Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEBRUARY-The HOLY FAMILY, GOD ALONE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on THE WORLD, The DIVINE INFANT, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Holy Family – Jesus

Thought for the Day – 24 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Christmas Novena IX
The Holy Family – Jesus

“We have in the Holy Family, the highest possible models of perfection – Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
As God, Jesus is essentially holy.
By means of the Hypostatic Union, this sanctity is transmitted also to His human nature.
The holiness of Jesus was only gradually revealed as He grew older because He wished to be like us in everything, save in sin.
As the Gospel says, He “advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men” (Lk 2:52).
Jesus gave us an example of holiness which we should find easier to imitate because it was eternally increasing all the time.
He offered us, as an example, the kind of sanctity which has its beginning and foundation in utter humility and detachment from worldly goods.
“Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).

Socrates advised his followers to have few desires and to desire these as little as possible, in order to remain content, for the man who is full of desires is always uneasy and restless.
This human counsel is very true but, it is incomplete.
It recommends detachment from earthly things but fails to teach the ardent and practical desire for supernatural things.
Jesus Christ teaches us both.
After He has urged us to become gentle and humble like Himself, after He has told us not to worry about the future and not to fret about what to wear and what to eat, He points out the way in which Providence clothes the lilies of the filed and feeds the birds of the air.
Then He adds: “Seek the kingdom of God and all these things shall be given you besides” (Cf Lk. 12:22-31).

We must limit and moderate our desire for earthly goods, therefore but, should ardently yearn to love God, to serve and obey Him in this life and to enjoy Him forever in Heaven.
This is what the Infant Jesus wishes to teach us
.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD ALONE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, NOVENAS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WILL of GOD

Thought for the Day – 23 December – What Jesus Wants From Us

Thought for the Day – 23 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Christmas Novena VIII
What Jesus Wants From Us

“Let us contemplate Jesus lying on a rough pallet of straw in the manger.
When we see Him looking at us, let us ask ourselves what it is that He requires of us.
In fact, He wants many things from us.
First of all, He wants us to weep for our sins and to promise, never to fall again, as long as we have the assistance of His grace, for which we should pray continually.
For this, He has become man and has entered into the world.

For this He will work miracles, preach His doctrine and shed His Precious Blood on the Cross.
All this He will do to redeem us from sin and to win Heaven for us.

If we return to the path of sin, we destroy the divine work of redemption, inasfar as it applies to ourselves.
We make Christ’s passion, death and resurrection useless in our case.
We brush aside the chain of favours with which His love has girdled us – the Gospel, the Sacraments and the Church, our good mother who is always at our side to instruct and direct us, to rescue us from peril and, to distribute to us, the gifts of her divine Founder.
When we sin, we commit an act of base ingratitude to Jesus and accomplish our own eternal ruin.

The Infant Jesus longs for us to give our hearts to Him.
Since He has given us His own, why should we be unwilling to give ours to Him?
Who or what can we love, if we do not love Jesus?
Nothing else is capable of giving us peace of soul and resignation in suffering.
Jesus alone can bestow these gifts on us, as long as we love and follow Him and abandon ourselves completely to His Holy Will.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, POETRY, The ANNUNCIATION, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – ‘… Answer quickly, O Virgin. …’

Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 7: 10-14; Psalm 24: 1-6; Luke 1: 26-38

“And Mary said,
‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be to me according to your word
.’”

Luke 1:38

The price of our salvation
is offered to you.
We shall be set free at once, if you consent.
In the eternal Word of God, we all came to be
and behold, we die.
In your brief response,
we are to be remade.
in order to be recalled to life.

… Answer quickly, O Virgin.
Reply in haste to the Angel,
or rather, through the Angel to the Lord.
Answer with a word,
receive the Word of God.
Speak your own word,
conceive the Divine Word.
Breathe a passing word,
embrace the Eternal Word!

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
The Last Father and
the Mellifluous Doctor of the Church

The Annunciation
By Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Ashes of paper, ashes of a world
Wandering, when fire is done:
We argue with the drops of rain!

Until one comes Who walks unseen
Even in elements we have destroyed.
Deeper than any nerve
He enters flesh and bone.
Planting His truth, He puts our substance on.

Air, earth and rain
Rework the frame that fire has ruined.
What was dead is waiting for His Flame.
Sparks of His Spirit spend their seeds, and hide
To grow like irises, born before summertime.

These blue thinas bud in Israel.

The girl prays by the bare wall
Between the lamp and the chair.
(Framed with an angel in our galleries
She has a richer painted room, sometimes a crown.
Yet seven pillars of obscurity
Build her to Wisdom’s house, and Ark and Tower.
She is the Secret of another Testament
She owns their manna in her jar.)

Fifteen years old –
The flowers printed on her dress
Cease moving in the middle of her prayer
When God, Who sends the messenger,
Meets His messenger in her Heart.
Her answer, between breath and breath,
Wrings from her innocence our Sacrament!
In her white body God becomes our Bread.

It is her tenderness
Heats the dead world like David on his bed.
Times that were too soon criminal
And never wanted to be normal
Evade the beast that has pursued
You, me and Adam out of Eden’s wood.
Suddenly we find ourselves assembled
Cured and recollected under several green trees.

Her prudence wrestled with the Dove
To hide us in His cloud of steel and silver:
These are the mysteries of her Son.
And here my heart, a purchased outlaw,
Prays in her possession

Until her Jesus, makes my heart
Smile like a flower in her blameless hand.

Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Trappist Monk and Priest. Thomas Merton expressed his vision in his poetry, novels, essays, devotionals and autobiographical writings.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD is LOVE, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI

Thought for the Day – 17 December – A Christmas Novena II – Preparation for the Nativity

Thought for the Day – 17 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Christmas Novena II
Preparation for the Nativity

The Birth of Our Lord is the most wonderful and most moving mystery of divine omnipotence and goodness.
At first thought, the idea of the infinite God becoming man, would seem impossible.
Between God and man, there is a vast abyss.
Why should God have bridged this gap and assumed our poor mortal nature, becoming like us in everything but sin, while still remaining God?
It is a hard question for the human mind to answer.
There is only one reply, however.
The immensity of God’s power and justice is equalled, by the immensity of His love.
It was simply because God loved us infinitely that He took pity on us, lost as we were in sin.
He assumed a human body and became man and, He suffered and died for us, so that we might love and obey Him more easily and follow in the way of goodness.

To our poor intellects, God seems not only immense and infinite but also, very remote.
For this reason, God determined to come closer to us, so that He became as one of us.
He was a tiny infant, crying in a manger; then, He was a lovable young boy Who spoke words of eternal wisdom among the doctors in the Temple; then, He was a prophet Who traversed the countryside of Palestine, teaching and working miracles; finally, He died a martyr’s death on the Cross in the cause of truth and goodness.
Reflecting on this mystery of infinite love, let us adore and love Him.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on HUMILITY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom … O Sapientia …

One Minute Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom … O Sapientia … – Friday of the Third Week of Advent, Readings: Genesis 49: 2, 8-10; Psalm 72: 1-4, 7-8, 17; Matthew 1: 1-17

O Wisdom
O Sapientia

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia-
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth
from the Mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things-
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

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, 4-5).

PRAYER – Collect:
O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
Who willed that Your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb, look with favour on our prayers,
that Your only Begotten Son, having taken to Himself our humanity, may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on HUMILITY, The 3rd Joyful Mystery - the NATIVITY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 16 December – The Cave of Bethlehem

Thought for the Day – 16 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Christmas Novena
The Cave of Bethlehem

“Why, asked Bossuet, should the Eternal Word of God, infinitely and everlastingly happy, have deigned to assume in time, the fallen state of humanity?
Why should He have chosen, as the scene of His miraculous life of love, this insignificant world, a planet almost imperceptible among the myriads of gigantic heavenly bodies?
It was for the very same reason, Bossuet replied, that propmpted Him, once He had become man, to choose as His birthplace, the tiny and unknown village of Nazareth in Galilee rather than Rome, the centre of power, or Athens, the centre of learning, or Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.
Our world is the Nazareth of creation, one of the smallest planets in the firmament.

God did not even choose, moreover, to be born in the poor but comparatively comfortable house at Nazareth.
He preferred to be born in the strange town of Bethlehem.
It was the cradle of His ancestral line but it gave Him no welcome and compelled Him to be born in a cold and squalid barn on the straw of a manger.
God had no need of human grandeur.
His power and majesty shone more brightly through the insignificance of the objects and means which He employed in order to fulfil His purpose.
It would be ridiculous to imagine, even for a moment, that He had any need of human aid in order to accomplish His designs.
God chooses the weak things of the world in order to confound the strong!” (Missale Romanum, Miss. Virg et Mart).

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BAPTISM, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 December – “A pure way will be there, called the holy way”

One Minute Reflection – 5 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” and The Second Sunday of Advent – Readings: Baruch 5: 1-9; Psalm 126: 1-6; Philippians 1: 4-6, 8-11; Luke 3: 1-6

Prepare the way of the Lord” – Luke 3:4

REFLECTION – “Let the desert and the parched land exult! Let the arid ground rejoice and bloom. Let it bloom with abundant flowers” (Is 35:1). What the inspired Scriptures usually call ‘desert’ and ‘waste,‘ is the Church of the pagans. She already existed in former times among the peoples but had not received her mystical Spouse from Heaven, I mean the Christ … Christ came to her, however. Captivated by her faith, He enriched her from the divine river that streams from Him – streams because it is the “fountain of life, stream of delight” (Ps 36[35]:10.9) … At His Presence, the Church ceased to be parched and arid, she encountered her Spouse, brought into the world countless children and was adorned with mystical flowers. …

Isaiah continues: “A pure way will be there, called the holy way” (v. 8). This pure way is the power of the Gospel entering into our lives or, to put it another way, the purifying power of the Spirit. For the Spirit removes the stain imprinted on the human soul, delivers us from our sins and enables us to rise above our uncleanness. Thus, this road is very rightly described as holy and pure, for it cannot be reached by anyone who has not been purified. Indeed, no-one is able to live according to the Gospel who has not first been purified by holy Baptism, no-one, therefore, can do so without faith. …
Only those delivered from the devil’s tyranny can lead the glorious life the prophet describes with these images: “No lion will be there nor beast of prey” (v. 9) on that pure way. Indeed, in former times such fierce beasts, as is the devil, that inventor of sin, used to attack earth’s inhabitants together with the evil spirits. But he was crushed by Christ, driven far away from the flock of believers and stripped of the dominion he used to wield over them. That is why, redeemed by Christ and brought together in faith, they will walk united in heart along this pure way (v. 9). Forsaking their former ways “they will return to Zion,” that is, the Church, “with everlasting joy” (v. 10) that has no end, whether on earth or in Heaven and they will glorify God their Saviour. – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church (On Isaiah, III, 3).

PRAYER – Almighty and merciful God, let neither our daily work nor the cares of this life prevent us from hastening to meet your Son. Teach us Holy Father God, silence and solitude, to hear and learn, then lead us into the company of Your Son, as He comes to save us! And may His Mother and ours, the most pure Virgin Mary be our intercessor and advocate. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, ARMOUR of CHRIST, CHRIST the KING, CHRIST the PHYSICIAN, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES on STRENGTH, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 December – ‘ … If He is within us, who can lead us astray?…’

One Minute Reflection – 4 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Saturday of the First Week of Advent – Readings: : Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26; Psalm 147: 1-6; Matthew 9:35-10:1,5a,6-8

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

REFLECTION – “From now on we are celebrating, with all our hearts, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and this is nothing other than what we ought to do, since He has not just come TO us but FOR us. As for the Lord, He has no need of good things from us: the greatness of the grace He has shown us, clearly manifests the depth of our need. We assess the gravity of a sickness by what it costs to cure it …

So we needed a Saviour to come to us, for the state in which we found ourselves, rendered His presence indispensable. May the Saviour come quickly, then! May He come to live in our midst, by faith, with all the wealth of His grace. May He come to draw us out of our blindness and free us from our infirmities, taking control of our weakness! If He is within us, who can lead us astray? If He is on our side, what can we not do in Him, Who is our strength? (Phil 4:13). “If he is for us who can be against us?” (Rm 8:31). Jesus Christ is an unfailing Advocate who can neither be deceived not deceive; He is a powerful Helper Whose Strength can never be spent … . He is the very Wisdom of God, the very Strength of God (1 Cor 1:24) … So let us all run together to such a Master, in every undertaking implore His aid, in the midst of our struggles entrust ourselves to so certain a Defender. If He has come into the world, already it is to live in our midst, WITH us and FOR us.” – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and the last Father and Doctor of the Church – 7th Sermon for Advent

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 ask our most pure Virgin Mary to guide us in her ways. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on PEACE

Thought for the Day – 18 May – Mary, the Source of Peace

Thought for the Day – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mary, the Source of Peace

“If we wish to possess this true peace, which only God can give, we must control and regulate the movements of our passions when they rebel against the soul.
In other words, as St Augustine says, our lower appetites must obey our reason and this, in its turn, must be subject to its author, God! (De Serm. Domini, 1,2).
Real peace can only come to us as the result of the hard and constant labour of subordinating our passions to right reason and our reason to God.
“And this is the peace,” Augustine writes, “which God gives on earth, to men of goodwill; this is the most perfect wisdom ” (Ibid).

We have found, from sad experience, that sin and the free play of the passions, cannot give us real peace because “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22).
When, by the grace of God and the assistance of Our Lady, we have subdued our rebellious inclinations, it is necessary for us to go further and abandon ourselves completely into the hands of God, asking Him for a spirit of absolute conformity to Hs Will on all occasions.
This is the price which we must pay to enjoy the peace which the world cannot give and which God gives only to those who do His Holy Will in all things (Cf Jn 14:27).

It may seem that the way to acquire this peace is very difficult but, there is no other way.
Let us pray to Our Lady.
She has won peace and victory for the Church on many occasions; for example, against the Turks at Lepanto in 1571 and at Vienna in 1683.
In the same way, she will obtain for us, her children, interior peace of soul, the greatest treasure which we can possss on earth!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

PART ONE HERE:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/05/18/thought-for-the-day-18-may-mary-the-source-of-peace/

Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The DIVINE INFANT, The HEART, The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, The REDEMPTION, The WILL of GOD

Thought for the Day – 23 December – What Jesus Wants From Us

Thought for the Day – 23 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

What Jesus Wants From Us

“Let us contemplate Jesus lying on a rough pallet of straw in the manger.
When we see Him looking at us, let us ask ourselves what it is that He requires of us.
In fact, He wants many things from us.
First of all, He wants us to weep for our sins and to promise, never to fall again, as long as we have the assistance of His grace, for which we should pray continually.
For this, He has become man and has entered into the world.
For this He will work miracles, preach His doctrine and shed His Precious Blood on the Cross.
All this He will do to redeem us from sin and to win Heaven for us.

If we return to the path of sin, we destroy the divine work of redemption, inasfar as it applies to ourselves.
We make Christ’s passion, death and resurrection useless in our case.
We brush aside the chain of favours with which His love has girdled us – the Gospel, the Sacraments and the Church, our good mother who is always at our side to instruct and direct us, to rescue us from peril and, to distribute to us, the gifts of her divine Founder.
When we sin, we commit an act of base ingratitude to Jesus and accomplish our own eternal ruin.

The Infant Jesus longs for us to give our hearts to Him.
Since He has given us His own, why should we be unwilling to give ours to Him?
Who or what can we love, if we do not love Jesus?
Nothing else is capable of giving us peace of soul and resignation in suffering.
Jesus alone can bestow these gifts on us, as long as we love and follow Him and abandon ourselves completely to His Holy Will.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 23 December – “He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

Advent Reflection – 23 December – O Emmanuel – Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24, Psalms 25:4-5,8-9, 10 and 14, Luke 1:57-66

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

“He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

REFLECTION – [John the Baptist said:] “I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord.” So I cannot be silent, Lord, in Your presence. “I need to be baptised by you and do you come to me?” (Mt 3:3.14).
At my birth I took away my mother’s barrenness and while still an infant, I healed my father’s dumbness, for You gave me in childhood, the gift of working miracles. But when You were born of the Virgin Mary, in the way You willed and in a manner known to You alone, You did not take away her virginity but while preserving it intact, You gave her, in addition, the name of “mother.” Her virginity did not hinder Your birth, nor did Your birth destroy her virginity. On the contrary, two opposites, motherhood and virginity, were easily united by You, because the laws of nature have their origin in You.
I am a mere man, sharing in the grace of God but You are both God and man because of Your love for humankind (cf. Wis 1:6). ” – Homily attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270) Bishop – Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4

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

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD ALONE!, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The REDEMPTION, The WILL of GOD

Thought for the Day – 22 December – The Humility of Mary

Thought for the Day – 22 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Humility of Mary

“The profound humility of Mary was commensurate with her high dignity.
As Dante put it, she was the humblest and noblest of creatures. “Umile ed altra piu che creatura” (Paradiso 33:2)
None of the saints was humbler than Mary, just as none of them was greater.
It was an Archangel who came down from Heaven and bowed before her as he praised her in the highest terms as “full of grace” and announced the unique dignity she was to receive as Mother of God.
She bowed her head in turn and declared herself to be the handmaid of the Lord, ready to do His will in all things.
Then she went to visit and congratulate her cousin, Elizabeth, because she had heard from the Angel that she was to be the mother of the Precursor.
When she arrived at the house, she was greeted by Elizabeth with the words: “How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Far from being flattered, however, Mary attributed all her glory to God and replied with the Magnificat, a hymn of praise and gratitude in God’s honour.
It was the same when Jesus was born in the manger at Bethlehem.
There was a sudden brightness in the sky and the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among men of goodwill.”
But even though she held the Lord of Heaven and earth, in her arms, the Blessed Virgin asked for nothing for herself.
Her only desire was to do the will of God.
The love of Jesus was enough for her.
She did not seek her own glory but the glory of God.
Likewise, on the weary journey into Egypt, she was content because, she was with Jesus and in the obscure life of Nazareth, she desired no other treasure but Her divine Son.
During His public life, she followed Him in silence.
Once only she spoke in a submissive tone, in order to ask a favour for others but not for herself.
It was at the wedding celebrations in Cana, when she asked for the first miracle, in such a way, that it was not even apparent that it was she who had wrung the favour from the filial heart of Jesus.
It was always like that, up to the time of Calvary and the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost.
She remained humbly in the background all the time.
Now, after her departure from this earth, her humility has been gloriously crowned in the dogma of the Assumption and in her Coronation as Queen of Angels and of Saints.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DECEMBER - The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, MARIAN Antiphons, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on SACRED SCRIPTURE, The ANNUNCIATION

Quote/s of the Day – 22 December – My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord – Luke 1:46

Quote/s of the Day – 22 December – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, O Rex Gentium/O King of all Nations, Readings: 1 Samuel 1:24-28, 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8, Luke 1:46-56

“Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” – Luke 1:46-47

“The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great,
so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it
and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it.
I offer then all the powers of my soul
in praise and thanksgiving.
As I contemplate His greatness,
which knows no limits,
I joyfully surrender my whole life,
my senses, my judgment,
for my spirit rejoices in
the eternal Godhead of that Jesus,
that Saviour,
whom I have conceived in this world of time.”

“Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved.
They cannot say with the prophet:
See, God comes to my aid;
the Lord is the helper of my soul.
But anyone who makes himself humble,
like a little child,
is greater in the kingdom of heaven.”

St Bede the Venerable (673-735)
Father and Doctor of the Church

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST the KING, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FATHERS of the Church, HOMILIES, MARIAN Antiphons, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES for CHRIST, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The REDEMPTION, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 22 December – O Rex Gentium/O King of all Nations – ‘ … that we might see Him, touch Him and hear Him speak.”

Advent Reflection – 22 December – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, O Rex Gentium/O King of all Nations, Readings: 1 Samuel 1:24-281 Samuel 2:14-56-78Luke 1:46-56

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

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

…For he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name. … Luke 1:49

REFLECTION – “Then Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour … He has helped Israel his child (Lk 1:54 Gk), remembering his mercy and the covenant he made with Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Do you observe how the Virgin surpasses the perfection of the patriarch and seals the covenant God made with Abraham when He said to him: “This is to be the covenant between me and you”? (Gn 17:11) … It is the song of this prophecy that the holy Mother of God addressed to God when she said: “My soul magnifies the Lord …, for He who is Mighty has magnified me; holy is His name. In making me the mother of God He preserves my virginity. The full number of every generation is summed up within my womb, that they may be made holy in it. For He has blessed all ages, men and woman, young people, children, the old” (…)

“He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (…) The lowly, the gentile peoples hungry for righteousness (Mt 5:6), have been exalted. By making known their lowliness and hunger for God and by begging for God’s word, just as the Canaanite woman asked for crumbs (Mt 15:27), they have been satisfied with the riches concealed within the divine mysteries.
For Jesus Christ our God, son of the Virgin, has handed out to the gentiles the whole inheritance of divine favours.
He has raised up Israel his child: not just any Israel but His child, on whose exalted birth He bestows honour. This is why the Mother of God calls this people her child and her heir. God, who found this people worn out by the letter, wearied by the Law, calls it to His grace. By giving this name to Israel He raises him up, “remembering his mercy, as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.”
These few words sum up the whole mystery of our salvation. Wanting to save humankind and seal the covenant established with our fathers, Jesus Christ then “inclined the heavens and came down” (Ps 18[17]:10).
Thus He manifested Himself to us, putting Himself within our reach so that we might see Him, touch Him and hear Him speak.” – A 4th century homily (Incorrectly attributed to Gregory of Neocaesarea, called “Thaumaturgos”, no. 2)

Prayer – The Magnificat
The Canticle of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour
He looks on His servant in her lowliness
Henceforth, all ages will call me blessed:
The Almighty works marvels for me,
holy is His Name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear Him.
He puts forth His arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, His servant,
remembering His mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons forever.
Amen

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on GOSSIP, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on SILENCE, QUOTES on SIN, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 21 December – The Silence of the Divine Infant

Thought for the Day – 21 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Silence of the Divine Infant

Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word of God, made man, the infinite and substantial image of the Divine Intellect.
Nevertheless, the Divine Infant, Whom we adore in the stable at Bethlehem, is mute and silent.
The voluntary humiliation of the Son of God is such, that He, the Word of God, cannot utter a single human syllable.
By this chosen silence, however, He teaches us many things.
In the first place, He teaches us humility and self-denial.
He teaches us, moreover, to recollect ourselves in the Presence of God, so that it may be easier for us to speak with Him and for Him, to make known what He requires of us.
The silence of prayer brings forth divine consolations and inspirations to holiness,

Do we love to be silent?
It is not necessary to become hermits but, it is essential, from time to time, to place ourselves quietyly in the Presence of God.
God cannot be heard through the noise and confusion of the world, whereas, He speaks clearly to the soul, which seeks the silence of prayer.
In any case, if we go about looking for the gossip and idle chatter of the world, it is almost impossible not to offend God.
“Avoid profane and empty babblings,” St Paul urges us, “for they contribute much to ungodliness” (2 Tim 2:16).
“If anyone does not offend in word,” adds St James, “he is a perfect man” (Js 3:2).
“The tongue is a little member,” he continues but, goes onto emphasis that it is capable of doing either a great deal of good or a great deal of harm.
“With it, we bless God the Father and, with it, we curse men, who have been made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren ought not to be so” (Js 3:5-10).

There are two main lessons which we should learn, therefore, from the silence of the Divine Infant.
We should learn to love recollection and, we should learn to make proper use of the gift of speech, which can be an equally powerful weapon, in the cause of good, or, in the cause of evil!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRACE, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The 2nd Joyful Mystery - the VISITATION, The CHRIST CHILD, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Being aware of the Lord’s Presence – Luke 1:41,44

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Weekdays of Advent, Readings: Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18, Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21, Luke 1:39-45

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

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit … “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” – Luke 1:41,44

REFLECTION – “When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary he gave her a sign to win her trust. He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman to show that God is able to do all that he wills.
When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country. She does not disbelieve God’s word; she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign. She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.
Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, labourious efforts. Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear – as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice but John is the first to be aware of grace. She hears with the ears of the body but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s – a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation. The women speak of the grace they have received while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.
The child leaps in the womb; the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit. John leaps for you and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit but we know, that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her Son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in His mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says – Blessed are you because you have believed.
You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.
Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh but, we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.
In another place we read – Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop, Father and Great Latin Doctor – An excerpt from A Commentary on Luke, Book 2

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.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on REPARATION, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SILENCE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 20 December – The Swaddling Clothes of the Divine Infant

Thought for the Day – 20 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Swaddling Clothes of the Divine Infant

“Mary, like other mothers in those days, wrapped the Infant Jesus in swaddling clothes.
The Divine Child quietly offered this new humiliation to His heavenly Father.
He saw prefigured in these bands, the ropes with which He would be bound in the garden of Gethsemane, even after He had given sinful humanity, His celestial teaching, example and miracles and finally, His own Body inthe Sacrament of the Eucharist.
He saw in them too, the chains with which He would be secured to the pillar, in order to be scourged in the Praetorium of Pilate among the jeers and insults of the onlookers.
He saw in them, finally, the cords with which, after having been condemned to the ignominious death of the Cross, He would be tied, while being led to the place of execution on Mount Calvary.
Filled with infinite love for stricken humanity, the Heart of the Divine Infant offered all this, in advance, to His Father in heaven.

Are we making any effort to return such great love?
Like Jesus, we are often obliged to endure, both physical and moral anguish.
Have we the resignation to offer it all to Jesus, or do we squander our opportunities in useless complaining or in acts of impatience and rebellion?
We shall have to go on suffering anyway but, in the latter case, we may have to suffer even more and shall lose all merit in the sight of God.

Let us kneel down before the Holy Infant wrapped in His swaddling clothes and, let us promise to endure everything for His sake and in reparation for our sins.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DECEMBER - The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Hail MARY!, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St Louis-Marie Grignion de MONTFORT, The ANNUNCIATION, The INCARNATION

Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – “Hail, full of grace,”

Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent – O Clavis David/O Key of David – Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12, 14, 16, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38

“[Jesus] became man by the Virgin
so that the course, which was taken
by disobedience in the beginning,
through the agency of the serpent,
might be also, the very course
by which it would be put down.
Eve, a virgin and undefiled,
conceived the word of the serpent
and bore disobedience and death.
But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy
when the Angel Gabriel announced to her,
the glad tidings, that the Spirit of the Lord
would come upon her
and the power of the Most High would overshadow her,
for which reason, the Holy One being born of her,
is the Son of God.
And she replied
‘Be it done unto me according to your word’
[Luke 1:38]”

St Justin Martyr (c 100- c 165)
Apologist, Theologian, Philosopher,
Father of the Church and Martyr

“The angel greeted Mary with a new address,
which I could not find anywhere else in Scripture.
I ought to explain this expression briefly.
The angel says, “Hail, full of grace.” …
I do not remember having read these words elsewhere in Scripture.
An expression of this kind, “Hail, full of grace,”
is not addressed to a male.
This greeting was reserved for Mary alone.”

Origen (c 185-253)
Priest, Theologian, Father

“The whole universe was created by God
and God was born of Mary.
God created all things
and Mary gave birth to God.
The God who made all things,
gave Himself form through Mary
and thus, He made His own creation.
He who could create all things from nothing,
would not remake His ruined creation without Mary.
God, then, is the Father of the created world
and Mary the mother of the re-created world.
God is the Father, by whom all things were given life
and Mary the mother,
through whom all things were given new life.
For God begot the Son,
through whom all things were made
and Mary gave birth to Him as the Saviour of the world.
Without God’s Son, nothing could exist;
without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.
Truly the Lord is with you,
to whom the Lord granted,
that all nature should owe,
as much to you as to Himself.”

St Anselm (1033-1109)
Magnificent Doctor
Marian Doctor

“Mary is the great mould of God …
He who is cast in this divine mould
is soon formed and moulded in Jesus Christ
and Jesus Christ in him.
With little effort and in a short time,
he will become divine,
since he is cast in the same mould
which formed a God.”

St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST the KING, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on SACRED SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The ANNUNCIATION, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 20 December – O Clavis David/O Key of David

Advent Reflection – 20 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12, 14, 16, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38

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

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.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:32-33

REFLECTION“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.” What is said of the house of David applies not only to Joseph but also to Mary. It was a precept of the law that each man should marry a wife from his own tribe and kindred. Saint Paul also bears testimony to this when he writes to Timothy: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel” (2 Tm 2:8) …

“He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” The angel refers to the kingdom of the Israelite nation as the throne of David because, in his time, by the Lord’s command and assistance, David governed it with a spirit of faithful service … As David had once ruled the people with temporal authority, so Christ would now lead them to the eternal kingdom by His spiritual grace …

“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.. The house of Jacob here refers to the universal Church which, through its faith in and witness to Christ, shares the heritage of the patriarchs. This may apply either to those who are physical descendants of the patriarchal families, or to those who come from gentile nations and are reborn in Christ by the waters of baptism. In this house Christ shall reign forever and “of his kingdom there will be no end.”
During this present life, Christ rules in the Church. By faith and love He dwells in the hearts of His elect and guides them by His unceasing care toward their heavenly reward. In the life to come, when their period of exile on earth is ended, He will exercise His Kingship, by leading the faithful to their heavenly country. There, forever inspired by the vision of His presence, their one delight will be, to praise and glorify Him.” – St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Priest and Monk, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies for Advent, no 3

PRAYER – Lord, at the angel’s message, Mary, the immaculate Virgin became the temple of God and was filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, when she received Your divine Word. Grant that, after her example, we may humbly and steadfastly follow Your will. Through Christ the Incarnate Word, our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all ages, amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The DIVINE INFANT, The HEART, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 19 December – The Cradle of the Divine Infant Jesus

Thought for the Day – 19 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Cradle of the Divine Infant Jesus

Enter once more with faith and love into the stable of Bethlehem.
As soon as her Son has been miraculously delivered without any damage to her virginity, Mary adores Him and, with such maternal love as we could never conceive of, she takes Him to her heart.
Joseph, kneeling in ecstasy at the sight, bows reverently and kisses the forehead of the Divine Infant.
In this moment of blis, he is well rewarded for his unshaken faith and for all the sacrifices which he has made from his youth until the time of his alliance with Mary.

Now Mary and Joseph look around and, since they can find no better cradel for the Baby Jesus, they place Him upon some straw in a manger and cover Him with a rough linen coth.
They have nothing else to give the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of the Universe, Who wishes, at this early stage, to present us with this wonderful example of humility and voluntary poverty.
But each of them has once treasure to offer, for they offer and dedicate their hearts to Jesus.
Mary’s heart is only less beautiful and pure than that of our Divine Redeemer and St Joseph’s is similar to hers.

Jesus did not come to look for human wealth or greatness but, He came in search of men’s hearts, so that He might make them holy.
Throughout the centuries there have been many generous-hearted people who joined with Mary and Joseph in loving Jesus and in dedicating themselves entirely to Him.
Does your heart belong completely to Jesus?

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent – 19 December – O Radix Jesse/O Root of Jesse – ‘a voice pointing to the Word’

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent – 19 December – O Radix Jesse/O ROOT OF JESSE – Readings: Judges 13:2-724-25Psalms 71:3-45-616-17Luke 1:5-25

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

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.

“And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak, until the day that these things take place because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” – Luke 1:20

REFLECTION “You will be speechless… until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words.” Voice and word are not the same thing where we are concerned, since a voice can be heard without it conveying any meaning, without words and the word can likewise be communicated to our minds without a voice, as in the wandering of our thoughts. In the same way, since the Saviour is Word…, John differs from Him in being voice, by comparison with Christ, who is Word. This is what John himself answered to those who asked him who he was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths’” (Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).
Perhaps this is the reason – because he doubted the birth of the voice that would reveal the Word of God – why Zachariah lost his voice but recovered it again, when that voice was born, who is the Word’s forerunner (Lk 1:64). Since, for the mind to be able to grasp the word intended by the voice, we must hear the voice. It is also why, according to the time of his birth, John is slightly older than Christ – for we perceive the voice before the word. Thus John points to Christ since it is with the voice that the Word is made known. Likewise, Christ was baptised by John, who admitted his need of being baptised by Him (Mt 3:14)… In brief, when John pointed to Christ it was as a man pointing to God, the incorporeal Saviour, as a voice pointing to the Word…”… Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father

PRAYER – Deepen our faith Lord, as we celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation, by which You revealed to the world the splendour of Your glory, through the most pure Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.

Posted in "Follow Me", ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD is LOVE, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 18 December – Preparation for the Nativity

Thought for the Day – 18 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Preparation for the Nativity

“The Birth of Our Lord is the most wonderful and most moving mystery of divine omnipotence and goodness.
At first thought, the idea of the infinite God becoming man, would seem impossible.
Between God and man, there is a vast abyss.
Why should God have bridged this gap and assumed our poor mortal nature, becoming like us in everything but sin, while still remaining God?
It is a hard question for the human mind to answer.
There is only one reply, however.
The immensity of God’s power and justice is equalled, by the immensity of His love.
It was simply because God loved us infinitely that He took pity on us, lost as we were in sin.
He assumed a human body and became man and, He suffered and died for us, so that we might love and obey Him more easily and follow in the way of goodness.

To our poor intellects, God seems not only immense and infinite but also, very remote.
For this reason, God determined to come closer to us, so that He became as one of us.
He was a tiny infant, crying in a manger; then, He was a lovable young boy Who spoke words of eternal wisdom among the doctors in the Temple; then, He was a prophet Who traversed the countryside of Palestine, teaching and working miracles; finally, He died a martyr’s death on the Cross in the cause of truth and goodness.
Reflecting on this mystery of infinite love, let us adore and love Him.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The DIVINE INFANT, The HOLY NAME, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – “She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus” – Matthew 1:21

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December O Adonai/O Lord
Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

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

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.

“She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus” – Matthew 1:21

REFLECTION – “The Name of Jesus is a divine Name that the Lord made known to Mary through the voice of the Archangel Gabriel: “You will give him the name Jesus” (Lk 1:31). A name that, for this reason, is called “above all names,” “the only name by which we can be saved” (Phil 2:9; Acts 4:12). This great Name is compared to oil by the Holy Spirit: “Your name is oil poured out” (Sg 1:3). Why? Because, as Saint Bernard explains, just as oil is both light, food and medicine, so the Name of Jesus is light for our minds, food for our hearts, medicine for our souls.
Light for our minds – it was the brilliance of this Name that enabled the world to pass from the shadows of idolatry to the light of faith. We were born in a land whose inhabitants were all pagans before the coming of the Lord. We should have been as they were if He had not come to enlighten us. So how should we not give thanks to Jesus Christ for the gift of faith! (…)
Food for our hearts – this, too, is what the Name of Jesus is. For it calls to our minds all the painful work Jesus accomplished to save us. This is how He comforts us in tribulation, strengthens us to walk along the way of salvation, revives our hope and inflames us with love for our God.
And medicine for our souls – Jesus’ Name makes them strong in the face of temptation and our enemies’ attacks. Do they hear this holy Name? The powers of hell tremble and take to flight. This is what Saint Paul says: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld” (Phil 2:10). No-one who is tempted will fall if he calls on Jesus and so long as he calls, he will persevere and be saved.” – St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and named The Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – Meditations for the Octave of Christmas, no 8

PRAYER Write Your Blessed Name, Upon My Heart
By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

Write Your blessed name,
O Lord,
upon my heart,
there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity,
no adversity shall ever move me
from Your love.
Be to me a strong tower of defence,
a comforter in tribulation,
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble
and a guide to heaven
through the many temptations
and dangers of this life.
Amen

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 17 December – The Cave of Bethlehem

Thought for the Day – 17 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Cave of Bethlehem

“Why, asked Bossuet, should the Eternal Word of God, infinitely and everlastingly happy, have deigned to assume in time, the fallen state of humanity?
Why should He have chosen, as the scene of His miraculous life of love, this insignificant world, a planet almost imperceptible among the myriads of gigantic heavenly bodies?
It was for the very same reason, Bossuet replied, that propmpted Him, once He had become man, to choose as His birthplace, the tiny and unknown village of Nazareth in Galilee rather than Rome, the centre of power, or Athens, the centre of learning, or Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.
Our world is the Nazareth of creation, one of the smallest planets in the firmament.

God did not even choose, moreover, to be born in the poor but comparatively comfortable house at Nazareth.
He preferred to be born in the strange town of Bethlehem.
It was the cradle of His ancestral line but it gave Him no welcome and compelled Him to be born in a cold and squalid barn on the straw of a manger.
God had no need of human grandeur.
His power and majesty shone more brightly through the insignificance of the objects and means which He employed in order to fulfil His purpose.
It would be ridiculous to imagine, even for a moment, that He had any need of human aid in order to accomplish His designs.
God chooses the weak things of the world in order to confound the strong!” (Missale Romanum, Miss. Virg et Mart).

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on THE VOICE OF GOD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

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

Advent Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom ……. – Readings: Genesis 49:28-10Psalms 72:1-23-47-817Matthew 1:1-17

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

O Wisdom
O Sapientia

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia-
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae
.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the Mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things-
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you.” – Genesis 49:8

REFLECTION – “This text appears to be directed to the Patriarch Judah, indeed but more so that later Judah is meant, the true Confessor who was born of that tribe and who alone is praised by His brothers; of them He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers.”
He is the Lord by nature but a brother by grace; His hands, which He stretched out to an unbelieving people, are on the back of His enemies.
For with those same hands and by that same passion, Christ protected His own, subjugated hostile powers and made subject to Himself, all people who were without faith and devotion.
Of these the Father says to His Son, “And you will rule in the midst of your enemies.”
It was their own wickedness that made them enemies, not Christ’s will. In this there is a great gift of the Lord. Previously, spiritual wickedness generally used to make our neck bend to the yoke of captivity. Thus even David wrote that he felt, in some way, the hands of those who triumphed over him, for he said, “Upon my back sinners have wrought.”
But now spiritual wickedness is subject to the triumph of Christ and to His hands, as it were; that is, wickedness undergoes the affliction of captivity, being subject forever in deeds and in works.
And, it is He indeed, to whom the sons of His Father bow down, when we bow down to Him; for he has permitted us to call upon the Father and, to be subject to the Father, is to be subject to virtue.” – St Ambrose (340-397) One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church – (The Patriarchs, 4)

PRAYER – Collect:
O God,
Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
Who willed
that Your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favour on our prayers,
that Your only Begotten Son,
having taken to Himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us
a share in his divinity.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOOD FRIDAY, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, OCTOBER - The HOLY ROSARY, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The 5th Sorrowful Mystery - The CRUCIFIXION, The LAMB of GOD

Thought for the Day – 16 December – The Lamb of God

Thought for the Day – 16 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Lamb of God

“Jesus had only one consolation in the midst of His terrible sufferings.
His mother, Mary was beside the Cross along with His beloved Apostle and the holy women who had always followed Him.
Mary loved her Son with a love greater than that of any mother, which is the greatest love possible on earth.
She loved Jesus with the heart of a Mother and of a Virgin – He was her only treasure.
Moreover, she loved Him, not only as her Son but, also as her God.
Precisely because she loved Him as her God, her love was in perfect harmony with the divine will.

She understood the mystery which led Jesus to accept death on the Cross – the mystery of the Redemption.
“He was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7).
He was offered on our behalf, as a voluntary victim to His heavenly Father.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The HOLY CROSS, The LAMB of GOD, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 16 December – “Are you the one who is to come” … Luke 7:19

Advent Reflection – 16 December – Wednesday of the Third week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25, Psalms 85:9 and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Luke 7:18-23

“Are you the one who is to come” … Luke 7:19

REFLECTION – “The Lord, knowing that without the Gospel nobody’s faith may be complete – for the Sacred Scripture begins from the Old Testament but is brought to fulfilment by the New – does not answer questions about Himself, with words but, by acts. “Go, he says and tell John what you have seen and heard – the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” This testimony is complete because, it is of Him they had prophesied: “The Lord sets prisoners free; the Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord raises up those who are bowed down … The Lord shall reign forever, through all generations!” (Ps 145[146]:7f). These are the signs of a power that is not human but divine …
And yet these are only the least examples of the testimony given by Christ. What makes the fullness of faith is the Lord’s cross, His death, His burial. This is why, after giving the answer we have quoted, He also says: “And blessed is the one who takes no offence at me.” In fact, the cross could have indeed provoked the fall of the Chosen ones but, there is no greater testimony of a divine person, nothing that seems to go further beyond human forces, than this offering of one man for the entire world. Through this only, the Lord reveals Himself fully. Furthermore, this is how John had defined Him: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 5, 99-102

PRAYER – Almighty God, let the splendour of Your glory dawn in our hearts. May the coming of Your only Son dispel all darkness and reveal that we are children of light. By the care and love of Your Mother and ours, may we be ever strong as we carry our own crosses after You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DECEMBER - The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, THEOLOGICAL

Thought for the Day – 12 December – The Theological Virtues of Our Lady

Thought for the Day – 12 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Theological Virtues of Our Lady

“The three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, shone like constellations throughout the life of Mary.
“Blessed is she who has believed” (Lk 1:45), St Elizabeth said of her.
Mary’s life was one long act of faith and of love.
She lived continuously in the presence of God, being united to Him by lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity.
Her spirit of constant prayer was the result of her intense practice of these theological virtues.
When the Archangel Gabriel came down from Heaven, to bring her the tidings of her divine motherhood, he found her absorbed in prayer.
When St Elizabeth praised and called her the Mother of her Lord, Mary, from the depths of her faith, attributed everything to God and glorified Him in her Magnificat.
When the baby Jesus was born in the cave of Bethlehem, she adored Him with faith, hope and love, as her God and future Saviour.
When she realised that Herod was searching for her Son to put Him to death, she placed her confidence in Him.
She fled with Him into Egypt and brought Him back later, to their land, always with the same faith, hope and love.
Her faith and hope were not weakened by the loss of Jesus in Jerusalem, only her mother’s love was disturbed, on this occasion.
When it seemed in that hidden life of Nazareth, that Jesus was leading a life of pointless silence, her faith and hope in Him, did not fade, while her love grew greater from day to day.
In the triumphs and sorrows of His public life, she continued to practice, to an extraordinary degree, these three virtues – on the road to Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, at the removal of Our Lord’s body from the Cross, at the tomb, at the glorious Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost.
At last, when she was alone in this world without Jesus, these three virtues seemed to burn more brightly in her soul.
She thought only of Jesus, hoped in Jesus alone and loved Jesus alone.
Then Jesus rewarded the lively faith, expectant hope and flaming charity of His Mother, for on her assumption into Heaven, these three virtues shared in her triumph and coronation.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DECEMBER - The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, MOTHER of GOD, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Our Morning Offering – 12 December – Mary Immaculate! By St John Damascene

Our Morning Offering – 12 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Readings: Zechariah 2:14-17, Judith 13:18, 19, Luke 1:26-38.

Mary Immaculate!
By St John Damascene (675-749)
Father and Doctor of the Church

Today, the root of Jesse has produced its shoot,
she will bring forth a Divine flower for the world.
Today, the Creator of all things,
God the Word,
composes a new book:
a book issuing from the heart of His Father
and written by the Holy Spirit,
who is the tongue to God.

O daughter of King David and Mother of God,
the universal King.
O Divine and living object
whose beauty has charmed God the Creator;
your whole soul is completely open
to God’s action and attentive to God alone.

All your desires are centred
only on what merits to be sought
and is worthy of love.
You harbour anger only for sin and its author.
You will have a life superior to nature,
but not for your own sake.
For it has not been created for you
but has been entirely consecrated to God,
who has introduced you into the world
to help bring about our salvation
in fulfillment of His plan,
the Incarnation of His Son
and the Divinisation of the human race.

Your heart will find nourishment in the words of God,
like the tree planted near the living waters of the Spirit,
like the tree of life
that has yielded its fruit in due time,
the incarnate God who is the life of all things.

Your ears will be ever attentive to the Divine words
and the sounds of the harp of the Spirit,
through whom the Word has come to take on our flesh.
Your nostrils will inhale the fragrance of the Bridegroom,
the Divine fragrance with which He scented His humanity.

Your lips will savour the words of God
and will rejoice in their Divine sweetness.
Your most pure heart,
free from all stain,
will ever see the God of all purity
and will experience ardent desire for Him.

Your womb will be the abode
of the one whom no place can contain.
Your milk will provide nourishment for God,
in the little Infant Jesus.
Your hands will carry God
and your knees will serve
as a throne for Him
that is more noble
than the throne of the Cherubim.

Your feet, led by the light of the Divine Law,
will follow Him along an undeviating course
and guide you to the possession of the Beloved.

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit,
the city of the living God,
made joyous by abundant flowers,
the sacred flowers of Divine grace.
You are all-beautiful
and very close to God,
above the Cherubim
and higher than the Seraphim,
right near God Himself!

Image Excerpt

O daughter of King David
and Mother of God,
the universal King.
O Divine and living object
whose beauty has charmed God the Creator;
your whole soul is completely open
to God’s action and attentive to God alone.
… Your womb will be the abode
of the one whom no place can contain.
Your milk will provide nourishment for God,
in the little Infant Jesus.
Your hands will carry God
and your knees will serve
as a throne for Him
that is more noble
than the throne of the Cherubim.
… You are the temple of the Holy Spirit,
the city of the living God,
made joyous by abundant flowers,
the sacred flowers of Divine grace.
You are all-beautiful
and very close to God,
above the Cherubim
and higher than the Seraphim,
right near God Himself!
Amen

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, LENTEN THOUGHTS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on SIN, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 11 December – ‘… I want to love You with all my heart.’

Advent Reflection – 11 December – Friday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 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 11:18-19

REFLECTION – “O Fire ever burning,” let us say together with Saint Augustine – “inflame our souls.”
O incarnate Word, You became man to strike in our hearts the fire of divine love, how is it You should find in us such great ingratitude?
You held nothing back to enable us to love You; You went as far as to sacrifice Your blood and Your life.
What is the reason we humans remain unmoved by such great gifts?
Is it because we know nothing about them? Not at all.
People understand and believe, it is for love of them, You came down from heaven to put on human flesh and take on the burden of their woes.
They know it is for love of them, You willed to lead a life of constant suffering and undergo a shameful death.
How explain, after all this, their living in such absolute forgetfulness of Your unequalled kindness?
They love their family, they love their friends, they even love their livestock! … it is for You alone they are without love and without gratitude!
But what am I saying? In accusing others of ungratefulness, I condemn myself since my conduct in Your regard is even worse than theirs.
Nevertheless, Your mercy gives me courage.
I know how long it has borne with me, to forgive me and set me on fire with Your love, if only I am willing to repent and love You.

Oh yes, my God, I want to repent … I want to love You with all my heart.
I well see how my heart … has abandoned You to love the things of this world but I also see how, in spite of this betrayal, You yet claim it as Your own.
And so, with all the strength of my will, I consecrate it and offer it to You. Therefore, be pleased to inflame it wholly with Your holy love and grant, that from now on, it may love no other thing but You …
O my Jesus, I love You, I love You, my sovereign Good!
I love You, sole Love of my soul.

O Mary, my mother, you are the “mother of noble loving” (Sir 24:24 Vg.), grant me the grace of loving my God.
It is from you that I hope to gain it.” – St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) – Bishop and Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – 1st Sermon for the Octave of Christmas

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 Mary Immaculate, our Mother and Advocate be our eternal succour. Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.