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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

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CARMELITES, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on HAPPINESS, QUOTES on JOY, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

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

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

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘O Church, true Spouse…’

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph … Matthew 1:18

Saint Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 146, on Mt 1:18

“His mother, Mary, was betrothed.”   It should have been enough to say:  Mary was betrothed.   What can a betrothed mother mean?   If she is a mother then she isn’t betrothed, if she is betrothed, then she isn’t yet a mother!   “His mother, Mary, was betrothed” – betrothed by virginity, mother by fecundity.   This was a mother without experience of a man but who yet experienced motherhood.   How could she not be a mother before she had conceived who, after giving birth, remains both virgin and mother?   When was she not a mother, she who is about to conceive Him, who set in motion, the time that gives things their beginning?

Why was the mystery of heavenly innocence given to a betrothed girl and not to a virgin who was still free?   Why did a fiancé’s jealousy put his betrothed in peril?   Why should such great virtue appear to be sin or salvation to be eternal danger?…   What mystery exercises us in all this, my brethren?   There is not a stroke, a letter, a syllable, a word, a name, a person in all the Gospel that is empty of Divine significance.

A betrothed girl was chosen that the Church, Christ’s betrothed, might also be signified according to the word of the prophet Hosea:  “I will betroth you to me in right and justice, in love and mercy;  I will betroth you in fidelity” (Hos 2:21-22).   That is why John said: “The one who has the bride is the Bridegroom” (Jn 3:29).   And Saint Paul:  “I betrothed you to one Spouse to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

O Church, true spouse, who through the virginal birth [of baptism] conceives a new infancy from Christ!o church true spouse - st peter chrysologus 18 dec 2019.jpg