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Thought for the Day – 20 January – Carrying our Cross – The Royal Road

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

Carrying our Cross – The Royal Road

“There is only one way to become holy and to win Heaven.
This is the way of the Cross.
The Imitation of Christ contains some moving thoughts on the subject of the royal road of the Cross.
We shall summarise them here.

The words of Jesus seem hard to many: “Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.”
But, it would be much harder to hear on the last day those terrible words: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.”
Those who listen now and accept the message of the Cross, need not be afraid of hearing this irrevocable sentence on that day.
Why avoid the way of the Cross if it is the only road which leads to Heaven?
In the Cross there is salvation; in the Cross there is protection from our enemies.
If we carry our cross with submission and love, we shall find peace of soul.
If we intertwine our cross with the Cross of Jesus, we shall obtain energy of mind, joy of spirit and perfect holiness.
If we die on the Cross with Jesus, we shall live with Him in eternal happiness.
If we are His companions in suffering, we shall also be with Him one day in glory (Rom 6:8).

Everything depends on our dying on the Cross with Jesus.
There is no other way to life and to true interior peace but the way of the Holy Cross and of daily mortification (Imitation of Christ, Bk II ch 12).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Quote/s of the Day – 20 January – Our only “Mask”

Quote/s of the Day – 20 January

Our only “Mask

Do not let love and fidelity forsake you,
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then will you win favour and esteem
before God and human beings.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely.
In all your ways be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:3-6

“Whatever you do, do from the heart,
as for the Lord and not for others,
knowing that you will receive
from the Lord
the due payment of the inheritance;
be slaves of the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24

“So then let us cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light. …
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ
and make no provision
for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Romans 13:12,14

“He [Christ], protects their faith
and gives strength to believers,
in proportion to the TRUST,
that each man,
who receives that strength,
is willing to place in Him.”

St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258)
Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church

“Remember God
more often
than you breathe!”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“… There is one Road
and one only,
well secured against all possibility
of going astray
and, this Road is provided
by One Who is Himself
both God and man.
As God, He is the Goal,
as man, He is the Way.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo
Father and Doctor of Grace

“Loving You, O God,
brings its own reward here on earth,
as well as the eternal reward of heaven.
By becoming mirrors of Your love,
by wearing the mask of Your likeness
and by allowing You to make us perfect,
we can know the joy of heaven,
even while we abide here on earth.”

William of St Thierry O.Cist (c 1075 – c 1148)
Cistercian Monk, Mystic, Theologian, Writer

“May He,
Who is the Track of the runners
and the Reward of the winners,
lead and guide you along it –
He, Christ Jesus!”

Bl Guerric of Igny O.Cist (c 1080-1157)
Cistercian Abbot

“Christ is both the way and the door.
Christ is the staircase and the vehicle …”

St Bonaventure (1221-1274)
Seraphic Doctor

“He who wishes for anything but Christ,
does not know what he wishes;
he who asks for anything but Christ,
does not know what he is asking;
he who works and not for Christ,
does not know what he is doing.”

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Transform me into Yourself
By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr

O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.
Above all,
Transform my soul and all it’s powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.
I pray You
To destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
but in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul,
“I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me.
Amen

Posted in JULY - The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on JUSTICE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on VIRTUE, The BEATITUDES, The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, The REDEMPTION

Thought for the Day – 19 January – The Thirst for Justice

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

The Thirst for Justice

“Jesus commands us, in the Beatitudes, to seek justice, that is perfection in the fulfilment of our obligations to God, to ourselves and, to our neighbour.
He commands us, to hunger and thirst for this justice, which is identical with holiness.

When Christ tells us to hunger and thirst for justice, He imposes on us, the obligation of doing our very best to acquire the virtue of Christian justice, which is the sythesis of all the virtues.
We must be aware, therefore, of laziness, apathy, tepidity, or mediocrity, for our advance in spiritual perfection, must be continuous.
There must be no hesitation or backsliding.
The high target which God has set for us, demands hard work and boundless generosity on our part.
Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself entirely for us and shed His Precious Blood to the last drop, for our Redemption.
How can we possibly be niggardly or half-hearted in our relatioas with Him?

Whenever God’s cause is at stake, whether in our efforts to achieve our own spiritual perfection or in the fulfilment of our obliations towards our neighbour, we should never refuse anything but, should display absolute dedication to God and to our fellow-man.
“Let us hunger,” said St Catherine of Siena, “for God’s honour and for the salvation of souls” (Vrev di perfezioe, p81).
The hunger and thirst for justice, nourished by the love of God and of our neighbour, should exclude all mediocrity and selfishness from our lives.
It should urge us on, as it did the Saints, towards the highest pinnacles of sanctity.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CHASTITY, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, The HEART, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – The Spiritual Power of Fasting

Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: Hebrews 5:1-10,Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4, Mark 2:18-22

The Spiritual Power of Fasting

“The days will come,
when the bridegroom is taken away from them
and then they will fast in that day.”

Mark 2:20

“… Now is the time in this life of suffering,
when we journey apart from Him.
… So let us fast and pray now
because, we are in the days of childbirth!”

“Fasting cleanses the soul,
raises the mind,
subjects one’s flesh to the spirit,
renders the heart contrite and humble,
scatters the clouds of concupiscence,
quenches the fire of lust
and kindles the true light of chastity.
Enter again into yourself!”

St Augustine (354-430)
Bishop of Hippo
Father and Doctor of Grace

“Let us offer our souls in sacrifice
by means of fasting.
There is nothing more pleasing
that we can offer to God,
as the psalmist said in prophecy –
A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit,
God does not despise
a bruised and humbled heart.”

St Peter Chrysologus (400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna,
Father & Doctor of the Church

“Let my fasting be based on temperance,
my soul in a state of grace,
my intention solely to please God,
then my efforts will ring true,
fit to enlarge my store of charity.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Bishop of Geneva OFM, Cap.
Doctor Caritatis

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Thought for the Day – 16 January – I Am Not Able

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

I Am Not Able

“Whenever we feel called upon to make some sacrifice for Jesus or, to form some good resolution, how often do we cry: “I am not able!”
It may be a question of praying more fervently, of performing some mortification or, of helping our neighbour spiritually or materially.
Or perhaps, it is a matter of saying a few words of apology or, of encouragement to our neighbour, whom we have previously treated with coldness and selfishness.
Or. it may be something entirely more generous which is demanded; it may be that God is inviting us to renounce ourselves completely and to dedicate ourselves to Him.
Naturally, this requires sacrifice and great generosity of heart.
But we say to Jesus when He calls us: “I cannot, it is too difficult!”
And yet, the Lord says: “You shall make and keep yourselves holy because, I am holy” (Lev 11:44).
“You, therefore, are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
We must not refuse God, Who became man for us in his love and mercy and shed His blood for our redemption!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Part One here:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/09/05/thought-for-the-day-5-september-i-am-not-able/

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Thought for the Day – 15 January – The Two Standards

Thought for the Day – 15 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Two Standards

“Apart from the throngs of the apathetic, we can see today, as in every stage of the history of Christianity, two armies in battle array, the enemies of Christ and His faithful.
Both the forces of good and evil and, the weapons which they have at their disposal, have increased tremendously in modern times.
Between them, there is Christ, “a sign that shall be contradicted,” (Lk 2:34) as Simeon prophesied.
There are those who give themselves completely to Jesus, their abilities, their health, their virginity offered as a sacrifice for a higher ideal and, if necessary, their life’s blood.
But, there are also those, who use every means which progress has provided, such as the press, cinema and television, in order to destroy God’s dominion over human souls.

Evil today, is organised on a vast scale.
Why, then, can we not employ every modern means, in order to diffuse goodness throughout the world?
This may require sacrifice but, we cannot refuse to make sacrifices on behalf of Jesus Christ, Who did not spare Himself for us!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Part One here:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/09/09/thought-for-the-day-9-september-the-two-standards/

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Thought for the Day – 14 January – Those Who Will to be Damned

Thought for the Day – 14 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Those Who Will to be Damned

“Only those who will it themselves, are damned.
God wishes all men to be saved.
It was for this, that He came into the world and shed His Precious Blood.
Moreover, He has given us the means necessary for salvation.
“God our Saviour, wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).

What can be wanting to us, therefore, in order to obtain salvation?
Divine grace is certainly not lacking, for God gives it to us without reserve.
“I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
Nor are we lacking in strength, for, as St Paul says, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
We have the Sacraments, good inspirations and the example of the Saints.
All that we can be deficient in, then, is our own goodwill and co-operation with the grace of God.
We must be prepared to play our part in our own salvation.

Our first thought and purpose, therefore, must be our own salvation.
The treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great price (Cf Mt 13:44-46) are symbols of the Kingdom of God and of everlasting happiness.
We should be prepared to sacrifice everything else, in order to find this treasure an to acquire this pearl!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Part One here:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/08/27/thought-for-the-day-27-august-those-who-will-to-be-damned/

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, SAINT of the DAY, The HEART

One Minute Reflection – 13 January – He heals without charge!

One Minute Reflection – 13 January – Readings: Hebrews 2:14-18, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:29-39 and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church and Blessed

That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick, or oppressed by demons. – Mark 1:32

REFLECTION – “Let us set before our interior consideration someone gravely wounded who is about to breathe his last. … Now, the soul’s wound is sin, of which Scripture speaks in these terms: “Wound and welt and gaping gash, not drained or bandaged or eased with salve” (Is 1:6). Oh you who are wounded, recognise your physician within you and show Him the wounds of your sins. May He understand your heart’s groaning Who already knows its secret thoughts. May your tears move Him. Go as far as a little shamelessness in your beseeching (cf. Lk 11:8). Ceaselessly bring forth deep sighs to Him from the depth of your heart.

May your grief reach Him so that He may say to you also : “The Lord has pardoned your sin” (2 Sam 12:13). Cry out with David, who said: “Have mercy on me, O God, in (…) the greatness of your compassion” (Ps 50[51]:3). It is as though one were to say: “I am in great danger because of an enormous wound, that no doctor can cure, unless the all-powerful Physician comes to help me.” For this all-powerful Physician, nothing is incurable. He heals without charge! With one word He restores to health! I would have despaired of my wound were it not, that I placed my trust in the Almighty.” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Psalm 50[51]

PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Hilary and Bl Veronica were shining examples to us all, grant, we pray, that their prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

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Thought for the Day – 11 January – The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian

Thought for the Day – 11 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian

“This exalted dignity carries with it grave obligations.
The most important is to avoid sin.
Who could dare to take the Crucifix and fling it in the mud?
“You are the body of Christ,” St Paul tells us, “member for member” (Cf 1 Cor 12:27).
A man who surrenders himself to sin, therefore, throws the body of Christ into the mud and profanes the temple of the Holy Spirit.
If we sincerely appreciate our dignity as Christians, we cannot possibly give way to sin and destroy, in ourselves, the great work of the Redemption of Christ.
We should, moreover, practise virtue.
We should live in and for Jesus, like St Paul, who said, “For to me to live is Christ … ” (Phil 1:21).
Everyday, we must travel further along the difficult road of self-denial and love.
We must keep going forward, higher and higher towards the summit of perfection.
“You are to be perfect,” Jesus tells us, “even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
Even this is not enough, however!
A genuine Christian is not satisfied with avoiding sin and sanctifying himself but, he tries, by every means at his disposal, by word, action, good example and sacrifice, to spread the Kingdom of Christ among his fellow-men.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Part One of ‘The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian’ here:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/04/29/thought-for-the-day-29-april-the-dignity-and-responsibility-of-being-a-christian/

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Thought for the Day – 9 January – “Lord, that I May See!”

Thought for the Day – 9 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

“Lord, that I May See!”

“Spiritually, we are all blind to a greater or lesser extent.
Do we understand the infinite truth, beauty and goodness of God, in Whom our true happiness consists?
Do we understand the emptiness of the world, despite the glory of its transient beauty, which can never satisfy our hearts?
Do we understand our own nothingness and our dependence on God for light and grace?
If we understood all this, then the scales of our spiritual blindness would fall from our eyes.
Our faith would be even purer and more heartfelt than that of the poor blind man of Jericho.
If we do not possess this lively faith and our eyes are dazzled by the glittering vanities of the world, let us turn to Jesus and beseech Him: “Lord, that I may see!”
Only the light which comes from You is the true light which illumines every man who comes into this world (Jn 1:9).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Quote/s of the Day – 9 January – Run, … do not stay asleep

Quote/s of the Day – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany

“He must increase
but I must decrease.”

John 3:30

“Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips
and the world in your heart.”

St Ignatius of Antioch (37-105)
Bishop & Martyr

“You hide your heart from man –
hide it from God if you can.
… Where will you go?
Where will you flee?
Do you want to hear some advice?
If you want to flee from Him – flee to Him.
Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him, by hiding,
for you cannot hide but you can Confess.
Tell Him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32[31]:7)
and let there be nursed in yo,
the love that alone leads to life.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

“If we would God discern
The world we must despise,
His love and hate must learn,
See all things with His eyes.
And we must self forgo
If God we would attain,
His grace must in us grow
And ease us from all pain.
So shall we sing His praise
And be at one with Him,
In peace our voices raise
In the celestial hymn,
That with quadruple harmony
And all mellifluous melody,
In Heaven resounds eternally.”

Bl Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381)

Embrace, then, Jesus crucified,
raising to Him the eyes of your desire!
Consider His burning love for you,
which made Jesus pour out His blood
from every part of His body!
Embrace Jesus crucified,
loving and beloved and in Him,
you will find true life because He is God made man.
Let your heart and your soul burn
with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross!
… You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus!
Run, … do not stay asleep
because time flies and does not wait one moment!
Dwell in God’s sweet love!”

St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380)
Doctor of the Church

“Without the Way, there is no going,
Without the Truth, there is no knowing,
Without the Life, there is no living.”

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

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One Minute Reflection – 9 January – “He must increase but I must decrease.” John 3:30

One Minute Reflection – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 5:14-21, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4,5 and 6 and 9, John 3:22-30

“He must increase but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

REFLECTION – “He must increase but I must decrease.” In John, human righteousness had reached the highest level that man could attain. Truth itself (Jn 14:6) said: “Among men, there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (cf. Mt 11:11); so no man could have surpassed him. But he was only a man, whereas Jesus Christ, was man and God. And since, according to Christian grace, we are asked (…) not to boast about ourselves but “whoever boasts let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17), …, that is the reason John cried out: “He must increase but I must decrease.” To be sure, God is neither decreased nor increased in Himself. But for ourselves, to the extent that a true spiritual life develops, divine grace increases and human importance decreases until the temple of God, which is made up of all the members of the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:16), reaches it’s perfection, all domination, authority and importance have died and God has become “all in all” (cf. Col 1:16; 1 Cor 15:28). …
“The Word was the true light which enlightens everyone coming into this world, … from his fullness we have all received” (Jn 1:9.16). In itself, the light is always total light, however, it increases in one who is enlightened and diminishes when, what is without God in that person, is destroyed. For without God, we can only sin and this human power decreases, when divine grace overcomes and destroys the sin. The weakness of the creature gives way to the power of the Creator and the vanity of our egoism melts before the love that fills the universe. From the depths of our distress, John the Baptist acclaims the mercy of Christ: “He must increase and I must decrease.”St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace Sermon for the birth of John the Baptist;

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, through Christ, Your Son, You made of us a new creation. Shape us then, in His likeness, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, since in Him, our human nature now lives with You. Lord God, let the Blessed Virgin the Mother of Your Divine Son and our mother, ever commend us to Your love and care. May her charity and wisdom inspire us to treasure Your teaching and express it in our lives. Through our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.

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Thought for the Day – 7 January – Merit and the Love of God

Thought for the Day – 7 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Merit and the Love of God

“The more we know, writes St Catherine of Siena, the more we love and the more we love, the more we receive.
Our merit, she concludes, increases in accordance with the measure of our love (Dialogues, c 131).
We tend to judge men on the strength of their achievements and to judge ourselves, according to the degree of success which we have attained.
Our standards could hardly be more false.
How much soever each one is in Thy eyes,” the author of The Imitation of Christ cries out to God in the words of St Francis, “so much is he and no more” (Bk III, c 50).

It is not success which counts with God and still less, human esteem.
What matters with God, is our intention of pleasing Him and of working for His glory, from the motive of pure love.
If we are successful in our work, let us praise God.
If we are unsuccessful, let us thank Him, just the same.
Our merit is commensurate with our love for God.
If we love Him very much, we shall work hard and make sacrifices for His sake.
We must work to satisfy God alone, however and not, for ourselves.
If we work for any other purpose, all our labour is wasted.
We sow abundantly and reap little or nothing.
God alone matters.
If we work only for Him, we shall be blessed by Him and shall reap the fruits of everlasting life.
Amen!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES for the NEW YEAR, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 January – Shine like that star – St Pope Leo the Great

One Minute Reflection – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 3:22 – 4:6, Psalms 2:7-8, 10-12, Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25 and the Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law”

“ …the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and for those, who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.”…Matthew 4:16

REFLECTION – “All these things we know to have taken place ever since the three wise men, aroused in their far-off land, were led by a star to recognise and worship the King of heaven and earth.
The responsiveness of that star exhorts us to imitate it’s obedience and, as much as we can, to make ourselves servants of that grace which invites us all to Christ.
For, whoever lives religiously and chastely in the Church and “sets his mind on the things which are above, not on the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2) resembles that heavenly light in a certain sense.
So long as he maintains in himself the brightness of a holy life, he points out to many, like a star, the way that leads to God.
All having this concern, dearly-beloved… you will shine in the Kingdom like children of light.”… St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church

PRAYER – Lord, may the radiance of Your glory, light up our hearts and bring us through the shadows of this world, until we reach our homeland of everlasting light. Grant we pray, that by the intercession of St Raymond of Peñafort , our way may be smoothed and our troubles eased. We ask this through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

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Our Morning Offering – 7 January – O Child, So Worthy of Our Love, I Offer You My Heart

Our Morning Offering – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany

O Child, So Worthy of Our Love,
I Offer You My Heart
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

O Child so worthy of our love,
I see You lying on the straw in this cave,
so poor and despised.
Yet faith teaches me, that You are my God
come down from heaven for my salvation.
I acknowledge You as my Sovereign Lord and Saviour,
as such I proclaim You,
yet, I have nothing at all to offer You.
I am without love’s gold,
since I have given my love to the things of this world –
I have only loved my own whim, rather than loving You,
so infinitely worthy of love.
I am without prayer’s incense,
since I have lived wretchedly without thinking of You.
I have no myrrh of mortification since,
so as not to forsake some paltry pleasures,
I have so often saddened Your infinite goodness.
So what am I to offer You?
O my Jesus, I offer You my heart, soiled and naked as it is.
Take it and change it, for You have come down to us
to wash our guilty hearts with Your blood
and so transform us from sinners into saints.
O grant me that gold, incense and myrrh that I lack.
Grant me the gold of Your holy love;
grant me the incense that is the spirit of prayer;
grant me myrrh,
the willingness and strength to deny myself
in all that displeases You…
O holy Virgin, you welcomed those devout magi kings
with keen affection and satisfied them.
Deign to welcome and comfort me also,
I who come, following their example,
to visit and offer myself to your Son
Amen

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Thought for the Day – 6 January –

Thought for the Day – 6 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

The Epiphany

It was love which inspired the Magi.
Love sustained them on their journey and made them fall prostrate in adoration before the Infant Jesus.
Even before they offered Him material gifts, they offered Him, their hearts!
As a reward for their faith and charity, God showered his graces upon them and an immense supernatural joy pervaded their souls.
In that moment of adoration, they received the highest possible reward for their hardships and perseverance.
With deep interior joy, they gave Jesus their hearts and never withdrew them.
A pious tradition maintains, that they apostles and Saints and, in fact, the Church venerates them as such, today.

We should follow the example of the Magi and promise, before the cradle of the Infant Saviour, that we shall face any sacrifices, even death, rather than offend Him and shall work, in every way possible, for His glory and our sanctification.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 2 January – “Now I begin”…

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday and The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390), Readings: 1 John 2:22-28Psalms 98:12-3,3-4John 1:19-28

He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” … 1 John 2:23

REFLECTION“Prepare a way for the Lord.” Brethren, however far you journey along it… from the very nature of goodness, there is no limit to the way along which you travel. And so… the wise and indefatigable traveller… can say to himself each day: “Now I begin”… And how many “go astray in the wilderness”… None of them can yet say: “Now I begin.”

For “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” If the beginning of wisdom, then surely it is also the beginning of the way of goodness… It is this that encourages praise…, it also moves the proud to penance, so that they hear the voice of him crying in the wilderness, ordering the preparation of the way and thus showing how to begin it: “Do penance for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”…

If you are on the way, then fear only one thing, lest you leave it, lest you offend the Lord who leads you along it, so that He would abandon you to “wander in the way of your own heart”… If you feel that the way is too narrow look forward to the end to which it leads you. If you were to see how everything is to be attained, then you would say without hesitation: “Broad indeed is your command!” If you cannot see so far, believe Isaiah who could… “Behold,” he says, “the redeemed shall walk by this way and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads . They shall obtain also joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Those who dwell sufficiently on this end, I think, will not only make the way easier for himself but also grow wings, so that he no longer walks but flies… May He, who is the track of the runners and the reward of the winners, lead and guide you along it – He, Christ Jesus!” … Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot – 5th sermon of Advent, SC 166

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love, let Your light penetrate the wilderness in our hearts. May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace. God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love. Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

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My Wishes to You All for a Blessed and Grace-filled 2021

My Wishes to You All
for a Blessed and Grace-filled 2021

Do not let love and fidelity forsake you,
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then will you win favour and esteem
before God and human beings.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely.
In all your ways be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:3-6

“We implore You,
O All-Holy, Long-Suffering
Life and Restoration,
Source of goodness,
look down from heaven
and visit all those
who ever trust in You;
rescue our life, Lord,
from all constraint and affliction,
and, in the faith of truth, guide us all.
At the prayers of the
Immaculate Mother of God and Virgin,
Save your world
and those in the world
and spare us all,
You who, for us,
became man without change,
only Lover of mankind.”

St Romanos the Melodios (c 490-c 556)

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Thought for the Day – 30 December – Following Jesus

Thought for the Day – 30 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Following Jesus

“When we have renounced ourselves and have embraced our cross with resignation and love, we must follow Jesus.
We must follow Him in a special way as the infallible Teacher of truth.
The teachings of men cannot satisfy our intellects.
Still less, can they satisfy our hearts.
What they teach is either incomplete or false.
This is proved by the fact that the doctrines of mean have succeeded and replaced one another, down through the centuries while “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25).

The teaching of Christ produces an extraordinary renovation in the individual, in the family and in society.
It is this renewal which we call Christianity and Christian civilisation.
There is a wide chasm between paganism and Christianity.
This gulf would be even wider, only for the fact that Christianity has not yet been fully put into practice throughout the universe.
There is only one reform necessary.
This is to realise the Christian ideal everywhere.
We must begin by carrying it out ourselves.
Let us follow Jesus, Who is saying to us: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). “He who follows Me does not walk in darkness” (Jn 8:12).

Let us follow our divine Master and we shall be sure that we are travelling towards Heaven!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 28 December – “The servant is not greater than his lord”

One Minute Reflection – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents – The Fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 1:5-2:2, Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8, Matthew 2:13-18

When Herod realised that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. – Matthew 2:16

REFLECTION – “The Apostle John said: “Whoever says he abides in Christ, ought to walk even as Christ walked” (1 Jn 2:6). Moreover, the blessed Apostle Paul exhorts and teaches us, saying: “We are God’s children but if children, then heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him that we may also be glorified together” (Rm 8:16f.) … Let us, beloved brethren, imitate righteous Abel, who initiated martyrdom, he being the first to be slain for righteousness’s sake (Gn 4:8) …; let us imitate the three children Ananias, Azarias and Misael, who … overcame the king by the power of faith (Dn 3) … What of the prophets whom the Holy Spirit quickened to a foreknowledge of future events? What of the Apostles whom the Lord chose? Since these righteous men were slain for righteousness’ sake, have they not taught us also to die?

The nativity of Christ at once witnessed the martyrdom of infants, so that they who were two years old and under were slain for His name’s sake. An age, not yet fitted for the battle, appeared fit for the crown. That it might be manifest that they who are slain for Christ’s sake are innocent, innocent infancy was put to death for His name’s sake … How grave is the case of a Christian, if he, a servant, is unwilling to suffer when his Master first suffered! … The Son of God suffered that He might make us sons of God and the son of man will not suffer that he may continue to be a son of God! … The Maker and Lord of the world also warns us, saying: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own but because you are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world … remember the word that I said to you: “The servant is not greater than his lord” (Jn 15:18-20).” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c.200-258) Martyr, Bishop of Carthage, Father of the Church – Letter 55

PRAYER – We praise You, O God, we acclaim You as Lord, the white-robed army of martyrs praise You. (from the Te Deum).

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Thought for the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved

St John the Apostle and Evangelist

“St John was the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ.
He was allowed, along with St Peter and St James, to enjoy the glory of the Transfiguration and, he was invited with them into the Garden of Gethsemane to witness the agonu ofour divine Redeemer.
In the Cenacle, moreover, after he had received the Blessed Eucharist, he was the only one of the Apostles privileged to rest his head on the breast of Jesus.
He stood at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary and heard his Master entrust to him, with His dying breath, the most precious treasure which still remained to Him on earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Son, behold thy Mother.”

It is true, that Jesus loved all His Apostles, to all of whom He granted the happiness of enjoying His company, listening to His teaching and witnessing, His miracles.
Even so, He had a special affection for St John.
This was because John was a virgin when Jesus called him and remained so, all his life.
The state of virginity is especially pleasing to God.
It makes us like the Angels and, in a sense, superior to them, since these pure spirits are naturally chaste and, we can only succeed in being so, by means of great self-control.
“Blessed are the pure of heart,” says Jesaus in the Gospel, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).

The privilege of the vision of God is attributed, in a special way, to the pure of heart.
Therefore, St John, the virgin Apostle, begins his Gospel with a descriptio of the intimate life of the eternal God.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word, was God” (Jn 1:1).
He soars above the earth like an eagle, as St Jerome observes and penetrates into the presence of God Himself.

We know that we shall never be called to scale such heights.
We may not even have a vocation to live as virgins.
But, we are all required to be clean of heart.
Purity is a virtue which all Christians should possess in whatever manner is appropriate to their position in life.
Let us examine ourselves strictly on this matter and make suitable resolutions for the future.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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

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

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 tech 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

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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

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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

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Quote of the Day – Saturday of Advent – 19 December – Prepare

Quote of the Day – Saturday of Advent – 19 December

“I speak out in order to lead Him
into your hearts
but He does not choose to come
where I lead Him,
unless you prepare the way for Him.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Unreasoning and stupid
that you look for God where He is not!
Listen and be filled with awe –
God is in our hearts, I know it.
God lives in the human heart
when this heart lives withdrawn
from all that is not Him,
when this heart heeds God’s knock
at it’s door (Rv 3,20) and,
sweeping and cleaning all its rooms,
makes itself ready to welcome Him
who alone truly satisfies.”

Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

Spanish Trappist monk (Spiritual writings)

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Thought for the Day – 11 December – Christ’s Work in Us

Thought for the Day – 11 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Christ’s Work in Us

“It is not enough that Jesus live in us ; He must increase and act in us continually.
The Spiritual life is like natural life.
It cannot stop, for to halt would mean death!
If Jesus is our life, He should live in us with ever-increasing intensity.
Life is like a stairway, we are either going up or coming down.

If we continue to climb energetically towards Jesus, we shall be coming nearer to Christian perfection.
If, on the other hand, we halt, the supernatural life of Jesus in us, will begin to weaken.
Tepedity will replace fervour and sin will succeed tepidity.
It is difficult to remain unchanged because, life involves movement.
‘Jesus Christ,” writes St Augustine, “was born a baby but, He did not remain one. He grew to boyhood, to adolescence and then, to maturity.”

It is necessary for us to grow also.
More precisely, it is necessary that Jesus grow continuously in us through faith, charity and good works.
“Court the good,” admonishes St Paul, “from a good motive always … until Christ is formed in you” (Gal 4:18-19).

It is not enough that Christ be born in us, it is necessary that He increase to the fullness of perfection (Cf Eph 4:13-16).
“Jesus increases daily,” writes Origen, “in the soul of the holy and just man, which mirror His grace, His wisdom and His sanctity. In the soul of the unfortunate sinner, however, Christ decreases and dies.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Quote/s of the Day – 11 December – “May We Love Only You”

Quote/s of the Day – 11 December – Friday of the Second week of Advent

“May We Love Only You”

“Stay with us, for it is nearly evening
and the day is almost over.”

Luke 24:29

“You hide your heart from man –
hide it from God if you can.
… Where will you go?
Where will you flee?
Do you want to hear some advice?
If you want to flee from Him – flee to Him.
Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him, by hiding,
for you cannot hide but you can Confess.
Tell Him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32[31]:7)
and let there be nursed in yo,
the love that alone leads to life.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

May We Love Only You
By St Columban (543-615)

Loving Saviour,
be pleased to show Yourself to us who knock,
so that in knowing You,
we may love only You,
love You alone,
desire You alone,
contemplate only You, day and night
and always think of You.
Inspire in us the depth of love
that is fitting for You to receive as God.
So may Your love pervade our whole being,
possess us completely
and fill all our senses,
that we may know no other love
but love for You,
Who are everlasting.
May our love be so great,
that the many waters of sky, land and sea
cannot extinguish it in us –
many waters could not extinguish love.
May this saying be fulfilled
in us also, at least in part,
by Your gift,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen

“How good and pleasant it is
to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!
Who is there who does not love a heart so wounded?
Who can refuse a return of love
to a Heart so loving?
Amen.”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor

“Who could ever soften this heart of mine
but YOU alone O Lord!”

St Francis Borgia (1510-1572)

“Christ first of all,
Christ in the centre of the heart,
in the centre of history
and of the cosmos.
Humanity needs Christ intensely
because, He is our “measure.”
There is no realm,
that cannot be touched
by His strength;
there is no evil,
that cannot find remedy in Him,
there is no problem,
that cannot be solved in Him.
Either Christ or nothing!”

St John Leonardi (1541-1609)

“During the night
we must wait
for the light.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of Charity

“Only God fills the soul and fills it wholly.
Let scientists go on asking – Where is God?
He is where those clever ones,
arrogant in their knowledge, cannot reach.”

Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

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Advent Reflection – 10 December – Let us fulfil what is right and holy!

Advent Reflection – 10 December – Thursday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 41:13-20Psalms 145:1 and 9,10-1112-13Matthew 11:11-15 and the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto

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

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might
. – Psalm 145:10-11

REFLECTION – “My children, eternal life is being offered to us, the kingdom of heaven is made ready and Christ’s inheritance awaits us – the enjoyment of innumerable and unimaginable blessings, the happiness of a great joy and of immortality, glory and honour without measure and all the other blessings in such great number, that human language is not sufficient to make known its grace and mercy (cf. Wsd. 3:9)!
So let us run from now on with increased energy and above all you, lazy, recalcitrant, dull of heart, friends of murmuring who, unless you improve, are like the cursed fig tree. We surround it with manure (cf. Lk 13:8) and it takes no root at all, we water you with words and not a bit of growth results! “Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees” (Lk 3:9) and I will silence the rest. Let us seek out the fight, bravely pour with our sweat, adorn ourselves with crowns, gain praises and gather up like a treasure “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart” (1 Cor 2:9).

Let us rule our lives by that of our fathers, that which goes back to the origin, let us follow in the footsteps of their virtues, love their upright deeds, make of our way of life an image of their own. (…) Yes, let us work together with them! Let us act with them! Let us follow in their footsteps! Yes! Let us, too, fulfil what is right and holy! In this way we will share in their glory, we will be crowned and, together with them, exult in the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom belongs the glory and the power, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Catechesis 72 (from the Great Cathecheses)

PRAYER – O God, You willed that, at the message of an angel, Your word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant to Your suppliant people, that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with You. Through the same Christ our Lord.

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Thought for the Day – 9 December – THE SALVATION OF SOULS

Thought for the Day – 9 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

THE SALVATION OF SOULS

“If you still belong to the category of those who desire to be good and virtuous, remember that your obligations do not stop at this.
You are obliged to work as hard as possible, for the return of sinners to the fold and for the reawakening of the faith of the indifferent.

A man who really loves God, cannot remain inactive when he witnesses the desertion of so many of his fellow-men, the corruption of public and private morals and the continuous insults offered to the Creator of the human race.
ANYONE WHO REMAINS INACTIVE BECOMES AN ACCOMPLISH!

Everyone is obliged to do his best to prevent the spread of such errors and evils.
Do NOT make the excuse that there is very little which you can do.
Although the resources of those who are still faithful, may be individually insignificant, they become, when combined, an irresistible force.

Remember that you have three invincible weaponsprayer, mortification and sacrifice.
These are the weapons which can and should be employed in order to convert the world and to establuish the Kingdom of God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Advent Reflection – 9 December – ‘… We do not seek joy elsewhere than in Jesus …’

Advent Reflection – 9 December – Wednesday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 40:25-31Psalms 103:1-23-4,8 and 10Matthew 11:28-30

Come Lord Jesus, come.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves…” … Matthew 11:29

REFLECTION – “Dearest sister in Jesus. I, Catherine, servant of the servants of Jesus, write to you in His Precious Blood, wishing only that you feed yourself with God’s love and nourish yourself with it, as at a mother’s breast. Nobody, in fact, can live without this milk!
Who possesses God’s love, finds so much joy that every bitterness transforms itself into sweetness and that every great weight becomes light. One must not be astonished because living in charity you live in God – “God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him”(1 John 4:16)
Thus, living in God, you can have no bitterness because God is delight, gentleness and never-ending joy!
This is why God’s friends are always happy! Even if we are sick, poor, grieved, troubled, persecuted, we are always joyful.
… We do not seek joy elsewhere than in Jesus and we avoid any glory which is not that of the Cross.
Embrace, then, Jesus crucified, raising to Him the eyes of your desire! Consider His burning love for you, which made Jesus pour out His blood from every part of His body!
Embrace Jesus crucified, loving and beloved and in Him you will find true life because He is God made man. Let your heart and your soul burn with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross!
You must, then, become love, looking at God’s love who loved you so much not because He had any obligation towards you but out of pure gift, urged only by His ineffable love.
You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! As if you were drunken with Love, it will no longer matter whether you are alone or in company – do not think about many things but only about finding Jesus and following Him!
Run, Bartolomea, do not stay asleep, because time flies and does not wait one moment!
Dwell in God’s sweet love.
Sweet Jesus, Jesus love.” … St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) – Doctor of the Church – From the “Letters” (letter no. 165 to Bartolomea, wife of Salviato of Lucca).

Prayer – Almighty and merciful God, let neither our daily work nor the cares of this life, prevent us from hastening to meet Your Son. Lord, make straight the winding ways within us. Draw us to repent! Enlighten us with Your wisdom and lead us into His company, that we may love Him and do homage to Him. Amen