Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December – Why, the Benedictus?

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December

“And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he spoke, blessing God.”…Luke 1:64

The Benedictus, is prayed every morning in the Breviary and so, the Church remembers this “forerunner of Jesus” at the beginning of every day.   The opening words of this Canticle are the source of its Latin title, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel”.
What does it mean for Catholics, that we sing this song about John the Baptists at the start of every new day?   After having been “silenced” by sleep throughout the night, God opens our mouths and one of the first things we do, is to sing this blessing of God, whose dawn breaks forth to shine on us and guide our way to peace.
In the Benedictus, we join ourselves to the mission of St John the Baptist, who came to prepare a way for the Lord by being a witness of God’s salvation, living a simple and penitential life and calling others to do the same.   Our work each day, then, is to use our voice – like Zechariah and his son – and the witness of our lives, to make God’s presence known wherever we go and to whom whomever we encounter.”the-benedictus-24-june-2019-new-2 and 19 dec 2019.jpg

The Benedictus – Canticle of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79

The Messiah and His forerunner
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
in the house of David, His servant,
as He promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were His prophets of old.

A Saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who us.
So His love for our fathers is fulfilled
and His holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham, our father, to grant us,
that free from fear and saved from the hands of our foes.
we might worship Him in justice and holiness
all the days of our lives, in His Presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called the prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare His ways before Him,

to make known to His people their salvation,
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God,
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death
and to guide us into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever.


Quote/s of the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December – “He watches for Christ …” St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Quote/s of the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December, Readings:  Judges 13:2-7, 24-25, Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17, Luke 1:5-25

“He, watches for Christ,
who has a sensitive, eager, apprehensive mind,
who is awake, alive, quick-sighted,
zealous in seeking and honouring Him,
who looks out for Him in all that happens
and who would not be surprised,
who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed,
if he found that He was coming at once.”he watches for christ - t john henry newman - 19 dec 2019.jpg

“Year passes after year silently,
Christ’s coming is ever nearer than it was.
O that, as He comes nearer earth,
we may approach nearer heaven!”

St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)year passes after year silently, christ's coming - st john henry newman 19 dec 2019.jpg


Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December – ‘So long as Zechariah believed, he spoke, as soon as he ceased to believe, he was silent.’

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December, Readings:  Judges 13:2-7, 24-25, Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17, Luke 1:5-25

The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.
After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived .… Luke 1:23-24

REFLECTION – “The angel said to him:   “God has heard the voice of your prayer.”   If Zechariah believed his prayer would be heard, then he prayed well;   if he did not believe, he prayed badly.   His prayer was about to be answered, yet he doubted. Therefore it was reasonable that at that very moment the word was removed from him. Beforehand, he was praying for a son but the instant his prayer was answered he turned around and said:  “How can this be?”   Because it was with his mouth that he cast doubts on his prayer, it was his speech he lost ( … ).    So long as Zechariah believed, he spoke, as soon as he ceased to believe, he was silent.   So long as he believed, he spoke:  “I believed and therefore I spoke” (Ps 115[116]:10).   Because he rejected the angel’s word, this word plagued him so, that he would respect with his silence, the word he had rejected.

It was fitting that the mouth that said:  “How shall this be?” should be silenced so that it might learn the possibility of a miracle.   The unbound tongue was bound, so that it might learn that He who had bound the tongue was capable of unbinding the womb.   In this way experience taught him who had not accepted the teaching of faith ( … )   Thus he learned. that He who had closed an open mouth. could open a closed womb.” … Saint Ephrem (306-373) – Deacon in Syria, Father and Doctor of the Churchso long as zechriah believed he spoke - st ephrem 19 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION –And delicately, gently, by means of this sweet and peaceful dawn, God taught me, too, to obey – a very great peace filled my soul.   I thought how God alone is good, how all is ordained by Him, how nothing is of importance in what people do or say and how, where I am concerned, there must be nothing else in the world but God.   God who will arrange everything for my good.   God who causes the sun to rise each morning, who makes the ice melt, who cause the birds to sing and changes the clouds of heaven in a thousand soft colours.   God who offers me a little corner on this earth for prayer, who gives me a little corner in which to wait for what I hope.”St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)and delicately gently by means of this dawn god teaches me to obey he gives me a little cornr - st raphael arnaiz baron 19 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – ” … Jesus gives voice to those who are voiceless and to each one of us, He addresses an urgent appeal, to open our hearts and to make our own, the sufferings and anxieties of the poor, the hungry, the marginalised, the refugees, those who are defeated by life, those who are rejected by society and by the arrogance of the strong.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 28 August 2016


that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles
shall make supplication,
come, to deliver us and tarry not.

o root of jesse - 19 dec 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December – Awaiting Baby Jesus

Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December

Awaiting Baby Jesus
Traditional Catholic Advent Prayer

My heart is beating,
filled with joy,
awaiting Mary’s baby boy.
For with this child, we embrace
the birth of God’s
most precious grace.
Baby Jesus, soon to come!
For us comes the Promised One.
Baby Jesus, God’s own Son,
you will be the Chosen One
to lead our flock into salvation.
Our eternal life awaits.
The birth of Jesus brings us nearer
Heaven’s holy gates.
Sing with joy
and count the days,
for soon to come,
the Lord we’ll praise.
Rejoice that Jesus
will soon arrive,
the Messiah and our faith alive.
Amenawaiting baby jesus - trad advent prayer - 19 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 December – St Pope Anastasius I (Died 401)

Saint of the Day – 19 December – St Pope Anastasius I (Died 401) – Widower, Priest and Pope – born in the 4th century in Rome, Italy – Papal Ascension, successor to Pope Siricius on 27 November 399 until his death on 19 December 401 of natural causes.   Among his friends were Augustine, Jerome and Paulinus.   Jerome speaks of him as a man of great holiness who was rich in his poverty.saint-anastasius-i.jpg

Anastasius was known as a pious youth and, apparently, cared nothing for material things as an adult.   He was born about the year 330, a Roman, whose father’s name was Maximus.   When he was a young man, Anastasius must have married and had at least one son.   Relatively early, it would appear, Anastasius was widowed and never remarried.

It was a time of peace and growth for the Catholic Church and, despite wars in far off regions of the empire, it was a time of relative peace in the Western provinces. Anastasius became a cleric and, it would make sense to assume, so did his son.

However, just a few years before Anastasius became Pope, in 395, Emperor Theodosius died, leaving his eleven year old son, Honorius, to govern.   The half-Vandal Stilicho, became regent and power behind the throne.   Within three years, Stilicho declared war on the North African province, when he heard rumours of the province seceding and moving to the Eastern Empire.   Africa was Rome’s bread basket.   The city of Rome panicked and civil turmoil resulted.   The rebellion was quashed within a year and Anastasius was consecrated with the promise of more peace.Pope_Anastasius_I

The Church had converted to Latin as its universal language, due to the expansion of the faith.   It became necessary to have a common language for councils and synods, at this point.   Many of the fathers of the Church and theologians thus wrote in, or had works translated into, Latin.   It often happened that the original authors were long dead at the time of the translation.   Thus was the scenario when Anastasius ascended the Chair of Peter.   The new pope, consecrated 27 November 399, received a letter from Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, expressing strong doubt about Origen’s fidelity to the Church. Rufinus of Aquiliea had taken the time to translate Origen’s “First Principles” from the original Greek.   St Jerome, the elderly man who had worked so hard on the “Vulgate Bible”, had attacked Rufinus’ work.   He felt the writings of Origen did not meet his sense of orthodoxy.   Not being familiar with Origen’s work, himself, Anastasius called a council to consider the problem.   The council ultimately agreed with Jerome and claimed that Origen’s work was heterodox, thus eliminating it from acceptable belief.

“If Origen has put forth any other writings, you are to know that they and their author are alike condemned by me.   The Lord have you in safe keeping, my lord and brother deservedly held in honour.”

from his letter to St Simplicianus190px-39-St.jpg

Meanwhile, on the south side of the Mediterranean, the North African Christians were battling another heresy – the Donatists.   Their main argument, in a nutshell, was that sacraments were only valid, depending on the spiritual character of the priests and bishops.   For the better part of one hundred years, the arguments had been continuing, despite the death of Donatus in 355 and several synods trying to straighten it out.   In the late 300s, Augustine of Hippo argued and tried to settle the question.   This was apparently of high interest to Anastasius, who encouraged the fight against this heresy. He did not live to see Emperor Honorius’ secretary of state declare Donatism illegal.   But Augustine did.

St Anastasius instructed priests to stand and bow their head as they read from the gospels.

Anastasius died in Rome on 19 December 401, having ruled just over two years.   He was buried in the Catacomb of Pontian together with his son and immediate successor, Pope Innocent I, which is probably a unique case of a pope being succeeded by his son.Dec+19+st Pope+Anastasius+I+1.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 19 December

St Pope Anastasius I (Died 401)
St Augustine Moi Van Nguyen
St Avitus of Micy
Bl Berengar of Banares
St Berardo Valeara of Teramo OSB (c 1050-1122)
Bl Bogumila Noiszewska
St Boniface of Cilicia
Bl Cecilia of Ferrara
St Dominic Uy Van Bui
St Fausta of Sirmium
St Gregory of Auxerre
St Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
St Johannes Gogniat
St Jordi Sampé Tarragó
St Josep Albareda Ramoneda
Bl Kazimiera Wolowska
Bl Konrad Liechtenau
St Manirus of Scotland
St Meuris of Alexandria
St Nemesius of Alexandria
St Phanxicô Xaviê Hà Trong Mau
St René Dubroux
Ribert of Saint-Oyend
St Stêphanô Nguyen Van Vinh
St Thea of Alexandria
St Timothy the Deacon
St Tôma Nguyen Van Ðe
Bl Pope Urban V (1310-1370)
About Blessed Pope Urban:

Bl William of Fenoli

Blessed Mercedarian Fathers – (6 beati): A group of Mercedarian monks noted for their dedication to the Order’s rule, for their continuous prayer life and their personal piety.
• Blessed Bartolomeo of Podio
• Blessed Giovanni of Verdera
• Blessed Guglielmo de Gallinaris
• Blessed Guglielmo of Prunera
• Blessed Pietro of Benevento
• Blessed Pietro of Gualba

Martyrs of Nicaea – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only surviving details are four of their names – Darius, Paul, Secundus and Zosimus. They were martyred at Nicaea, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey).

Martyrs of Nicomedia – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than the names of five – Anastasius, Cyriacus, Paulillus, Secundus and Syndimius. They were martyred in 303 at Nicomedia, Asia Minor.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Virtually each day of the year a Group are celebrated, usually individually but sometimes an entire Monastery or Convent or Lay Movement were martyred together. Today we remember:
• Blessed Jaume Boguñá Casanovas
• Blessed Jordi Sampé Tarragó
• Blessed Josep Albareda Ramoneda