Thought for the Day – 22 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Christmas Novena VII Prayer and Dedication
“Men are normally judged by their actions and by the degree of external success which they have achieved. God, however, judges them by their intentions and by their internal dispositions. It is futile and may even be dangerous, to accomplish great thins and to attract the attention and applause of men, unless we have first of all, learned the lesson which the Infant Jesus teaches us in the manger.
In other words, we must be humble and must seek God rather than ourselves, in all our thoughts, desires and actions. If our actions are to be genuinely pleasing to God, however, they must originate in an interior life of dedication to God and of complete harmony with His will. If this is lacking, everything is lacking! Without this interior life of grace and love, we are “as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1) and our actions are valueless in the sight of God.”
Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
THE SEVENTH DAY 22 December Meditation 7: The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt.
The Son of God came from Heaven to save humanity. But no sooner was He born, than they began to persecute Him, even unto death. Herod, afraid that this Infant would take away his kingdom, tried to put the Child to death. So in a dream, an Angel advised Saint Joseph to take Jesus and His Mother to Egypt. Informing Mary, Joseph promptly obeyed. He took along with him the tools of his trade that he had available, to use in providing a livelihood, while in Egypt, for himself and his poor family. For her part, Mary packed a small bag of clothes for the Holy Infant. Then, drawing near the crib with tears, she said to her sleeping Child, “O my Son and my God, Thou hast come down from Heaven to save humanity, yet hardly after Thou art born, they already seek to take away Thy life.”
That very night, still crying, she took the Infant Jesus and she and Joseph set off on their journey.
Think about how much these lonely pilgrims must have suffered, while making such a long journey, deprived of every comfort. The Infant was not yet able to walk, so Mary and Joseph had to take turns carrying him in their arms. During the journey through the desert of Egypt, their only bed at night was the bare earth in the open air. The Infant wept in the cold and Joseph and Mary also wept, out of compassion for Him. Who would not weep, seeing the Son of God, poor and persecuted, wandering about on the earth, so that He would not be killed by His enemies?
Affections and Prayers:
Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly! Well hast Thou reason to weep in seeing Thyself persecuted by men, whom Thou lovest so much. I, too, O God, have once persecuted Thee, by my sins. But Thou knowest that now I love Thee, more than myself and that nothing pains me more, than the thought that I have so often spurned Thee, my Sovereign Good.
Forgive me, O Jesus and let me bear Thee with me, in my heart, on all the rest of the journey which I have still to travel through life, so that, together with Thee, I may enter into eternity. So often have I driven Thee from my soul by my sins. But now, I love Thee above all things and I regret, above other misfortunes, that I have offended Thee. I wish to leave Thee no more, my beloved Lord. But do Thou give me the strength to resist temptations. Never permit me to be separated from Thee again. Let me rather die, than ever again lose Thy good grace.
O Mary, my hope, make me always live in God’s love and then, die in loving Him. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 22 December – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”
“O KING OF ALL NATIONS and keystone of the Church come and save man, whom You formed from the dust!”
“The soul glorifies the Lord, when it consecrates all its inner powers on praising and serving God and when, by its submission to the Divine commands, it proves that it never loses sight of His Power and Majesty. The spirit rejoices in God, its Saviour, when it places all its joy in the remembrance of its Creator, from Whom it hopes for eternal salvation.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Come, O come, for without Thee there will be no happy day or hour because Thou art my happiness and without Thee, my table is empty. I am wretched, as it were, imprisoned and weighted down with fetters, until Thou fill me with the Light of Thy Presence, restore me to liberty and show me a friendly countenance.”
One Minute Reflection – 22 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent – 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Luke 3:1-6 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low and the crooked ways shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth …” – Luke 3:5
REFLECTION –“Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill, shall be made low.” What is meant here by valleys, if not the humble, or by the mountains and hills, if not the proud? At the coming of the Redeemer …, according to His own words: “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but the one who humbles himself, will be exalted,” (Lk 14:11) … By their faith in “the mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, Himself, human” (1 Tim 2:5), those who believe in Him, have received the fullness of grace, whereas those who refuse to believe, have been humbled in their pride. Every valley has been filled in, since humble hearts, by receiving the words of holy doctrine, will be filled by the grace of the virtues, as it is written: “He made springs gush forth in the watercourses that wind among the valleys,” (cf. Ps 104:10).” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Homilies no 20).
PRAYER – O God, Who, by the message of an Angel, willed to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, maybe helped by her intercession with Thee.Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Saint of the Day – 22 December – St Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) Virgin, Religious Sister, Missionary, Founder. Patronages – against malaria, emigrants, immigrants (given on 8 September 1950 by Pope Pius XII) hospital administrators, orphans.
St Frances Xavier Cabrini From the Roman Breviary
Frances Cabrini, who later took the name of Xavier because of her desire to imitate the Apostle of the Indies, was born in the Town of Sant’ Angelo in the Diocese of Lodi in 1850. Her parents were holy and respectable people. Aided by divine grace, she had attained, even as a child, to a very high degree of union with God and was already given to the practice of austerities. When she was seven years old, the custom of listening before evening prayers, to readings from a magazine concerning missionary work in China, filled her with an ardent desire to go there, in order to win souls for God. She was hardly thirteen years old, when she took a vow of perpetual Virginity. From that time, the all-absorbing thought of her soul was how to return love, for love ,to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus bring some consolation to Him, in His sufferings and distress.
After the successful completion of her studies she resolved to embrace the religious life. Twice she applied for admission and each time was refused, on the ground of poor health. She then taught for some years in the public school, with a considerable measure of success. Thereafter, she was appointed by the Bishop of Lodi, as the directress of an orphanage, in which position, she displayed such prudence and zeal, especially in the Christian education of girls that the same Bishop urged her to found a new religious congregation which would principally be devoted, to the missions.
She undertook this difficult assignment with great courage and in 1880, in the Chapel of our Lady of Grace at Codogno, laid the foundation of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She then sought from the Holy See, the approval of the Rules and Constitutions of the new Institute. This having been achieved, she laboured with all zeal, to imbue the new sisterhood with the same spirit of love of God and neighboir ,which she, herself had drawn, in copious draughts ,from the fountain of the Sacred Heart.
The expansion of this new religious family to include sixty-seven foundations in Europe and America, testifies to the extraordinary character and skill of its wise and saintly ruler. She had, moreover ,a mind to establish missions in more remote lands and being in doubt, concerning God’s will in the matter, she followed the advice of Pope Leo XIII and turned to the West.
It was to these western shores of both Americas, that large multitudes of Italians had emigrated, in order to find employment because they were unable to exist in their own land. The condition of the Italian immigrants was then very poor and Frances sought to alleviate it. It was the love of Christ that urged her to take up this work, so wholeheartedly and so courageously. No labour could overcome her, no danger could frighten her. Her intrepid and undaunted spirit braved the rough and dangerous voyages across the ocean, twenty-four times!
She travelled over the length and breadth of America, establishing everywhere, hospitals, schools, houses of rest, nurseries, orphanges and other institutions, in order to promote the material livelihood but above all the spiritual well-being of the working class. By such charitable endeavours, she won the hearts of her fellow-countrymen and so, came to be called the Mother of the Italians.
She exerted every effort to accomplish the work she had in mind and her zeal could brook no delay. Placing her complete confidence in Divine Providence, she took as her motto that saying of Paul: “I can do all things in Him Who strengtheneth me.”
Her heart was consecrated to God by a perpetual union with Him, so that even amid the most absorbing occupations, her mind never lost track of heavenly things. All she met with, on her various journeys, were like so many stepping-stones, by which her soul ascended to God.
She had the greatest veneration for the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See and saw in the laws of the Church, norms of conduct that give one the greatest sense of security. She cultivated a childlike love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and often used to say, that Mary was the Mother and Foundress of her Institute.
Finally her life, extraordinary by reason of its integrity and labours for God, came to an end at Chicago, on 22 December 1917. Later her body was translated to New York. She was solemnly Beatified by Pope Pius XI, whereas Pope Pius XII, after new miracles were performed, solemnly added her name to the list of holy Virgins.
“Inspired by the grace of God, we join the Saints in honouring the holy Virgin Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was a humble woman who became outstanding, not because she was famous or rich or powerful but because, she lived a virtuous life. From the tender years of her youth, she kept her innocence as white as a lily and preserved it carefully, with the thorns of penitence. As the years progressed, she was moved by a certain instinct and supernatural zeal, to dedicate her whole life to the service and greater glory of God. She welcomed delinquent youths into safe homes and taught them to live upright and holy lives. She consoled those who were in prison and recalled to them, the hope of eternal life. She encouraged prisoners to reform themselves and to live honest lives. She comforted the sick and the infirm in the hospitals and diligently cared for them. She extended a friendly and helping hand especially to immigrants and offered them necessary shelter and relief, for having left their homeland behind, they were wandering about in a foreign land with no place to turn for help. Because of their condition, she saw that they were in danger of deserting the practice of Christian virtues and their Catholic faith. Undoubtedly she accomplished all this through the faith which was always so vibrant and alive in her heart, through the divine love which burned within her and finally, through constant prayer, by which she was so closely united with God, from Whom she humbly asked and obtained, whatever her human weakness could not obtain. Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond her strength.”– From his sermon at the Canonisation of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini by Pope Pius XII.
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.
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