is with the voice that the Word is made known. Likewise, Christ was baptised by John, who admitted his need of being baptised by Him (Mt 3:14)… In brief, when John pointed to Christ it was as a man pointing to God, the incorporeal Saviour, as a voice pointing to the Word…”Origen (c.185-253)

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.

The Benedictus – Canticle of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79
The Messiah and His forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
in the house of David, His servant,
as He promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were His prophets of old.

A Saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So His love for our fathers is fulfilled
and His holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham, our father, to grant us,
that free from fear and safe from the hands of our foes.
we might worship Him in justice and holiness
all the days of our lives, in His Presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called the prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare His ways before Him,

to make known to His people their salvation,
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God,
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and to guide them into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever.

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy: 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israelthe Benedictus - BEST - 19dec2018


Quote of the Day – 19 December

Quote of the Day – 19 December

“Having clothed Himself with a created essence,
He made it the instrument of His humiliation –
He acted in it,
He obeyed and suffered through it…
That Eternal Power, which, till then,
had thought and acted as God,
began to think and act as a man,
with all man’s faculties, affections
and imperfections, sin excepted.
Before He came on earth,
He was infinitely above joy and grief,
fear and anger,
pain and heaviness
but afterwards, all these properties
and many more,
were His as full as they are ours.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)having clothed himself - bl john henry newman no 3 19dec2018


Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

19 December

The passion of Jesus lasted throughout His whole life

“Consider that when Abraham was leading his son Isaac to death, that he did not give him notice of it beforehand, even during the short time that was necessary for them to arrive at the mount.   But the eternal Father chose that His incarnate Son, whom He had destined to be the victim for the atonement of our sins, should know the sorrow He was to endure from the very first moment that He was in His mother’s womb.  The whole life, then, of our blessed Redeemer and all the years that He spent, was a life of pain and tears. His divine heart never passed one moment free from suffering.   The martyrs have suffered but assisted by grace, they suffered with you and fervour.   Jesus Christ suffered but He suffered with a heart full of weariness and sorrow and He accepted all, for our love.

O sweet, O amiable, O loving heart of Jesus, I thank You.   O afflicted and loving heart of my Lord, I thank You for all that You suffered for me!”


Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
Psalm 71:4advent with st alphonsus rescue me o my god psalm 71-4 o sweet 19dec2018


that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication,
come, to deliver us and tarry not.o-root-of-jesse-19-dec-2017

Advent Action
Speechless I stand before You, contemplating the Father’s mysterious design for our salvation.   I revere the elaborate preparations the Father puts in place for Your coming into our midst as one of us.    First, He prepares a mother for You, preserving her from sin right from conception and filling her with grace.   Then, in the fullness of time, He approaches her announcing His plan and the role she has to play in it.   Then, He takes care of her heart-broken husband, Joseph, announcing to him the mystery of Your incarnation.   And finally, the Father raises one more prophet to prepare the field for Your mission and to introduce You to our world.
Today, Your Word invites me to reflect on the role of the Baptist in Your redemptive work and challenges me to make space for You to be born in our world and in my heart.
Lord, let my life be a pointer to You as John’s was…I beg You!


Our Morning Offering – 19 December 

Our Morning Offering – 19 December

A 10th Century Catholic Advent Prayer

Unknown Author

You are our eternal salvation,
The unfailing light of the world.
Light everlasting,
You are truly our redemption.
Grieving that the human race was perishing
through the tempter’s power,
without leaving the heights
You came to the depths
in Your loving kindness.
Readily taking our humanity
by Your gracious will,
You saved all earthly creatures,
long since lost,
Restoring joy to the world.
Redeem our souls and bodies, O Christ,
and so possess us as Your shining dwellings.
By Your first coming, make us righteous;
At Your second coming, set us free:
So that, when the world is filled with light
and You judge all things,
We may be clad in spotless robes
and follow in Your steps, O King,
Into the heavenly hall.   Amen10th-cent-advent-prayer-you-are-our-eternal-salvation-16-dec-2017

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 19 December

St Pope Anastasius I
St Augustine Moi Van Nguyen
St Avitus of Micy
Bl Berengar of Banares
St Berardo Valeara of Teramo OSB (c 1050-1122)
Bl Bogumila Noiszewska
St Boniface of Cilicia
Bl Cecilia of Ferrara
St Dominic Uy Van Bui
St Fausta of Sirmium
St Gregory of Auxerre
St Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
St Johannes Gogniat
St Jordi Sampé Tarragó
St Josep Albareda Ramoneda
Bl Kazimiera Wolowska
Bl Konrad Liechtenau
St Manirus of Scotland
St Meuris of Alexandria
St Nemesius of Alexandria
St Phanxicô Xaviê Hà Trong Mau
St René Dubroux
Ribert of Saint-Oyend
St Stêphanô Nguyen Van Vinh
St Thea of Alexandria
St Timothy the Deacon
St Tôma Nguyen Van Ðe
Bl Pope Urban V (1310-1370)
About Blessed Pope Urban:

Bl William of Fenoli

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (6 beati): A group of Mercedarian monks noted for their dedication to the Order’s rule, for their continuous prayer life and their personal piety.
• Blessed Bartolomeo of Podio
• Blessed Giovanni of Verdera
• Blessed Guglielmo de Gallinaris
• Blessed Guglielmo of Prunera
• Blessed Pietro of Benevento
• Blessed Pietro of Gualba

Martyrs of Nicaea – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only surviving details are four of their names – Darius, Paul, Secundus and Zosimus. They were martyred at Nicaea, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).

Martyrs of Nicomedia – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than the names of five – Anastasius, Cyriacus, Paulillus, Secundus and Syndimius. They were martyred in 303 at Nicomedia, Asia Minor.

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. Virtually each day of the year a Group are celebrated, usually individually but sometimes an entire Monastery or Convent or Lay Movement were martyred together. Today we remember:
• Blessed Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
• Blessed Jordi Sampé Tarragó
• Blessed Josep Albareda Ramoneda

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 December – St Berardo Valeara of Teramo OSB (c 1050-1122)

Saint of the Day – 19 December – St Berardo Valeara of Teramo OSB (c 1050-1122) – Benedictine Monk, Bishop of Teramo, Evangelist, Apostle of Charity and Peace – also known as Bernard Paleara, Bernard Pagliara, Bernhard, Berard, Bernardo – born in c 1050 in the castle of Pagliara near Castelli, Isola del Gran Sasso, Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy and died on 19 December 1122 of natural causes.

Saint Berardo was born into the noble family da Pagliara, whose castle bore their name near the town of Isola del Gran Sasso in the Abruzzo region of Italy.   Important information concerning his life is found in the ancient church records from this area as well as the chronicles of his successor, the Bishop Sassone.   Saint Berardo entered the monastery in Montecassino as a young man and was later associated with the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere.   He became well known for his good works and upon the death of the Bishop Uberto, Berardo was asked to become a pastor in the territory of Teramo. He took on this role for seven years beginning in 1116 and focused his efforts on helping the poor and making peace amongst the warring factions of the local citizenry.

Saint Berardo died in 1123.   He was buried in what today is known as Saint Anne’s chapel in the ancient Teramo Cathedral of Santa Maria Aprutiensis (now Sant’Anna dei Pompetti).   This is one of the few locations which were not destroyed by the siege and burning of Teramo carried out by the Norman commander, Roberto di Loretello.

Around 1174, upon the initiative of the Bishop Attone, the remains of Saint Berardo were transferred to the newly completed cathedral of Teramo, first to a crypt where they remained for 600 years and finally, in 1776, to a chapel built by the people of Teramo in his honour during the leadership of the Bishop Pirelli.

Several miracles have been attributed to him.   A 16th-century bust and a 17th-century likeness of his arm giving a blessing, both in silver, can be found in Teramo Cathedral. A stone statue of Saint Berardo which formerly covered his crypt, is now located at the summit of a chapel dedicated to his honour.   Within the cathedral’s sacristy is a 17th-century altarpiece by the Polish painter Sebastiano Majeski bearing the likeness of the saint entitled The Miracle of Saint Berardo.   Also located in the cathedral is a painting by Giuseppe Bonolis, depicting The Virgin Mary and Saint Berardo liberating the city of Teramo from the siege of the Duke of Atri and numerous other works depicting the life of Saint Berardo.   An outstanding and varied collection of engravings and prints related to Saint Berardo was chronicled and organised by Raffaele Aurini in 1973.   It is a comprehensive biographical and iconographical source of information related to the life of this saint.img-Saint-Bernard-Valeara-of-Teramo

Over the years, the municipal authorities of Teramo have practised the yearly custom of lighting a large candle in honour of Saint Berardo.