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Advent Reflection – 23 December – Come and set us free

Advent Reflection – 23 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Malachi 3:1-4; 4: 5-6 (3: 1-4, 23-24), Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14, Luke 1:57-66

The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.O emmanuel-king-and-lawgiver-23-dec-2017,2018,2019

And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he spoke, blessing God. … Luke 1:64

REFLECTION – “Speaking of John, we read in Luke:  “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord and many of the children of Israel shall he turn, to the Lord their God.   And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk 1:15-17).   For whom, then, did he prepare a people and in the sight of what Lord was he made great?   Truly of Him who said that John was something “even more than a prophet” and that “among those born of women none is greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:9.11).   For he made ready a people for the Lord’s advent, warning his fellow-servants and preaching repentance to them, so that they might receive forgiveness from the Lord, when He should arrive, after being converted to Him, from whom they had been alienated, because of their sins and transgressions ( … )

Yes, “in his mercy,” God, “the Dayspring from on high, has looked upon us and appeared to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death and has guided our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:78-79) just as Zacharias, recovering from the state of dumbness he had suffered, because of his unbelief, blessed God in a new way, when he had been filled with a new spirit.   For all things have entered upon a new phase by the fact that the Word, after a new manner, has accomplished the purpose of His coming in the flesh, that He might return to friendship with God, the human flesh that had departed from God. And this is why men were taught to worship God after a new fashion.” … St Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) Bishop, Theologian, Martyr

MEDITATION – “For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked – Who are you?   And he replied – I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.   The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John was a voice that lasted only for a time, Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.” … St Augustine (354-430)

ADVENT ACTION“The light of the world has come into the world and humanity loves darkness rather than the light.”   They have not known Him and they do not know Him because they do not wish to know Him, loving rather the darkness of sin than the light of grace.   Let each one determine this day not to be numbered among those unhappy souls who prefer the darkness.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)the light has come into the world - they have not known him - st alphonsus liguori 23 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER

O Emmanuel,
King and Lawgiver
Desire of the nations,
Saviour of all people,
Come and set us free,
Lord, our God!

 

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

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

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

Advent Reflection – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A, Readings: Isaiah7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER

O KING OF ALL NATIONS
and keystone of the Church
come and save man,
whom You formed from the dust!

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

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

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

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

“Mary set out… in haste” … Luke 1:26

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

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

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

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

PRAYER

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

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on TRUTH, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, The NATIVITY of JESUS

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 REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER

O KEY OF DAVID,

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CONFESSION/PENANCE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Papa FRANCIS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 16 December – He made of Him the Way

Advent Reflection – 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

“The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore him.”

“We do not know.”   And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” … Matthew 21:27

REFLECTION – “In truth, brethren, what God promised seemed humanly unbelievable, that starting from this mortal state in which people are corruptible, despicable, weak, dust and ashes, they would become equal to God’s angels!   That is why God wasn’t satisfied with making a scriptural covenant for them, to believe but put forward a mediator as proof of His faith – no prince, no angel or archangel but His only Son.   In this way, He would point out and bestow through His own Son, the way by which He would lead us to the end promised to us.   Yet for God it was too small a thing that His Son should show us the way, He made of Him the Way (cf. Jn 14:6), the Way by which you would go under His direction, the Way you would follow…

How far we were from Him!   He who is so high and we so low!   We were sick, with no hope of healing.   A doctor was sent but the patient did not recognise Him, “for if they had known him they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Cor 2:8).   But the death of the doctor has been the cure of the patient, the doctor came to visit him and died to heal him.   He made those who believed in Him understand He was God and man, God who created us, man who recreated us.   The one was visible in Him, the other hidden and that which was hidden, far exceeded what was seen…   The patient has been healed by what was visible, that later he might be able to see in full.   God postponed this final vision by concealing it, He did not refuse it.” … St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace – Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 110[109]advent monday of the third week 16 dec 2019 for god it was too small a thing - st augustine .jpg

MEDITATION – “Now is the time to say to Jesus:  “Lord, I have let myself be deceived;  in a thousand ways I have shunned Your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with You. I need you.   Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into Your redeeming embrace”. … Pope FrancisThe Joy of the Gospelnow-is-the-time-to-say-to-jesus-15-dec-2018-from-the-joy-of-the-gospel and 16 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – Let us go to Confession!   Lead your family to the door of God’s love and mercy.

PRAYER – “My beloved Redeemer, how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin, which I brought on myself through my sins?   What can I do without Your grace?   I can do nothing but pray that You will help me but even this prayer comes from the merits of Your suffering and death!   O my Jesus, help me!” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most zealous Doctormy beloved redeemer - how much did it cost you - st alphonsus - christmas confession.jpg

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

Thought for the Day – 15 December – The tongue is loosened because a voice is born.

Thought for the Day – 15 December – Third Sunday of Advent, Year A, Gaudete Sunday – Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10, Psalm 146:6-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness
Saint Augustine (354-430)

Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from his Sermon 293the-tongue-is-loosened-because-a-voice-is-born-24-june-2019-birth-of-john-the-baptist and 15 dec 2019 gaudete

…John is born of a woman too old for childbirth, Christ was born of a youthful virgin. The news of John’s birth was met with incredulity and his father was struck dumb. Christ’s birth was believed and He was conceived through faith.

Such is the topic, as I have presented it, for our inquiry and discussion.   But as I said before, if I lack either the time or the ability to study the implications of so profound a mystery, He who speaks within you, even when I am not here, will teach you better, it is He whom you contemplate with devotion, whom you have welcomed into your hearts, whose temples you have become.

John, then, appears as the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new. That he is a sort of boundary the Lord himself bears witness, when He speaks of the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist.   Thus He represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come.   As a representative of the past, he is born of aged parents, as herald of the new, he is declared to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb.   For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of blessed Mary.   In that womb, he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born, it was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor, before they ever saw one another.  These are divine happenings, going beyond the limits of our human frailty. Eventually he is born, he receives his name, his father’s tongue is loosened.   See how these events reflect reality.

Zechariah is silent and loses his voice until John, the precursor of the Lord, is born and restores his voice.   The silence of Zechariah is nothing but the age of prophecy lying hidden, obscured, as it were and concealed before the preaching of Christ.   At John’s arrival, it becomes clear, when the one who was being prophesied is about to come.   The release of Zechariah’s voice at the birth of John is a parallel to the rending of the veil at Christ’s crucifixion.   If John were announcing his own coming, Zechariah’s lips would not have been opened.   The tongue is loosened because a voice is born.   For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked – Who are you?   And he replied – I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.  The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John was a voice that lasted only for a time, Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.i-am-the-voice-the-voice-is-john-but-st-augustine-24-june-2019-nativity-of-st-john-the-baptist and 15 dec 2019 gaudete sun

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

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Advent Reflection – 14 December – Restore us, O God, let thy face shine, that we may be saved!   

Advent Reflection – 14 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11, Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19, Matthew 17:10-13 and the Memorial of St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the ChurchSAT OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT - 14 DEC 2019.jpg

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

“… but I tell you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him but did to him, whatever they pleased.   So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands…” … Matthew 17:12

REFLECTION – “God fixed a time for His promises and a time for fulfilling what he had promised.   The period of His promises was from the time of the prophets, up to John the Baptist and the period for fulfilling what He had promised is from John and henceforward, to the end.   God is faithful, He made Himself our debtor, not by accepting anything from us but by promising us such great blessings.   The promise was not enough, He even chose to be bound by writing, creating for us a kind of bond for His promises, so that, when He began to fulfil His promises, we might contemplate in scripture, the order of their accomplishment.   The period of prophecy, therefore, as we have before now frequently said, was the announcement of the promises.

He promised everlasting salvation and an unending life of blessedness with the angels, an unfading inheritance (1Pt 1:4), everlasting glory, His own dear face, His sanctuary in heaven and, by the resurrection of the dead, no further fear of death.   This is, as it were, His final promise, towards which all our endeavours tend and after we have received it, we shall seek nothing more, demand nothing more.

Nor has He passed over in silence in His promises and prophecies, how that final state will be reached.   He promised us the divine nature, to mortals, immortality, to sinners, justification, to castaways, a state of glory.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church

MEDIATION – “In giving us His Son, His only Word,
He spoke everything to us at once
in this sole Word – and He has no more to say…
because what He spoke before to the prophets in parts,
He has now spoken all at once by giving us
the ALL Who is His Son.” … St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Churchin giving us his son his only word - st john of the cross 14 dec 2019.JPG

ADVENT ACTION – He gave us His ALL, perhaps today, we can give Him ourselves.   May we be free of earthly things, just for today.    Restore us, O God, let thy face shine, that we may be saved!   Psalm 80:3

PRAYER – “O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You.
Let Your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O King of Gentleness,
King of Peace.” … St John of the Cross (1542-1591)o-king-of-gentleness-st-john-of-the-cross-14dec2018 and 14dec2019

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 13 December – “All my hope lies only in Your great mercy.”

Advent Reflection – 13 December – Friday of the Second week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19, Psalm 1:1-4, 6, Matthew 11:16-19

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

“For John came, neither eating nor drinking and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’   But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” … Matthew 11:18-19matthew 11 18-19 for john came neither eating nor drinking - 13 dec 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Saint John the Baptist was separated from the world.   He was a Nazarite (Lk 1:15; Nb 6:2).   He went out from the world and placed himself over against it… and called it to repentance.   Then went out all Jerusalem to him into the desert (Mk 3:5) and he confronted it face to face.   But in his teaching he spoke of One who should come to them and speak to them in a far different way.   He should not separate Himself from them, He should not display Himself as some higher being but as their brother, as of their flesh and of their bones, as one among many brethren, as one of the multitude and amidst them;  nay, He was among them already:   “There hath stood in the midst of you, whom you know not” (Jn 1:26)…

At length Jesus begins to disclose Himself and to manifest His glory in miracles but where?   At a marriage feast… And how? in adding to the wine…   Now compare this with what He says in St Matthew’s Gospel of Himself:  “John came neither eating nor drinking—The Son of man came eating and drinking and they say:  Behold a man that is a glutton and wine-drinker.”   John might be hated but he was respected;  Jesus was despised…

This was, O dear Lord, because Thou so loved this human nature which Thou has created.   Thou did not love us merely as Thy creatures, the work of Thy hands but as men.   Thou love all, for Thou has created all but Thou love man more than all.   How is it, Lord, that this should be?   What is there in man, above others?   “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Ps 8,5)…   Thou did not take on Thee an angelic nature when Thou did manifest Thyself for our salvation, so too Thou would not come in any shape or capacity or office which was above the course of ordinary human life—not as a Nazarene, not as a Levitical priest, not as a monk, not as a hermit but in the fullness and exactness of that human nature, which, so much Thou love… in that very flesh which had fallen in Adam and with all our infirmities, all our feelings and sympathies, sin excepted.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – Meditations and Devotions, Part III, VII God with us 1

MEDITATION – Oh, if sinners knew My mercy, they would not perish in such great numbers.   Tell sinful souls not to be afraid to approach Me, speak to them of My great mercy. . . .  The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness.   You always console Me when you pray for sinners.   The prayer most pleasing to Me, is prayer for the conversion of sinners.   Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered. …St Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1396-1397

ADVENT ACTION – With St Augustine we pray, “All my hope lies only in Your great mercy.”   So, we turn in repentance and tell of His great love and mercy for us all, sinners though we are!

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 one day proclaim Your saving acts of kindness in Your eternal kingdom.   Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.friday of the second week of advent - matthew 11 16-19 13 dec 2019.jpg

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Advent Reflection – 12 December – He is near.   He and His Mother.

Advent Reflection – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Readings: Zec 2:14-17, Book of Judith 13:18bcde.19, Luke 1:26-38

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

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.” … Luke 1:31thursday of the second week advent - 12 dec 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – ““The Lord is near”, the Apostle Paul tells us
and nothing should perturb us.   He is close by.
He is not alone but is with His Mother.
She said to St Juan Diego:
“Why are you afraid?   Am I not here who am your Mother?”.
He is near.   He and His Mother.
The greatest mercy lies in His being in our midst,
in our being in His presence and company.
He walks with us, He shows us the path of love,
He lifts us up when we fall and with such tenderness,
He supports us in our labours,
He accompanies us in every circumstance of life.
He opens our eyes to see our wretchedness
and that of the world but at the same time
He fills us with hope!” … Pope Francis, 12 December 2015

MEDITATION – “Even if the sins of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my passion.   When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.” — St Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 378

ADVENT ACTION – How can I lead someone to the mercy of Christ and His Mother?

PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light of Love and Mercy, throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Amenour lady of guadalupe pray for us 12 dec 2019.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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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Advent Reflection – 3 December – Proclaiming the Hope of Christ

Advent Reflection – 3 December – Tuesday of the First week of Advent, Year A and the Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)- Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-2, 7-9, 12-13, Luke 10:21-24

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”
Isaiah 11:6

Reflection
“In these passages, the meaning of Christmas shines through – God fulfils the promise by becoming man, not abandoning His people, He draws near to the point of stripping Himself of His divinity.   In this way God shows His fidelity and inaugurates a new Kingdom, which gives a new hope to mankind.   And what is this hope?   Eternal life. ”
... Pope Francis – General audience 21 December 2016Tuesday of the first week of advent - 3 dec 2019.jpg

Advent Action
Advent is a time to practice discipleship and the joy of sharing the message given to us! Today, share just a little of this joy of the Gospel and the hope of Christ, with those around you.   Giving this gift is immense, as the Lord shared His Father in the Gospel of today, so we share Him.   Spiritual love is tender, it is holy ground.   There is simply no greater investment.

” …. Paul does not seek himself, he does not want to make a fan club for himself, he does not wish to go down in history as the head of a school of great knowledge, he is not self-seeking, rather, St Paul proclaims Christ and wants to gain people for the true and real God.   Paul’s wish is to speak of and preach the One who entered his life and who is true life, who won him over on the road to Damascus.
Therefore, talking about God means making room for the One who enables us to know Him, who reveals His face of love to us; it means emptying ourselves of our own ego, offering it to Christ, in the awareness that it is not we who can win over others for God but, that we must expect God to send them, we must entreat God for them.
Talking about God, therefore, stems from listening, from our knowledge of God which is brought about through familiarity with Him, through the life of prayer and in accordance with the Commandments.”Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt – How to speak about God – The Year of Faith – 28 November 2012)

Prayer
Lord, it is my hope that I may always be in “Your will
and way.”
Sometimes I am selfish with my time and my own desires.
Today, help me sort out things in my life.
I need to make You the first priority in my life
and not the things that really do not matter.
Assist me in conducting myself in ways that are most pleasing to You.
Lord, it is my desire to live more for You this day
and share the joy of Your love with all I meet.

And today, we remember St Francis Xavier, the “second Paul”

please pray for us!
Amenst francis xavier pray for us 3 dec 2019.jpg

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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

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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 PRAYERS, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The LAST THINGS, The SECOND COMING

Thought for the Day – 1 December – On the Twofold Coming of Christ – St Cyril of Jerusalem

Thought for the Day – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A

On the Twofold Coming of Christ

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Catechetical Instruction, Catechesis 15

We do not preach only one coming of Christ but a second as well, much more glorious than the first.   The first coming was marked by patience, the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects.   There is a birth from God before the ages and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time.   There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.   At His second coming He will be clothed in light as in a garment.   In the first coming He endured the cross, despising the shame;  in the second coming He will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.   We look then beyond the first coming and await the second.   At the first coming we said – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.   At the second we shall say it again, we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At His own judgement He was silent, then He will address those who committed the outrages against Him when they crucified Him and will remind them – You did these things and I was silent.

His first coming was to fulfil His plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion.   This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of His kingdom by necessity. Malachi the prophet speaks of the two comings.   And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to His temple – that is one coming.

Again he says of another coming – Look, the Lord almighty will come and who will endure the day of His entry, or who will stand in His sight?   Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb and He will sit refining and cleansing.

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus – The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words:  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven.   He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day.   For there will be an end to this world and the created world will be made new.

Grant, almighty Father,
that when Christ comes again,
we may go out to meet Him,
bearing the harvest of good works,
achieved by Your Grace.
We pray, that He will receive us
into the company of the saints
and call us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Christ, our Lord,
with the Holy Spirit,
God for all eternity,
Amenfirst sun advent - grant almighty father that when your son comes again 1 dec 2019 be prepared.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent

Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A –
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

“So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Matthew 24:44

St Bernard (1091-1153)
Doctor of the Church
Sermons 4 and 5 for Advent

“It is only right, my brothers, to celebrate our Lord’s coming with all possible devotion, so greatly does His comfort gladden us… and His love burn within us.   But do not just think about His first coming when He came “to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10), think, too, of that other coming when He will come to take us with Him.  I should like to see you constantly occupied in meditating on these two comings… “resting among the sheepfolds” (Ps 68[67]:14), for they are the two arms of the Bridegroom in which the Bride of the Song of Songs took her rest:  “His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me” (2:6)…

But there is a third coming between the two to which I have just referred and those who know of it, can rest in it for their greater happiness.   The other two are visible but this one is not.   In the first, “ the Lord has appeared on earth and has spoken to us” (Bar 3:38)… in the last, “all mankind shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6; Is 40:5)…   But the one that comes between them is secret, it is that in which the elect alone see the SavioUr within themselves and their souls find salvation.

In His first coming, Christ came in our flesh and in our weakness;  in His coming in the midst of time, He comes in Spirit and power;  in His final coming, He will come in His glory and majesty.   But it is by the strength of the virtues, that we attain to glory, as it is written:  “The Lord, the king of armies, he is the king of glory” (Ps 24[23]:10) and, in the same book:  “That I may see your power and your glory” (Ps 63[62]:3).   And so the second coming is like a road leading from the first to the last.   In the first, Christ has been our redemption, in the last, He will appear as our life, in His coming between, He is our rest and our consolation.”in-the-first-coming-st-bernard-3-dec-2017 AND 1 DEC 2019.jpg

Prayer for the Advent Wreath

Lord, our God,
we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ,
for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Saviour of us all.
O Lord,
let Your blessing come upon us
as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Waiting

We light a advent candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark.   But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master.   The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:

See! The ruler of the earth shall come,
the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.

We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle.   We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten – doing all these works hastens His coming.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuelthe first sunday of advent - 1 dec 2019 matthew 24 44