Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Four – 4 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Four – 4 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

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.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.DAY FOUR IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA 4 DEC 2019 ST MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE.jpg

Day 4: The Immaculata’s Self-Understanding

Reading:
When our Blessed Mother was asked by Bernadette to tell her name, she answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” this is the Immaculata’s definition of herself (Conference, 26 July 1931).   By these luminous words (at Lourdes) she tells us not only that she was immaculate in her conception but beyond this that she is the Immaculate Conception as such.   Something white is one thing;  the whiteness of a thing is some-thing else. Something perfect is one thing;  the perfection of a thing is something else.   When God said to Moses, “I am the one who is,” God was telling him:  “What is proper to my essence is that I should always be, by my very nature, of myself, with no other principle of being.”   The Immaculate Virgin, of course, was created by God;  she is a creature;  she is a conception;  still, she is the Immaculate Conception!   What depths of mystery lie hidden in those words! (Miles Immaculatae, I, 1938, p. 294).

Meditation:
In our contemporary world, great emphasis is placed on the importance of getting to “know one-self.”   May the Immaculata’s example of authentic self-understanding lead each of us to find our own true meaning as participants in the very being of God.

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 practised 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.
Amen

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.
Amen

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, I BELIEVE!, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the PRIESTHOOD, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 4 December – The Statement of Faith by St John Damascene, Priest

Thought for the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church

From The Statement of Faith by St John Damascene, Priest

You have called me, Lord, to minister to Your people.   O Lord, You led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb.   You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey Your commands.

By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, You prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it but by Your ineffable grace  . The birth You prepared for me, was such, that it surpassed the laws of our nature  You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as Your son and You enrolled me among the children of Your holy and spotless Church.

You nursed me with the spiritual milk of Your divine utterances.   You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son for our redemption. And He, undertook the task willingly and did not shrink from it. Indeed, He applied Himself to it as though destined for sacrifice, like an innocent lamb.   Although He was God, He became man and in His human will, became obedient to You, God His Father, unto death, even death on a cross.

In this way You have humbled Yourself, Christ my God, so that You might carry me, Your stray sheep, on Your shoulders.   You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of true teaching at the hands of Your shepherds.   You pastured these shepherds and now they, in turn, tend Your chosen and special flock.   Now, You have called me, Lord, by the hand of Your bishop to minister to Your people.   I do not know why You have done so, for You alone know that.

Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart.   Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path.   When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of Your Spirit make my own tongue ready.   Stay with me always and keep me in Your sight.

Lead me to pastures, Lord and graze there with me  . Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left but let Your good Spirit guide me along the straight path.   Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with Your will, now until the end.

And you, O Church, are a most excellent assembly, the noble summit of perfect purity, whose assistance comes from God.   You in whom God lives, receive from us, an exposition of the faith that is free from error, to strengthen the Church, just as our Fathers handed it down to us.

St John Damascene, Pray for our Priests,

Pray for Us All!
Amen!st john damascene pray for us 4 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The HOLY TRINITY

Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – St John Damascene

Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church

“Think of the Father as a spring of life begetting the Son,
like a river and the Holy Ghost like a sea,
for the spring and the river and sea are all one nature.
Think of the Father as a root and of the Son as a branch
and the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance in these three is one.
The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat.”think of the father as a spring of life - st john damascene on the trinity 4 dec 2019.jpg

“‘How can this come about?’ Mary asked.
‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ the angel answered’
and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.’
And now you are the one who puts the question:
‘How can bread become Christ and wine His Blood?’
I answer:
‘The power of the Holy Spirit will be at work
to give us a marvel which surpasses understanding.’”how can this come about mary asked - st john damascene - eucharist - 4 dec 2019.jpg

“If the Word of God is living and powerful
and if the Lord does all things whatsoever he wills;
if he said, “Let there be light” and it happened;
if he said, “let there be a firmament” and it happened;
…if finally the Word of God Himself willingly became man
and made flesh for Himself, out of the most pure
and undefiled blood of the holy and ever Virgin,
why should He not be capable of making bread,
His Body and wine and water, His Blood?…
God said
“This is my Body”
and “This is my Blood.”

St John Damascene (676-749)

Father and Doctor of the Churchif-the-word-of-god-st-john-damascene-4-dec-2017 and 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 4 December – “And He healed them…”

Advent Reflection – 4 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalm 23, Matthew 15:29-37

Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.

“And great multitudes came unto him,
having with them those that were lame,
blind, dumb, maimed and many others
and cast them down at Jesus’ feet
and he healed them…”

Matthew 15:30

REFLECTION – “To this assembly have come not only the disciples, as if they were leaving behind the multitudes, as they did in the case of the Beatitudes.   Rather, there are great crowds here, many of whom are deaf or suffer from many afflictions.   Look at the crowds who come to this mountain where the Son of God sits.   Some of them have become deaf to the things that have been promised.   Others have become blind in soul, not looking toward the true light.   Others are lame and not able to walk according to reason.   Others are maimed and unable to work profitably.   Each of these who are suffering in soul from such things go up along with the multitudes into the mountain where Jesus sits.

Some who do not draw near to the feet of Jesus are not healed.   But those who are brought by the multitude and cast at His feet are being healed.   Even those who come only to the edges, just the extremities of the body of Christ, who feel themselves unworthy to obtain such things, are being healed  . So now you come into the congregation of what is more commonly called the Church.   See the catechumens?   They are, as it were, cast in the far side or back of those who are the extreme end of the body, as if they were coming merely to the feet of the body of Jesus—the Church.   They are coming to it with their own deafness and blindness and lameness and crookedness. In time they will be cured according to the Word.   Observing this, you would not be wrong in saying, that these people have gone up with the multitudes into the church, up to the mountain where Jesus sits and have been cast at His feet and are being healed.   And so the multitudes are astonished at beholding the transformations that are taking place. They behold those who are being converted from such great evils to that which is so much better.” Origen (c 185-253) Father of the Church – Commentary on Matthew, 11wednesday of the first week of advent - 4 dec 2019 matthew 15 30.jpg

Meditation:
If ever there is a time to believe in miracles, Advent season is that time!   We hear of the miracle of Mary’s conception, the miracle of Jesus’ birth in a barn, the miracle of the star in the night sky leading the wise men, the feeding of the multitudes and their healings.   A Saint, whose feast is celebrated during the Advent season, St Nicholas, was often called the “wonder-worker.”   The Scriptures speak to us of God’s miraculous and unceasing care for us.   God always provides for us. (Redemptorist Fathers)

Advent Action:
Today, let us believe in miracles and wonders.   And tell all we meet, of these wonderful gifts from God.

Collect:
Prepare our hearts,
we pray, O Lord our God,
by Your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ Your Son
we may be found worthy
of the banquet of eternal life
and merit to receive
heavenly nourishment from His hands.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN PRAYERS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 4 December – O Mary, my Hope!

Our Morning Offering – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church

O Mary, my Hope!
St John Damascene (675-749)

I salute you, O Mary!
you are the hope of Christians.
Receive the prayer of a sinner,
who loves you tenderly,
honours you in a special manner
and places in you the whole hope
of his salvation.
From you I have my life.
You reinstate me in the grace of your Son:
you are the sure pledge of my salvation.
I beseech of you, therefore, to deliver me
from the burden of my sins,
dispel the darkness of my mind,
banish from my heart the love of the world,
repress the temptations of my enemies
and so rule my whole life, that by your means
and under your guidance,
I may obtain everlasting happiness in heaven.
Ameno mary my hope - st john damascene - 4 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Barbara (3rd Century) Martyr – died
by being beheaded by her father c 235 at Nicomedia during the persecution of Maximinus of Thrace.   Patronages – against death by artillery • against explosions • against fire • against impenitence • against lightning • against mine collapse • against storms • against vermin • ammunition workers • architects • armourers • artillery • artillerymen • boatmen • bomb technicians • brass workers • brewers • builders • carpenters • construction workers • dying people • explosives workers • fire prevention • firefighters • fireworks • fireworks manufacturers • fortifications • foundry workers • geologists • gravediggers • gunners • hatmakers • hatters • mariners • martyrs • masons • mathematicians • milliners • miners • ordnance workers • prisoners • sailors • saltpetre workers • smelters • stone masons • stonecutters • sudden death • Syria • tilers • warehouses • watermen • 8 cities.   Saint Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Her association with the lightning, which killed her father has caused her to be invoked against lightning and fire.   By association with explosions, she is also the patron of artillery and mining.

Wilhelm_Kalteysen_-_Saint_Barbara_Altarpiece_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
St Barbara with her attributes – three-windowed tower, central panel of St Barbara Altarpiece (1447), National Museum in Warsaw

Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, though not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints.

Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower.   As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times.   A 15th-century French version of her story credits her with thirteen miracles, many rest upon the security she offered, that her devotees would not die before getting to make confession and receiving extreme unction.st barbara art.jpg

According to the hagiographies, Barbara, the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, was carefully guarded by her father who kept her locked up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world.   Having secretly become a Christian, she rejected an offer of marriage that she received through her father.

Before going on a journey, her father commanded that a private bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling and during his absence, Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended.   When her father returned, she acknowledged herself to be a Christian, whereupon he drew his sword to kill her but her prayers created an opening in the tower wall and she was miraculously transported to a mountain gorge, where two shepherds watched their flocks.   Dioscorus, in pursuit of his daughter, was rebuffed by the first shepherd but the second betrayed her.   For doing this, he was turned to stone and his flock was changed to locusts.GHIRLANDAIO_Domenico_St_Barbara.jpg

Dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured, Barbara remained faithful to her Christian faith.   During the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred.   Every morning, her wounds were healed. Torches that would be used to burn her, were extinquished as they approached her.  Finally, she was condemned to death by beheading.   Her father himself carried out the death-sentence.   However, as punishment, he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body was consumed by flame.   Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus and her tomb became the site of miracles.   This summary omits picturesque details, supplemented from Old French accounts.Master_of_the_Embroidered_Foliage_-_Saint_Barbara.jpg

According to the Golden Legend, her martyrdom took place on 4 December “in the reign of emperor Maximianus and Prefect Marcien” (r. 286–305);  the year was given as 267 in the French version.

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Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 December

St John Damascene (675-749) Father & Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St John’s Life:
https://anastpaul.com/2017/12/04/saint-of-the-day-st-john-damascene-676-749-last-of-the-greek-fathers-and-doctor-of-the-church/
And Pope Benedict on St John Damascene:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/04/saint-of-the-day-4-december-st-john-damascene-675-749-father-doctor-of-the-church/

St Ada of Le Mans
St Adelmann of Beauvais
Bl Adolph Kolping
St Anno II
St Apro
St Barbara (Died 3rd Century) Martyr

St Bernardo degli Uberti
St Bertoara of Bourges
St Christianus
St Clement of Alexandria
St Cyran of Brenne
St Eraclius
St Eulogio Álvarez López
St Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
St Felix of Bologna
Bl Francis Galvez
St Francisco de la Vega González
St Giovanni Calabria
St Heraclas of Alexandria
St Jacinto García Chicote
Bl Jerome de Angelis
St John the Wonder Worker
St Maruthas
St Melitus of Pontus
St Osmund of Salisbury
Bl Pietro Tecelano
St Prudens
St Robustiano Mata Ubierna
St Sigiranus
Bl Simon Yempo
St Sola
St Theophanes

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Eulogio Álvarez López
• Blessed Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
• Blessed Francisco de la Vega González
• Blessed Jacinto García Chicote
• Blessed Robustiano Mata Ubierna