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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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The SECOND COMING

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

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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

PRAYER

O ROOT OF JESSE,
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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

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

PRAYER 

O LORD AND RULER

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The INCARNATION, The LAMB of GOD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 17 December – The Mystery of our Reconciliation with God

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 17 December – Readings: Genesis 49:2, 8-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17, Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham. … Matthew 1:1

The Mystery of our Reconciliation with God

Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Bishop of Rome, Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Letter 31

To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man, is of no value to us if we do not believe, that He is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.   Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces His human descent by bringing His ancestral line down to His mother’s spouse, Joseph.   On the other hand, Luke traces His parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.

No doubt, the Son of God in His omnipotence, could have taught and sanctified men, by appearing to them in a semblance of human form, as He did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance He engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when He accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before Him.   But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold, the coming of One, who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs, who had gone before Him.

No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity.   The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh.   The divine nature and the nature of a servant, were to be united in one person, so that the Creator of time, might be born in time and He, through whom all things were made, might be brought forth in their midst.the divine nature and the nature of a servant - st pope leo the great 17 dec 2019.jpg

For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, had taken on Himself, the nature of our first parents, unless He had stooped to be one in substance with His mother, while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to His, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan.

The Conqueror’s victory, would have profited us nothing, if the battle had been fought outside our human condition.   But through this wonderful blending, the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth, we too might be born again in a spiritual birth and, in consequence, the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

“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)
Father & Doctor of the Church

 

mans maker was made man - st augustine - 17 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS

Advent Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom ……. –

Advent Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom ……. – Readings: Genesis 49:2, 8-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17, Matthew 1:1-17O WISDOM - you came forth from the mouth of the most high - 17 dec 2019

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

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. … Matthew 1:1

REFLECTION – “The Incarnation of the Word only contributed to the doing of those things that were done and the mystery of humankind’s salvation was never, even in the remotest age, at a standstill.   What the propehts foretold, the apostles announced, nor were those things fulfilled too late, which had always been believed.   But the wisdom and goodness of God, made us all the more receptive of His call…  as the foretelling of it had been ancient and oft-repeated.

And so it was no new counsel, no tardy pity whereby God took thought for us but from the foundation of the world He ordained one and the same cause of Salvation for all.   For the grace of God, by which the whole body of the saints is continually made righteous, was increased, not initiated, when Christ was born.   And this mystery of God’s great love, with which the whole world is now filled, was so effectively pre-signified, that those who believed the promise, obtained no less, than those who were the actual recipients.

And so, dearly beloved, since that loving-kindness is now manifest with which all the wealth of divine goodness has been showered on us, whose call to eternal life has been promoted, not only by the supportive example of those who went before us but by the visible and bodily appearance of Truth itself, we are bound to keep the day of our Lord’s nativity with a joy beyond this world…   By the illumination of the Holy Spirit consider who it was who received us into Himself and whom we have received, since as the Lord Jesus became our flesh by being born, so we also became His body by being re-born…  For God suggested to us the standard of His own gentleness and humility…  Let us imitate His humility, then, to whose glory we would wish to be conformed.   He Himself will help us and lead us to what He has promised.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church – 3rd sermon on the Feast of the Nativity, 4-5he himself will help us and lead us to what he has promised - st pope leo the great 17 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION – “Hope marks humanity’s journey but for Christians, it is enlivened by a certainty, the Lord is present in the passage of our lives.   He accompanies us and will one day also dry our tears.   One day, not far off, everything will find its fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace.” … Pope Benedict XVI 2 December 2009

ADVENT ACTION – Let us share the good news, the hope of the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER – O WISDOM

You came forth from the mouth of the Most High
and reaching from beginning to end,
You ordered all things mightily and sweetly.
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israelrejoice rejoice emmanuel shall come to thee o israel-19-dec-2017.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD is LOVE, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, The HOLY SPIRIT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 16 December – ‘He Loved us First’

Thought for the Day – 16 December – Monday of the Third Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17, Psalm 25:4-9, Matthew 21:23-27

“By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” … Matthew 21:23

He Loved us First

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)
Abbot

An excerpt from his On the Contemplation of God

Truly You alone are the Lord.   Your dominion is our salvation, for to serve You, is nothing else but to be saved by You!   O Lord, salvation is Your gift and Your blessing is upon Your people, what else is Your salvation but receiving from You the gift of loving You or being loved by You?   That, Lord, is why You willed, that the Son at Your right hand, the man whom You made strong for Yourself, should be called Jesus, that is to say, Saviour, for He will save His people from their sins and, there is no other, in whom there is salvation.   He taught us to love Him by first loving us, even to death on the cross.   By loving us and holding us so dear, He stirred us to love Him who had first loved us to the end.

And this is clearly the reason – You first loved us so that we might love You—not because You needed our love but because, we could not be what You created us to be, except by loving You.

In many ways and on various occasions You spoke to our fathers through the prophets. Now in these last days You have spoken to us in the Son, Your Word, by Him the heavens were established and all their powers came to be, by the breath of His mouth.

For You to speak thus in Your Son, was to bring out, in the light of day, how much and in what way You loved us, for You did not spare Your own Son but delivered Him up for us all.   He also loved us and gave himself up for us.

This, Lord, is Your Word to us, this is Your all-powerful message – while all things were in midnight silence (that is, were in the depths of error), He came from His royal throne, the stern Conqueror of error and the gentle Apostle of love.   Everything He did and everything He said on earth, even enduring the insults, the spitting, the buffeting—the cross and the grave—all of this, was actually You speaking to us in Your Son, appealing to us by Your love and stirring up our love for You.he came from his royal throne - william of saint thierry 16 dec 2019.jpg

You know that this disposition could not be forced on men’s hearts, my God, since You created them, it must rather be elicited.   And this, for the further reason, that there is no freedom, where there is compulsion and where freedom is lacking, so too is Righteousness.

You wanted us to love You, then, we, who could not with justice have been saved, had we not loved You, nor could we have loved You except by Your gift.   So, Lord, as the Apostle of Your Love tells us and, as we have already said, You first loved us – You are first to love all those who love You.

Thus we hold You dear by the affection You have implanted in us.   You are the one supremely good and ultimate goodness.   Your love is Your goodness, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son!   From the beginning of creation it was He who hovered over the waters—that is, over the wavering minds of men, offering Himself to all, drawing all things to Himself.   By His inspiration and holy breath, by keeping us from harm and providing for our needs, He unites God to us and us to God.your love is your goodness the holy spirit - william of theirry 16 dec 2019.jpg

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148), was a twelfth century French Benedictine Abbot of Saint-Thierry, theologian and mystic who became a Cistercian monk and writer.
William wrote throughout all of his abbatial career as a Benedictine and his final years as a Cistercian monk.   His earliest works reflect a monk seeking God continually and investigating, the various and best ways of furthering the soul’s ascent to God in spiritual union, William’s ultimate goal.   When read chronologically, one can discern the development and evolution of William’s thought.
Besides his letters to St Bernard and others, William wrote several works – there were twenty two works by William (twenty one extant), all written in Latin between c 1121 and 1148.
William’s writings were widely read in the later Middle Ages.   However, they were frequently attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux – a sign of their quality and also another reason for their continued popularity.   Only in the early twentieth century, did interest in William as a distinct writer, begin to develop again and was his name correctly attached to all of his own writings.

“At this Christmas, when Christ comes,
will He find a warm heart?
Mark the season of Advent,
by loving and serving others,
with God’s own love and concern.”

St Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
(Love-A Fruit Always in Season)

at this christmas, when he comes - st mother teresa 16 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday – “Rejoice in the Lord always”

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

“Gaudete in Domino semper”

“Rejoice in the Lord always”

Philippians 4:4philippians 4 4 rejoice in the lord always gaudete in domine semper 15 dec 2019 gaudete sunday.jpg

Rejoice, O star that goes before the Sun.
Rejoice, O womb of the Incarnate God.
Rejoice, for through you, all creation is renewed,
Rejoice, for through you, the Creator became a baby.
Rejoice, O Virgin and Bride!

Akathist Hymn to Mary (c Fifth Century)rejoice o star that goes before the sun - akathis hymn to mary gaudete sunday 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Open wide your door to the One who comes.
Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart
to see the riches of simplicity,
the treasures of peace,
the sweetness of grace.
Open your heart and run to meet
the Sun of eternal light
that illuminates all men.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father and Doctor of the Churchopen wide your door to the one who comes - st ambrose 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Awake, you who lie in the dust,
awake and give praise.
Behold, the Lord comes with salvation.
He comes with salvation,
He comes with unction,
He comes with glory.
Jesus cannot come without salvation,
Christ cannot come without unction,
nor the Son of God without glory.
For He Himself is salvation,
He is unction,
He is glory,
as it is written,
‘A wise son is the glory of his father.'”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Doctor of the Churchawake you who lie in the dust, ....he who is to come - st bernard - gaudete sunday 15 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday – The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.

Advent Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday – Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10, Psalm 146:6-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.gaudete-sunday-17-dec-2018-REJOICE and 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Are you he who is to come…” … Matthew 11:3

REFLECTION – “It is part of the Baptist’s approaching witness-to-death, that, even in prison, he must put up with the darkness God has given him.   He had expected a mighty One who would baptise with Spirit and fire.   And now there appears in the Gospel, this gentle One, who “will not quench a smouldering wick” (Is 42:3).   Jesus calms John’s disquie, by showing him that the prophecy is being fulfilled in Himself, in gentle miracles that still call for trusting faith:  “Blessed is the man who finds no stumblimg block in me.” Perhaps the darkness that burdens John as a witness to Christ, is the very reason why Jesus praises him to the crowd – he really is what he understood himself to be – the messenger sent in advance of Jesus to prepare the way.   John referred to himself as a mere voice in the wilderness, ringing out the marvel of the coming One.
The least among those belonging to the coming Kingdom is greater than John, who assessed himself as belong to the Old Covenant, yet, as “friend of the Bridegroom” he is showered with the light of new grace, as he humbly makes way for Christ.
On icons, he joins Mary the Mother, who also comes from the Old Covenant, yet steps across into the New Covenant, the two of them at the right and left hand, of the world’s Judge!” … Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) Theologian

MEDIATION – “I speak out in order to lead Him into your hearts but He does not choose to come where I lead Him, unless you prepare the way for Him.”
To prepare the way means to pray well – it means thinking humbly of oneself.   We should take our lesson from John the Baptist.   He is thought to be the Christ, he declares he is not what they think.   He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the ChurchI-speak-out-in-order-to-lead-Him-st-augustine-16-dec-2018 and 15 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – We begin this third week of Advent asking to feel the joy that comes from knowing our Lord’s coming to us is near.
In these precious days ahead, we are praying, longing, hoping in the background of our everyday lives.
His mission is to the poor, the brokenhearted, prisoners and captives.   His mission is for us.   It is “good news,” full of healing, liberty and release.   We can smile today as we imagine the freedom He has won for us and how liberating it will be to live it, with Him, for others.
It is right to give our God thanks and praise and to follow His mission in our lives.
Jesus will come again, very soon!ero-cras-tomororow-i-will-come-17-dec-2017 and 15 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER – O infinite God and only love of my soul,
I thank You, for having given me Your Son.
For the sake of this same Son,
accept me and bind me with chains of love
to my Redeemer. Amen … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – To purify like for like

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Church

the-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017.and 15 dec 2019 gaudete sun reflecjpg.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, C S LEWIS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD is LOVE, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 10 December – Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s.

Advent Reflection – 10 December – Tuesday of the Second Week in Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 96:1-3, 10-13, Matthew 18:12-14

Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.

“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” … Matthew 18:14

REFLECTION – “You brought me forth, O Lord, from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb (Ps 138:13).   You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey Your commands.   By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, You prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it, or flesh desired it (Jn 1:13) but by Your ineffable grace.   The birth You prepared for me was such, that it surpassed the laws of our nature.   You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as Your son (Gal 4:5) and You enrolled me among the children of Your holy and spotless Church.

You nursed me with the spiritual milk of Your divine utterances.   You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son and our God and You let me drink from the chalice of His life-giving blood, poured out to save the whole world.

You loved us, O Lord and gave up Your only-begotten Son for our redemption.   And He undertook the task, willingly and did not shrink away from it. (…)   Thus You humbled Yourself, Christ my God, so that You might carry me, Your stray sheep, on Your shoulders. You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of orthodox teaching at the hands of Your shepherds.   You pastured those shepherds and now, they in turn, tend Your chosen and special flock.” … St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father & Doctor of the Churchmatthew 18 14 thus it is not the will of my father - st john damascene - thus you humbled yourself christ my god 10 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION – The mould in which a key is made, would be a strange thing if you had never seen a key and the key itself a strange thing, if you had never seen a lock.   Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling the in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.   For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved but you – you, individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith.   Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s.   All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction!” … C S Lewis (1898-1963)

ADVENT ACTION – Will I run halfway to meet Him?   Will I seek to at least repair what I can before He reaches me?   Are we in trouble, lost, confused and overwhelmed?   Tell Jesus!   He fulfils His promise to rescue us.

PRAYER – Thank You, my Lord, for looking for me.
Thank You, my Lord, for finding me.
Thank You, my Lord, for telling me
“it is never the will of my Father,
that one of these little ones should perish.”
This explains why
You assumed our human nature
and suffered so much for us.
Thank You, my Lord,
for Your reckless love.
Thank You, my Lord,
for saving me!
AmenTUESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT - 10 DEC 2019 psalm 96 13 the cord comes.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, The WORD

Advent Reflection – – 8 December – The Second Sunday of Advent – “My Father and I will come to him and make our dwelling within him”

Advent Reflection – – 8 December – The Second Sunday of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17, Romans 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-12

Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” … Matthew 3:2

REFLECTION – “John the Baptist said:  “Every valley shall be filled” (Lk 3:5) but it was not John who filled every valley, it was our Lord and Saviour… “And the winding roads shall be made straight.”   Every one of us was going astray… and it was Christ’s coming, fulfilled within our very souls, that straightened all that was crooked…  Nothing was so resistant as you were.   Consider your former unruly desires, your fits of anger and other evil tendencies, as to whether they have disappeared.   You will realise that nothing was so resistant as you were, or, in an even more expressive phrase, that nothing was brought so low as you were.   Your behaviour was low, your words and deeds were low.

But my Lord Jesus came – He smoothed down your roughness, He changed all that muddle into roads that joined up to create a way without obstacles within you, well articulated and swept clean, so that God our Father could walk in you and Christ the Lord could make His home in you and say:  “My Father and I will come to him and make our dwelling within him” (Jn 14:23).” … Origen (c 185-253)my father and i will come to him and make our dwellin within him - john 14 23 - 8 dec 2019 2nd sun advent.jpg

MEDITATION – ” … The good news that Jesus brings us — and that John predicts — is that we do not need to wait for the kingdom of God in the future – it is at hand.   In some way it is already present and we may experience spiritual power from now on.   “The kingdom of God is in your midst!”  Jesus will say.   God comes to establish His lordship in our history, today, everyday, in our life and there — where it is welcomed with faith and humility — love, joy and peace blossom.” … Pope Francis (ANGELUS, 4 December 2016)

ADVENT ACTION – May we open the doors of our hearts, where the Lord dwells and share His hospitality with those in need, wherever we find them!

PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people, who come to You in confidence.   Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You.   Give courage to those who falter because of their failures.   In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in hope, by the power of Your Holy Spirit.   May they we share Your saving acts of kindness today and one day proclaim them in your eternal kingdom.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.the second sunday of advent - 8 dec 2019 .jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, QUOTES on WORRY/ANXIETY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 6 December – Faith and Hope

Quote/s of the Day – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Matthew 9:27-31

“According to your faith be it done to you.”

Matthew 9:30

matthew 9 30 according to your faith - healing the blind man 6 dec 2019

“Faith lifts the soul.
Hope supports it.
Experience says it must.
And Love says let it be!”

St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)faith lifts the soul hope supports it experience says - st elizabeth ann seton 6 dec 2019.jpg

“Pray, hope and don’t worry.”

St Pius of Pietrelcina/Padre Pio (1887-1968)

pray hope and dont worry - st padre pio 6 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – He comes into our world

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“If we would please this Divine Infant,
we too must become children,
simple and humble.
We must carry to Him, flowers of virtue,
of meekness, of mortification, of charity.
We must clasp Him in the arms of our love.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchif we would please this divine infant - st alphonsus liguori 5 dec 2019.jpg

“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”

Thomas Merton (1915-1968into this world this demented inn - thomas merton - 15 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on MISSION, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 3 December – Woe to Me if I do not Preach the Gospel

Thought for the Day – 3 December – Tuesday of the First week of Advent, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)

Woe to Me if I do not Preach the Gospel

Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
Priest and Missionary

An excerpt from Letters to Saint Ignatius

“We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago.   No Portuguese live here—the country is so utterly barren and poor.   The native Christians have no priests.   They know only that they are Christians.   There is nobody to say Mass for them, nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.

I have not stopped since the day I arrived.   I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages.   I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptised. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left.   The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand – the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

I could not refuse so devout a request, without failing in devotion myself.   I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary.   I noticed among them persons of great intelligence.   If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt, that they would make excellent Christians.

Many, many people hereabouts, are not becoming Christians for one reason only – there is nobody to make them Christians.   Again and again, I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity – “What a tragedy, how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”what a tragedy how many souls - st francis xavier - 3 dec 2019.jpg

I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books and so settle their account with God, for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them.   They would forget their own desires, their human affairs and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and His choice.   They would cry out with all their heart – Lord, I am here!   What do you want me to do?   Send me anywhere you like—even to India.”

How can we too fail!

It is Advent. All our answers remain fragmentary.
The first thing we have to accept is, ever and again,
the reality of an enduring Advent.
If we do that, we shall begin to realise
that the borderline between “before Christ” and “after Christ”
does not run through historical time, in an outward sense
and cannot be drawn on any map,
it runs through our own hearts.
Insofar, as we are living on a basis of selfishness, of egoism,
then even today, we are “before Christ.”
But in this time of Advent, let us ask the Lord to grant
that we may live less and less “before Christ”
and certainly not “after Christ”
but truly “with Christ and in Christ” –
with Him who is indeed Christ yesterday, today and forever.

Joseph Ratzinger (1964)
aka Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIit is advent - all our answers remain - joseph ratzinger - pope benedict 3 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 13 December – The Season of Advent by St Charles Borromeo

Thought for the Day – 13 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A

The Season of Advent

Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)
Bishop of Milan

An excerpt from A Pastoral Letter

Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation – the great season of Advent.   This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see.   This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity.   We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father, for the mercy and love He has shown us in this mystery.   In His infinite love for us, though we were sinners, He sent His only Son, to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of His grace and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Each year, as the Church recalls this mystery, she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us.   This holy season teaches us, that Christ’s Coming was not only for the benefit of His contemporaries, His power has still to be communicated to us all.   We shall share His power, if, through holy faith and the sacraments, we willingly accept the grace Christ earned for us and live by that grace and in obedience to Christ.st cahrles borromeao - the season of advent - 2 dec 2019 -in his infinite love for us CORRECT.jpg

The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again.   When we remove all obstacles to His presence He will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with Him the riches of His grace.

In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit.   She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing and, how to gain its benefit, our hearts should be as much prepared for the Coming of Christ as if He were still to come into this world.   The same lesson, is given us for our imitation, by the words and example, of the holy men of the Old Testament.

Almighty and merciful God,
let neither, our daily work, nor the cares of this life,
prevent us from hastening to meet Your Son.
Enlighten us with Your wisdom
and lead us into His Company.
We make our prayer,
through Christ, our Lord,
with the Holy Spirit,
God forever, amen.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!come o come emmanuel - 16 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote of the Day – 2 December – ‘He it is who comes …’

Quote of the Day – 2 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Churchthe-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017 and 2 dec 2019 quote of the day.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, ONE Minute REFLECTION, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, The WORD, VATICAN II - Documents

Advent Reflection – 13 December – How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God? 

Advent Reflection – 13 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 4:2-6, Psalm 122:1-9, Matthew 8:5-11

“Amen, I say to you, in no-one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.” 

Matthew 8:10-11

Vatican Council II – “Gaudium et Spes” #45
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World

“While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention – that God’s kingdom may come and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass.   For every benefit, which the People of God, during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family, stems from the fact, that the Church is “the universal sacrament of salvation”, (Lumen Gentium), simultaneously manifesting and actualising the mystery of God’s love.

For God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh, so that, as perfect man, He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself.   The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilisation, the centre of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings.   He it is, Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead.   Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love:  “To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Eph. 1:10).

The Lord Himself speaks:   “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works.   I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” (Rv 22:12-13).”matthew 8 10-11 amen i say to you in no-one in israel - centurion - for gods words - gaudium et spes no 45 2 dec 2019.jpg

Reflections
Christ is the ultimate centre of meaning in the universe.   It is through Christ that all people will be led to the Father.   How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God?   Only when men and women are working to achieve the unity that Christ’s redemption promises us.

“The Lord always goes beyond, goes first.   We take one step and He takes ten.   Always.   The abundance of grace, of His love, of His tenderness that never tires of seeking us.   Even, at times, with small things – we think that encountering the Lord would be something magnificent, like that man of Syria, Naaman, who was a leper [did].   And it’s not simple… And he too had a great surprise at God’s way of acting.
And our God is the God of surprises, the God that is seeking us, is awaiting us and asks of us only the little step of good will.”

Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 28 November 2016monday firsdt week advent 2 dec 2019 the lord always goes first - pope francis.jpg

Advent Action
Perform an act of kindness for someone you do not know.

Our Lives Multiply by Giving Them Away
Fr Henri Nouwen

“The fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognise it and live it, as the life of the Beloved, is beyond anything we can imagine.   One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe that the few years we live on this earth are like a little seed planted in very rich soil.   For this seed to bear fruit, it must die.   We often see, or feel, only the dying but, the harvest will be abundant, even when we ourselves are the harvesters.
How different would our life be, were we truly able to trust, that it multiplied in being given away?
How different would our life be, if we could believe, that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every little bit of joy and peace, will multiply and multiply, as long as there are people to receive it … and that – even then – there will be left-overs!”

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Devotion for December The Immaculate Conception

Devotion for December
The Immaculate Conceptiondecember-month-of-the-imm-conception-1-dec-2018 and 1 dec 2019.jpg

During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church.   The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December-moved to 8 December in 2019) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption.

In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God.   The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as “without stain” (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary), in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: “immaculate.”

The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it.   Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.

It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world, as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.

The star of Mary Immaculate shines down on the path of Advent….

What person is more luminous than Mary?

Who can be for us, better than her, the star of hope,

the sunrise that proclaims the day of salvation?

Pope Benedict XVI

Holy light on earth’s horizon,
Star of hope to those who fall,
Light amid a world of shadows,
Dawn of God’s design for all.mary immaculate conception december devotion - holy light on earth's horizon 1 dec 2019.jpg

Mary, Virgin of Advent, may we always walk with you in the light of the Lord, Jesus, the fruit of your womb!    Amenthe star of mary immaculate shines down on the path of advent - pope benedict - dec month of the imm conception 1 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT, ADVENT QUOTES, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The CHRIST CHILD

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us.

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us

This year, as before, I will post daily Advent Reflections drawn from diverse Saints and Holy people – please join me in prayer and in awakening our souls to hope.

advent reflections - o come o come emmnuel - begins 1 dec - posted 28 nov 2019.jpg

Memory Awakens Hope

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI)

In one of his Christmas stories Charles Dickens tells of a man who lost his emotional memory, that is, he lost the whole chain of feelings and thoughts he had acquired in the encounter with human suffering.   This extinction of the memory of love is presented to him as liberation from the burden of the past but it becomes clear, immediately, that the whole person has been changed, now, when he meets with suffering, no memories of kindness are stirred within him…   Since his memory has dried up, the source of kindness within him has also disappeared.   He has become cold and spreads coldness around him.

Goethe deals with the same ideas as Dickens, in his account of the first celebration of the feast of Saint Roch in Bingen, after the long interruption caused by the Napoleonic wars. He observes the people as they press, tightly packed, through the church past the image of the saint and he watches their faces – the faces of the children and the adults are shining, mirroring the joy of the festal day.   But with the young people, Goethe reports, it was otherwise.   They went past unmoved, indifferent, bored.   And he gives an illuminating explanation – they were born in evil times, had nothing good to remember and consequently had nothing to hope for. In other words, it is only the person who has memories who can hope.   The person who has never experienced goodness and kindness simply does not know what such things are.

Recently a counsellor who spends much of his time talking with people on the verge of despair, was speaking in similar terms about his own work, if his client succeeds in recalling a memory of some good experience, he may once again be able to believe in goodness and thus relearn hope, then there is a way out of despair.   Memory and hope are inseparable.   To poison the past does not give hope, it destroys its emotional foundations.

Sometimes Charles Dickens’ story strikes me as a vision of contemporary experience. This man who let himself be robbed of the heart’s memory by the delusion of a false liberation — do we not find him with us today, in a generation whose past has been poisoned by a particular program of liberation that has stifled hope?   When we read of the pessimism with which our young people look toward the future, we ask ourselves, Why?   Is it that, in the midst of material affluence, they have no memory of human goodness that would allow them to hope?   By outlawing the emotions, by satirising joy, have we not trampled on the root of hope?

These reflections bring us straight to the significance of the Christian season of Advent. For Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man.   Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God Who became a Child.   This is a healing memory, it brings hope.   The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.   All the feasts in the Church’s calendar are events of remembrance and hence events of hope.   These events, of such great significance for mankind, which are preserved and opened up by faith’s calendar, are intended to become personal memories of our own life history, through the celebration of holy seasons by means of liturgy and custom.   Our personal memories are nourished by mankind’s great memories, in turn, it is only by translating them into personal term,s that these great memories are kept alive.   Man’s ability to believe always depends in part on faith having become dear on the path of life, on the humanity of God having manifested itself through the humanity of men.   No doubt each of us could tell his own story here as to what the various memories of Christmas, Easter or other festivals mean in his life.

It is the beautiful task of Advent, to awaken in all of us, memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

“Those who run
toward the Lord,
will never lack space…
One who is climbing
never stops,
he moves from
beginning to beginning,
according to beginnings,
that never end.”

St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395)
Brother of St Basil the Greatadvent - those who run toward the Lord - st gregory of Nyssa 28 nov 2019