Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 27 December – St Fabiola (Died 399)

Saint of the Day – 27 December – St Fabiola (Died 399) Physician, divorced and then widowed in her second marriage, apostle of the poor and the sick, Foundress of the first known hospital and hospice, disciple of St Jerome, benefactress of the Church – born during the 4th century in Rome, Italy and died in 399 in Rome, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – Divorced people, difficult marriages, victims of abuse, adultery; unfaithfulness, widow, Hospice Movement.

Jean-Jacques_Henner_st Fabiola.jpg
The famous portrait of St Fabiola, painted by Jean-Jacques Henner in a classical Roman profile in 1885.

As Isaiah had prophesied, Christ came to preach the gospel to “the poor.”    His church has always given a special option to the penniless.   But sometimes rich people are even poorer than paupers because they are subject to greater temptations.

Fabiola was a member (as her name indicates) of the Fabii, one of ancient Rome’s most aristocratic and wealthy families.   She was a Christian but a socialite and rather headstrong, probably because she had been raised to have her own way.

When Fabiola married, it was also to a man of social prominence.   But, through no fault of hers, he proved to be so dissolute that she was unwilling to continue living with him. She therefore obtained a civil divorce.   This was understandable.  As so often happens today, Fabiola, still young, vigorous and companionable, took another spouse while her separated husband was still alive.   Then as now, this was adultery.   Fabiola remained strong in faith perhaps but proved weak in morals.

Providentially, Fabiola’s second mate did not live long.   His death gave her the long-desired opportunity to seek reconciliation with the Church.   Having performed the long public penance that was demanded in those days of public sinners, this Roman divorcee was re-admitted to the Sacraments by Pope St Siricius.   Thenceforth, she sought to make amends for her waywardness by expending her great wealth on worthy causes.   To churches and congregations in Rome and elsewhere she gave large sums.   She also founded a Roman hospital for the sick poor, whom she gathered in from the streets and alleys and took care of personally, she treated citizens rejected from society due to their “loathsome diseases.”   As far as is known, this was the first great Christian public hospital to be opened in western Europe.portrait-of-the-holy-fabiola-of-rome-jean-jacques-henner.jpg

In those days, St Jerome, the famous monk and scripture scholar, was exercising an influential apostolate among Roman Christian women of high position.   Some of these had become nuns and gone to live near the saint in his chosen locale, Bethlehem.   In 395 Fabiola herself went to the Holy Land to visit and learn from him.   She stayed with two of his spiritual advisees, the nuns Sts Paula and Eustochium, both also Romans by origin. She applied herself, under the St Jerome’s direction, with the greatest zeal to the study and contemplation of the Scriptures and to ascetic exercises.   Fabiola revered St Jerome and would have liked to join his community but the silent monastic life did not appeal to this gregarious and sociable woman.st fabiola

Eventually, the rumour reached St Jerome’s little community that the Asiatic Huns were about to swarm into the area of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.   Jerome and all his associates quickly fled for safety to the seacoast.   The alarm proved to be false, however, so they moved back to Bethlehem – all except Fabiola, who had decided to return to Rome.   She remained, however, in correspondence with St Jerome, who at her request wrote a treatise on the priesthood of Aaron and the priestly dress.

There is some indication that Fabiola was tempted once more to remarry.   At least she did not yield to that temptation.   Once back in Rome she renewed her program of good works.   Co-operating with another prominent Roman Christian, the former senator Saint Pammachius, she set up a large hospice at Porto, the Roman port of entry on the Mediterranean coast.   Intended to serve travellers and paupers arriving by sea, this guest-house, like her hospital in Rome, was both novel and welcome.   As St Jerome tells us, within a year of its foundation, the good news of Fabiola’s hospice had spread across the Roman Empire from Britain to Persia.   Even after the hospice, St Fabiola started to plan still another institution of charity but death now spoiled her plans.

All Rome, it is said, attended the funeral of its benefactress, who had shared her wealth with the needy.   It was a wonderful manifestation of the gratitude and veneration with which she was regarded by the Roman populace.

St Jerome wrote a eulogistic memoir of Fabiola in a letter to her relative Oceanus.

StFabiola-NorthColonnade-a.jpg
St Fabiola’s Statue resides on the Colonnade at St Peter’s Basilica

The story of Fabiola has a curiously modern quality.   This socially gifted woman can serve as a good example to today’s women whose marriages break up.   Woman is endowed by God with talents both as a wife and a mother.   Even when she loses her status as wife, she can still live out her status as mother, not only to her own children but to all who need a mother’s touch and a mother’s love.

The English Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865), wrote a fictional book, called Fabiola of the Church of the Catacombs and includes many saints and martyrs.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, YouTube VIDEOS

Feast of St John the Apostle, Third Day of the Christmas Octave and Evangelist and Memorials of the Saints – 27 December

Third Day of the Christmas Octave

St John the Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
St John the Beloved:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-john-the-apostle-and-evangelist/

Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach
Bl Alejo Pan López
Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz
Bl Christina Ebner
St Fabiola (Died 399)
Bl Francesco Spoto
Bl Hesso of Beinwil
St José María Corbin-Ferrer
St Maximus of Alexandria
St Nicarete of Constantinople
Bl Odoardo Focherini
Bl Raymond de Barellis
Bl Roger of Verdun
Blessed Sára Schalkház S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr
Biography of Blessed Sára:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-blessed-sara-salkahazi-s-s-s-1899-1944-martyr-a-catholic-gem/
St Theodore of Apamea
St Theophanes of Nicaea
Bl Walto of Wessobrünn

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Thought for the Day – 26 December – The Armament of Love

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

The Armament of Love

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)
Bishop

An excerpt from his Sermon 3

Yesterday, we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King.   Today, we celebrate the triumphant suffering of His soldier.   Yesterday, our king, clothed in His robe of flesh, left His place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world.   Today, His soldier, leaves the tabernacle of His body and goes triumphantly to heaven.yesterday we celebrated the birth in time today we - st fulgentius of ruspe - st stephen 26 dec 2019.jpg

Our king, despite His exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake, yet, He did not come empty-handed.   He brought His soldiers a great gift, that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in His divinity.   He gave of His bounty, yet without any loss to Himself.   In a marvellous way He changed into wealth, the poverty of His faithful follower,s while remaining in full possession of His own inexhaustible riches.

And so, the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth, raised Stephen from earth to heaven – shown first in the king, it later shone forth in His soldier.   Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob, his love for his neighbour made him pray for those who were stoning him.   Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend, love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment.   Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven.   In his holy and tireless love, he longed to gain by prayer, those whom he could not convert by admonition.

Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns.   Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen.   This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy.   It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob and it was Paul’s love, that covered the multitude of his sins, it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things, it is an impregnable defence and the way that leads to heaven.   He who walks in love can neither go astray, nor be afraid, love guides him, protects him and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven.   Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

St Stephen, Pray for Us!st stephen pray for us 26 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CARMELITES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARTYRS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – “See the gold that I expect of you” – St Stephen

Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

“Love, indeed, is the source
of all good things,
it is an impregnable defence
and the way that leads to heaven.   
He who walks in love
can neither go astray,
nor be afraid,
love guides him,
protects him
and brings him
to his journey’s end.”

St Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)love indeed is the source of all good things - st stephen - by st fulgentius 26 dec 2019.jpg

“He [St Stephen],
followed the Lord in what may be,
by nature, the most difficult and even,
apparently, impossible for the human heart.
He fulfilled the command to love one’s enemies,
as did the Saviour Himself.
The Child in the manger,
who has come to fulfill His Father’s will,
even to death on the Cross,
sees before Him in spirit,
all who will follow Him on this way.
His heart goes out to the youth
whom He will one day await with a palm
as the first to reach the Father’s throne.
His little hand points him out to us,
as an example, as if to say,
“See the gold that I expect of you.”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

[Edith Stein] (1891-1942)see the gold that i expect of you - st teresa benedicta of the cross 26 dec 2019 st stephen.jpg

“For believers, the day of death
and even more so,
the day of martyrdom,
is not the end of everything
but rather, the “passage”
to immortal life,
it is the day of the final birth,
the “dies natalis.”
Thus is understood,
the link that exists between
the “dies natalis” of Christ
and the “dies natalis”
of St Stephen.
If Jesus had not been
born on earth,
men would not have been able
to be born for heaven.
Precisely because
Christ was born,
we are able
to be “reborn.”

Pope Benedict XVI

26 December 2006for believers the day of death - st stephen - pope benedict 26 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, St PAUL!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December –  The prayers of righteous men avail much. 

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings:  Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59, Psalm31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17, Matthew 10:17-22

“… You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” … Matthew 10:22

REFLECTION – “When the blood of Stephen was shed, Saul, then a young man, was standing by “consenting unto his death” and “kept the raiment of them that slew him” (Acts 22:20).   Two speeches are recorded of the Martyr in his last moments one, in which he prayed that God would pardon his murderers – the other, his witness, that he saw the heavens opened and Jesus on God’s right hand.   His prayer was wonderfully answered. Stephen saw his Saviour, the next vision of that Saviour to mortal man was vouchsafed to that very young man, even Saul, who share in his murder and his intercession.

Strange indeed it was and what would have been St Stephen’s thoughts could he have known it!   The prayers of righteous men avail much.   The first Martyr had power with God to raise up the greatest Apostle.   Such was the honour put upon the first-fruits of those sufferings, upon which the Church was entering.   Thus, from the beginning, the blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the Church.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Cardinal, Theologian, Apologist – Parochial and Plain Sermons II #9matthew 10 22 you will be hated by all - st stephen - the prayers of righteous men - st john henry newman 26 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER –
C. By the merits and prayers of blessed Stephen
R. Be merciful, O God, to Your people

Almighty and everlasting God, who consecrated the first-fruits of Your martyrs in the blood of blessed Stephen the deacon, grant, we beg You, that he may pray for us, even as he prayed for his persecutors, to our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns, world without end.  AmenPrayer-for-the-feast-of-st-stephen-26-dec-2018 and one min refl 2019.jpg

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Help us, Holy Stephen

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

Help us, Holy Stephen
Breviary Prayer/Hymn
for the Feast of St Stephen

Jesus the Christ-Child brought new life to all men
And in His Manhood, conquered death and evil,
Risen, resplendent, in the Father’s glory
He reigns forever.

Stephen the Deacon was the first to follow
Christ’s great example, done to death by sinners,
Though all his actions and his words were prompted
By the Lord’s Spirit.

Enemies’ anger destined him to perish,
Stoned by his hearers, victim of their fury,
Yet like his Saviour, in his dying moments
Pleading their pardon.

Witness to Jesus, help us, holy Stephen,
Mourning and contrite to attain the Kingdom,
Gain us the graces which we need to bring us
Safely to heaven.

Of the same nature as the blessed martyrs,
Let us sing praises to our God Almighty,
Who honoured Stephen with a martyr’s glory,
First among thousands.
Amenhelp us holy stephen - 26 dec 2019 st stephens feast breviary hymn.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 December – Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890)

Saint of the Day – 26 December – Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890) professed religious and the founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.    Born as Vincenza Maria Lopez y Vicuña on 24 March 1847 in Cascante, Navarra, Spaind and died on 26 December 1890 (aged 43) in Madrid, Spain of natural causes.   She is the Patron of the Order she founded.st VicentaLopezVicuña.jpg

Her order was dedicated to administering to “working girls”, or young women in domestic employment and she took the view that these housemaids and other domestic servants needed care, with a particular emphasis on girls who suffered abuse.

Young working women, especially those who earn their living in today’s large cities, are subject to many temptations regarding faith and morals.   Saint Vincenza Maria Lopez dedicated her life to mothering such working girls.   In fact, she found the work a complete delight and declared herself ready to suffer anything, even death, rather than abandon this apostolate.

Vincenza was thus a social activist on behalf of women workers, even as her contemporary, Blessed Adolf Kolping (1813-1865), was a social activist on behalf of working men.   Both dealt with people exposed to those trials of the marketplace that became acute during the Industrial Revolution.

This “foster mother” was a Spaniard, born at Cascante, in Navarre, to devout middle-class parents.   In 1854 the Lopezes sent their daughter to Madrid for schooling, and from that time on she became a Madrilena.   She lived with her aunt, Eulalia y Vicuna and this admirable women set her an example that shaped her whole adult life and her growth in holiness.

Eulalia had already established a hospice for jobless young servant girls.   Vincenza was attracted by this sort of charity.   Realising its necessity, she worried what would become of the hospice if anything happened to her aunt.   At 19, increasingly convinced that she herself was called to the religious life in its “active” rather than contemplative form, she took a private vow not to marry.

Senor and Senora Lopez, despite their piety, were not pleased with their daughter’s decision.   They wanted her either to marry or to join the Visitation nuns, a cloistered order.   When Vincenza refused their proposal, they ordered her to come back to Cascante.   Apparently they thought that the only remaining alternative was for her to live at home as a spinster.

She did return home.   When she fell ill, however, her parents became concerned and rather ashamed of themselves, so they eventually allowed her to go back to Madrid.   Now Vincenza’s plans began to mature.   In 1871 she and her aunt and a few other women on the hospice staff began to lead a community religious life.   Then in 1876, with the assistance of a Jesuit, Father Hidalgo y Soba, they drew up a rule of life that would commit them to conduct homes for working girls and teach them domestic arts.   Thus was founded the Daughters of Mary Immaculate for Domestic Service.   Vincenza and three others received the veil from the bishop of Seville that year.   They pronounced their vows as sisters two years later.st vincza lopez.jpg

Since the hospice was already flourishing, the Daughters had merely to continue and expand their efforts.   Further homes, hostels, technical schools, canteens and other institutes were established as needed and the work spread throughout Spain and to other European countries and even into South America.   After her death, Africa would welcome the Sisters.   Aunt Eulalia continued to contribute her whole time and fortune. But Mother Vincentia’s general plan of financing, positively excluded her sisters’ operating regular schools, in order to earn support for their charitable work.   She chose the harder way – begging.

Vincenza’s Daughters had a motto:  “Steady employment is the safeguard of virtue.” What was true of their working girls is equally true of the thousands of youths who run away each year to the large cities for want of occupations and then fall into vice.   Let us not forget to help such idle youth by helping the good people, who try to do for them today, what Saint Vincenza tried to do in her time.

The task she undertook was not easy.   Not only were finances a problem, her own health was always poor and she was only 43 when she died.   But she would not, for all the world, have chosen any other role.   “I count myself happier in the service of these my sisters, than the great ones of this world, in the service of their lords and kings.”

Venerable Pope Pius XII presided over her Beatification on 19 February 1950 and St Pope Paul VI Canonised this modern woman in 1975.   She is an exemplar of social charity for our times and a wonderful icon of Catholic Social Teaching.st vincenza maria lopez y vicuna

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, the Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and Memorials of the Saints – 26 December

St Stephen the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) (Feast) The Second Day in the Christmas Octave
St Stephen’s Story:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/saint-of-the-day-st-stephen-the-first-martyr-26-december-the-second-day-in-the-octave-of-christmas/

St Abadiu of Antinoë
Bl Agata Phutta Bi
Bl Agnès Phila
St Amaethlu of Anglesey
St Archelaus of Mesopotamia
Bl Bibiana Khamphai
Bl Cecilia Butsi
Bl Daniel of Villiers
St Dionysius, Pope
St Euthymius of Sardis
St Evaristo of Constantinople
Bl Giovanni Orsini
Bl Jean of Hainaut
Bl Lucie Khambang
St Margaret of Hohenfels
Bl Maria Phon
Bl Marinus of Rome
Bl Paganus of Lecco
Bl Pierre Boffet
St Tathai of Wales
St Theodore the Sacristan
St Vincenza Maria Lopez (1847- 1890)
St Zeno of Gaza
St Pope Zosimus

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Papa FRANCIS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC

Thought for the Day – 25 December – CHRISTMAS IS YOU! By Pope Francis

Thought for the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christchristmas is you pope francis - 25 dec 2019.jpg

CHRISTMAS IS YOU!
By Pope Francis

Christmas is usually a noisy party –
we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.

Christmas is you,
when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.

The Christmas pine is you,
when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.

The Christmas decorations are you,
when your virtues are colours that adorn your life.

The Christmas bell is you,
when you call, gather and seek to unite.

You are also a Christmas light,
when you illuminate with your life the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.

The Christmas angels are you,
when you sing to the world, a message of peace, justice and love.

The Christmas star is you,
when you lead someone to meet the Lord.

You are also the wise men,
when you give the best you have, no matter who.

Christmas music is you,
when you conquer the harmony within you.

The Christmas gift is you,
when you are truly friend and brother, of every human being.

The Christmas card is you,
when kindness is written in your hands.

The Christmas greeting is you,
when you forgive and re-establish peace,
even when you suffer.

The Christmas dinner is you,
when you serve bread and hope,
to the poor man, who is by your side.

You are, yes, Christmas night,
when humble and conscious,
you receive in the silence of the night the Saviour of the world
without noise or great celebrations.
You are a smile of trust and tenderness,
in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas
that establishes the Kingdom within you.

A very Merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas.

Written by Papa Francisco
25 December 2014

christmas is you - pope francis 25 dec 2014 - 25 dec 2019.jpg

And from Anastpaul – Breathing Catholic
My wishes for a most Holy and Blessed Christmas
May the little Babe of Bethlehem
fill your hearts with His joy, peace and love!

Ana

my-christmas-wishes - adjusted 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Blessed is the Babe

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessed is the Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe, who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit, who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One,
who suddenly enriched our poverty and supplied our need.
Blessed is He, whose tender mercy led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He, whom freedom crucified, because He permitted it.
Blessed is He, whom also the wood bore, because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He, whom the grave bound, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He, whose free choice brought Him to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He, who sealed our soul
and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One, who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He, who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He, who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high, who became flesh today for us.blessed is the child - 25 dec 2019 st ephrem.jpg

“The Firstborn entered the womb …
Glorious and unseen in entering,
humble and visible in birth.
He was God in entering
and He was man in birth.
A marvel and mystery to hear –
fire entered the womb,
put on a body
and came forth!”

St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Churchthe firstborn entered the womb - st ephrem 25 dec 2019.jpg

 

“Christ is born, glorify Him!
Christ from heaven,
go out to meet Him!
Christ on earth, be exalted!
Sing to the Lord all the whole earth
and that I may join both in one word,
let the heavens rejoice
and let the earth be glad,
for Him who is of heaven
and then of earth.
Christ in the flesh,
rejoice with trembling and with joy,
with trembling because of your sins,
with joy because of your hope.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (329-390)
Father and Doctor of the Churchchrist is born glorify him - st regory of nazianzen 25 dec 2019.jpg

“This day,
He who Is,
is Born
and He, who Is,
becomes what He
was not.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Churchthis day he who IS is born and becomes what he IS not - st john crysostom 25 dec 2019

“Let the just rejoice,
for their Justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
for their Saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
for their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
for their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
for Jesus Christ is born!”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Churchlet the just rejoice their justifier is born st augustine 25 dec 2019.jpg

“Never was a whimpering bit of humanity
so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw,
He could command the very stars
to direct whom He wished to visit Him.
Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant
who was full of grace and incarnate truth.
Never anyone so marvellous
as to be at once so small and so great,
true God and true Man,
the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh,
mighty King and a lowly slave.
Never had any child so emptied Himself
of all that He really was,
in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.”never-was-a-whimpering-bit-of-humanity-st-peter-canisius-25-dec-2018 and 2019jpg

“Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy.
Children should rejoice because on this day,
God Himself
became as one of them;
virgins, because a Virgin brought forth
and remained unstained,
even after giving birth;
wives, because one of their number,
became the Mother of God;
sinners, because their Mediator and Saviour and Healer,
has come to redeem them;
the just, because their Reward, exceeding great,
has been born into the world.
In truth, all faithful Christians,
should rejoice, that their Creator and Lord,
has taken on human flesh and begun His reign
over the hearts of men,
not only as God
but also as the Son of Man
among the children of men.”

St Peter Canisius (1521-1397)
Doctor of the Churchchristmas-day-is-nothing-if-not-st-peter-canisius-25-dec-2018 and 2019.jpg

“Arise, all you nobles and peasants,
Mary invites all, rich and poor,
just and sinners,
to enter the cave of Bethlehem,
to adore and to kiss the feet
of her new-born Son.
Go in, then, all you devout souls,
go and see the Creator
of heaven and earth on a little hay,
under the form of a little Infant
but so beautiful that He sheds
all around rays of light.
Now that He is born
and is lying on the straw,
the cave is no longer horrible
but is become a paradise.
Let us enter,
let us not be afraid!”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Doctor of the Churcharise all you nobles and peasants, mary invites all - 25 dec 2019

“Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.
The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;
no longer are we alone and forsaken.
The Virgin offers us her Son
as the beginning of a new life.
The true light has come to illumine our lives
so often beset by the darkness of sin.
Today we once more discover who we are!
Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.
Now must we put away all fear and dread,
for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.
We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle.
We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger.
This is the reason for our joy and gladness:
this Child has been “born to us”;
he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).
The people who for for two thousand years
has traversed all the pathways of the world,
in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy,
is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace”
and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”

Pope Francis
Homily on the Solemnity
of the Nativity of the Lord, 2015today the son of god is born - pope francis - I think 25 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – ‘He came from Him from whom He did not depart’

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ – Mass during the day – Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98:1-6, Hebrews 1:1-6, John 1:1-18

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. … John 1:14

REFLECTION – “Christ has come from the Father, He has come from the Word, He has come from the Holy Spirit, since the whole Trinity accomplished His conception and His incarnation.   For to come from the highest Trinity was no other than to be conceived and to become a human being by the same Trinity.  Therefore, it was said:  “His going forth is form the highest heaven.” (cf. Ps 18[19]:6)
The Only-Begotten (…) begotten of the Father eternally, begotten in time He came forth from His mother, remaining invisibly with the Father and dwelling visibly with us.   For to go forth from the Father was this – to enter upon our world, to be seen openly and to become what, from the nature of the Father, He was not.   This indeed is wonderful, He came from Him from whom He did not depart, going forth from Him with whom He stayed, so that without intermission He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own majesty and in His Father’s at the time when He was wholly in our humanity.
If you ask how, gather the truth by means of an illustration.   A word conceived in the heart goes forth complete in the voice, so that it comes perfectly to others yet remains wholly in the heart.   So the good Word spoken forth from the heart of the Father went forth into the broad plain, yet did not leave the Father.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk and Bishop – On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily IIIhe came from him from whom he did not depart - st amadeus of lausanne - 25 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts, shine through all that we do and say. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

The Word was God in the beginning and before all time, today, He is born to us, the Saviour of the world.the word ws god in the beginning before all time today, he is born to us, the saviour- 25 dec 2019

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – I hold Within my Heart, O Mother Queen, Thy Little Son, thy Child.

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

I hold Within my Heart,
O Mother Queen,
Thy Little Son, thy Child.

Prayer after Holy Communion

I hold within my heart, O Mother Queen,
Thy little Son, thy Child.
The right is thine,
And yet, by wondrous gift, this grace is mine!
‘Twas thou who first within thy heart serene
Thy God received.
By mortal eyes unseen
He dwelt secure,
thy loving heart His shrine.
In first communion with the Word Divine
Thou hadst a foretaste of our Gift supreme.
O thou, sweet Mother, who didst first embrace
Our God, teach me Thy potent way of grace,
That in the precious moments that are mine
I may constrain my Guest, thy Son Divine,
To abide with me.
Oh, may He ne’er depart!
Behold—-His living chalice,
my unworthy heart!
Ameni hold within my heart o mother queen they little child thy son - prayer after holy comm 25 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ – 25 December

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ – 25 December

the nativity of our saviour lord jesus christ 25 dec 2019.jpg

Christmas is the feast of the Incarnation, the feast celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, as a little baby in Bethlehem, within the realm of history.   While many Christians recognise Christmas as celebrating Jesus’ birth, unfortunately many fail to see it as a festival of the Incarnation.   Outside of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and a few others, the idea of Christmas as a season has nearly disappeared.   Although secular traditions are fun and endearing, Christmas is primarily a Christian holy day and should be treated as such.

Even the term is an abbreviation of the phrase “Christ Mass,” which reflects the primary understanding of Christmas as a feast day within the Church year, connected to the Eucharist.   Many people mention the need to put Christ back in Christmas but the need is greater than that.   We need to put the “Mass” back in Christmas.castiglione christmas nativity baby jesus shepherds christ.jpg

Christmastide is the name given for the time surrounding Christmas Day.   In the current Catholic calendar, Christmastide lasts from Christmas Day until the Baptism of our Lord, which is the Sunday following 6 January.   This time includes many other important Christian Holy Days.   The 12 days of Christmas, the time from 25  December until the Epiphany, have often been recognised as a time for special feasting.

In fact, Christmastide used to refer to the 12 Days of Christmas and some still use “Christmastide” to refer to this period.   The octave of Christmas lasts, in the Catholic Church, from 25 December until 1 January, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.   Of note, Christmas falls exactly 9 months after the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, the feast day commemorating Jesus’ conception.

The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy.   The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us.   The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled.   With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth.   The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity:

“For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen.”ghirlandaio - nativity of the lord, bethlehem christmas shepherds baby jesus.jpg

The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ, proclaimed before Midnight Mass by the Holy Father and in most Catholic Churches throughout the universal Church, situates the Nativity of Christ within the context of human history generally and salvation history specifically, making reference not only to biblical events (the Creation, the Flood, the birth of Abraham, the Exodus) but also to the Greek and Roman worlds (the original Olympics, the founding of Rome).   The coming of Christ at Christmas, then, is seen as the summit of both sacred and secular history.

The Twenty fifth Day of December,
when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,
when God in the beginning created heaven and earth
and formed man in his own likeness,
when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set His bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace,
in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt,
around the thousandth year since David was anointed King,
in the sixty fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel,
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad,
in the year seven hundred and fifty two
since the foundation of the City of Rome,
in the forty second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by His most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since His conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man –

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

jesus the lord nativity christmas baby jesus bethlehem.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

The Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ and Memorials of the Saints – 25 December

The Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ (Solemnity)
Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord.   In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast, the Saviour’s birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches.   First mention of the feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200.   The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day.   Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning.   This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica.   Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calender.   The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840.   The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence.   Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John (2019/20 Year A).

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/25/the-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-25-december/

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/25/25-december-the-solemnity-of-the-birth-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-2/

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse
Bl Jacopone da Todi
St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, HYMNS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Second Thought for the Day – 24 December – “Silent Night” – May this Holy Infant so tender and mild, bless us all!

Second Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

Last year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first performance

of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’Silent-Night-by-Fr-Joseph-Mohr-1792-1848-24-dec-2018 and 2019

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, how the light
Radiates love from Thy heavenly face,
At the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

May this Holy Infant so tender and mild, bless us all!

Read the story here:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/24/thought-for-the-day-24-december-today-the-200th-anniversary-of-the-first-performance-of-the-beloved-carol-silent-night/Holy-infant-so-tender-and-mile-bless-us-all-24-dec-2018 and 2019

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Holy Eucharist and Hope – Let us approach Him

Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

The Holy Eucharist and Hope

The greatest source of hope this side of eternity is the Sacrament of hope, the Sacrament of encounter with Christ that is the Holy Eucharist.   The document of the Second Vatican Council that begins with the words “joy” and “hope,” Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution On The Church in the Modern World), says:

“Christ left to His followers a pledge of . . . hope and food for the journey in the sacrament of faith, in which natural elements, the fruits of human cultivation, are changed into His glorified body and blood, as a supper of brotherly and sisterly communion and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (38).”

Those who frequent this Sacrament — receiving it often, if not daily — know that one of the fruits of the Sacrament, is the virtue of hope.   Gaudium et Spes refers to this sacrament as a “pledge of hope and food for the journey” that Christ left to His followers.

This document of Vatican II opened with these words:

“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.   Nothing that is genuinely human, fails to find an echo in their hearts.   For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the father’s kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity (1).”

In the general intercessions at Holy Mass, we bring the “joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted.”   We name those needs and address them to God our Father, through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.   We know that those pleas to God register with Him, as they come directly to God through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the compassionate and merciful heart of Christ.

When we bring our prayers and petitions to Holy Mass, we should trust that they are heard by God and that God will bring a most fitting response — in His good time, His unique way and His providential plan — to all the prayers of our hearts.   We might take them to Christ, with the added prayer:  “Jesus, I trust in you.”

“Let us, at this season, approach Him with awe and love, in whom resides all perfection and from whom we are allowed to gain it.   Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified….
May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.”

Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890)let us as this season approach him in awe and love - st john henry newman 24 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord at Midnight “Awake mankind!”

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

“Awake, mankind!
For your sake God has become man.
Awake, you who sleep,
rise up from the dead
and Christ will enlighten you.
I tell you again,
for your sake,
God became man.”awake mankind. for your sake god - st augustine 24 dec 2019.jpg

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother’s breast, 
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey, 
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood,
that Strength might grow weak,
that the Healer might be wounded,
that Life might die.

St Augustine 354-430)
Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Churchmans maker was made man - st augustine - 17 dec 2019.jpg

Christmas Prayer
Of St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) 

O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share
with all our hearts
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women,
this peace, for which they sometimes seek, so desperately
and which You alone can give to them.
Help them to know one another better
and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them also Your beauty, holiness and purity.
Awaken in their hearts love and gratitude
for Your infinite goodness.
Join them all together in Your love.
And give us Your heavenly peace.
Ameno sweet child of bethlehem by st pope john XXIII 24 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 December – ‘Let us go to Bethlehem to behold the mystery of the crib.’

One Minute Reflection – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight – Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7 (1-6), Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14

For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.… Luke 2:11

REFLECTION – “Brethren, now we have been told about the miracle let us turn aside to see this unusual sight as Moses did (Ex 3:3) – in Mary the burning bush is not consumed, the Virgin gives birth to the Light without defilement (…) Let us then run to Bethlehem, the town of the Good News!   If we are real shepherds, staying awake on our watch, then it is to us that the voice of the angels is addressed, announcing a great joy (…)   “Glory to God in the highest for peace is coming down to earth!”   There where, only yesterday, there was nothing but misfortune, battlefields and exile, now earth receives peace for today “Truth shall spring out of the earth and justice shall look down from heaven” (Ps 84[85]:12).   Behold the fruit earth gives to humankind in reward for the goodwill reigning among men (Lk 2:14).   God is joined to man to raise man to the stature of God.

At this news, my brethren, let us go to Bethlehem to behold (…) the mystery of the crib, a child wrapped in swaddling clothes rests in a manger.   A Virgin after giving birth, His undefiled Mother, embraces her son.   Let us repeat the words of the prophet along with the shepherds:  “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of our God.” (Ps 47[48]:9)

But why does our Lord seek shelter in this cave at Bethlehem?   Why is He sleeping in a manger?   Why does He participate in Israel’s census?   My brethren, He who brings liberty to the world, comes to be born into our slavery to death.   He is born in this cave to reveal Himself to us, who are immersed in darkness and the shadow of death.   He rests in a manger because He is the One who makes grass grow for the cattle (Ps 104[103],14).   He is the Bread of Life who feeds us with a spiritual food that we too might live in the Spirit…   What more joyful feast is there than that of today?   Christ, the Sun of Justice (Mal 3,20), comes to illumine our night.   What had fallen is raised up again, what was overcome is now set free…  what was dead is restored to life…   Let us all sing today with one voice over all the earth:  “Death came through one man, Adam, today salvation has come through one man (cf Rom 5,17)” … St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395) Bishop-Sermon on the Nativityhe rests in a manger because he is the one who makes the grass grow - st gregory of nyssa 24 dec 2019

PRAYER –
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amenrejoice rejoice emmanuel shall come to thee o israel 24 dec 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – The People who in Darkness Walked

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Mass at Midnight – Readings: Isaiah 9:1-6, Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14

The People who in Darkness Walked
From Isaiah 9:1-6

The People who in darkness walked
have seen a glorious light.
The light has shone on them who dwelt
In death’s surrounding night.
To hail You, Sun of Righteousness,
the gathering nations come,
rejoicing as when reapers bear,
their harvest treasures home.
To us a child of hope is born,
to us a son is given,
Him shall the tribes of earth obey,
Him all the host of heaven.
His name shall be the Prince of Peace
for evermore adored,
the Wonderful, the Counsellor,
the great and mighty Lord.the people who in darkness walked 24 dec 2019.jpg

 

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 24 December – Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865)

Saint of the Day – 24 December – Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865) Widow, Founder of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family, the male branch – the Religious of the Holy Family, of which orders she is the Patron, Apostle of Charity – born Costanza Cerioli on 28 January 1816 at Soncino, Cremona, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, Italy and died on 24 December 1865 aged 49, at Bergamo, Italy.

Costanza Cerioli was born on 28 January 1816 in Soncino, Italy, the last of 16 children born into the noble family of Francesco Cerioli and Francesca Corniani.   She was a frail child plagued by a heart condition throughout her life.Santa-Paola-Elisabetta-Ceriol-c.png

Comfort found in God alone:
Costanza lived at home until she was 11 years old, when she was sent off to school in Bergamo;  here she remained for five years, suffering terribly from the loneliness of being away from home.   But this experience helped her grow to depend on God, finding her comfort in Him alone.

At age 19, Costanza returned to Soncino where a planned marriage awaited her to the 59-year-old Gaetano Busecchi, widower of a countess, was set to be her husband.   Seeing it as God’s will, she accepted this proposal and was married on 30 April 1835.

Her marriage lasted 19 years and was marked by suffering on all sides, her husband’s difficult character and poor health weighed on her and three of the four children that Costanza gave birth to, died prematurely;  Carlo, her greatest “consolation”, lived to be 16.

Before his death due to serious illness in January 1854, Carlo spoke these prophetic words to his mother:  “Mama, do not cry… the Lord will give you other children”.   At the end of that same year, on 25 December, Gaetano also died.

This marked a dark period for Costanza, causing a profound existential crisis.   Never had she found herself so alone and abandoned, her life so seemingly senseless.   It was during this time that the words spoken by her son became a constant echo in her soul and sustained her, becoming her “guiding light”.

She sought spiritual direction and entrusted her tragedies and entire life into the hands of God, asking constantly for the grace to live her life with eyes of faith.ST PAOLA ELIZABETTA.jpg

Spiritual maternity:
Costanza continued to feel the need to express her “maternity” and to “give of herself” to others, as she had done with Carlo.   She was now 38 years old and, inspired by the Gospel, understood that charity was the only truly meaningful road.

She thus began to visit and assist the sick and share her belongings with the poor and orphans.   Looking into the searching and frightened eyes of the orphaned children who begged along the streets inspired her to make even more courageous decisions.

She began to give all her wealth and belongings to the poor and opened her home to welcome orphans.   Her family and neighbours would remark:  “The anguish that this devout woman passed through must have driven her crazy…  she does not realise what she is doing”.

The money she received once she sold her jewellery was used to purchase materials for the orphanage.   Even before giving away all her goods, she had made the most important decision – to give her entire self to God, making a perpetual vow of chastity on 25 December 1856.   And with her confessor’s approval, she made vows of poverty and obedience on 8 February 1857.

It was not long before other young women desired to join Costanza and “follow” in her works of charity.   God’s plan was unfolding before her eyes with greater clarity;,in silence, prayer and recollection she began to draw up the Rule for her “work.”st paola elisabetta cerioli.jpg

Sisters of the Holy Family:
On 8 December 1857, Costanza, “mother of many orphans”, founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Comonte, Italy.   She took the name “Sr Paola Elisabetta”, and summarised the charism of the Congregation in this way:

“The humility, simplicity, poverty and love of work found in the Holy Family of Nazareth is what makes up the specific spirituality of this Institute.   The Sisters that belong to it must strive to model themselves on this life, full of the recollection, hiddeness and with the same spirit of humble labour that Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in this blessed home”.

From that day, Mother Paola dedicated herself to the growth and development of the religious community.   On 4 November 1863, in Villacampagna, a male branch was also founded by her, the Religious of the Holy Family.ST PAOLA CERIOLI.JPG

Under the protection of St Joseph:
With the House of Nazareth as the model of both branches, Mother Paola entrusted her “work” to the special protection of St Joseph and willed that the orphans under their care be known as the “sons and daughters of St Joseph”.

She was very attentive to the education of these parentless children and to the problem of poverty.   Her motherly spirit was limitless and she understood the importance of carefully and properly forming her religious sons and daughters, so that they would be able to love and educate well the children God placed under their care, these “neglected and lost ones”.

Mother Paola Elisabetta died unexpectedly in her home in Comonte on 24 December 1865.   She was 49 years old.

She was Beatified by Pope Pius XII on 19 March 1950, the Solemnity of St Joseph…. Vatican.va

Saint Paola was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II on 16 May 2004.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord and Memorials of the Saints – 24 December

24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight
In many Western Christian traditions Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day.   This popular Christmas custom is a jubilant celebration of the Mass in honour of the Nativity of Jesus, even many of those Christian denominations that do not regularly employ the word “Mass” uniquely use the term “Midnight Mass” for their Christmas Eve liturgy.

Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on these words and explained in his Summa Theologiae, “And from this the Mass derives its name … the deacon on festival days ‘dismisses’ the people at the end of the Mass, by saying: ‘Ite, missa est,’ that is, the victim [Jesus] has been sent to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God.”

St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux
St Emiliana and St Trasilla (died sixth Century)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/24/saints-of-the-day-24-december-saints-tarsilla-and-emiliana-died-sixth-century-virgins/
St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto
St Hanno of Worms
Bl Ignacio Caselles García
St Irmina of Oehren
St Mochua of Timahoe
Bl Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865)
Bl Peter de Solanes
Bl Venerandus of Clermont

All the Holy Ancestors of Jesus: A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.
• Blessed Dionysius Roneo
• Blessed Philip Claro
• Blessed Giulio Pons
• Blessed Peter of Valladolid

Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati): Six cloistered Mercedarian nuns at the convent of Vera Cruz in Berriz, Spain. Noted for their devotion to the rules of the Order and for their deep prayer lives.
• Blessed Anna Maria Prieto
• Blessed Anna de Arrano
• Blessed Orsola de Larisgoizia
• Blessed Maguna Mary
• Blessed Margaret
• Blessed Mary of the Assumption Sarria

Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints): A group of forty virgins martyred in the persecutions of Decius. None of their names have come down to us. They were martyred in 250 in Antioch, Syria.

Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details that have surived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 December – Christmas, at least, is a good time to reject self-indulgence.

Thought for the Day – 23 December – The Memorial of St John of Kanty (1390-1473)

John was a country lad who made good in the big city and the big university of Kraków, Poland.   After brilliant studies he was ordained a Priest and became a Professor of Theology.   The inevitable opposition which saints encounter, led to his being ousted by rivals and sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz.   An extremely humble man, he did his best but his best was not to the liking of his parishioners.   Besides, he was afraid of the responsibilities of his position.   But, in the end, he won his people’s hearts.   After some time he returned to Kraków and taught Scripture for the remainder of his life.

John was a serious man and humble but known to all the poor of Kraków for his kindness.   His goods and his money were always at their disposal and time and again, they took advantage of him.   He kept only the money and clothes absolutely needed to support himself.   He slept little, ate sparingly and took no meat.   He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by the Turks.   Later, John made four subsequent pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back.   When he was warned to look after his health, he was quick to point out that, for all their austerity, the fathers of the desert lived remarkably long lives.

The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns, he is the only confessor, not a bishop, who has been given this honour in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

John of Kanty is a typical saint.   He was kind, humble and generous, he suffered opposition and led an austere, penitential life.   Most Christians in an affluent society can understand all the ingredients except the last – for anything more than mild self-discipline seems reserved for athletes and ballet dancers.   Christmas, at least, is a good time to reject self-indulgence.

St John of Kanty, Pray for Us!st john of kanty - pray for us 2 - 23 DEC 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on THE MYSTICAL BODY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 23 December – A new birth in Christ.

Quote/s of the Day – 23 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year A

“We adore and love the Word, 
born of the unbegotten and ineffable God,
since He became man for our sake,
so that having become a partaker of our sufferings,
He might provide a remedy for them.”

St Justin Martyr (100 to 165)we adore and love the word - st justin martyr 23 dec 2019.jpg

“In adoring our Saviour’s birth,
it is our origin that we celebrate.
Christ’s temporal generation
is the source of the Christian people,
the birth of His Mystical Body.
All of us encounter in this Mystery
a new birth in Christ.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father & Doctor of the Churchin-adoring-our-saviours-birth-22-dec-2017.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SIN, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 23 December – Come and set us free

Advent Reflection – 23 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Malachi 3:1-4; 4: 5-6 (3: 1-4, 23-24), Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14, Luke 1:57-66

The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.O emmanuel-king-and-lawgiver-23-dec-2017,2018,2019

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

REFLECTION – “Speaking of John, we read in Luke:  “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord and many of the children of Israel shall he turn, to the Lord their God.   And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk 1:15-17).   For whom, then, did he prepare a people and in the sight of what Lord was he made great?   Truly of Him who said that John was something “even more than a prophet” and that “among those born of women none is greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:9.11).   For he made ready a people for the Lord’s advent, warning his fellow-servants and preaching repentance to them, so that they might receive forgiveness from the Lord, when He should arrive, after being converted to Him, from whom they had been alienated, because of their sins and transgressions ( … )

Yes, “in his mercy,” God, “the Dayspring from on high, has looked upon us and appeared to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death and has guided our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:78-79) just as Zacharias, recovering from the state of dumbness he had suffered, because of his unbelief, blessed God in a new way, when he had been filled with a new spirit.   For all things have entered upon a new phase by the fact that the Word, after a new manner, has accomplished the purpose of His coming in the flesh, that He might return to friendship with God, the human flesh that had departed from God. And this is why men were taught to worship God after a new fashion.” … St Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) Bishop, Theologian, Martyr

MEDITATION – “For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked – Who are you?   And he replied – I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.   The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John was a voice that lasted only for a time, Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.” … St Augustine (354-430)

ADVENT ACTION“The light of the world has come into the world and humanity loves darkness rather than the light.”   They have not known Him and they do not know Him because they do not wish to know Him, loving rather the darkness of sin than the light of grace.   Let each one determine this day not to be numbered among those unhappy souls who prefer the darkness.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)the light has come into the world - they have not known him - st alphonsus liguori 23 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER

O Emmanuel,
King and Lawgiver
Desire of the nations,
Saviour of all people,
Come and set us free,
Lord, our God!

 

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 23 December – O Divine Child of Bethlehem, Be our Peace and our Joy!

Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 23 December

O Divine Child of Bethlehem,
Be our Peace and our Joy!
By St John Paul II (1920-2005)

Wipe away,
Baby Jesus,
the tears of children!
Embrace the sick and the elderly!
Move people to lay down their arms
and to draw close
in a universal embrace of peace!
Invite the peoples,
O merciful Jesus,
to tear down the walls created
by poverty and unemployment,
by ignorance and indifference,
by discrimination and intolerance.
It is You,
O Divine Child of Bethlehem,
who saves us,
freeing us from sin.
It is You,
who are the true and only Saviour,
whom humanity often searches for
with uncertainty.
God of peace,
gift of peace for all of humanity,
come to live in the heart
of every individual
and of every family.
Be our Peace and our Joy!
Ameno divine child of bethlehem be our peace and our joy st john paul 23 dec 2019.jpg

 

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 December – Blessed Nicolás Factor-Estaña OFM (1520-1583)

Saint of the Day – 23 December – Blessed Nicolás Factor-Estaña OFM (1520-1583) commonly known as Nicolas Factor – Franciscan Priest, Painter, Preacher, Ascestic, Spiritual Director – born in 1520 in Valencia, Spain and died in 1583 of natural causes. His body is incorrupt.st nicholas FactorNicolau.jpg

Nicolás Factor was born in Valencia in Spain on 29 June 1520 as one of five children to a poor tailor.

In his childhood he fasted three times a week and donated all of his untouched food to the poor and also tended to the ill, including lepers.   His Moorish maid was so affected by this love that she learnt about the faith and converted to Roman Catholicism.

His father wanted him to follow his career as a tailor but Nicolas wanted to become a priest and a religious.

He entered the Order of Friars Minor on 30 November 1537 and was sometime later ordained as a priest, where he developed his talents as a painter via a range of devotional images.

Although Nicolas wanted be sent to missionary lands, he was instead sent to preach across his own region and became much sought-after, his homilies teaching and converting many.   He was known for undergoing rather severe self-mortifications before he gave each sermon.img-st-Nicholas-Factor.jpg

He also served as the spiritual director of the Santa Clara convent in Madrid at the request of the Princess of Portugal, Joan of Habsburg.   In April 1582 he relocated to the Santa Caterina convent in Onda and that November moved to another convent in Barcelona.

Blessed Nicolas died after a period of illness on 23 December 1583 after having just returned to Valencia.  st nicholas Factor sml.jpgIn 1586 his remains were exhumed for King Philip II – who wished to view them and his body was found to be incorrupt.

Pope Pius VI Beatified Blessed Nicolas on 27 August 1786.   The Beatification process saw three friends of Blessed Nicolas summoned to provide witness testimonies and the tribunal called upon Saint Pascal Baylon OFM, Saint Louis Betrand OP and Saint Juan de Ribera (whom Factor served as his Archbishop).

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 23 December

St John of Kanty/Cantius (1390-1473) (Optional Memorial)
Full Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/saint-of-the-day-23-december-st-john-of-kanty-cantius-1390-1473/

AND more:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/23/saint-of-the-day-23-december-st-john-of-kanty-1390-1473-patron-of-poland-and-lithuania/

St Besa of Egypt
Bl Bincema
St Dagobert II of Austrasia
Bl Epifanio Gómez Alvaro
St Frithbert of Hexham
Bl Hartmann of Brixen
Bl Herman of Scheda
Bl James Aymerich
St John Cirita
St John Stone
St Joseph Cho Yun-ho
St Mardonius of Rome
St Mazota of Abernethy
St Migdonius of Rome
Blessed Nicolás Factor-Estaña OFM (1520-1583)
St Servulus of Rome
St Thorlac Thorhallsson
St Victoria
St Vintila of Orensee

Martyred Dominicans of Santander – (9 beati) – Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Bernardino Irurzun Otermín
• Blessed Eleuterio Marne Mansilla
• Blessed Eliseo Miguel Lagro
• Blessed Enrique Cañal Gómez
• Blessed Enrique Izquierdo Palacios
• Blessed Epifanio Gómez Alvaro
• Blessed José María García Tabar
• Blessed Manuel Gutiérrez Ceballos
• Blessed Miguel Rodríguez González
• Blessed Pedro Luís y Luís

Martyrs of Crete – (10 saints): A group of ten Christians who died in the persecutions of Decius. They were –
• Agathopus
• Basilides
• Cleomenes
• Eunician
• Euporus
• Evaristus
• Gelasius
• Saturninus
• Theodulus
• Zeticus
They were martyred in 250 on the island of Crete

Posted in Papa FRANCIS, St JOSEPH, The INCARNATION, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 22 December – Joseph fully finds himself

Thought for the Day – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A, Readings: Isaiah7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24

When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. … Matthew 1:24

By accepting himself according to God’s design,
Joseph fully finds himself, beyond himself.
His freedom to renounce even what is his,
the possession of his very life
and his full interior availability to the will of God,
challenges us
and shows us the way.

Pope Francis
Angelus 22 December 2013joseph fully finds himself - pope francis 22 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION

Quote of the Day – 22 December – In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries

Quote of the Day – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

“Jesus Christ, the God-Man,
was born in a manger
and is spiritually reborn on the altar.
He suffered on Calvary
and continues to offer Himself on the altar.
In His earthly life, He spread His teaching
and worked miracles among the crowds.
In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries
and communicates Himself to all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)

Father & Doctor of the Churchjesus-christ-the-god-man-st-john-chrysostom-23-dec-2017, 2018 and 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 22 December – “Go with Him”

Sunday Reflection – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

“Go with Him”

St Ephrem of Syria (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Go with Him, as His inseparable companion, to the wedding feast of Cana and drink of the wine of His blessing.

Let you have ever before you, the Face of the Lord and look upon His beauty and let your earnest gaze, turn nowhere away from His most sweet countenance.

Go before Him into a desert place and see the wonder of His works, where He multiplied in His own Holy Hands, the bread that sufficed the great multitude.

Go, my brother, go forward and with all the love of your soul, follow Christ wherever He may go…  And lovingly behold Him as taking bread into His hands, He blesses it and breaks it, as the outward form of His own Immaculate Body and the chalice which He blessed, as the outward form of His Precious Blood and gave to His Disciples and be you also a partaker of His sacraments.”

go my brother go forward and with all the love of your soul 22 dec 2019.jpg