Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day One – 1 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day One – 1 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr


How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.DAY ONE IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - ST MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE - TRINITY 1 DEC 2019

Day 1: The Immaculata’s Relationship to the Trinity

From all eternity the Father begets the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son.   This life of the most Holy Trinity is re-echoed in numberless and various ways, by the creatures that issue from God’s hands. . . .   Every act of love in God comes forth from the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God creates, maintains in existence, gives life and growth in the natural as well as in the supernatural order.   In His love, God supports in existence all His innumerable limited created resemblances and the love-reaction that is provoked in the creature, can return to the Father only through the Holy Spirit and the Son.. .
Among creatures, the summit of this love that goes back to God is the Immaculata, the one being totally without any stain of sin, all beautiful, all divine.   At no time did her will ever deviate from God’s will.   With all its strength, her will was always at one with His. In her there came about the marvellous union of God with creation.
(Kolbe’s “Sketches for a Book,” 1940).

Cultivating a personal relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity is an obligation for every individual.   May the Immaculata’s love-response to each of the Three Divine Persons, serve as a model and stimulus for each of us.

Closing prayers:

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practiced so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.


Devotion for December The Immaculate Conception

Devotion for December
The Immaculate Conceptiondecember-month-of-the-imm-conception-1-dec-2018 and 1 dec 2019.jpg

During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church.   The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December-moved to 8 December in 2019) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption.

In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God.   The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as “without stain” (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary), in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: “immaculate.”

The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it.   Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.

It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world, as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.

The star of Mary Immaculate shines down on the path of Advent….

What person is more luminous than Mary?

Who can be for us, better than her, the star of hope,

the sunrise that proclaims the day of salvation?

Pope Benedict XVI

Holy light on earth’s horizon,
Star of hope to those who fall,
Light amid a world of shadows,
Dawn of God’s design for all.mary immaculate conception december devotion - holy light on earth's horizon 1 dec 2019.jpg

Mary, Virgin of Advent, may we always walk with you in the light of the Lord, Jesus, the fruit of your womb!    Amenthe star of mary immaculate shines down on the path of advent - pope benedict - dec month of the imm conception 1 dec 2019.jpg


Thought for the Day – 1 December – On the Twofold Coming of Christ – St Cyril of Jerusalem

Thought for the Day – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A

On the Twofold Coming of Christ

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Catechetical Instruction, Catechesis 15

We do not preach only one coming of Christ but a second as well, much more glorious than the first.   The first coming was marked by patience, the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects.   There is a birth from God before the ages and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time.   There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.   At His second coming He will be clothed in light as in a garment.   In the first coming He endured the cross, despising the shame;  in the second coming He will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.   We look then beyond the first coming and await the second.   At the first coming we said – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.   At the second we shall say it again, we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At His own judgement He was silent, then He will address those who committed the outrages against Him when they crucified Him and will remind them – You did these things and I was silent.

His first coming was to fulfil His plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion.   This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of His kingdom by necessity. Malachi the prophet speaks of the two comings.   And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to His temple – that is one coming.

Again he says of another coming – Look, the Lord almighty will come and who will endure the day of His entry, or who will stand in His sight?   Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb and He will sit refining and cleansing.

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus – The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words:  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven.   He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day.   For there will be an end to this world and the created world will be made new.

Grant, almighty Father,
that when Christ comes again,
we may go out to meet Him,
bearing the harvest of good works,
achieved by Your Grace.
We pray, that He will receive us
into the company of the saints
and call us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Christ, our Lord,
with the Holy Spirit,
God for all eternity,
Amenfirst sun advent - grant almighty father that when your son comes again 1 dec 2019 be prepared.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – St Edmund Campion and Bl Charles of Jesus

Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) and Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916) Both Martyrs

“To be a Catholic is my greatest glory.”

St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581)to be a catholic is my only glory st edmunc campion 1 dec 2019.jpg

“In order to save us,
God came to us
and lived among us,
from the Annunciation
to the Ascension,
in a close and familiar way.
God continues to come to us
and to live with us
in a close and familiar way,
each day and at every hour,
in the holy Eucharist.
So we too must go
and live among
our brothers and sisters
in a close and familiar way.”in order to save us god came to us and lived among us - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2019

“Whether our life
be that of Nazareth,
the Public Life
or the Desert…
it should cry the Gospel..”whether our life be that of nazareth - 1 dec 2019 - bl charles de foucauld

“To pray,
is to think about Jesus
and love Him.
The more we love,
the better we pray.”to pray is to think about jesus and to love him - bl charles de foucauld 1 dec 2019

“God who is infinite, all powerful,
has become man,
the least of men.
My way is always to seek the lowest place,
to be as little as my Master,
to walk with Him,
step-by-step as a faithful disciple.
My way, is to live with my God
who lived this way all His life
and, who has given me,
such an example,
from His very birth.

Blessed Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)god who is infinite all powerful has become man - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2019


Sunday Reflection – 1 December – ‘You were not nearer to the Blessed Virgin … than You are to me…’

Sunday Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A and the Memorial of Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916) Martyr

Lord Jesus, You are in the Holy Eucharist.   You are there a yard away in the Tabernacle. Your body, Your soul, Your human nature, Your divinity, Your whole being is there, in its twofold nature.   How close You are, my God, my Saviour, my Spouse, My Beloved!

You were not nearer to the Blessed Virgin during the nine months that she carried You, than You are to me, when You rest on my tongue in Holy Communion.   You were no closer to the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph in the caves at Bethlehem, or in the flight into Egypt, or at any moment of that divine family life, than you are to me at this moment – and so many others – in the Tabernacle.

Mary… was no closer to you when she sat at your feet at Bethany, than I am here, at the foot of this altar.   You were no nearer to Your apostles when you were sitting in the midst of them than You are to me now, my God.   How blessed I am!

(Bl Charles was martyred 103 years ago today, 1 December 1916)

you were not nearer to the blessed virgin - bl charles de foucauld 1 dec 2019.jpg


Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent

Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A –
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

“So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Matthew 24:44

St Bernard (1091-1153)
Doctor of the Church
Sermons 4 and 5 for Advent

“It is only right, my brothers, to celebrate our Lord’s coming with all possible devotion, so greatly does His comfort gladden us… and His love burn within us.   But do not just think about His first coming when He came “to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10), think, too, of that other coming when He will come to take us with Him.  I should like to see you constantly occupied in meditating on these two comings… “resting among the sheepfolds” (Ps 68[67]:14), for they are the two arms of the Bridegroom in which the Bride of the Song of Songs took her rest:  “His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me” (2:6)…

But there is a third coming between the two to which I have just referred and those who know of it, can rest in it for their greater happiness.   The other two are visible but this one is not.   In the first, “ the Lord has appeared on earth and has spoken to us” (Bar 3:38)… in the last, “all mankind shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6; Is 40:5)…   But the one that comes between them is secret, it is that in which the elect alone see the SavioUr within themselves and their souls find salvation.

In His first coming, Christ came in our flesh and in our weakness;  in His coming in the midst of time, He comes in Spirit and power;  in His final coming, He will come in His glory and majesty.   But it is by the strength of the virtues, that we attain to glory, as it is written:  “The Lord, the king of armies, he is the king of glory” (Ps 24[23]:10) and, in the same book:  “That I may see your power and your glory” (Ps 63[62]:3).   And so the second coming is like a road leading from the first to the last.   In the first, Christ has been our redemption, in the last, He will appear as our life, in His coming between, He is our rest and our consolation.”in-the-first-coming-st-bernard-3-dec-2017 AND 1 DEC 2019.jpg

Prayer for the Advent Wreath

Lord, our God,
we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ,
for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Saviour of us all.
O Lord,
let Your blessing come upon us
as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.


We light a advent candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark.   But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master.   The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:

See! The ruler of the earth shall come,
the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.

We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle.   We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten – doing all these works hastens His coming.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuelthe first sunday of advent - 1 dec 2019 matthew 24 44


Our Morning Offering – 1 December – Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

Our Morning Offering – 1 December – First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

Breviary Lauds Hymn
First Sunday Advent

Come, O long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art,
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone,
By Thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.come o long expected jesus 1st sunday of advent 1 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 1 December – Blessed John of Vercelli OP (c 1205-1283)

Saint of the Day – 1 December – Blessed John of Vercelli OP (c 1205-1283) – Dominican Priest and Friar, Sixth Master General of the Order of Preachers, Founder of the The Society of the Holy Name, Canon lawyer, Professor – born in c 1205 at Mosso Santa Maria, Italy as Giovanni Garbella and died in September 1283 at Montpelier, France of natural causes.Blessed John of Vercelli

John Garbella was born early in the 13th century, somewhere near Vercelli.   He studied at Paris and was ordained priest before 1229.   He taught canon law at the University of Paris.   While he was professor there, Blessed Jordan of Saxony (who was a friend of Saint Albert the Great) came to Paris and John saw one after another of his best pupils desert their careers to join the Dominicans.   He seems to have considered them quite objectively, without reference to himself, until one day he had an interior voice that spoke to him that it was God’s will for him to join the Dominicans.   No one can say that John did not respond with alacrity – he dropped everything and ran down the street. “Let me go; I am on my way to God!”   Jordan received him happily and gave him the habit.

In 1232, John was sent to Vercelli to establish a convent there.   He built this and several other convents in Lombardy as houses of regular observance.   While provincial of Lombardy, he also became inquisitor.   It was a particularly difficult moment.   His brother in religion, St Peter of Verona, had just been killed by the heretics in Como.   The entire countryside was in a state of war, with roving bands of heretics and robbers.   It was the task of the new inquisitor to try to bring order out of this chaos and what John did was remarkable, considering the situation.   In spite of his heavy labours, which included the supervision of 600 friars in 28 different cities (he reached them only by walking), John of Vercelli established the ideals of study and regular observance in all of his houses.

But it was also, the good fortune of John of Vercelli to live in an age that was well peopled by saints.   He formed a close friendship with Saint Louis, the king of France.   Several of his tasks in the order, particularly the Commission on the Program of Studies, he shared with Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Tarentaise (the future Pope Innocent V).   In such company one would need to have a superior set of talents – John did.

In 1264 the chapter of the order met at Paris.   Blessed Humbert had resigned as master general of the order.   John went to the chapter hoping that he could resign as provincial of Lombardy.   Instead of escaping one office, he fell heir to a still more difficult one.   He was elected master general in 1264 and served in that capacity until 1283.   John was then a man in his sixties and was, moreover, handicapped by a crippled leg.   However, he accepted the office which would require him to walk, not only all over Lombardy but all over Europe.   It took a brand of courage and obedience that was little short of heroic.BL JOHN OF VERCELLI GLASS

During the generalate of John of Vercelli, the relics of Saint Dominic were transferred to the new tomb that had been prepared for it by Nicholas of Pisa.   When the transfer was made, John of Vercelli fixed his seal on the tomb, the seals were still intact on their examination in 1946.   During the translation of the relics, according to the account in the Vitae Fratrum, when the body of Saint Dominic was exposed to view, the head was seen to turn towards John of Vercelli.   John, embarrassed, moved to another part of the church and gave his place to a cardinal.  Whereupon, the head of Saint Dominic was seen by all to turn again in John’s direction!

On the death of Clement IV, John of Vercelli was very nearly elected pope.   Being warned of the possibility, he fled in fright.   However, his good friend Cardinal Visconti, was elected and took the name Gregory X.   He appointed John as legate on several different missions.

He was commissioned by the pope to draw up the Schema for the second ecumenical council of Lyons in 1274–that council to which Saint Thomas Aquinas was hurrying when death found him on the road.   At the council John distinguished himself for his assistance by offering to the council the talents of his best men.  At the council, he accepted for the Dominican Order the special commission of promoting reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus and fighting blasphemy, which was, in that day as in ours, a prevalent vice.   He can thus be considered the founder of the Holy Name Society, even though the Confraternity was not formed until 1432.BL JOHN OF VERCELLI CARD

Several precious relics were suitably enshrined by John of Vercelli.   These included several thorns from the Crown of Our Lord, which had been given him by Saint Louis of France.   The cord of Saint Thomas, with which he had been guided by the angels and which he had worn until death, was given into the care of the master general, who gave it to the convent of Vercelli for safe keeping.

John’s career was rapidly reaching its end.   In 1279, he presided over the famous chapter of Paris at which the order made the doctrine of Saint Thomas officially its own.   The following year, he laid the foundations of the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.   One of his last official acts was to provide for a work on the instruction of novices (Benedictines, Dorcy).

He was buried at the Dominican convent at Montpelier but his tomb was desecrated by Calvinists in 1562 and his body disappeared.   He was Beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X (cultus confirmed), 1909 elevated him to the honours of the john of vercelli - statue

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, JESUIT SJ, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

First Sunday of Advent, Year A +2019 and memorials of the Saints – 1 December

First Sunday of Advent, Year A +2019

St Agericus of Verdun
St Agnofleta
St Alexander Briant
Bl Alphonsine Anuarite Nengapeta
St Ambon of Rome
St Ananias of Arbela
St Ansanus the Baptizer
Bl Antony Bonfadini
Bl Bruna Pellesi
St Candida of Rome
St Candres of Maestricht
St Cassian of Rome
St Castritian of Milan
Bl Charles of Jesus/de Foucauld OCSO (1858-1916)
Blessed Charles why are you not a Saint yet! –

Bl Christian of Perugia
St Constantine of Javron
St Declan
St Didorus
St Domnolus of Le Mans
St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581 aged 41) Martyr
About dear St Edmund:

St Eligius
St Evasius of Asti
St Filatus of Rome
St Florence of Poitiers
St Florentius
St Grwst
St Jabinus of Rome and Companions
Bl John Beche
Blessed John of Vercelli OP (c 1205-1283)

Bl Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski
St Latinus of Rome
St Leontius of Fréjus
Bl Liduina Meneguzzi
St Lucius of Rome
Bl Maria Clara of the Child Jesus
St Marianus
St Marina of Rome
St Martinus
St Nahum the Prophet
St Natalia of Nicomedia
St Olympiades
St Proculus of Narni
St Ralph Sherwin
St Resignatus of Maastricht
Bl Richard Langley
St Rogatus of Rome
St Simon of Cyrene
St Superatus of Rome
St Ursicinus of Brescia

Martyrs of Oxford University: A joint commemoration of all the men who studied at one of the colleges of Oxford University, and who were later martyred for their loyalty to the Catholic Church during the official persecutions in the Protestant Reformation. They are:
• Blessed Edward James • Blessed Edward Powell • Blessed Edward Stransham • Blessed George Napper • Blessed George Nichols • Blessed Hugh More • Blessed Humphrey Pritchard • Blessed James Bell • Blessed James Fenn • Blessed John Bodey • Blessed John Cornelius • Blessed John Forest • Blessed John Ingram • Blessed John Mason • Blessed John Munden • Blessed John Shert • Blessed John Slade • Blessed John Storey • Blessed Lawrence Richardson • Blessed Mark Barkworth • Blessed Richard Bere • Blessed Richard Rolle de Hampole • Blessed Richard Sergeant • Blessed Richard Thirkeld • Blessed Richard Yaxley • Blessed Robert Anderton • Blessed Robert Nutter • Blessed Robert Widmerpool • Blessed Stephen Rowsham • Blessed Thomas Belson • Blessed Thomas Cottam • Blessed Thomas Pilcher • Blessed Thomas Plumtree • Blessed Thomas Reynolds • Blessed William Filby • Blessed William Hart • Blessed William Hartley • Saint Alexander Briant • Saint Cuthbert Mayne • Saint Edmund Campion • Saint John Boste • Saint John of Bridlington • Saint John Roberts • Saint Ralph Sherwin • Saint Thomas Garnet • Saint Thomas More