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 REFLECTIONS, C S LEWIS, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 7 December – ‘He had compassion for them…’

Advent Reflection – 7 December – Saturday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26, Psalm 147:1-6, Matthew 9:35–10:1, 5-8

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

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. … Matthew 9:36matthew 9 36 when he saw the crowds he had compassion 7 dec 2019

REFLECTION – “A person is counselled to his face, so to speak, when he is created for righteousness and receives the precepts of rectitude.   When he despises these precepts, it is as if he is turning his back to his Creator’s face.   But He still follows behind us and counsels us, that we have despised Him but He still does not cease to call us.   We turn our backs on His face, so to speak, when we reject His words, when we trample His commandments underfoot but He who sees that we reject Him, still calls out to us by His commandments and waits for us by His patience, stands behind us and calls us back when we have turned away.” … St Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church – Forty Gospel Homilies, 34

MEDITATION – “The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.   It is not wearied by our sins or our indifference and, therefore, it is quite relentless in it’s determination, that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” … Prof C S Lewis (1898-1963)

ADVENT ACTION – Freely you have received, freely give – forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.   Let us offer our hand to those who hurt us.

PRAYER – Lord, to free man from his sinful state, You sent Your only Son into this world. Grant to us, who in faith and love, wait for His coming, Your gift of grace and the reward of true freedom.    Be born in us O Lord!    We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.he still follows behind us and counsels us - st gregory the great - sat of the first week of advent be born in us o lord 7 dec 2019

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, The WORD

Advent Reflection – – 6 December – “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

Advent Reflection – – 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

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

When he entered the house, the blind men came to him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”   And their eyes were opened.

Matthew 9:28-30

REFLECTION – “We too have been “illuminated” by Christ in Baptism and thus  we are called to behave as children of the light.   Acting as children of the light requires a radical change of mind-set, a capacity to judge men and things according to another scale of values, which comes from God.   The Sacrament of Baptism, in fact, requires the choice of living as children of the light and walking in the light.

MEDITIATION – If I were to ask you:  “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?   Do you believe that He can change your heart?   Do you believe that He can show reality as He sees it, not as we see it?   Do you believe that He is light, that He gives us the true light?”   How would you answer?   Each of you, respond in your heart.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 March 2017matthew 9 28 - 30 do you believe - pope francis 6 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – Faith engenders hope, which is a future-oriented virtue.   It acknowledges that there is a future awaiting us that is much, much better than the present.   The virtue of hope, with its orientation to the future, enables us to handle present distresses and struggles in a positive way.
Pope Benedict reminds us in Spe Salvi that this perspective. does not mean for one moment. that we live only for the future (4).   People in hope are building up the kingdom on earth but, they are also on pilgrimage, to that eternal kingdom, God has in store for those who follow Him.

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 faith and hope, by the power of your Holy Spirit.   May they proclaim Your saving acts of kindness here on earth and one day, in Your eternal kingdom.    Amen.friday of the first week of advent - 6 december 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 5 December – God is man’s glory. 

Thought for the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-202) on the Incarnation, the Word of God born for us as Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, the sign of our salvation.   He comes to restore God’s likeness in us and lead us to glory.

God is man’s glory.   Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in His conduct with men.   That is Paul’s reason for saying:  God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that He may have mercy on all.   He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God and cast off from immortality and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in His power and if man perseveres in God’s love and in obedience and gratitude to Him, he will receive greater glory from Him.   It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the One who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned.   He wanted to invite man to take on His likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father, that would lead to the vision of God and endowing man with power to receive the Father.   He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man, to open the way for man, to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.he-is-the-word-of-god-st-irenaeus-19-dec-2017 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

For this reason the Lord Himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel.   It was the Lord Himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved.   For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man and says:  I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God.   Again, he says: I am a wretched man, who will free me from this body doomed to die?  Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same – Hands that are feeble, grow strong!   Knees that are weak, take courage!   Hearts that are faint, grow strong!   Fear not, see, our God is judgement and He will repay.   He himself will come and save us.   He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.

This excerpt from St Irenaeus’ monumental work, Against Heresies (Lib 3,20, 2-3; SC 34, 342-344) speaks of the incarnation, the birth of the Word of God as Son of Man, as the sign of our salvation.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Advent.   It was originally written around 185 AD.

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come!maranatha come lord jesus come - 5 dec 2019.jpg

 

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Advent Reflection – 5 December – ‘He became small because you were small…’

Advent Reflection – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27, Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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

A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace, in peace for its trust in You.   Trust in the Lord forever!   For the Lord is an eternal Rock. … Isaiah 26: 3-4

REFLECTION – “The psalmist says: “The Lord is great and worthy of praise” (96[95]:4). Who is this ‘Lord’ if not Jesus Christ, great and worthy of praise?   You surely know He appeared as man, you know, too, that He was conceived in the womb of a woman, that He was born of that womb, nourished, cradled in her arms, circumcised, that an offering was made for Him (Lk 2:24) and that He grew up.

You also know that He was struck, covered with spittle, crowned with thorns, crucified, and that He died, pierced by a lance.   You know well that He suffered all those things. Yes, “he is great and worthy of praise”.   Guard yourselves from despising His littleness – understand His greatness.   He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him.   This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised.   The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…

What can poor, human language say in praise of Him who is so great?   In saying “very” great it is trying to express what it feels and believes… but, it is as if it were saying:  “Try to grasp in thought what I am unable to express in words and yet, you must know, that whatever you may have grasped is only a fragment.”   For how can any language translate something that surpasses all thought?   “Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise!”   May He be praised, then, may He be preached, may His glory be proclaimed and His dwelling place erected.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchthursday of the first week of advent 5 dec 2019 isaiah 26 3-4 - st augustine he became small.jpg

Meditation:
We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace.
The readings today present God offering us a gate, a passageway into God’s will.   For Isaiah, the gateway to God, consists in being just and keeping the faith.   Jesus says, it is the person who hears God’s word and puts those words into practice.
Throughout these weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the Scriptures for our liturgies tell us again and again, to turn to God, to build our house on the rock of Jesus.   Only there we will find peace.

Advent Action:
Call someone who is lost.   A friend, who hears not the word of God.   Perhaps your words of faith might be a light in their darkness.

Prayer:
We thank You, Lord, for all that we have received.   Move us to give of our plenty to those who have little.   Lord, open the gate of my heart.   Let Your words be a light that will lead me to follow Your will and thus lead others to You.   Amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 4 December – “And He healed them…”

Advent Reflection – 4 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalm 23, Matthew 15:29-37

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

“And great multitudes came unto him,
having with them those that were lame,
blind, dumb, maimed and many others
and cast them down at Jesus’ feet
and he healed them…”

Matthew 15:30

REFLECTION – “To this assembly have come not only the disciples, as if they were leaving behind the multitudes, as they did in the case of the Beatitudes.   Rather, there are great crowds here, many of whom are deaf or suffer from many afflictions.   Look at the crowds who come to this mountain where the Son of God sits.   Some of them have become deaf to the things that have been promised.   Others have become blind in soul, not looking toward the true light.   Others are lame and not able to walk according to reason.   Others are maimed and unable to work profitably.   Each of these who are suffering in soul from such things go up along with the multitudes into the mountain where Jesus sits.

Some who do not draw near to the feet of Jesus are not healed.   But those who are brought by the multitude and cast at His feet are being healed.   Even those who come only to the edges, just the extremities of the body of Christ, who feel themselves unworthy to obtain such things, are being healed  . So now you come into the congregation of what is more commonly called the Church.   See the catechumens?   They are, as it were, cast in the far side or back of those who are the extreme end of the body, as if they were coming merely to the feet of the body of Jesus—the Church.   They are coming to it with their own deafness and blindness and lameness and crookedness. In time they will be cured according to the Word.   Observing this, you would not be wrong in saying, that these people have gone up with the multitudes into the church, up to the mountain where Jesus sits and have been cast at His feet and are being healed.   And so the multitudes are astonished at beholding the transformations that are taking place. They behold those who are being converted from such great evils to that which is so much better.” Origen (c 185-253) Father of the Church – Commentary on Matthew, 11wednesday of the first week of advent - 4 dec 2019 matthew 15 30.jpg

Meditation:
If ever there is a time to believe in miracles, Advent season is that time!   We hear of the miracle of Mary’s conception, the miracle of Jesus’ birth in a barn, the miracle of the star in the night sky leading the wise men, the feeding of the multitudes and their healings.   A Saint, whose feast is celebrated during the Advent season, St Nicholas, was often called the “wonder-worker.”   The Scriptures speak to us of God’s miraculous and unceasing care for us.   God always provides for us. (Redemptorist Fathers)

Advent Action:
Today, let us believe in miracles and wonders.   And tell all we meet, of these wonderful gifts from God.

Collect:
Prepare our hearts,
we pray, O Lord our God,
by Your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ Your Son
we may be found worthy
of the banquet of eternal life
and merit to receive
heavenly nourishment from His hands.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.