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Thought for the day – 6 December – Each is the Administrator of Their Own Grace

Thought for the day – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Matthew 9:27-31 and the Memorial of St Nicholas (270-343)

Each is the Administrator of Their Own Grace

Saint Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662)
Monk and Theologian

Fifth Century on Theology, nos. 34-35, 42, 45

“Each one of us possesses the manifest energy of the Spirit in proportion to the faith within them (cf Rm 12:6).  And so, each is the administrator of their own grace.  Someone, who is well disposed, could never be envious of anything, in the one who is honoured with graces, provided that the disposition towards receiving God’s graces, rests upon him.   What determines that the gifts of God dwell in us, is the measure of each one’s faith.   Because it is to the extent that we believe, that the enthusiasm to act is given us.   And so those who act, reveal the measure of their faith proportionate to their action, they receive their measure of grace according to what they have believed. (…)

By means of the incomplete elevations of the virtues, we make the charisms that have been shared out to us, converge towards their cause, with the help of God, so that, by letting ourselves drift little by little into negligence, we might make our faith blind and sightless, deprived of the lights that the works of the Spirit gives us and may be justly punished for endless ages, for having blinded the divine eyes of faith in ourselves, insofar as it was in our power. (…)

The person who does not fulfil the divine commands of faith, has a faith that is blind.  For if God’s Commands are lights (cf Is 26:9), this means, that whoever does not fulfil the Commands of God, is without divine light.   He leaves the divine call without an answer. He does not really respond to him.”

Nicholas was loved for one reason. He loved.   He loved God and God’s people so much that he would do anything for them.   He was so grateful for the life God had given him that he just couldn’t stop giving joy and hope to others—no matter how far he had to travel or how many roofs he had to climb!

St Nicholas, Pray for Us!st nicholas - pray for us - 5 dec 2017.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

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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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

Posted in ADVENT, ADVENT QUOTES, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The CHRIST CHILD

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us.

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us

This year, as before, I will post daily Advent Reflections drawn from diverse Saints and Holy people – please join me in prayer and in awakening our souls to hope.

advent reflections - o come o come emmnuel - begins 1 dec - posted 28 nov 2019.jpg

Memory Awakens Hope

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI)

In one of his Christmas stories Charles Dickens tells of a man who lost his emotional memory, that is, he lost the whole chain of feelings and thoughts he had acquired in the encounter with human suffering.   This extinction of the memory of love is presented to him as liberation from the burden of the past but it becomes clear, immediately, that the whole person has been changed, now, when he meets with suffering, no memories of kindness are stirred within him…   Since his memory has dried up, the source of kindness within him has also disappeared.   He has become cold and spreads coldness around him.

Goethe deals with the same ideas as Dickens, in his account of the first celebration of the feast of Saint Roch in Bingen, after the long interruption caused by the Napoleonic wars. He observes the people as they press, tightly packed, through the church past the image of the saint and he watches their faces – the faces of the children and the adults are shining, mirroring the joy of the festal day.   But with the young people, Goethe reports, it was otherwise.   They went past unmoved, indifferent, bored.   And he gives an illuminating explanation – they were born in evil times, had nothing good to remember and consequently had nothing to hope for. In other words, it is only the person who has memories who can hope.   The person who has never experienced goodness and kindness simply does not know what such things are.

Recently a counsellor who spends much of his time talking with people on the verge of despair, was speaking in similar terms about his own work, if his client succeeds in recalling a memory of some good experience, he may once again be able to believe in goodness and thus relearn hope, then there is a way out of despair.   Memory and hope are inseparable.   To poison the past does not give hope, it destroys its emotional foundations.

Sometimes Charles Dickens’ story strikes me as a vision of contemporary experience. This man who let himself be robbed of the heart’s memory by the delusion of a false liberation — do we not find him with us today, in a generation whose past has been poisoned by a particular program of liberation that has stifled hope?   When we read of the pessimism with which our young people look toward the future, we ask ourselves, Why?   Is it that, in the midst of material affluence, they have no memory of human goodness that would allow them to hope?   By outlawing the emotions, by satirising joy, have we not trampled on the root of hope?

These reflections bring us straight to the significance of the Christian season of Advent. For Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man.   Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God Who became a Child.   This is a healing memory, it brings hope.   The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.   All the feasts in the Church’s calendar are events of remembrance and hence events of hope.   These events, of such great significance for mankind, which are preserved and opened up by faith’s calendar, are intended to become personal memories of our own life history, through the celebration of holy seasons by means of liturgy and custom.   Our personal memories are nourished by mankind’s great memories, in turn, it is only by translating them into personal term,s that these great memories are kept alive.   Man’s ability to believe always depends in part on faith having become dear on the path of life, on the humanity of God having manifested itself through the humanity of men.   No doubt each of us could tell his own story here as to what the various memories of Christmas, Easter or other festivals mean in his life.

It is the beautiful task of Advent, to awaken in all of us, memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

“Those who run
toward the Lord,
will never lack space…
One who is climbing
never stops,
he moves from
beginning to beginning,
according to beginnings,
that never end.”

St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395)
Brother of St Basil the Greatadvent - those who run toward the Lord - st gregory of Nyssa 28 nov 2019

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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

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on HUMAN DIGNITY, QUOTES on JUSTICE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on VOCATIONS, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day – 25 November – Speaking of: Mercy

Quote/s of the Day – 25 November – Monday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

Speaking of:  Mercy

“What sort of people are we?
When God gives, we want to receive,
when He asks, we refuse to give?
When a poor man is hungry,
Christ is in need, as He said Himself:
“I was hungry and you gave me no food” (v. 42).
Take care not to despise the hardship of the poor,
if you would hope, without fear,
to have your sins forgiven…
What He receives on earth,
He returns in heaven!”matthew-18-35-should-you-not-have-pitty-what-sort-of-people-are-we-st-caesarius-of-arles-26-march-2019 and 25 nov 2019.jpg

“I put you this question, dearly beloved –
what is it you want,
what is it you are looking for,
when you come to church?
What indeed if not mercy?
Show mercy on earth and you will receive mercy in heaven.
A poor man is begging from you
and you are begging from God,
he asks for a scrap, you ask for eternal life…
And so when you come to church
give whatever alms you can to the poor
in accordance with your means.”a-poor-man-is-begging-from-you-st-caesarius-of-arles-26-march-2019-matthew-18-21-35 and 25 nov 2019

“So hold fast to the sweet and salutary bond of love,
without which,
the rich are poor
and with which the poor are rich.
What do the rich possess if not charity? (…)
And since “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) as John the evangelist says,
what can the poor lack,
if they merit to possess God by means of charity? (…)
So love, dearest brethren
and hold fast to charity.
without which no-one
will ever see God.”

Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-543)matthew-5-44-love-your-enemies-so-hold-fast-to-the-sweet-st-caesarius-of-arles-18-june-2019 and 25 nov 2019

“When we attend to the needs of those in want,
we give them what is theirs, not ours.
More than performing works of mercy,
we are paying a debt of justice.”

St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Father of the Fathers”when-we-attend-to-the-needs-of-those-in-want-st-gregory-the-great-3-sept-2019 and 25 nov 2019.jpg

“The poor are our masters,
let us love them and serve them,
as we would serve
Jesus Christ Himself. “

Blessed Vincenza Maria Poloni (1802-1855)the-poor-are-our-masters-bl-vincenza-maria-poloni-11-nov-2019 and 25 nov 2019.jpg

“Yours must be a work of love, of kindness,
you must give your time, your talents, yourselves.
The poor person is a unique person of God’s fashioning
with an inalienable right to respect.
You must not be content with tiding the poor over the poverty crisis,
You must study their condition
and the injustices which brought about such poverty,
with the aim of a long term improvement.”yours must be a work of love of kindeness bl frederic ozanam 25 nov 2019 speaking of mercy.jpg

“It is our vocation to set people’s hearts ablaze,
to do what the Son of God did,
who came to light a fire on earth
in order to set it ablaze with His love.”it-is-our-vocation-bl-frederic-ozanam-9-sept-2019 and 25 nov 2019

“I would like to embrace
the whole world
in a network of charity.”

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853)
“Servant to the Poor”
and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Societyi-would-like-to-embrace-the-whole-world-bl-frederic-ozanam-9-sept-2019 and 25 nov 2019-1.jpg

“True friendship with Jesus
is expressed in how one lives,
in the goodness of one’s heart,
in one’s humility, kindness and mercy,
in one’s love for justice and truth,
in one’s sincere commitment
to peace and reconciliation.
This, we might say, is the ‘identity card’
that qualifies us as true ‘friends,’
it is the ‘passport’
that will let us enter eternal life.”

Pope Benedict XVI
Angelus, 26 August 2007true-friendship-with-jesus-is-expressed-25-aug-2019-the-narrow-door-pope benedict and 25 nov 2019

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on JOY, QUOTES on MISSION, QUOTES on MUSIC/SINGING, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 22 November – Sing to God with Songs of Joy

Thought for the Day – 22 November – The Memorial of St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin Martyr – Patron of Musicians

Sing to God with Songs of Joy

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Discourse on Psalm 32

Praise the Lord with the lyre, make melody to Him with the harp of ten strings!   Sing to Him a new song.   Rid yourself of what is old and worn out, for you know a new song.   A new man, a new covenant—a new song.   This new song does not belong to the old man. Only the new man learns it, the man restored from his fallen condition through the grace of God and now sharing in the new covenant, that is, the kingdom of heaven.   To it all our love now aspires and sings a new song.   Let us sing a new song not with our lips but with our lives.

Sing to Him a new song, sing to Him with joyful melody.   Everyone of us tries to discover how to sing to God.   You must sing to Him but you must sing well.   He does not want your voice to come harshly to His ears, so sing well, brothers!

If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art.   An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you.   Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes?   When will you be able to offer Him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener?

See how He Himself provides you with a way of singing.   Do not search for words, as if you could find a lyric which would give God pleasure.   Sing to Him “with songs of joy.” This is singing well to God, just singing with songs of joy.

But how is this done?   You must first understand that words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart.   Take the case of people singing while harvesting in the fields or in the vineyards or when any other strenuous work is in progress.   Although they begin by giving expression to their happiness in sung words, yet shortly there is a change.   As if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, they discard the restricting syllables.   They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation.   Such a cry of joy is a sound signifying that the heart is bringing to birth what it cannot utter in words.

Now, who is more worthy of such a cry of jubilation than God Himself, whom all words fail to describe?   If words will not serve and yet you must not remain silent, what else can you do but cry out for joy?   Your heart must rejoice beyond words, soaring into an immensity of gladness, unrestrained by syllabic bonds.   Sing to Him with jubilation.

Saint Cecilia, Pray for Us!let us sing a new song not with our lips but with our lives - st cecilia 22 nov 2019.jpg