Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Thought for the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – It is still Christmastide!

‘If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart
and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Pope Francis’ Homily – 19 December 2018 – General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In six days, it will be Christmas.   The trees, the decorations and the lights everywhere recall that this year also there will be a celebration.   Advertising invites to keep exchanging newer and newer gifts to have surprises.   However, is this the celebration that pleases God?   What Christmas would He want, what presents and surprises?

We look at the first Christmas of history to discover God’s tastes.   That Christmas was full of surprises.   It begins with Mary, who was Joseph’s promised bride – the Angel arrives and changes her life.   From being a virgin, she will be a mother.   It continues with Joseph, called to be the father of a son without generating Him.   A son that — in a dramatic turn of events — arrives in the least indicated moment, namely, when Mary and Joseph were betrothed and, according to the Law, could not live together.   In face of the scandal, the good sense of the time invited Joseph to repudiate Mary and save his good name but he, although he had the right, surprises us – not to hurt Mary he thinks of taking leave of her in secret, at the cost of losing his own reputation.   Then, another surprise – in a dream, God changes his plans and asks him to take Mary to himself.   Jesus having been born, when Joseph had his plans for the family, again in a dream he is told to rise and go to Egypt.   To summarise, Christmas brought unexpected life changes.  And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life.

However, it’s on Christmas Eve that the greatest surprise arrives – the Most High is a little baby.   The divine Word is an infant, which means literally, “incapable of speaking.”   And the divine Word becomes “incapable of speaking.”  The Authorities of the time or of the place or the ambassadors were not there to receive the Saviour – no, it was simple shepherds, who, surprised by the Angels while they were working at night, run without delay.   Who would have expected it?   Christmas is to celebrate the unheard-of God, or better, it is to celebrate an unprecedented God, who overturns our logics and our expectations.

To celebrate Christmas, then, is to receive on earth Heaven’s surprises.   One can’t live “down to earth,” when Heaven has brought its novelties into the world.   Christmas inaugurates a new era, where life isn’t planned but is given;  where one no longer lives for oneself, on the basis of one’s tastes, but for God;  and with God because since the first Christmas, God is God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us.   To live Christmas is to let oneself be shaken by its surprising novelty.   Jesus’ Birth doesn’t offer the reassuring warmth of a fireplace but the divine thrill, that shakes history.  Christmas is the revenge of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over noise, of prayer over “my time,” of God over my “I.”christmas is - pope francis no 2 - 8 jan 2019

To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy people and to come down to those in need of us.   It is to do as Mary did, to entrust ourselves, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do.   To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did, to rise to do what God wants, even if it’s not according to our plans.   Saint Joseph is surprising – he never speaks in the Gospel, there isn’t one word of Joseph in the Gospel and the Lord speaks to him in silence, He speaks to him in fact in his sleep. Christmas is to prefer God’s silent voice to the noises of consumerism.   If we are able to be silent before the Crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us also, not something already seen.   To be in silence before the Crib – this is the invitation for Christmas.  Take a bit of time, go before the Crib and stay in silence.   And you will feel, you will see the surprise.

Unfortunately, however, the celebration can be mistaken and we can prefer the usual things on earth, to the novelties of Heaven.   If Christmas remains only a beautiful traditional feast, where we and not Him, are at the centre, it will be a lost occasion.   Please, let us not make Christmas worldly!   Let us not put the One celebrated aside as ‘happened’ then, when “He came among His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).   Since the first Gospel of Advent, the Lord has put us on guard, asking us not to be weighed down with “dissipation” and “the cares of life” (Luke 21:34).   In these days one runs, perhaps more than ever during the year.   So, the opposite is done of what Jesus wants.   We blame the many things that fill our day, the world that goes fast.   Yet Jesus didn’t blame the world.   He asked us not to let ourselves be dragged, to watch at all times praying (Cf. v. 36).

Behold, it will be Christmas if, like Joseph, we make room for silence;  if, like Mary, we say to God “Here I am”;  if, like Jesus, we are close to one who is alone;  if, like the shepherds, we go out of our enclosures to be with Jesus.   It will be Christmas, if we find the light in the poor cave of Bethlehem.   It won’t be Christmas if we seek the shimmering glow of the world, if we fill ourselves with gifts, lunches and dinners but we don’t help at least one poor person, who is like God, because at Christmas God came poor.

Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you a happy Christmas, a Christmas rich in Jesus’ surprises!   They might seem uncomfortable surprises but they are God’s tastes.   If we embrace them, we will have a splendid surprise for ourselves.   Each one of us has hidden in the heart, the capacity to be surprised.   Let us let Jesus surprise us this Christmas.

It’s Christmas every day!  behold it will be christmas - pope francis given 19 dec 2018 gen aud - 8 jan 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany

7 Beloved, let us love one another;
for love is of God and he who loves.
is born of God and knows God.1 john 4 7 - beloved let us love one another 8 jan 2019

8 He who does not love,
does not know God,
for God is love.1 john 4 8 he who does not love - 8 jan 2018

9 In this, the love of God
was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son
into the world, so that we
might live through him.

10 In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us and sent his Son
to be the expiation for our sins.

Today’s First Reading : 1 John 4:7-101 john 4 9-10 in this the love of god was manifest - 8 jan 2019

By his divine power, he has lavished on us,
all the things we need for life
and for true devotion,
through the knowledge of him,
who has called us,
by his own glory and goodness.
Through these, the greatest and priceless promises
have been lavished on us, that through them,
you should share the divine nature
and escape the corruption in a world
that is sunk in vice.

2 Peter 1:3-42 peter 1 3-4 by his divine power he has lavished on us - 8 jan 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – Gospel: Mark 6:34-44

One Minute Reflection – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – Gospel: Mark 6:34-44

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.…Mark 6:42-44

REFLECTION – “The narrative of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, ends with the verification, that everyone is satisfied and with the collection of the leftover pieces.  When Jesus, with His compassion and His love, gives us a grace, forgives us our sins, embraces us, loves us – He does nothing halfway but completely.   As it happens here, all are satisfied.   Jesus fills our heart and our life with His love, with His forgiveness, with His compassion.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 17 August 2016mark 6 42 and they all ate and were satisfied - pope francis - the narrative of the loaves 8 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – God our father, when Your only-begotten Son, revealed Himself in flesh and blood, we came to know Him as our fellow-man.   As He transformed 5 loaves and 2 fish, may He transform us inwardly, until we bear His likeness.   Blessed Eurosia, you were filled with the love of God and your neighbour and by His grace, transformed all those who came within your care, please intercede on our behalf.   We ask this through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.bl eurosia fabris pray for us 8 jan 2019

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS to the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany

Our Morning Offering – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany

Jesus, accomplish Your Will in Me
by St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682)

Jesus,
I feel within me,
a great desire to please You
but, at the same time,
I feel totally incapable of doing this,
without Your special light and help,
which I can expect only from You.
Accomplish Your will in me –
even in spite of me.
Amenjesus accomplish your will in me - st claude de la colombiere 8 jan 2019

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 8 January – Blessed Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932) “Mamma Rosa”

Saint of the Day – 8 January – Blessed Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932) “Mamma Rosa”Laywoman, Wife and Mother, Secular Franciscan, Apostle of Charity, Marian devotee, Apostle of Prayer and of the Holy Eucharist – born on 27 September 1866 in Quinto Vicentino, Italy and died on 8 January 1932 at Marola di Torri, Vicenza, Italy of natural causes.bl eurosia fabris 1855-1932.jpg

Eurosia Fabris was born in Quinto Vicentino, an agricultural area, some kilometers from Vicenza in Italy, on 27 of September 1866.   Her parents, Luigi and Maria Fabris, were farmers.   In 1870, at the age of four, Eurosia moved with her family to Marola, a village in the municipality of Torri di Quartesolo (Vicenza).   She lived there for the rest of her life.   She attended only the first two years of elementary school between 1872 and 1874 because even at such a young age, she was forced to help her parents with farm work and her mother in particular with the household chores.   It was enough, however, for her to learn to read and write with the help of the Holy Scriptures or religious books such as the Catechism, Church history, the Philothea and the Eternal Maxims of St Alfonso Liguori.

Besides her domestic tasks, she helped her mother in her work as a dressmaker, a practice which Eurosia would also take on later.   Even as a child, she was rich in virtue and spirituality, always very careful in providing for the needs of her family.

She was twelve years old when she made her First Holy Communion.   From then on, she received Holy Eucharist on all religious feasts, since at that time daily communion was not the practice.   It was not until 1905 that daily communion was permitted by a Decree of Pope St Pius X.

Eurosia joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary in the parish church of Marola, and was faithful in participating in their devotions.   She diligently observed the practices of the group which helped increase in her a love for Mary.   In Marola, she lived within sight of the shrine of the Madonna of Monte Berico.

Her favourite devotions were to the Holy Spirit, the infant Jesus, the Cross of Christ, the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and the souls in the Purgatory.   She was an apostle of good will in her family, among her friends and in her parish, where she taught catechism to the children and sewing to the girls who came to her home.

At the age of eighteen, Eurosia was a dedicated, pious and hardworking young lady. These virtues, along with her pleasant personality, did not go unobserved and several young men proposed marriage to her, though she did not feel called to accept.

In 1885, Rosina, as she was called by her family, was affected by a tragic event.   A young married woman near her home died leaving three very young daughters.   The first of them died shortly after her mother.   The other two girls, Chiara Angela and Italia were only 20 months old and 2 months old, respectively.   The father of these girls was away, living with his uncle and a grandfather who suffered from a chronic disease.   They were three very different men, always quarrelling among themselves.

For six months, every morning, Rosina would go to care for the children and take care of their home.   Later, following the advice of her relatives and that of the parish priest and after praying about this turn of events, she decided to marry.   Rosina was joined in marriage to a man named Carlo Barban, well aware of the sacrifices that married life would hold for her in the future.   She accepted this fact as the will of God who she now felt was calling her through these two babies to embrace a new mission.   The parish priest would often comment:  “This was a true act of heroic charity towards others.”

The marriage was celebrated on the fifth of May 1886 and, in addition to the two orphaned babies, was blessed with nine other children.   Her home was always opened to other children as well.   Among them were Mansueto Mazzuco, who became a member of the Order of Friars Minor, taking the name, Brother Giorgio.   To all these children, “Mamma Rosa”, as she was called since her marriage, offered affection and care, sacrificing her own needs to provide for them a solid Christian formation.  Between 1918-1921, three of her sons were ordained priests, two for the Diocesan clergy and one as a Franciscan (Fr Bernardino), who would become her first biographer.

Once married, she embraced her marital obligations, always showing the greatest love and respect for her husband and becoming his confidante and adviser.   She had a tender love for all her children.   She was a hard worker and a person who could be counted on to fulfil her duties.

Mamma Rosa lived an intense life of prayer, which was evident by her great devotion to God love’s, to the Holy Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Like the strong woman in Sacred Scripture, she became a real treasure to her family.   She knew how to balance the family budget and at the same time exercised great charity towards the poor, sharing her daily bread also with them.   She cared for the sick and gave them continuous assistance, showing heroic strength during the final illness of her husband Carlo, who died in 1930.

Mamma Rosa became a member of the Franciscan Third Order, known today as the Secular Franciscans.   She faithfully attended all their meetings but above all tried to live the true Franciscan spirit of poverty and joy in her home, in the midst of her daily work and prayer.   She had a gentle manner with everyone and praised God as the Creator and source of all good and the giver of all hope.

Mama Rosa’s family home was an ideal Christian community where her children were taught to pray, to obey, to respect the will of God and to practice Christian virtues.   In her vocation as a Christian mother, Mamma Rosa sacrificed and consumed herself day by day like a lamp burning brightly on the altar of charity.   She died on 8 January 1932 and was buried, with the hope of final resurrection, in the church of Marola.

The canonical process of beatification and canonisation was initiated on 3 February 2005 at the Diocesan curia of Padova, after getting passed several difficulties and misunderstandings among the different juridical persons trying to promote the Cause.

Mamma Rosa was a model of holiness in what should be the daily life of a Catholic family.   Her three sons who became priests were encouraged in their vocation by her example of holiness.   She was proclaimed Venerable on the 7th of July, 2003, by St Pope John Paul II who recognised the testimony of her heroic and singular virtues.   It was the wish of Venerable Pope Pius XII that the life of this marvellous woman be known among all Christian families of our day…Vatican.va

Blessed Eurosia was Beatified on 6 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI
the recognition was celebrated by Cardinal Saraiva Martins at Vincenza, Italy.
blessed-eurosia-fabris-barban-jan-8

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succour and Memorials of the Saints – 8 January

8 January – Our Lady of Prompt Succour –

In 1727, French Ursuline nuns founded a monastery in New Orleans, Louisiana, and organised their area schools from it.   In 1763 Louisiana became a Spanish possession and Spanish sisters came to assist. In 1800 the territory reverted back to France and the Spanish sisters fled in the face of French anti – Catholicsm.   In 1803, short on teachers, Mother Saint Andre Madier requested reinforcements in the form of more sisters from France  . The relative to whom she wrote, Mother Saint Michel, was running a Catholic boarding school for girls. Bishop Fournier, short-handed due to the repressions of the French Revolution, declined to send any sisters.   Mother Saint Michel was given permission to appeal to the pope.   The pope was a prisoner of Napoleon and it seemed unlikely he would even receive her letter of petition.   Mother Saint Michel prayed,

O most Holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain for me a prompt and favorable answer to this letter, I promise to have you honoured at New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succour.

and sent her letter on 19 March 1809.   Against all odds, she received a response on 29 April 1809.   The pope granted her request and Mother Saint Michel, commissioned a statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succour holding the Infant Jesus. Bishop Fournier blessed the statue and Mother’s work.

Mother Saint Michel and several postulants came to New Orleans on 31 December 1810.   They brought the statue with them and placed it in the monastery chapel.   Since then, Our Lady of Prompt Succour has interceded for those who have sought her help.

A great fire threatened the Ursuline monastery in 1812.   A lay sister brought the statue to the window and Mother Saint Michel prayed

Our Lady of Prompt Succour, we are lost if you do not come to our aid.

The wind changed direction, turned the fire away, and saved the monastery.

Our Lady interceded again at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.   Many faithful, including wives and daughters of American soldiers, gathered in the Ursuline chapel before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succour and spent the night before the battle in prayer.  They asked Our Lady for victory by Andrew Jackson’s forces over the British, which would save the city from being sacked. Jackson and 200 men from around the South won a remarkable victory over a superior British force in a battle that lasted twenty-five minutes, and saw few American casualties.

It is still customary for the devout of New Orleans to pray before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succour whenever a hurricane threatens New Orleans.

our_lady_of_prompt_succor_patroness_of_louisiana

St Abo of Tblisi
St Albert of Cashel
St Apollinaris the Apologist
St Athelm of Canterbury
St Atticus of Constantinople
St Carterius of Caesarea
Bl Edward Waterson
St Ergnad of Ulster
St Erhard of Regensburg
St Eugenian of Autun
Bl Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932)
St Garibaldus of Regensburg
St Gudule of Brussels
St Helladius
St Julian of Beauvais
St Lawrence Giustiniani
St Lucian of Beauvais
St Maximian of Beauvais
St Maximus of Pavia
Bl Nathalan of Aberdeen
St Patiens of Metz
St Pega of Peakirk
St Severinus of Noricum
St Theophilus the Martyr
St Thorfinn
St Wulsin of Sherborne

Martyrs of Greece – 9 saints: A group of Christians honored in Greece as martyrs, but we have no details about their lives or deaths – Euctus, Felix, Januarius, Lucius, Palladius, Piscus, Rusticus, Secundus and Timotheus

Martyrs of Terni – 4 saints: A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Executed during the persecutions of emperor Claudius. Martyrs. – Carbonanus, Claudius, Planus and Tibudianus.   They were martyred in 270 in Terni, Italy.