Thought for the Day – 23 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
What Jesus Wants From Us
“Let us contemplate Jesus lying on a rough pallet of straw in the manger. When we see Him looking at us, let us ask ourselves what it is that He requires of us. In fact, He wants many things from us. First of all, He wants us to weep for our sins and to promise, never to fall again, as long as we have the assistance of His grace, for which we should pray continually. For this, He has become man and has entered into the world. For this He will work miracles, preach His doctrine and shed His Precious Blood on the Cross. All this He will do to redeem us from sin and to win Heaven for us.
If we return to the path of sin, we destroy the divine work of redemption, inasfar as it applies to ourselves. We make Christ’s passion, death and resurrection useless in our case. We brush aside the chain of favours with which His love has girdled us – the Gospel, the Sacraments and the Church, our good mother who is always at our side to instruct and direct us, to rescue us from peril and, to distribute to us, the gifts of her divine Founder. When we sin, we commit an act of base ingratitude to Jesus and accomplish our own eternal ruin.
The Infant Jesus longs for us to give our hearts to Him. Since He has given us His own, why should we be unwilling to give ours to Him? Who or what can we love, if we do not love Jesus? Nothing else is capable of giving us peace of soul and resignation in suffering. Jesus alone can bestow these gifts on us, as long as we love and follow Him and abandon ourselves completely to His Holy Will.”
“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 Church
“If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the Holy, and say, “I need shelter for the night. Please take me into your heart, my time is so close. ”
Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime intimacy, the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever, as she grasps your hand for help; for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yet there, under the dome of your being, does creation come into existence eternally, through your womb, dear pilgrim – the sacred womb of your soul, as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is His beloved servant never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street pregnant with Light and sing…”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Mystical Doctor of the Church
“No-one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need, even of God- for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that Someone. That Someone is God. Emmanuel. God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.”
Advent Reflection – 23 December – O Emmanuel – Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24, Psalms 25:4-5,8-9, 10 and 14, Luke 1:57-66
The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.
“He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64
REFLECTION – [John the Baptist said:] “I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord.” So I cannot be silent, Lord, in Your presence. “I need to be baptised by you and do you come to me?” (Mt 3:3.14). At my birth I took away my mother’s barrenness and while still an infant, I healed my father’s dumbness, for You gave me in childhood, the gift of working miracles. But when You were born of the Virgin Mary, in the way You willed and in a manner known to You alone, You did not take away her virginity but while preserving it intact, You gave her, in addition, the name of “mother.” Her virginity did not hinder Your birth, nor did Your birth destroy her virginity. On the contrary, two opposites, motherhood and virginity, were easily united by You, because the laws of nature have their origin in You. I am a mere man, sharing in the grace of God but You are both God and man because of Your love for humankind (cf. Wis 1:6). ” – Homily attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270) Bishop – Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4
PRAYER O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver Desire of the nations, Saviour of all people, Come and set us free, Lord, our God!
O Come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: 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. Refrain
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. Refrain
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. Refrain
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. Refrain
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. Refrain
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. Refrain
The favourite O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is unknown. It is, however, believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.
Saint of the Day – 23 December – Saint Servulus (Died c 590) Layman, Beggar, paralysed by Palsy from birth, – born in the 6th century in Rome, Italy and died in c 590 of natural causes.
Saint Servulus was a perfect model of submission to the divine Will; it would be difficult to offer a more consoling example to persons afflicted by poverty, illnesses and the other miseries of life. It is Saint Gregory the Great who narrates for us his edifying story:
“We have seen under the portico of the Church of Saint Clement, a poor man named Servulus, who is known to all the people of Rome as to Us. He was deprived of all the goods of this world; a long illness had reduced him to a pitiful state. From his youth he was paralysed in all his members. Not only could he not stand up but, he was unable to rise from his bed; he could neither sit down nor turn himself from one side to the other, nor bring his hand to his mouth. Nothing in him was sound except his eyes, ears, tongue, stomach and entrails.
This unfortunate man, who had learned the mysteries of religion, meditated unceasingly on the sufferings of the Saviour and never did he complain. He was surrounded by the loving care of his mother and brother. Neither the mother nor the children had ever studied, yet the paralytic had pious books bought for himself, in particular the Psalms and the Holy Gospels and he would ask the religious who came to visit him on his cot, to read from them to him. In this way he learned these books by heart; he spent days and part of the nights in singing or reciting them and meditating them and he constantly thanked the Lord for having taken him to be a victim associated with the pains and sufferings of Jesus Christ.
Many alms came to the little house of the paralytic, to such an extent that he became rich in his poverty. After having taken from these what was necessary for his subsistence and that of his mother, he gave the rest to the indigent, who often assembled around him to be edified by his words and his virtues. His bed of pain was a pulpit of preaching, from which he converted souls.
When the time came which was decreed by God to reward his patience and put an end to his painful life, Servulus felt the paralysis spreading to the vital parts of his body and he prepared for death. At the final moment, he asked those in attendance to recite Psalms with him. Suddenly he cried out: “Ah! Don’t you hear that melody resounding in heaven?’” At that moment his soul escaped from his body, which, until his buria,l gave forth a marvellous fragrance.”
St Gregory the Great concludes the account he gives of Servulus, in a sermon to his people, by observing that the behaviour of this poor sick begger loudly condemns those who, when blessed with good health and fortune, neither do good works nor suffer the least cross with tolerable patience. He speaks of him as one who was well known both to himself and his hearers and says, that one of his monks, who was present at his death, used to speak of the fragrant smell which came from the dead beggar’s body. Servulus was a true lover of God, not careful and troubled about his own life but solicitous that God be honoured and all that he could suffer for this end, he looked upon as reward. By his constancy and fidelity, he overcame the world and all bodily afflictions.
St Servulus was buried at Saint Clement’s Church, Rome, the place that had been his habitual place of prayer and veneration and where, so many came to pay their respects to him and learn from his holy and learned words. From the porch of this Church he was called to heaven. His feast is annually celebrated in that Church on the Coelian Hill outside of which he was wont to lay.
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) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/23/saint-of-the-day-23-december-blessed-nicolas-factor-estana-ofm-1520-1583/ St Servulus (Died c 590) Layman 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