Thought for the Day – 12 December – The Voice of the Turtledove has been Heard in our Land

Thought for the Day – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Voice of the Turtledove has been Heard in our Land

Don Antonio Valeriano
Native American author, 16th century

An excerpt from a Report

At daybreak one Saturday morning in 1531, on the very first days of the month of December, an Indian named Juan Diego was going from the village where he lived to Tlatelolco in order to take part in divine worship and listen to God’s commandments. When he came near the hill called Tepeyac, dawn had already come and Juan Diego heard someone calling him from the very top of the hill: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.”

He went up the hill and caught sight of a lady of unearthly grandeur whose clothing was as radiant as the sun.   She said to him in words both gentle and courteous:  “Juanito, the humblest of my children, know and understand that I am the ever virgin Mary, Mother of the true God through whom all things live.   It is my ardent desire that a church be erected here so that in it I can show and bestow my love, compassion, help and protection to all who inhabit this land and to those others who love me, that they might call upon and confide in me.   Go to the Bishop of Mexico to make known to him what I greatly desire.   Go and put all your efforts into this.”

When Juan Diego arrived in the presence of the Bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, a Franciscan, the latter did not seem to believe Juan Diego and answered:  “Come another time, and I will listen at leisure.”

Juan Diego returned to the hilltop where the Heavenly Lady was waiting and he said to her:  “My Lady, my maiden, I presented your message to the Bishop but it seemed that he did not think it was the truth.   For this reason I beg you to entrust your message to someone more illustriou,s who might convey it, in order that they may believe it, for I am only an insignificant man.”

She answered him:  “Humblest of my sons, I ask that tomorrow you again go to see the Bishop and tell him that I, the ever virgin holy Mary, Mother of God, am the one who personally sent you.”

But on the following day, Sunday, the Bishop again did not believe Juan Diego and told him that some sign was necessary so that he could believe that it was the Heavenly Lady herself who sent him.   And then he dismissed Juan Diego.

On Monday Juan Diego did not return.   His uncle, Juan Bernardino, became very ill and at night asked Juan to go to Tlatelolco at daybreak to call a priest to hear his confession.

Juan Diego set out on Tuesda, but he went around the hill and passed on the other side, toward the east, so as to arrive quickly in Mexico City and to avoid being detained by the Heavenly Lady.   But she came out to meet him on that side of the hill and said to him: “Listen and understand, my humblest son.   There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled and let nothing upset you.   Is it not I, your Mother, who is here?   Are you not under my protection?   Are you not, fortunately, in my care?   Do not let your uncle’s illness distress you.   It is certain that he has already been cured.   Go up to the hilltop, my son, where you will find flowers of various kinds.   Cut them, and bring them into my presence.”let-not-your-heart-be-disturbed-our-lady-guadalupe-9-dec-2017.jpg

When Juan Diego reached the peak, he was astonished that so many Castilian roses had burst forth at a time when the frost was severe.   He carried the roses in the folds of his tilma (mantle) to the Heavenly Lady.   She said to him:   “My son, this is the proof and the sign which you will bring to the Bishop so that he will see my will in it.   You are my ambassador, very worthy of trust.”

Juan Diego set out on his way, now content and sure of succeeding.   On arriving in the Bishop’s presence, he told him:   “My Lord, I did what you asked.   The Heavenly Lady complied with your request and fulfilled it.   She sent me to the hilltop to cut some Castilian roses and told me to bring them to you in person.   And this I am doing, so that you can see in them the sign you seek in order to carry out her will.   Here they are, receive them.”

He immediately opened up his white mantle and, as all the different Castilian roses scattered to the ground, there was drawn on the cloak and suddenly appeared the precious image of the ever virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the same manner as it is today and is kept in her shrine of Tepeyac.

The whole city was stirred and came to see and admire her venerable image and to offer prayers to her and, following the command, which the same Heavenly Lady gave to Juan Bernardino when she restored him to health, they called her by the name that she herself had used:  “the ever virgin holy Mary of Guadalupe.” 

And to us too, Holy Mary of Guadalupe, we beg your gaze and ask your protection!holy mary of guadalupe pray for us 12 dec 2019.jpg


Quote of the Day – 12 December – ‘But you also are blessed … ‘

Quote of the Day – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

“You see that Mary did not doubt
but believed and, therefore, obtained the fruit of faith.
“Blessed are you who have believed.”
But you also are blessed who have heard and believed.
For a soul that has believed has both conceived and bears the Word of God and declares His works.
Let the soul of Mary be in each of you, so that it magnifies the Lord.
Let the spirit of Mary be in each of you, so that it rejoices in God.
She is the one mother of Christ according to the flesh,
yet Christ is the Fruit of all according to faith.
Every soul receives the Word of God,
provided that, undefiled and unstained by vices,
it guards its purity with inviolate modesty.”

St Ambrose
Bishop of Milan (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church

(Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 2)blessed are you who have believed - st ambrose - 13 dec 2019 our lady of guadalupe.jpg


Advent Reflection – 12 December – He is near.   He and His Mother.

Advent Reflection – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Readings: Zec 2:14-17, Book of Judith 13:18bcde.19, Luke 1:26-38

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

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.” … Luke 1:31thursday of the second week advent - 12 dec 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – ““The Lord is near”, the Apostle Paul tells us
and nothing should perturb us.   He is close by.
He is not alone but is with His Mother.
She said to St Juan Diego:
“Why are you afraid?   Am I not here who am your Mother?”.
He is near.   He and His Mother.
The greatest mercy lies in His being in our midst,
in our being in His presence and company.
He walks with us, He shows us the path of love,
He lifts us up when we fall and with such tenderness,
He supports us in our labours,
He accompanies us in every circumstance of life.
He opens our eyes to see our wretchedness
and that of the world but at the same time
He fills us with hope!” … Pope Francis, 12 December 2015

MEDITATION – “Even if the sins of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my passion.   When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.” — St Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 378

ADVENT ACTION – How can I lead someone to the mercy of Christ and His Mother?

PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light of Love and Mercy, throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Amenour lady of guadalupe pray for us 12 dec 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 12 December – Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Morning Offering – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
By St Pius X (1835-1914)

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession
for the holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charityand the precious gift
of final perseverance.

This prayer was approved and enriched with an indulgence of five hundred days by St Pope Pius X at an audience held on August, 1908 and was included in the official edition of approved indulgenced prayers (1950).
Raccolta number 389, 500 days Indulgence, St Pope Pius X audience, 15 August 1908.prayer to our lady of guadalupe by st pope pius X 12 Dec 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 12 December – Saint Finnian of Clonard (470–549) “Tutor of the Saints of Ireland”

Saint of the Day – 12 December – Saint Finnian of Clonard (470–549) “Tutor of the Saints of Ireland” – also Finian, Fionán or Fionnán in Irish – Monk and Founder of Monasteries the most famous being Clonard Abbey, Confessor, Ascetic, Missionary, Teacher, miracle-worker – Born in 470 at Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland and died in c 549 to 552 at Clonard, Meath, Ireland of plague.   The Twelve Apostles of Ireland studied under him.  Saint Finnian of Clonard (along with Saint Enda of Aran) is considered one of the fathers of Irish monasticism.   Patronages – Alexandria-Cornwall, Diocese of Ontario, Canada, Diocese of Meath, Ireland.

St Finnian, a native of Leinster in Ireland, was destined to become one of the greatest fathers of the Irish monasticism.   Finnian was born to a noble family in the second half of the 5th century, most probably in the village of Myshall in the present-day county of Carlow.   When his mother was still pregnant, she once saw in a dream that a bright flame flew into her mouth and then flew away like a glorious bird, which at once flew between the northern and southern parts of Ireland, attracting a huge flock of other birds from all over the country, which followed it.   The woman told her husband about her vision and he understood, that their child would become a great teacher and mentor. All this later came finian snip 2.JPG

The young St Finnian was probably educated in Idrone.   His first teacher was St Fortchern of Trim, a disciple of St Patrick.   Some time later, the Saint founded his first three monasteries, which were situated at Rossacurra, Drumfea, and Kilmaglush. According to some sources, St Finnian studied for a short time in the great monastic centre of St Martin in Tours in Gaul.   It is certain that this ascetic, learned the fundamentals and skills of monastic life in Wales, in the tradition of the great hermits of Egypt.   There his teachers included great fathers of the Welsh Church – St David, St Gildas the Wise and, particularly, St Cadoc.   This experience proved to be extremely useful for the saint in the future.

St Finnian meant to go to Rome after his training in Wales but an angel appeared to him in a vision and told the saint to return to his native Ireland, where he was to become “a teacher and tutor of Irish Saints”.   Significantly, among the future disciples of St Finnian was St Columban (543-615) (find his story here:, one of the greatest early Irish missionaries.   After some 20 or 30 years in Wales, St Finnian returned to Ireland, where he founded a great number of churches and monasteries, for example, at Aghowle (in Wicklow) and Mugna Sulcain.   The holy man liked Aghowle very much and wanted to stay there but again the angel appeared to him and commanded him to go further, as that was the will of finian glass.jpg

As was the case with other early Irish saints, St Finnian became a travelling Missionary. On the island of Skellig Michael, not far from the shores of Kerry, which later became one of the most famous bastions of Irish Orthodoxy, St Finnian built several churches and founded monastic communities.   After that the ascetic visited the monastery of Kildare, under the great Abbess St Brigid (c 453-523 (About St Brigid: and remained there for some years.   He left Kildare to continue his journeys and finally reached Clonard, situated on the River Boyne in the present-day county of Meath.   And the Lord revealed that in this very old and pagan place, where there had never been any churches or monasteries before him, the saint’s main labours were to take place.

At Clonard, St Finnian, firsly built a small cell and tiny church and in the year 520 founded a monastery, which became the largest and the most important in Ireland.   He became the first abbot of this monastery and organised life there, taking as his model the practices of Welsh monasteries.   This form of monasticism was based on the traditions of the holy fathers of the East with the compulsory study of the Holy finnian glass

St Finnian was venerated as one of the greatest saints of his time.   Numerous disciples flocked to him.   According to his life there lived some 3000 monks at Clonard at the same time.   Monks and laypeople, bishops and priests, poor and rich—everybody came to him for spiritual advice.   The fame of St Finnian, loved and honoured for his exemplary life, learning, gift of prayer and many miracles, spread all over Ireland and far beyond. Monks and theologians from various countries visited St Finnian‘s monastery.   Over the centuries thousands of monks there studied the Holy Scriptures, the works of the Church Fathers, grew in monastic life and were then sent as Missionaries to distant lands.   The rule of Clonard was known for its strictness and asceticism.   The brethren slept little and rose early in the morning, prayed frequently and fervently, ate little and worked hard.

St Finnian himself used to sleep on the bare, earthen floor of his primitive cell and never put anything under his head.   His iron girdle served him as chains in his ascetic labours. According to the evidence of one of his disciples, the venerable abbot became so emaciated because of his many years of extreme ascetic life that his ribs could easily be seen through his clothes.417px-Clonard_RC_Church_St_Finian_07_Detail_2007_08_26.jpg

The disciples of Clonard established hundreds of churches and monasteries in Ireland as well as in other countries.   According to a custom which existed in Clonard, every monk who left the monastery as a Missionary, took with him a copy of the Gospels, a crozier and some holy object (for example, a reliquary) and later, when building his own church or monastery, placed these relics inside it.   Thanks to Clonard and other monasteries of similar reputation, Ireland became known as “The Island of Saints”.   Under the influence of Welsh saints and, originally, St John Cassian in Gaul, St Finnian compiled the first Irish Penitentiary, which, in its turn, influenced St Columban, who compiled his own and more famous version.   The Abbot also had a reputation as a brilliant interpreter of the Scriptures.

St Finnian died of the plague in 549 (others say in 552).   His relics remained in the monastery church at Clonard until 887.   There is evidence that after his main relics had been vandalised by barbarians in that year, a small portion of his relics were kept in a parish church near Clonard till the 17th century.   The monastery flourished till the 9th century and was considered as the second most important monastery in Ireland after Armagh.   Unfortunately, following the attacks of the Vikings from the 9th to the 11th centuries, the glory of this monastery faded.

Stained glass image of St Finnian and his disciples at St Finnian’s Church at Clonard

In Clonard today, visitors can find a statue of St Finnian and a church dedicated to him, which contains stained glass of the saint with his disciples.   Only minor ruins remain of the former monastery.   In the village of Myshall in Carlow, where according to tradition St Finnian was born, there are ruins of a pre-Norman church, which stood there for many years but was ruined under Cromwell in the 17th century.   In the village of Aghowle there are ruins of the ancient monastic church, which was built by St Finnian himself early in the 6th century.   In the 18th century a new church of St Michael was built near it.   An ancient cross of St Finnian has survived in this village as well.  486px-Clonard_Church_of_St_Finian_Statue_St_Finian_2007_08_26


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Memorials of the Saints – 12 December

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feast) The First Apparition was on 12 December 1531.
All about Our Lady of Guadalupe:

St Abra
St Agatha of Wimborne
Bl Bartholomew Buonpedoni
St Pope Callistus II
St Colman of Clonard
St Columba of Terryglass
St Conrad of Offida
St Corentius of Quimper
St Cormac
St Cury
St Donatus the Martyr
St Edburga of Thanet
St Finnian of Clonard (470–549) “Tutor of the Saints of Ireland”
St Gregory of Terracina
St Hermogenes
Bl Ida of Nivelles

Bl Ludwik Bartosik
Bl Martin Sanz
St Simon Phan Ðac Hòa
St Spyridon of Cyprus
St Synesius
St Vicelin of Oldenburg

Martyrs of Alexandria – (6 saints): A group of six Christians martyred for their faith during the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than five of their names – Alexander, Ammonaria, Dionysia, Epimachus and Mercuria. They were burned to death c 250 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Martyrs of Trier – (4 saints): A group of six Christians martyred for their faith during the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than five of their names – Alexander, Ammonaria, Dionysia, Epimachus and Mercuria. They were burned to death c 250 in Alexandria, Egypt.