A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!
St John of the Cross will help us to truly appreciate this great

Romance on the Birth of Christ
By St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church

Now at last the destined ages
Their appointed course had run,
When rejoicing from His chamber
Issued forth the Bridegroom Son.

He embraced His bride, and held her
Lovingly upon His breast,
And the gracious Mother laid Him
In the manger down to rest.

There He lay, the dumb beasts by Him,
They were fitly stabled there,
While the shepherds and the angels
Filled with melody the air.

So the feast of their espousals
With solemnity was kept
But Almighty God, an Infant,
In the manger moaned and wept.

So the bride at her betrothal
Did the bridal gifts arrange
But the Mother looked in wonder
At the marvellous exchange.

Man gave forth a song of gladness,
God Himself a plaintive moan,
Both possessing that which never
Had been hitherto their own.

romance on the birth of christ st john of the cross -24 dec 2018


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Day Nine

The Birth of Jesus in the Stable at Bethlehem

When the edict was issued by the emperor of Rome that everyone should go to his own city to be enrolled, Joseph and Mary went to be enrolled in Bethlehem.
How much the Holy Virgin must have suffered on this journey of four days, over mountainous road and in the wintertime, with its cold rain and wind!
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time of Mary’s delivery was near.
Joseph, therefore, sought some lodging where she might give birth to her Child.
But because they were so poor, they were driven away from the houses and even from the public inn, where other poor people had found shelter.
So in that night they went a short way out of the town and there found a cave that was used as a stable and here Mary entered.
But Joseph said to his virgin wife, “Mary, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp cave and here give birth to your Child?”   Mary however replied, “Dear Joseph, this cave is the royal palace in which the King of kings, the Son of God, wishes to be born.”

When the hour of her delivery had arrived, the holy Virgin, as she knelt in prayer, all at once saw the cave illumined with a dazzling light.
She lowered her eyes to the ground and there saw before her the Son of God now born on earth, a poor little Babe, crying and shivering in the cold.
Adoring Him as her God, she took Him to her breast and fondled Him.
Then she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him on the straw of the manger that stood in the cave.
Thus did the Son of God choose to be born among us to prove His infinite love for us.

O Adorable Infant Jesus!
I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Your feet,
if I did not know that You Yourself invite me to draw near You.
It is I who by my sins have made You shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem.
But since You have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners,
forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned You,
my Saviour and my God, who art so good and who have loved me so much.
In this night, in which You bestow great graces on so many souls,
grant Your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also.
All that I ask of You is the grace to love You always, more and more,
from this day forward, with all my heart.
Set me all on fire with Your holy love.
I love You, O my God, who have become a Babe for love of me.
Never let me cease loving You evermore.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
you can obtain everything from your Son by your prayers.
This is the only favour I ask of you, that I might love Him more and more.
Please pray to Jesus for me, I beg you. Amen.


Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – Christmas Eve!

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – Christmas Eve!

“Awake, mankind!
For your sake God has become man.
Awake, you who sleep,
rise up from the dead
and Christ will enlighten you.
I tell you again –
for your sake,
God became man.”awake mankine - st augustine - 24 dec 2018

“Let us then joyfully celebrate
the coming of our salvation and redemption.
Let us celebrate the festive day
on which He who is the great
and the eternal day
came from the great and endless day of eternity
into our own short day of time.”

“Ask if this were merited;
ask for its reason, for its justification
and see whether you will find,
any other answer
but sheer grace.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchlet us then joyfully celebrate - ask if this were merited - st augustine 24 dec 2018

“I began our meeting by speaking of Christmas as the Feast of Faith.
I would like to conclude, though, by pointing out that Christmas
reminds us that a faith that does not trouble us is a troubled faith.
A faith that does not make us grow is a faith that needs to grow.
A faith that does not raise questions is a faith that has to be questioned.
A faith that does not rouse us is a faith that needs to be roused.
A faith that does not shake us is a faith that needs to be shaken.
Indeed, a faith which is only intellectual or lukewarm is only a notion of faith.
It can become real once it touches our heart, our soul, our spirit and our whole being.
Once it allows God to be born and reborn in the manger of our heart.
Once we let the star of Bethlehem guide us to the place where the Son of God lies,
not among Kings and riches but among the poor and humble.
As Angelus Silesius wrote in The Cherubinic Wanderer:
“It depends solely on you.
Ah, if only your heart could become a manger,
then God would once again become a child on this earth”

Address of His Holiness, Pope Francis to the Curia

21 December 2017christmas-message-pope-francis to the curia 24 dec2017




Thought for the Day – 24 December – Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Thought for the Day – 24 December

Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance

of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Exactly 200 years ago today, 24 December 1818 — in a little church in what is now Austria, the world heard for the first time a poem set to music that eventually would be hailed as one of the most popular and beloved Christmas carols of all time.

“Silent Night” was sung for the first time that Christmas Eve at a Midnight Mass at St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire.   The lyrics were written by a young Catholic priest, Father Joseph Mohr (1792–1848) and the music was composed by his friend, the local organist and schoolmaster, Francis Xavier Gruber (1787–1863).1024px-Stille_Nacht_Kapelle_Glasfenster_Josef_Mohr

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, how the light
Radiates love from Thy heavenly face,
At the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.Silent Night by Fr Joseph Mohr 1792-1848 24 dec 2018

Fr Joseph Mohr’s final resting place is a tiny Alpine ski resort, Wagrain.   He was born into poverty in Salzburg in 1792 and died penniless in Wagrain in 1848, where he had been assigned as pastor of the church.   He had donated all his earnings to be used for elder care and the education of the children in the area.   His memorial from the townspeople is the Joseph Mohr School located a dozen yards from his grave.   The overseer of St Johann’s, in a report to the bishop, described Mohr as “a reliable friend of mankind, toward the poor, a gentle, helping father.”

Many generations of the Mohr family lived in the Lungau region, in the southern part of the Province of Salzburg.   The pilgrimage church of St Nicholas in Mariapfarr, the little church where Father Mohr was the curate, is within walking distance of the former home of Joseph’s grandfather.   The climate is so invigorating and the Alpine air so clean, the town has become a major vacation destination for Europeans who want to get away from city life.   The pilgrimage church where Mohr celebrated Mass is undergoing the restoration of its centuries-old frescos.

The carol is believed to have caused a somewhat miraculous and well-documented Christmas truce during World War I.   On Christmas Eve 1914, British and French troops were encamped in trenches in a face-off against German troops in Ypres in Flanders, Belgium.   The two sides began singing Christmas carols to each other and “Silent Night” was the only hymn all the combatants knew.   Singing it together broke the ice and led to a temporary cease-fire with soldiers from both sides meeting in the middle “No Man’s Land” to trade tobacco and candy, play soccer and sing carols.

An early copy of Silent Night written by Joseph Mohr

As it marks its 200th anniversary, “Silent Night” remains as beloved as ever.   I am sure that all of us who attend Midnight Mass tonight, wherever we are in the world, will be singing Silent Night in one of the 300 languages into which it has been translated.

May this Holy Infant so tender and mild, bless us all!Holy infant so tender and mile bless us all 24 dec 2018


Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) – Today’s Gospel: Luke 2:1–14

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) – Today’s Gospel:  Luke 2:1–14 (Midnight Mass)

24 December

Saint Joseph goes to Bethlehem with his holy spouse

“Consider that God had decreed that His Son be born, not in Joseph’s house but in a cavern and stable of beasts, in the poorest and most painful way a child can be born. For this reason, God caused Caesar to publish an edict, by which people were commanded to go and register each member of their family, in their place of origin. When Joseph heard this order, he was agitated and unsure whether or not the Virgin Mother should take the trip with him. But Mary, knowing of his dilemma and being well versed in the prophet, Micheas, responded, “Do not fear, I will go with you and the Lord will assist us.”
She then gathered together the swaddling clothese and the other miserable garments already prepared for the journey and departed with Joseph.
Let us accompany Mary and Joseph, on their journey and await the appearance of the King.
My beloved Redeemer, I know that in this journey, the angels in heaven accompanied You but I also wish to accompany You, O my only love. My soul has become filled with love for You, O my amiable Infant God. Unite and bind me to Yourself.”


And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
Luke 2:4-6advent with st alphonsus - luke 2 4-5 and joseph also went up - let us accompany 24 dec 2018


Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amenrejoice rejoice emmanuel shall come to thee o israel-19-dec-2017

Advent Action
Today we are also pregnant with the fullness of the Advent season.   It is almost time for us to participate in the birthing of the Lord.   We ponder, like Mary, in our hearts, what this will mean for our lives.   We listen more intently to Scripture to hear the advice and directions that God is giving to us.   This day is the change we have been waiting for – this is the day promised us – this is the day which will alter our lives – everything, forever! Lord, grant me the grace to introduce You to the world in the place and time that You have assigned to me.   “I will sing praises to my God, all my life long.” (Psalm 146:2)advent with alphonsus - 24 dec 2018 -psalm 146 2 - i will sing praises to my god


Our Morning Offering – 24 December – O Sweet Child of Bethlehem

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

O Sweet Child of Bethlehem
By St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share with all our hearts,
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women,
this peace for which they seek so desperately
and which You alone can give to them.
Help them to know one another better
and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them, also Your beauty,
holiness and purity.
Awaken in their hearts,
love and gratitude
for Your infinite goodness.
Join them altogether in Your love
and give us Your heavenly peace.
Ameno sweet child of bethlehem by st pope john XXIII 24 dec 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints of the Day – 24 December – Saints Tarsilla and Emiliana (died sixth century) Virgins

Saints of the Day – 24 December – Saints Tarsilla and Emiliana (died sixth century) Virgins

Today we celebrate the feast day of Saints Emiliana and Tarsilla, Virgins of the Church and aunts of Saint Pope Gregory the Great (540-604).   What we know of their lives was recorded by the holy pope, who was deeply moved by their model of Christian life and virtue.

Born in Rome, Emiliana and Tarsilla were the daughters of senator Gordian and Saint Silvia.   Nieces of Pope Saint Felix III, the young women were destined for lives of holiness and together, while quite young, renounced the world.   As young women, they together consecrated themselves to the Lord, desiring to stay pure.   Their house was as a convent and the two spent so much time kneeling in prayer that their knees and elbows arthritically locked in the position of prayer.   Living as hermits, they encouraged one another in the ways of the faith, drawing deeper and deeper into the spiritual life.1224emilianaandtarsilla

Tarsilla and Emiliana had a third sister, Gordiana, who had initially made the same vows and consecrated herself to the Lord.   Gradually, however, she withdrew from her sisters, returning to the world.   Their reproaches fell on deaf ears and caused them significant sadness and grief.

Saint Tarsilla died prior to Saint Emiliana but not before she received a vision of her uncle, Pope Saint Felix.   In her vision, the pope appeared to her, showing her a place of great beauty.   He said, “Come, I will receive you into this habitation of light.” Immediately, she fell ill with fever.   Her sister ministered to her but to no avail.   By the following day, her illness had grown worse.  Saint Tarsilla, in agonising pain, called out to those around her;  “Make way! Jesus is coming!”   With her eyes fixed firmly on heaven, she died soon thereafter and a heavenly fragrance filled the room, confirming her visions.

Saint Emiliana was deeply saddened, made more difficult by missing her sister on Christmas.   Emiliana received consolation in the form of a vision of her sister, however. In this vision, Tarsilla encouraged,  “My sister, come! I did not celebrate with you the birth of the Lord but together we will celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.” “If you call only me,” Emiliana replied, “what will become of our sister, Gordiana?”   “Come,” Tarsilla sadly answered. “Our sister has decided to remain with the world.”   Soon thereafter, Saint Emiliana fell ill and promptly joined her sister in heaven.   Their relics are kept at the Oratory of Saint Andrew on the Celian Hill in Rome.img-Pictorial-Saints-Thrasilla-and-Emiliana-Virgins

Pope Saint Gregory the Great recounted the tale of his aunts throughout his lifetime.   He used it to illustrate the point that we must work constantly to save our souls, repenting for our actions.   To Saint Gregory, there is no point in beginning the work of salvation, if we do not plan to see it through to the end.   As we prepare for the birth of Our Lord, we look to our own commitments.   Are we ready to greet the infant Christ, come to redeem and save us?

Tonight, we echo the sentiment of Saint Tarsilla:  “Make way! Jesus is coming!”   How might we use this dark night—lit by the choirs of angels—to prepare for the coming of the Lord?


Midnight Mass and Memorials of the Saints – 24 December

24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight
In many Western Christian traditions Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day. This popular Christmas custom is a jubilant celebration of the Mass in honour of the Nativity of Jesu,; even many of those Christian denominations that do not regularly employ the word “Mass” uniquely use the term “Midnight Mass” for their Christmas Eve liturgy.

St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux
St Emiliana and St Trasilla (died sixth Century)
St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto
St Hanno of Worms
Bl Ignacio Caselles García
St Irmina of Oehren
St Mochua of Timahoe
Bl Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli
Bl Peter de Solanes
Bl Venerandus of Clermont

All the Holy Ancestors of Jesus: A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.
• Blessed Dionysius Roneo
• Blessed Philip Claro
• Blessed Giulio Pons
• Blessed Peter of Valladolid

Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati): Six cloistered Mercedarian nuns at the convent of Vera Cruz in Berriz, Spain. Noted for their devotion to the rules of the Order and for their deep prayer lives.
• Blessed Anna Maria Prieto
• Blessed Anna de Arrano
• Blessed Orsola de Larisgoizia
• Blessed Maguna Mary
• Blessed Margaret
• Blessed Mary of the Assumption Sarria

Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints): A group of forty virgins martyred in the persecutions of Decius. None of their names have come down to us. They were martyred in 250 in Antioch, Syria.

Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details that have surived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.