Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Five – 5 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Five – 5 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 5:  The Immaculata’s Dignity as a Human Personday 5 imm conception novena 5 dec 2019.jpg

The Mother of God is a creature.   It follows that all she is, she has from God.   But she is God’s most perfect creature.   For this reason, the homage paid to her is, by the very nature of the case, paid to God Himself.   If we admire a statue, we honour the artist who created this masterpiece.   If we honour Mary most holy we honour God.   The more we pay homage to the divine perfections found in Mary, the more perfect is our homage to God, this is perfectly in order, since God created her in the highest state of perfection (Conference, 9 April 1938).

The greatness of every work of art is directly proportionate to the mastery of the artist who forms it.   Accordingly, the dignity of every human person derives from God who has created each of us in His image.   May the Immaculata teach us always, to mirror, as she did, the dignity and perfection of our 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.

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.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 5 December – God is man’s glory. 

Thought for the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-202) on the Incarnation, the Word of God born for us as Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, the sign of our salvation.   He comes to restore God’s likeness in us and lead us to glory.

God is man’s glory.   Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in His conduct with men.   That is Paul’s reason for saying:  God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that He may have mercy on all.   He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God and cast off from immortality and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in His power and if man perseveres in God’s love and in obedience and gratitude to Him, he will receive greater glory from Him.   It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the One who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned.   He wanted to invite man to take on His likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father, that would lead to the vision of God and endowing man with power to receive the Father.   He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man, to open the way for man, to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.he-is-the-word-of-god-st-irenaeus-19-dec-2017 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

For this reason the Lord Himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel.   It was the Lord Himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved.   For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man and says:  I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God.   Again, he says: I am a wretched man, who will free me from this body doomed to die?  Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same – Hands that are feeble, grow strong!   Knees that are weak, take courage!   Hearts that are faint, grow strong!   Fear not, see, our God is judgement and He will repay.   He himself will come and save us.   He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.

This excerpt from St Irenaeus’ monumental work, Against Heresies (Lib 3,20, 2-3; SC 34, 342-344) speaks of the incarnation, the birth of the Word of God as Son of Man, as the sign of our salvation.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Advent.   It was originally written around 185 AD.

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come!maranatha come lord jesus come - 5 dec 2019.jpg



Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – He comes into our world

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“If we would please this Divine Infant,
we too must become children,
simple and humble.
We must carry to Him, flowers of virtue,
of meekness, of mortification, of charity.
We must clasp Him in the arms of our love.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchif we would please this divine infant - st alphonsus liguori 5 dec 2019.jpg

“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”

Thomas Merton (1915-1968into this world this demented inn - thomas merton - 15 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Advent Reflection – 5 December – ‘He became small because you were small…’

Advent Reflection – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27, Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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

A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace, in peace for its trust in You.   Trust in the Lord forever!   For the Lord is an eternal Rock. … Isaiah 26: 3-4

REFLECTION – “The psalmist says: “The Lord is great and worthy of praise” (96[95]:4). Who is this ‘Lord’ if not Jesus Christ, great and worthy of praise?   You surely know He appeared as man, you know, too, that He was conceived in the womb of a woman, that He was born of that womb, nourished, cradled in her arms, circumcised, that an offering was made for Him (Lk 2:24) and that He grew up.

You also know that He was struck, covered with spittle, crowned with thorns, crucified, and that He died, pierced by a lance.   You know well that He suffered all those things. Yes, “he is great and worthy of praise”.   Guard yourselves from despising His littleness – understand His greatness.   He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him.   This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised.   The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…

What can poor, human language say in praise of Him who is so great?   In saying “very” great it is trying to express what it feels and believes… but, it is as if it were saying:  “Try to grasp in thought what I am unable to express in words and yet, you must know, that whatever you may have grasped is only a fragment.”   For how can any language translate something that surpasses all thought?   “Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise!”   May He be praised, then, may He be preached, may His glory be proclaimed and His dwelling place erected.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchthursday of the first week of advent 5 dec 2019 isaiah 26 3-4 - st augustine he became small.jpg

We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace.
The readings today present God offering us a gate, a passageway into God’s will.   For Isaiah, the gateway to God, consists in being just and keeping the faith.   Jesus says, it is the person who hears God’s word and puts those words into practice.
Throughout these weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the Scriptures for our liturgies tell us again and again, to turn to God, to build our house on the rock of Jesus.   Only there we will find peace.

Advent Action:
Call someone who is lost.   A friend, who hears not the word of God.   Perhaps your words of faith might be a light in their darkness.

We thank You, Lord, for all that we have received.   Move us to give of our plenty to those who have little.   Lord, open the gate of my heart.   Let Your words be a light that will lead me to follow Your will and thus lead others to You.   Amen.


Our Morning Offering – 5 December – Advent Prayer – God of Hope

Our Morning Offering – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

Advent Prayer – God of Hope

God of hope,
who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope,
who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope,
who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope,
the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always and particularly this Advent time.
Through Him,
who is our hope,
our joy,
our love,
our peace,
in union with the Holy Spirit,
one God forever,
amen.Advent-prayer-god-of-hope-20-dec-2018 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 5 December – Blessed Jean-Baptiste Fouque (1851-1926)

Saint of the Day – 5 December – Blessed Jean-Baptiste Fouque (1851-1926) Priest, Apostle of Charity known as “Saint Vincent de Paul of Marseilles,” Founder of numerous charitable organisations for the poor, the sick, the elderly, children and orphans.   Born on 12 September 1851 in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France and died on 5 December 1926 at the Saint John Hospital in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France of natural causes.   Patronage – Saint John’s Hospital.

He tended to the poor during his time as a parish priest in Marseilles and was noted for his desire to create a large and free hospital for them.   He achieved this in 1921 and tended to the old and infirm in the hospital.   Fouque also was known for his ministering to displaced peoples during World War I and for his commitment to jean baptiste fouque snip 2 younger.JPG

Jean-Baptiste Fouque was born on 19 September 1851 in Marseilles to Louis Fouque  and Adèle Anne Remuzat.   His parents married on 29 October 1850 and were devout in their faith.

He studied in the school that the Servant of God Joseph-Marie Timon-David had opened, both David and Jean-Joseph Allemand proved to be Fouque’s spiritual masters during his education and were also influences on his desire to enter the priesthood.   Timon-David helped Jean-Baptiste discern his call to the priesthood which he had felt since the beginning of his adolescence.   This event – his Ordination – took place in Marseilles on 10 June 1876.  bl jean baptiste fouque snip 3 younger

His first assignment was to serve as a pastor in Auriol at the Sainte-Marguerite parish and then in La Major.   His final assignment was to serve at the Sainte Trinité parish from 15 April 1888 until his death over three decades j b fouque artwork

Fr Jean-Baptiste opened the  “Le Sainte Famille,”  ” The Holy Family ” home for girls that he later entrusted to the nuns from the Presentation order from Tours.   In December 1891 the archdiocesan vicar general asked him to tend to the abandoned and to orphans.   He threw himself into this work and opened an orphanage “House of the Holy Guardian Angels” that was transferred to a new location in 1894 and entrusted to nuns.  bl jean baptiste fouque snip

In 1903 he helped to establish a house for girls and also a home for poor domestic workers both in Marseilles.   In 1903 he also re-opened the former boarding school of the Ladies of the Christian Doctrine and in 1905 – in a former convent – created “L’oeuvre de Salette” for the old and infirm.    Fouque later founded “Le travail de l’enfance” on 27 November 1913 in Saint-Tronc which he later entrusted to the direction of a group of priests.BL Abbé_Jean-Baptiste_Fouque

Between 1914 and 1918 – upon the outbreak of World War I – he tended to the wounded and displaced peoples.   He had no financial means following the war but decided to appeal to doctors to care for the poor who had no finances to pay for medical attention. There were some doctors who agreed and Fr Jean-Baptiste proceeded to open a small clinic and hospital which would ensure better treatment of the poor.   He asked industrialists and merchants to help finance this venture which became the basis for his idea in 1919 to create a large and free hospital for the poor in Marseilles.   The people rallied behind him in this project and offered financial aid which resulted in Fr Jean-Baptiste finally opening and dedicating the Saint John Hospital on 20 March jean baptiste fouque snip with laiety

Fr Jean-Baptiste died on 5 December 1926 in the Saint John Hospital.   The people revered him as a saint and even referred to him as the “Saint Vincent de Paul of Marseilles.”   His remains were later transferred to the Saint Joseph’s chapel in his first hospital on 29 April jean baptiste fouque the hospital of st joseph plaque

He was Beatified on 30 September 2018 by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu in the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, Marseille on behalf of Pope Francis.   Pope Francis said on that day at St Peter’s, Rome:

“The diocesan priest Jean-Baptiste Fouque, who was an assistant pastor throughout his life, is being proclaimed Blessed today in Marseilles.   A fine example for social climbers! He lived in the 19th and 20th centuries and promoted numerous welfare and social works in favour of young people, the elderly, the poor and the sick.   May the example and intercession of this Apostle of Charity, support us in the commitment to welcome and share with the weakest and most underprivileged people.   A round of applause for the newly Blessed Jean-Baptiste!”45521484961_4032598d11_bbeatification bl j b fouquebl j b fouque bust statue

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints -5 December

St Abercius
St Anastasius
St Aper of Sens
St Bartholomew Fanti of Mantua
St Basilissa of Øhren
St Bassus of Lucera
St Bassus of Nice
St Cawrdaf of Fferreg
St Christina of Markyate
St Consolata of Genoa
St Crispina
St Cyrinus of Salerno
St Dalmatius of Pavia
St Firminus of Verdun
St Gerald of Braga
St Gerbold
St Gratus
Blessed Jean-Baptiste Fouque (1851-1926)
St Joaquín Jovaní Marín
St John Almond
Bl Giovanni/John Gradenigo
St Justinian
St Martiniano of Pecco
Bl Narcyz Putz
St Nicetius of Trier
Bl Niels Stenson
St Pelinus of Confinium
Blessed Philip Rinaldi SDB (1856-1931)
St Sabbas of Mar Saba
St Vicente Jovaní Ávila

Martyrs of Thagura – (12 saints): A group of twelve African Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. The only details about them that have survived are five of their names – Crispin, Felix, Gratus, Juliua and Potamia.
302 in Thagura, Numidia

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Joaquín Jovaní Marín
• Blessed Vicente Jovaní Ávila