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

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

Woe to Me if I do not Preach the Gospel

Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
Priest and Missionary

An excerpt from Letters to Saint Ignatius

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can we too fail!

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

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

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Advent Reflection – 3 December – Proclaiming the Hope of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Season of Advent

Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)
Bishop of Milan

An excerpt from A Pastoral Letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 8:10-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Lives Multiply by Giving Them Away
Fr Henri Nouwen

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

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Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – St Edmund Campion and Bl Charles of Jesus

Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – The Memorial of St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) and Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916) Both Martyrs

“To be a Catholic is my greatest glory.”

St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581)to be a catholic is my only glory st edmunc campion 1 dec 2019.jpg

“In order to save us,
God came to us
and lived among us,
from the Annunciation
to the Ascension,
in a close and familiar way.
God continues to come to us
and to live with us
in a close and familiar way,
each day and at every hour,
in the holy Eucharist.
So we too must go
and live among
our brothers and sisters
in a close and familiar way.”in order to save us god came to us and lived among us - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2019

“Whether our life
be that of Nazareth,
the Public Life
or the Desert…
it should cry the Gospel..”whether our life be that of nazareth - 1 dec 2019 - bl charles de foucauld

“To pray,
is to think about Jesus
and love Him.
The more we love,
the better we pray.”to pray is to think about jesus and to love him - bl charles de foucauld 1 dec 2019

“God who is infinite, all powerful,
has become man,
the least of men.
My way is always to seek the lowest place,
to be as little as my Master,
to walk with Him,
step-by-step as a faithful disciple.
My way, is to live with my God
who lived this way all His life
and, who has given me,
such an example,
from His very birth.

Blessed Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)god who is infinite all powerful has become man - bl charles de foucauld - 1 dec 2019

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One Minute Reflection – 30 November – ‘To carry the Word to all the peripheries!’

One Minute Reflection – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ, Gospel: Matthew 4:18–22

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” … Matthew 4:19

REFLECTION – “The call reaches them in the middle of their daily activity – the Lord reveals Himself to us, not in an extraordinary or impressive way but in the everyday circumstances of our life.   There we must discover the Lord and there, He reveals Himself, makes His love felt in our heart and there — with this dialogue with Him in the everyday circumstances of life — He changes our heart.   The response of the four fishermen is immediate and willing – “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20).   On the shores of the lake, in an inconceivable land, the first community of disciples of Christ was born.   May the knowledge of these beginnings give rise in us to the desire to bear Jesus’ word, love and tenderness in every context, even the most difficult and resistant.   To carry the Word to all the peripheries! … Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 January 2017matthew 4 19 - follow me and I will make you fishers of men - the lord calls them in the middle - 30 nov 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Lord, in Your kindness hear our petitions.   You called Andrew the Apostle, to preach the Gospel and guide Your Church in faith.   May he always be our friend in Your presence, to help us with his prayers.   We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amenst andrew apostle pray for us-30nov2018.jpg

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Thought for the Day – 27 November – What is the surest kind of witness?

Thought for the Day – 27 November – Wednesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:12–19

“But not a hair of your head shall perish.” … Luke 21:9

What is the surest kind of witness?

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church

“You can be a witness to Christ every day.   You were tempted by the spirit of impurity but… you considered that chastity of spirit and body should not be soiled – you are a martyr or, in other words, a witness to Christ…  You were tempted by the spirit of pride but, seeing the poor and needy, you were seized by tender compassion and preferred humility to arrogance – you are a witness to Christ.   Better still – you have not given your witness in word alone but in deed as well.
What is the surest kind of witness?   “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came among us in the flesh” (cf. 1Jn 4,2) and who keeps the commands of the Gospel…  How many there are each day of these hidden martyrs of Christ who confess the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul knew that kind of martyrdom and witness of faith rendered to Christ, he who said:  “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor 1,12).   For how many people have made a confession of faith exteriorly but denied it interiorly!…   So be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so that you may also win the victory in exterior persecutions.   There are “kings and rulers,” judges of formidable power, in the persecutions within, likewise.   You have an example of these in the temptations undergone by our Lord (Mt 4,1ff.)”… (Sermon 20 on Psalm 118)what-is-the-surest-kind-of-witness-st-ambrose-13-july-2019 and 27 nov 2019

“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”

Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyrwhen-i-feel-overwhelmed-by-misfortune-bl-leonid-feodorov-7-march-2019 and 27 nov 2019