Advent Reflection – 22 December – Emmanuel, God-with-us

The Lord comes!   Go to meet Him and say – Great is His reign and His kingdom will have no end.   He is God, the Strong One, the Ruler of the world, the Prince of peace, alleluia!

Advent Reflection – 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

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;  she will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” ... Matthew 1:20-21matthew 1 20 - 21 joseph son of david do not fear to take mary 22 dec 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Behold,” says the prophet Isaiah, “a virgin will conceive and bear a son and he will be called Emmanuel, a name which means God-with-us.” (7:14)   The name ‘God-with-us,’ given to our Saviour by the prophet, signifies that two natures are united in His one person.   Before time began he was God, born of the Father but in the fullness of time He became Emmanuel, God-with-us, in the womb of His mother, because when “the Word was made flesh and lived among us.” (Jn 1:14)   He deigned to unite our frail human nature to His own person.   Without ceasing to be what He had always been, He began in a wonderful fashion to be what we are, assuming our nature in such a way that He did not lose his own…

And so, Scripture says: “Mary gave birth to her firstborn son… and she named him Jesus.” (Lk 2:7.21).   Jesus, then, is the name of the Virgin’s son.   According to the angel’s explanation, it means one who is to save His people from their sins.   In doing so, He will also deliver them from any defilement of mind and body they have incurred on account of their sins.

But the title “Christ” implies a priestly or royal dignity.   In the Old Testament it was given to both priests and kings on account of the anointing with chrism or holy oil which they received.   They prefigured the true king and high priest who, on coming into this world, “was anointed with the oil of gladness above all his peers” (Ps 44[45]: 8).   From this anointing or chrismation, He received the name of Christ and those who share in the anointing which He Himself bestows, that is, the grace of the Spirit, are called Christians. May Jesus Christ fulfil His saving task, by saving us from our sins, may He discharge His priestly office by reconciling us to God the Father and may He exercise His royal power by admitting us to His Father’s kingdom…” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church

MEDITATION – “He came from heaven to suffer and die for us, so that we might love Him.   How can we remain ungrateful?” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

ADVENT ACTION – “O my Jesus, I love You and will always love You.   Inflame my heart everyday with the memory of Your love for me.   Mary, my mother, help me to live a life grateful to God, who has loved me, even after I have so greatly offended Him.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church


and keystone of the Church
come and save man,
whom You formed from the dust!

o-king-of-all-nations-22-dec-2017, 2018, 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 22 December – O Come, O come, Emmanuel

Our Morning Offering – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

O Come, O come, Emmanuel

O Come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high
And order all things far and nigh,
To us the path of knowledge show
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did give the law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust Thy mighty power to save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high,
That we no more have cause to sigh.

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadow put to flight.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid every strife and quarrel cease
And fill the world with heaven’s peace.
Refraino come o come emmnuel no 2 22 dec 2019.jpg

This ancient Advent hymn is based upon the seven Great “O” Antiphons, which are recited or sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers (or Evening Prayer) from 17 – 23 December.

Music: T Helmore, 1811-1890 adapted from a 1st Mode Responsory in a 15th cent. French Processional.

Text: Veni, Veni Emmanuel, a para. of Latin 12th-13th cent.
“Great O Antiphons” in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 1770.

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Blessed Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Priest and Martyr – His Faith was his crime

Saint of the Day – 22 December – Blessed Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Jesuit Priest and Martyr – born in 1600 at Sutton, Lancashire and was executed by being hang, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, 12 December 1642 (aged 42).   Also known as Thomas Sanderson, Thomas Hammond.

Thomas Holland suffered from poor health during the whole of the seven years he spent in active ministry in his native England.   Despite his suffering, he fearlessly moved around London to bring the Sacraments to Catholics during this terrible and fearful period of thomas-holland.jpg

He was born in Lancashire and attended the English College at Saint-Omer in Flanders for six years.   He moved to Valladolid, Spain, in August 1621, to attend the English College there and then returned to Flanders in 1624 in order to enter the Jesuits.   He did his novitiate and theological studies in Flanders and was Ordained there, before being assigned to be the spiritual director of the scholastics at Saint-Omer.   In 1635 he was assigned to the English mission, in the hope that his native air would meliorate the poor health he had begun to suffer.

The conditions in which he had to live in England made his health worse, unfortunately. He had to stay indoors all day and travel only at night because of the danger of arrest byPpriest-hunters.   The hardships he endured caused a loss of appetite, which only worsened his condition.   Ill health, however, did not keep him from his mission and he continued until his arrest on 4 October 1642, on suspicion of being a Priest.

He was detained at New Prison in London for two weeks and then taken to Newgate to be tried. No evidence could be put forth proving that he was a Priest.    He had been very careful in prison not to be caught praying but when the court asked him to swear that he was not a Priest, he refused, the jury found him guilty and condemned him to die.   The French ambassador offered to intervene to try to win his freedom but Holland said he preferred martyrdom.

Some Capuchin friends smuggled Mass supplies into prison so he could celebrate the Eucharist one last time.

On the morning of 12 December 1642, he was dragged to Tyburn to be executed.   He prayed for those who had condemned him and for King Charles I, the royal family, parliament and the nation.   He gave the hangman the little money he had, forgave him for what he was about to do and then was hanged until he was dead.   His body was then beheaded and quartered and exposed on London thomas holland.jpg

This Jesuit site provides more details about his execution and his beatification:

Fr Holland was dragged to Tyburn at mid-morning of the 12th and seeing a crowd had gathered in silence, he spoke:

 “I have been brought here to die a traitor, a Priest and a Jesuit but in truth none of these things has been proved.”   Then mounting the cart, he placed the noose about his neck and told the people that he was truly a Priest and a Jesuit and that he pardoned the judge and jury that had condemned him..   He recited his acts of faith, hope, charity and contrition and then prayed for King Charles I and the nation “for whose prosperity and conversion to the Catholic faith, if I had as many lives as there are hairs on my head, drops of water in the ocean, or stars in the firmament, I would most willingly sacrifice them all.”   These words brought cheers from the crowd.   He then forgave his executioner for what he is about to do and gave him the few coins he still had in his pocket.

With eyes closed in prayer, Fr Holland looked at a Priest secretly in the crowd and received absolution.   After he was hanged, his body was beheaded and quartered and exposed on London Bridge.   Fr Holland was only forty-two years of age and a Jesuit for eighteen years.   Pope Pius XI beatified him on December 15, 1929.

Blessed Thomas Holland, your faith was your crime, pray for us!

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A +2019 and Memorials of the Saints – 22 December

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A +2019

St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) – Universal optional memorial (except in the USA which is on 13 November)
About St Frances:

St Abban of New Ross
Bl Adam of Saxony
St Amaswinthus of Málaga
St Athernaise of Fife
St Bertheid of Münster
St Chaeremon of Nilopolis
St Flavian of Acquapendente
St Honoratus of Toulouse
St Hunger of Utrecht
St Ischirione of Alexandria
Bl Jutta of Disibodenberg OSB (c 1084-1136)
Bl Ottone of Toulouse
Bl Thomas Holland SJ (1600-1642) Priest and Martyr
St Zeno of Nicomedia

Martyrs of Ostia – (3 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are three names – Demetrius, Florus and Honoratus. They were martyred at Ostia, Italy.

Martyrs of Rhaitu – (43 saints): 43 monks martyred by Blemmyes, in Raíthu, Egypt, date unknown.

Martyrs of Via Lavicana – (30 saints): A group of 30 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
c 303 in Rome, Italy and were buried between two bay trees on the Via Lavicana outside Rome.


Thought for the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December – Mary visits Elizabeth – You also are blessed!

Thought for the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December

Mary visits Elizabeth

Saint Ambrose of Milan (340-397)
Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from A Commentary on Luke, Book 2

When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary, he gave her a sign to win her trust.   He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman, to show that God is able to do all that He wills.

When she hears this, Mary sets out for the hill country.   She does not disbelieve God’s word, she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign.   She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.

Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights?   The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, laborious efforts.   Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear, as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Notice the contrast and the choice of words.   Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice but John, is the first to be aware of grace.   She hears with the ears of the body but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery.   She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s – a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation.   The women speak of the grace they have received, while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.

The child leaps in the womb, the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit.   John leaps for you and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit but we know, that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.   Her Son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in His mother, in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord.   Elizabeth says:  Blessed are you because you have believed.

You also are blessed, because you have heard and believed.   A soul that believes, both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.

Let Mary’s soul be in each of you, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord.   Let her spirit be in each, to rejoice in the Lord.   Christ has only one mother, in the flesh but we all bring forth Christ, in faith.   Every soul receives the Word of God, if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, it’s modesty undefiled.   The soul that succeeds in this, proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.   In another place we read – Magnify the Lord with me.   The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but, because He is magnified within us.   Christ is the image of God and, if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is also are blessed becauxe you have believed - st ambrose - 21 dec 2019 the vistation.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December – St Peter Canisius

Quote/s of the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December, Readings:  Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38 and The Memorial of St Peter Canisius (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church

God who is mighty,
has done great things for me,
holy is his name…

Luke 1:49luke-1-49.GOD WHO IS MIGHTY HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR ME - 21 DEC 2017, 2018 2019jpg.jpg

“While remaining the Mother of our Judge,
Mary is a mother to us, full of mercy.
She constitutes our protection.
She keeps us close to Christ
and she faithfully takes,
the matter of our salvation,
into her charge.”

St Peter Canisius (1521-1597)

More Here:
AND Here: remaining the mothr of our judge - st peter canisius 21 dec 2019.jpg


Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent 21 December – ‘Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love.’

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent 21 December, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

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

“Mary set out… in haste” … Luke 1:26

REFLECTION – “Our Lady’s strength was her gaiety and joy.   This is what made her God, her son’s attentive servant, because as soon as He came to her she “set out in haste.”   Joy alone could have given her the strength to set out in all haste across the hill country of Judah to become the servant of her cousin.   It is just the same for us.   Like her, we must be true servants of the Lord and after holy communion each day we must hurry over the mountains of the difficulties we encounter, offering our service to the poor with all our heart.   Give to Jesus in the poor, as a servant of the alone could have given her - st mother teresa 21 dec 2019.jpg

Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love.   It is love’s net with which to catch souls.   “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).   Those who give with joy give twice over.   If you meet up with difficulties and accept them with joy, with a big smile, in this, as in many other things, people will realise that your works are good and the Father will be glorified in them.   The best way, of showing God and others your gratitude, is to accept everything with joy.   A joyful heart comes from a heart that is burning with love.” … St Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) – Founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity – Jesus, the Word to Be Spoken

MEDITATION – “A soul united to Jesus, is a living smile that radiates Him and, gives Him.”St Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906)a-sol-united-to-jesus-is-a-living-smile-that-radiates-him-and-gives-him-st-elizabeth-of-the-trinity-8-nov-2019 and 21 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – “God is interested in even the smallest events in the lives of His creatures – in your affairs and mine — and He calls each of us by name.   This certainty that the faith gives, enables us to look at everything in a new light.   And everything, while remaining exactly the same, becomes different, because it is an expression of God’s love.  god is interested in even the smallest events in the lives of His creatures - st josemaria - 31 may 2018 - the visitation.jpgOur life is turned into a continuous prayer, we find ourselves with good humour and a peace that never ends and everything we do is an act of thanksgiving, running through all our day.   ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,’ Mary sang, ‘and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.’”St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) – “To Jesus through Mary,” Christ is Passing By, 144


O Radiant Dawn,
splendour of eternal light, sun of justice!
Come and shine on those
who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

o-radiant-dawn-21-dec-2017, 2018 and 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – Saturday of Advent 21 December – The Canticle of Mary

Our Morning Offering – Saturday of Advent 21 December

The Magnificat
The Canticle of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour
He looks on His servant in her lowliness
Henceforth all ages will call me blessed:
The Almighty works marvels for me,
holy is his Name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear Him.
He puts forth His arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, His servant,
remembering His mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons forever.the magnificat - luke 1 46-55 - 21 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 21 December – Blessed Dominic Spadafora OP (1450-1521)

Saint of the Day – 21 December – Blessed Dominic Spadafora OP (1450-1521) Dominican Priest, renowned Preacher and Evangelist.   He was a noted evangelist and attracted countless to the Dominican fold while also converting the hearts of others who led dissolute lives.   His body is incorrupt.blessed-dominic-spadafora

Dominic was born in Sicily, of an old and noble family.   His father was Baron of Miletto, and members of the family were connected with the nobility of Venice and Palermo.   As a child, Dominic attended school in the Convent of St Rita in Palerno, which had been founded some years before by Blessed Peter Geremia.   He studied in Perugia after moving there in 1477 and was later sent to Padua where he earned his Bachelor’s degree on 23 June 1479 and shortly thereafter, was ordained to the Priesthood.  In Venice on 7 June 1487 he was granted his Master’s degree in theological studies after a public dissertation alongside eleven other candidates.   He joined the Order of Preachers at the convent of Santa Zita in Palermo after returning there, where, for some time he lived quietly conducting classes for the brethren and the secular clergy.

He participated at the General Chapter of the order in Venice in 1487.   He was supposed to be assigned to a convent in Messina in 1487 but the Father General of the order, Gioacchino Torriani, decided to have him as his collaborator in Rome.   Also in 1487 he participated in the General Chapter in Le Mans in the Kingdom of France.

Blessed Dominic became a noted preacher and evangelist and won the hearts of converts that had led dissolute lives – such an example of holiness also prompted countless others to join the Dominican fold as religious themselves.   He was known for his intense devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ.   Amidst this activity he also taught theological studies in the Sicilian Domenico_Spadafora

He founded the convent of Madonna delle Grazie – that housed a miraculous image of the Madonna – in 1491 in Monte Cerignone and served for the remainder of his life as its first superior.   This came about when the faithful of the area wanted to enhance the small chapel and thus the Master General of the Dominicans sent for Spadaforo to oversee its renovation.   The priest arrived there in the town on 15 September 1491 and set off on foot to Rome in 1492 to receive papal approval for this work.   At this point Pope Innocent VII died and Pope Alexander VI was elected in a chain of events that postponed their meeting until 22 February 1493 when papal permission was granted.   He returned with the decree of approval in 1493 and began construction of the church in 1494.   The work concluded in 1498.   The Bishop Marco Vigerio della Rovere consecrated the new church on 16 July 1498.

What we have considered to be the usual virtues of a Dominican friar were practised faithfully by Dominic Spadafora.   He spent most of his Dominican life in the Convent of Our Lady of Grace, directing societies and confraternities, zealous for regular observance and scrupulously exact in his own behaviour.

Dominic Spadafora died in 1521 aged 71, after the celebration of Mass.   He had revealed earlier to the community that he knew he was about to die.   He attended all religious exercises up to the hour of his death and he died as every Dominican hopes he will – the community was around him, singing the “Salve Regina.”

Blessed Dominic’s remains were exhumed in 1545 and were deemed to be incorrupt.   His remains were relocated on 3 October 1677.  His remains were relocated once more on 4 April 2005 to the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità.   He was Beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1921 after the pontiff confirmed the late priest’s ‘cultus’.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, DOMINICAN OP, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 21 December

St Peter Canisius SJ (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

AND Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Peter Canisius:

Bl Adrian of Dalmatia
St Anastasius II of Antioch
St Anrê Tran An Dung
St Baudacarius of Bobbio
St Beornwald of Bampton
Bl Bezela of Göda
Bl Daniel of the Annunciation
St Dioscorus
Bl Dominic Spadafora OP (1450-1521)
St Festus of Tuscany
St Glycerius of Nicomedia
St James of Valencia
St John of Tuscany
St John Vincent
St Micah the Prophet
St Phêrô Truong Van Thi
St Severinus of Trèves
Bl Sibrand of Marigård
St Themistocles of Lycia


Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December – God’s Sign

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December

God’s Sign

“God’s sign is His humility.
God’s sign is that He makes himself small.
He becomes a child.
He lets us touch him and He asks for our love.
How we would prefer a different sign,
an imposing, irresistible sign of God’s power and greatness!
But His sign summons us to faith and love
and thus it gives us hope – this is what God is like.
He has power, He is Goodness itself.
He invites us to become like Him.
Yes indeed, we become like God,
if we allow ourselves
to be shaped by this sign,
if we ourselves learn humility
and hence true greatness;
if we renounce violence
and use only the weapons
of truth and love.”

Pope Benedict XVI (2009)

gods-sign-pope-benedict-19-dec-2017 and reworked for 20 dec 2019.jpg


Quote of the Day – 20 December – ‘Awaken hope!’

Quote of the Day – 20 December – The Memorial of Blessed Michal Piaszczynski (1885-1940) Priest and Martyr

“The blessed martyrs cry to our hearts.
Believe in God who is love!
Believe in Him in good times and bad!
Awaken hope!
May it produce in you,
the fruit of fidelity to God,
in every trial!”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

At the Beatification of the 108 Martyrs of World War Two in Poland, 13 June 1999the blessed martyrs cry to our hearts believe in god who is love - st john paul 20 dec 2019.jpg


Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December – “How shall this be…”

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

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

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” … Luke 1:34

REFLECTION – “Tell us, blessed David, how [the Word] descended.   “He came down as rain upon the fleece, and as drops that water the earth.” (Ps 71[72]:6 LXX). (…)   It remains to discuss how the rain descends upon the fleece and how the drops flow out over the earth. (…)

The rain descends upon the fleece without sound, without movement, without any cleavage or division.   It is gently poured out, peacefully received, sweetly drunk.   Thus the drops gradually, little by little, spread over the earth falling down so wonderfully and so gently that their coming is scarcely perceived and as they depart, they bring forth the shoots.   In the same way, the rain coming from beyond, above the heavenly waters, came down into the Virgin’s womb without human act, with no movement of concupiscence, her integrity unimpaired, the seal of her virginity still locked.   Gently was it poured, calmly received, ineffably made flesh.   It came drop by drop upon her soil, unseen as it entered and, as it departed, plainly going forth. (…)

We have told how the Word of God came down.   Where He came down is made clear in like manner, for He came down into the Virgin’s womb, a womb unstained, unspotted, hallowed by the touch of divine unction.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily III, SC 72luke 1 34 how shall this be - he came down into the virgin's womb - st amadeaus of lausanne 20 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION” Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?   And who shall stand in his holy place?   He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” … Psalm 24:3-4advent-with-st-alphonsus-psalm-24-3-4-who-shall-ascend-20dec2018 AND 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – “O my Jesus, I am weak, grant me strength against temptation.   I am infirm, I hope that Your precious blood will be my medicine.   I am a sinner but I hope that Your grace will make me a saint.   I acknowledge that I have co-operated with my own ruin but this day, I promise always, to call upon You and in this way co-operate with Your grace.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor



and Sceptre of the House of Israel,
who opens and no-one shuts,
who shuts and no-one opens.
Come and bring forth the captive from his prison,
he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

o-key-of-david-20-dec-2017, 2018, 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December – Hail, Heavenly Beam

Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December

Hail, Heavenly Beam
9th Century Catholic Advent Prayer
By Cynewulf tr Israel Gollanz

Hail, heavenly beam,
brightest of angels Thou,
sent unto men upon this middle-earth.
Thou art the true refulgence of the sun,
radiant above the stars
and from Thyself illuminest
forever, all the tides of time.
And as Thou, God indeed,
begotten of God,
Thou Son of the true Father,
wast from aye,
without beginning, in the heaven’s glory,
so now Thy handiwork in its sore need
prayeth Thee boldly, that Thou send to us
the radiant sun
and that Thou come Thyself
to enlighten those who for so long a time
went wrapt around with darkness
and here in gloom
have sat the livelong night,
shrouded in sin.

Cynewulf is one of twelve Old English poets known by name and one of four, whose work is known to survive today. He presumably flourished in the 9th century, with possible dates extending into the late 8th and early 10th centuries.

Known for his religious compositions, Cynewulf is regarded as one of the pre-eminent figures of Anglo-Saxon Christian poetry. Posterity knows of his name by means of runic signatures that are interwoven into the four poems which comprise his scholastically recognised corpus. These poems are: The Fates of the Apostles, Juliana, Elene and Christ II (also referred to as The Ascension).

The four signed poems of Cynewulf are vast, in that they collectively comprise, several thousand lines of verse.hail-heavenly-beam-cynewulf-19-dec-2017 and 20 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 20 December – Blessed Michal Piaszczynski (1885-1940) Priest and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 20 December – Blessed Michal Piaszczynski (1885-1940) Priest and Martyr, Poet, Writer, Lecturer, Apostle of the poor – born on 1 November 1885 at Lomza, Podlaskie, Poland and died on 18 December 1940 in the prison camp in Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, Oberhavel, Germany of starvation and illness related to the concentration camp conditions.   He was Beatified as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II and thus has a secondary feast on 12 June as part of this group.Bl._Michael_Piaszczynski

Michal Piaszczynski was born in Lomza, Poland, the son of Ferdinand and Anna Zientara.   In 1903 after graduating from high school, he entered the seminary in Sejny. After being ordained a Deacon, he was sent for further specialised studies to the Catholic Clergy Academy in St Petersburg.   The Spiritual Academies – theological colleges – were created as a result of Russian repression after the fall of the November Uprising of 1830-1831 and the liquidation of Polish universities.   Their task was to be to attempt to re-educate the Polish Catholic clergy of the Russian partition.

And there, on 13 June 1911 in the academic chapel, he was Ordained a Priest at the hands the Servant of God, Bishop Jan Feliks Cieplak, a defiant priest, many times punished by the Russian authorities for preaching patriotic sermons and participation in national demonstrations and later – during Soviet Russia – arrested twice and in 1923 sentenced at a demonstration trial to the death penalty for ” inciting a rebellion through superstition .”

In 1912 he graduated with a master’s degree in Holy Theology …bl PIASZCZYNSKImichal01_h900_01

He was briefly the first Parish Priest of St Mary Magdalene in Mikaszówka.   For a short time – but long enough to be remembered by the village as a church and community builder … Michał left Mikaszówka and in 1914, after two years in Freiburg, he obtained doctorates in philosophy and literature.

At the beginning of the First World War, Fr Michal was visiting Italy.   From there, at the request of Polish emigrants he went to France, where for four years he was a chaplain of miners, a priest of the Polish-French parish and a prefect of schools.   At that time, he visited Polish colonies and prisoner-of-war camps of Poles in France (in the mining regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais with the capital in Lille, Lorraine and Picardy) – they were Poles mainly from the German partition, conscripted into the German army, participating in the trench warfare and taken prisoner by Franco-British troops …

“He was known here in the colony in France and was highly respected by all Poles who today, (in 1946) remember and honour him for his holiness and goodness.   He assisted the poor and visited the sick.   In a word, a holy priest…” (the letter by Jerez-Chojnacka, representatives of the Polish mission in France).bl michal piaszxzynski glass.jpg

After the end of hostilities, he returned in 1919 to the reborn Commonwealth, to his hometown of Łomża.   He threw himself into the teaching work … He became a lecturer and then a vice-director (from 1935), newly opened in 1919 at the Major Seminary in Lomza.   He invited Jewish rabbis to him, thus becoming a promoter of religious dialogue with Jews.   He addressed them with the term “elder brothers in the faith,” which made him a kind of precursor (though not the only one) of the significant movement of St John Paul II.   Blessed Michal was also a teacher in various schools and Chaplain of a Hospital and Confessor of the Benedictine Sisters in the Abbey of Of the Holy Trinity.

When the Second World War broke out and the Germans took possession of Blessed Michal’s area, they immediately proceeded to round up the Catholic Priests.   As part of the planned policy of extermination of the Polish clergy and intelligentsia, about 80% of the clergy from areas directly connected to the German Reich – found themselves in German concentration camps.   Most of them lost their lives, as did 15% of Polish teachers, 30% of technicians, 40% of university professors, 45% of doctors and dentists, and 57% of lawyers …

Fr Michal was arrested on 7 April 1940 and was moved to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp on 3 May 1940.

During his detention, he comforted everyone.   In the evenings, he prayed with them and gave short homilies and lectures.   His deep love for God was also reflected in his attitude towards his fellow man – he helped the weak in camp work and assisted them on their way to the assembly ground.

One day, when the head of the camp, took their daily ration of bread, from the Jews, Fr Michal, who once said at the table, that he would like to eat his fill at least once more in his life, offered his portion of bread to a Jewish lawyer from Warsaw named Kott.   At that time, the Jew would say: “You Catholics believe that there is a living Christ in your churches.   I believe that there is a living Christ in this bread, He who told you to share it with me,” recalled Fr Kazimierz Aleksander PIASZCZYNSKImichal07_h900_01

Blessed Michal went to the Lord, emaciated, starved, sick, suffering from numerous complaints related to the conditions under which he lived – deprived of medical care – on 18 December 1940.

He was beatified by St John Paul II in Warsaw, 13 June 1999, in the group of 108 Polish martyrs of World War II.PIASZCZYNSKImichal08statue _h900_01.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 20 December

St Attala of Strasbourg
St Bajulus of Rome
St Crescentius of Africa
St Dominic of Brescia
St Dominic de Silos OSB (1000-1073)

St Eugene of Arabia
St Gabriel Olivares Roda
St Hoger of Hamburg-Bremen
Bl John de Molina
St Julius of Gelduba
Bl Lorenzo Company
St Liberatus of Rome
St Macarius of Arabia
St Malou of Hautvillers
Blessed Michal Piaszczynski (1885-1940) Priest and Martyr
St Paul of Latra
Bl Peter de la Cadireta
Bl Peter Massalenus
Philogonius of Antioch
St Thomas of Dover
St Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne
St Vincenzo Romano (1751-1831)
His story:

St Pope Zephyrinus


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


Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘O Church, true Spouse…’

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph … Matthew 1:18

Saint Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 146, on Mt 1:18

“His mother, Mary, was betrothed.”   It should have been enough to say:  Mary was betrothed.   What can a betrothed mother mean?   If she is a mother then she isn’t betrothed, if she is betrothed, then she isn’t yet a mother!   “His mother, Mary, was betrothed” – betrothed by virginity, mother by fecundity.   This was a mother without experience of a man but who yet experienced motherhood.   How could she not be a mother before she had conceived who, after giving birth, remains both virgin and mother?   When was she not a mother, she who is about to conceive Him, who set in motion, the time that gives things their beginning?

Why was the mystery of heavenly innocence given to a betrothed girl and not to a virgin who was still free?   Why did a fiancé’s jealousy put his betrothed in peril?   Why should such great virtue appear to be sin or salvation to be eternal danger?…   What mystery exercises us in all this, my brethren?   There is not a stroke, a letter, a syllable, a word, a name, a person in all the Gospel that is empty of Divine significance.

A betrothed girl was chosen that the Church, Christ’s betrothed, might also be signified according to the word of the prophet Hosea:  “I will betroth you to me in right and justice, in love and mercy;  I will betroth you in fidelity” (Hos 2:21-22).   That is why John said: “The one who has the bride is the Bridegroom” (Jn 3:29).   And Saint Paul:  “I betrothed you to one Spouse to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

O Church, true spouse, who through the virginal birth [of baptism] conceives a new infancy from Christ!o church true spouse - st peter chrysologus 18 dec 2019.jpg


Quote of the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘The one goal – God Alone!’

Quote of the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – The Memorial of Blessed Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)

“Keep a quick pace,
without looking behind
and concentrate on the one goal –
God Alone!

Bl Giulia Nemesia Valle (1847-1916)keep a quick pace without looking behind - bl giulia valle 18 dec 2019.jpg


Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘David’s Lord was made David’s Son’

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December
Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

“See, days are coming — oracle of the LORD — when I will raise up a righteous branch for David. As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.” … Jeremiah 23:5

REFLECTION – “There was only one remedy in the secret of the divine plan that could help the fallen living in the general ruin of the entire human race.   This remedy was, that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest by his example and by his merits.   This was not permitted by natural generation.   There could be no clean offspring from our faulty stock by this seed. The Scripture says, “Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed?   Isn’t it you alone?”   David’s Lord was made David’s Son and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang.   He is one without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one person.   By this one and the same conception and birth, sprung our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true manhood for the endurance of sufferings.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor (Sermon 28)david's lord was made david's son - the two requirements in the gospel - pope francis 18 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION – “Are we in the core group of Christians who embody and live the purest form of the Gospel?   Or do we find ourselves among the masses that acknowledge Jesus, enjoy being Christian but don’t pursue it at any deep level?   The two requirements in the Gospel are that we repent and believe.   If we repent, we do no wrong and speak no lies. If we believe with all our hearts, we follow the Star to the Manger.” Pope Francis Angelus, 22 December 2013

ADVENT ACTION – “Let these last few days, be a time, when we begin the journey to the Christmas core – to the Christ Child.   “Let us make ourselves ready to celebrate Christmas by contemplating Mary and Joseph – Mary, the woman full of grace who had the courage to entrust herself totally to the Word of God;  Joseph, the faithful and just man, who chose to believe the Lord rather than listen to the voices of doubt and human pride.   With them, let us walk together toward Bethlehem.” …  Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 December 2013



of the House of Israel,

who appeared to Moses in the flame

of the burning bush

and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come and redeem us with outstretched arms.o-lord-and-ruler-18-december 2018, 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – A 6th Century Advent Hymn

Our Morning Offering – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December

Catholic Advent Hymn
6th Century
tr. E Caswall (1814-1878)

Hark! a Herald voice is calling;
‘Christ is nigh!’ it seems to say,
‘Cast away the dreams of darkness,
waken, children of the day!’

Startled at the solemn warning,
let the earth-bound soul arise.
Christ her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

Lo!, the Lamb so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heaven.
Let us meet Him with repentance,
pray that we may be forgiven.

So when next He comes with glory,
wrapping all the earth in fear.
May He then as our Defender,
on the clouds of heav’n appear.

Honour, glory, praise and blessing,
to the Father and the Son,
with the everlasting Spirit,
while unending ages run.hark-a-herald-voice-is-calling-6th-cent-hymn-18-dec-2017 and 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 December – Saint Gatian of Tours (c 251- 301)

Saint of the Day – 18 December – Saint Gatian of Tours (c 251- 301) First Bishop of Tours, Missionary – St Gatian was the founding Bishop of the see of Tours.   He was one of the “Seven apostles of Gaul” commissioned by Pope Fabian to evangelise in the region.   St Gatian is also known as Catianus, Gatianus, Gratianus; French: Cassien, Gatien, Gratien. Patronage – Tours, both the City and the gatienus of tours

Pope Fabian sent out seven Bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel – Gatian to Tours, Trophimus to Arles, Paul to Narbonne, Saturnin to Toulouse, Denis to Paris, Austromoine to Clermont and Martial to Limoges.  A community of Christians had already existed for many years in Lyon, where Irenaeus had been bishop.

St Gatien arrived with with St Dionysius of Paris, about the middle of the third century and preached the faith principally at Tours in Gaul, where he fixed his episcopal see.

There were few Christians in Tours at that time and in one of the troubled years of his Episcopate, he is said for a time to have lain concealed in a cave on the banks of the Loire, at a spot where later rose the great Abbey of Marmoutier.   Gratian would go into the city only when opportunities of preaching presented themselves.   He devoted half a century to evangelisation, amid innumerable difficulties but with great success too, for at his death, the diocese of Tours was securely established.

Marmoutier Abbey

In a part of the Empire where Mithraism was a dominating force among the legions, the Abbé Jaud reports that Gatian likewise retreated into a grotto and there celebrated the mystical banquet.   Gatian was often portrayed officiating a ceremony in a cavern-like setting.   Two grottos cut into the limestone hill above the Loire, across from Tours at  Marmoutier Abbey, are designated the first sites where Gatian celebrated the liturgy.

Gatianus established a hospice for the poor outside the walls of Tours.   There he lay, overcome with weariness, after five decades of fasting, penances and toil.   And there, the Sbbé Jaud relates, the Saviour appeared to him, saying, “Fear not!   Thy crown is readied and the Saints await thy arrival in Heaven.”   The date was the 18 December gatien La_Celle-Guenand_Notre-Dame_Vitrail_357.jpg

After his death, the Bishopric of Tours was orphaned for 36 years due to the recent persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. Only his successor St Litorius (337-371) was able to build the first church in Tours. It replaced a memorial to the martyr Mauritius. Bishop St Martin of Tours found the buriel site of St Gatian and had them transferred to this church, from which today’s cathedral was built. Since then it has been called Saint Gatian.

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Today many towns, institutions, schools, an airport and even a golf course bear the name of Saint Gatian.

St Gregory of Nazianzen wrote this poem in St Gatian’s honour and it appears in the Roman Martyrology:

“You dissolved darkness
and gave birth to Light
in order to create all things in Light
and to give consistency, to unstable matter,
by shaping it into the shape of a world.
You have, here below,
introduced the image of splendour from above,
so that by the Light man looks at the Light
and becomes entirely Light.”


Feast of Our Lady of Expectation and Memorials of the Saints – 18 December

Our Lady of the Expectation – This Feast originated in Spain.   When the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) was transferred to 18 December because of the regulation forbidding feasts in Lent, it remained on this date after the Annunciation was again celebrated on its original date.   It impressed on the faithful, the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin as the time of her delivery approached.

More about the Feast here:

St Auxentius of Mopsuetia
St Basilian of Laodicea
St Bodagisil of Aquitaine
St Desiderius of Fontenelle
Bl Eugenio Cernuda Febrero
St Flannán of Killaloe
St Gatian of Tours (c 251-301)
Bl Giulia Valle (1847-1916)
About Blessed Giulia:

St Malachi the Prophet
St Mawnan of Cornwall
Bl Miguel San Román Fernández
St Phaolô Nguyen Van My
St Phêrô Truong Van Ðuong
St Phêrô Vu Van Truat
Bl Philip of Ratzeburg
St Rufus of Philippi
St Samthann of Clonbroney
St Theotimus of Laodicea
St Winebald of Heidenheim
St Zosimus of Philippi

Martyrs of Northwest Africa – 42 saints:
Mercedarian Redeemers – 6 beati – These are a group of Mercedarian friars who worked together, under the leadership of Saint Peter de Amer, to ransom (e.g., redeem) prisoners and minister to them after.

Posted in NOTES to Followers, The WORD

My prayers of thanksgiving for Laurie

I offer today, special Prayers for Laurie
who, in her generosity and love, has
contributed to the upkeep of this site.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise,
give thanks to him and praise his name.”
Psalm 100:4

Dear Laurie,
Holy Mass will be said for your Bishop,
who is ill, (as requested by Laurie)
today, Tuesday 17 December
at 18.00 South African time.

I wish you, dear Laurie, a beautiful Christmas.
May the Infant Christ bless you abundantly.

May God shine His Face upon you, your loved ones and on your Bishop.

“Do not be anxious about anything
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

let us rejoice in the Lord with songs let us praise him - absent today 10 nov 2019.jpg

appeal  - i will praise you lord psalm 9 1-2 - 7 oct 2019.jpg