Our Morning Offering – 11 January – Sixth Day within the Octave of Epiphany
O Adorable Infant By St Alphonsus de Liguori
O Adorable Infant I should not dare to present myself before Thee, did I not know that Thou, Thyself invitest me to approach Thee. It is I, by my sins, who made Thee shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem but since Thou art come upon earth. to pardon penitent sinners, vouchsafe to pardon me. I sincerely repent of having despised Thee, my Lord and my God, Who art so good and hast loved me so much. Thy grace that I ask, is that I may love Thee henceforth, with all my heart. Inflame my soul entirely with Thy Holy Love. I love Thee, O my God, Who hast become an Infant for me. Grant that I may never cease to love Thee O Mary, my Mother! thou art all-powerful by yhy prayers; I ask but one favour of Thee, namely, that Thou wilt pray to Jesus for me. Amen.
Our Morning Offering – 10 January – The Fifth 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 which I lack. Grant me the Gold of Your Holy Love; grant me the Incense which 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.
Quote of the Day – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany
“The Epiphany” By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
To blaze the rising of this glorious sun A glittering star appeareth in the east Whose sight to pilgrim toil three sages won To seek the light they long had in request, And by this star to nobler star they pace Whose arms did their desired sun embrace.
Still was the sky wherein these planets shined And want the cloud that did eclipse their rays, Yet through this cloud their passage they did find, And pierced these sages’ hearts by secret ways, Which made them know, the Ruler of the skies By Infant tongue and looks of babish eyes.
Heaven at her light, earth blusheth at her pride And of their pomp these peers ashamed be, Their crowns, their robes, their train they set aside When God’s poor cottage, clouts and crew they see, All glorious things their glory now despise Since God contempt doth more than glory prize.
Three gifts they bring, three gifts they bear away, For Incense, Myrrh and Gold, Faith, Hope and Love And with their gifts the givers’ hearts do stay, Their mind from Christ, no parting can remove, His humble state, His stall, His poor retinue They fancy more than all their rich revenue.
One Minute Reflection – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany, Readings:1 John 5: 5-13; Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20; Gospel: Luke 5: 12-16
“Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him” … Luke 5:13
REFLECTION – “Christ said when He came into the world: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire but a body you prepared for me … Then I said: Behold I come to do your will’ ” (Heb 10:5.7; Ps 40:7-9 LXX). Can it be true that God wanted to become man to save us from our wretchedness … and conquer our love? Yes, it is so true that it is an article of faith: “Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven… and was made man” (Creed) … Yes, this is what God has done, so to be loved by us! … This is how He wanted to make known the immensity of His love for us: “the grace of God our saviour has appeared to all” (Ti 2:11). It is, as though, our Lord said: “Man does not love Me because he cannot see Me, I am going to make Myself visible and talk to him, in that way I shall surely make Myself loved”: “He has appeared on earth and spoken with us” (cf. Bar 3:38).
God’s love for humankind is vast, vast from all eternity: “with age-old love I have loved you; so in mercy I have drawn you to myself” (cf. Jer 31:3). But we have not yet seen how great and incomprehensible He is. When the Son of God was seen in the form of a child, lying on the straw in a stable, then He was made known indeed: “the kindness and generous love of God our saviour appeared” (Ti 3:4). As Saint Bernard observed: “The creation of the world made God’s power shine out, the ordering of the world, His wisdom but the Incarnation of the Word, caused His mercy to break forth in the sight of all.” …
“By showing disdain towards God,” Saint Fulgentius said, “man was separated from Him forever and, since man could no longer return to God, God deigned to come to find him on earth.” And as Saint Augustine had already said: “We were unable to go to the Doctor, therefore, the Doctor had the graciousness, to come to us.” … St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) – Bishop and Doctor of the Church – 1st address for the Octave of Christmas.
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, by the guidance of a star, You revealed the Birth of the Saviour of the world. Open our minds and hearts to that revelation and may it bear fruit in our lives. May Your nearness, be understood in our hearts and minds, ‘may the Lord Jesus touch our eyes, as He did those of the blind and may the prayers of His Blessed Mother Mary and ours, grant us strength on our journey. We make our prayer, through Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Madonna delle Grazie / Our Lady of Grace, Costa Folgaria, Italy (1588) – 7 January, 8 September:
Brother Pietro Dal Dosso di Folgaria – a young Hermit Friar of the Order, Saint Jerome of Vicenza – was inspired directly by the Virgin Mary into building a small Church in her honour on the Echen Peak during the second half of the 16th century. Obediently, the Friar began his work and built a small Chapel, occupying what is now the Apse of the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie. In the 17th Century, the Magnifica Comunità di Folgaria expanded the small building and endowed it with a Bell Tower (1662). The Sanctuary currently hosts the miraculous Madonna, which was declared Holy Patron of Skiers by Papal Decree. The Terracotta statue of the Virgin Mary dates to the second half of the 16th century and is venerated by thousands of believers, who hold an ancient feast – as well as a solemn procession – on the 8th of September every year, when the Statue is carried by ski instructors. All along its age-old history, the Sanctuary of Echen has always been a pilgrimage destination and numerous faithful have put up their own votive offers for graces received in the small Church. The Sanctuary is approximately 2 km away from Folgaria, near the hamlet of Costa and can be easily reached on foot after an easy walk. I am not sure why this Title is listed for today, 7 January but there must be a good reason.
St Aldric of Le Mans Bl Ambrose Fernandez St Anastasius of Sens St Brannock of Braunton St Candida of Greece St Canute Lavard St Cedd St Clerus of Antioch St Crispin I of Pavia St Cronan Beg St Emilian of Saujon St Felix of Heraclea Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom St Januarius of Heraclea St Julian of Cagliari St Kentigerna
St Lucian of Antioch Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze Blessed Matthew of Agrigento OFM (1377-1450) “Apostle of the Holy Name of Jesus,” Franciscan Priest and Friar, Bishop, Missdionary Preacher often with St Bernardine of Siena. St Pallada of Greece St Polyeuctus of Melitene St Reinhold of Cologne St Spolicostus of Greece St Theodore of Egypt St Tillo of Solignac St Valentine of Passau St Virginia of Ste-Verge Bl Wittikund of Westphalia
Quote/s of the Day – 5 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – Christmas Weekday, Readings: 1 John 4:7-10, Psalms 72:1-2, 3-4,7-8, Mark 6:34-44
“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:11
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we posses God, for ‘God is Charity’ (1 John 4:8).”
St Albert the Great OP (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church
“At the end of your life, you will be judged by your love.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“The Gospel showed me that the first commandment is to love God with all one’s heart and that, we should enfold everything in love; everyone knows, that the first effect of love is imitation.”
Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)
“Before the cave at Bethelehm then, we should learn two great lessons. We should learn to love Jesus intensely, as our highest and only good and we should learn to love, in an effective and practical way, those who are poverty-stricken or suffering, in whom we should be able to see Jesus Christ Himself.”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – Christmas Weekday, Readings: 1 John 3:7-10, Psalm 98:1, 7-9, John 1:35-42
“Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”
“… 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
May I Love You More Dearly St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)
Thanks be to You, my Lord Jesus Christ For all the benefits You have given me, For all the pains and insults You have borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, May I know You more clearly, Love You more dearly, Follow You more nearly. Amen
“Those who risk all for God, will find. that they have both lost all and gained all.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Ávila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer of the Church
“Teach Us Good Lord” By St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
Teach us, good Lord, to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we are doing Your will. Amen
“All a person’s holiness, perfection and profit lies in doing God’s will perfectly…. Happy are we, if we succeed in pouring out our heart into God’s, in uniting our desires and our will to His, to the point, that one heart and one will are formed, wanting, what God wants, wanting, in the way, in the time and in the circumstances, what He desires and willing it all, for no other reason, than that God wills it.”
St Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)
“You cannot be half a saint. You must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face of Lisieux (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church
Our Morning Offering – 4 January – Christmas Weekday “Month of the Most Holy Name”
Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Excerpt) By Prudentius, Aurelius Clemens (c 348-c 413) Trans. J M Neale (1818-1866)
Of the Father’s love begotten Ere the world began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the Source, the Ending he, Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see Evermore and evermore.
Blessed was the day forever, When the Virgin, full of grace, By the Holy Ghost conceiving, Bore the Saviour of our race And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer, First revealed His Sacred Face Evermore and evermore.
Glory be to God the Father, Glory be to God the Son Glory be the Holy Ghost, Persons Three, yet Godhead One, Glory be from all creation While eternal ages run, Evermore and evermore.
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Roman Christian Poet, born in the Roman Province of Tarraconensis (now Northern Spain) in c 348. He probably died in the Iberian Peninsula some time after 405, possibly around 413. Prudentius practised law with some success and was twice Provincial Governor, perhaps in his native country. Towards the end of his life (possibly around 392) Prudentius retired from public life to become an ascetic, fasting until evening and abstaining entirely from animal food and writing poems, hymns and controversial works in defence of Christianity. Prudentius later collected the Christian poems written during this period and added a preface, which he himself dated 405. The poetry of Prudentius is influenced by early Christian authors, such as Tertullian and St Ambrose, as well as the Sacred Scriptures and the Acts of the Martyrs. His hymn Da, puer, plectrum – “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”) and the hymn for Epiphany O sola magnarum urbium (“Earth Has Many A Noble City”), both from the Cathemerinon, are still frequently in use today, although many others are too but perhaps less frequently..
One Minute Reflection – 2 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – and the Feast of the Holy Name celebrated today (Feast 3 January), Readings: Epistle Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 105:47, Isa 63:16, Ps 144:21, Gospel Luke 2:21-24
“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus”…Luke 2:21
REFLECTION – “The Name stands as a complete summary and description of our Lord’s character and office and it is under this aspect that it has been regarded by thousands of Saints, whose hearts have melted at its mere sound. To them Jesus is their God, Jesus is their King, Jesus is their Redeemer, Jesus is their Mediator, Jesus is their Saviour, Jesus is their great Priest, Jesus is their Intercessor, Jesus is the Captain under Whom they fight, Jesus is the Leader Whom they follow, Jesus is their Teacher, Jesus is the Giver of their law, Jesus is the Spouse and Shepherd of their souls, Jesus is their Light, Jesus is their Life, Jesus is the Judge before Whom they rejoice to think, that they must one day stand, Jesus is their final and eternal Reward, for which alone they live.
But He is also to them the Mirror of all the most glorious and winning virtues. He is, and His Name tells them that He is, unbounded Charity, infinite Mercy, extremest Kindness, deepest Humility, most devoted Piety, transparent Simplicity, uttermost Poverty, Chastity without a stain. It is the prerogative of love to transform those who love into the likeness of Him Whom they love and as the mere name of one who is loved cannot sound in the ear or be thought of in the mind, without adding to the love which is already there, so the thought of the Holy Name and the mention of the Holy Name have a kind of sacramental power in the hearts of His Saints. The [name] seems to convey the grace which enables men to think like Him, to speak like Him, to act like Him, to sacrifice themselves like Him and to Him and for Him and along with Him, to make Him known to others, not by word only but also by reproduction of Him in themselves and to win all men to love Him.” – Fr Alban Goodier SJ (1869-1939) Archbishop – Excerpted from The Prince of Peace.
PRAYER – O God, who founded the salvation of the human race on the Incarnation of Your Word, give Your people the mercy they implore, so that all may know there is no other Name to be invoked but the Name of Your Only Begotten Son. Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas, Readings: 1 John 2:18-21, Psalms 96:1-2, 11-12, 13, John 1:1-18
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
“What is the beginning of all things except our Lord and “Saviour of all,” Jesus Christ “the firstborn of every creature?” In this beginning, therefore, that is, in His Word, “God made heaven and earth” as the Evangelist John also says in the beginning of his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him nothing was made.” Scripture is not speaking here of any temporal beginning but it says that the heavens and the earth and all things that were made, were made “in the beginning,” that is, in the Saviour.”
Origen Adamantius (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father
(Homilies on Genesis, 1)
“Whoever believes in him … might have eternal life”
“God alone is wise and the Son His wisdom, for “Christ is the power and the wisdom of God” (Rm 16:27; 1 Cor 1:24). So, it is in receiving the Spirit of wisdom, that we possess the Son and gain wisdom in Him. … The Son is Life. He said: “I am the Life” (Jn 14:6). But, it is said, that we are brought to life by the Spirit, as Paul wrote: “The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in us” (Rm 8:11). But when we have been brought to life by the Spirit, then Christ will be our life … “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).”
St Athanasius (295-373) Bishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church
Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 2:12-17, Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40
“She [Anna] spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem…”
“He has come down to earth to take you to heaven, He became mortal that you might become God and put on your original beauty.”
St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet
“The Angel said to the shepherds, “This is a sign for you” (Lk 2: 12), you who are humble, you who are obedient, you who are not haughty (Rom 12: 16), you who are keeping vigil and meditating on God’s law, day and night (Ps 1:2). “This is a sign for you,” he said. What is this sign? The sign the Angels promised, the sign the people asked for, the sign the prophets foretold, the Lord Jesus has now made and He shows it to you. …”
St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“Listen! the reason He is called Saviour is because, for all those to whom He is united, He gains salvation. Now salvation means, to be delivered from all ills and, at the same time, to find all blessings forever – Life instead of death, Light in place of darkness and, instead of the slavery of the passions and unworthy deeds, the complete freedom granted to all those, who are united to Christ, Saviour of all beings. Thus they will possess, without being able to lose it, all joy, all happiness, all blessedness (…) that that none can ever know, or conceive, or see, if not sincerely and ardently attached to Christ.”
St Symeon the New Theologian (c 949-1022)
Who lives in Love By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
Who lives in Love, loves least to live and long delays doth rue, if Him he love by Whom he lives, to Whom all praise is due, Who for our love did choose to live and was content to die, Who loved our love more than His life and love with Life did buy. Let us in life, yea with our life requite His Living Love, for best we live when least we live, if Love our life remove. Mourn, therefore, no true lover’s death, life only him annoy and when he taketh leave of life then Love begins his joys.
One Minute Reflection – 30 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 2:12-17, Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40
“She spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” … Luke 2:38
REFLECTION – “Inasmuch as the Word was from above, He was and is, the Divine Source of all things but, inasmuch as He has now received the name Christ, consecrated of old and worthy of power, He has been called by me “a new song” (Pss 33, 144, 149, etc.). This Word, then, the Christ, the Cause of both our being (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared to us – He alone being both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us. Having been taught by Him to live well, we are introduced by Him to life eternal. For, according to that inspired Apostle of the Lord: “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this present age as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit 2,11-13).
This is the new song, the manifestation of the Word, that was in the beginning and Who comes to shine in our midst. The Saviour, Who has existed before all time, has, in recent days, appeared… For the Word,Who “was with God” and by Whom all things were created (Jn 1,10), has appeared, as our Teacher. The Word, Who in the beginning bestowed life on us as our Creator, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher, that, as God, He might afterwards lead us to the life that never ends. It was not only now, that He took pity us because of our sins but, He pitied us from the first, from the beginning.” – St Clement of Alexandria (c 150- c 215) Father, Theologian, Philosopher (Protreptic 1,6-8 ; SC 2)/).
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, the human birth of Your Only-begotten Son, was the beginning of new life. May He set us free from the tyranny of sin. Imitating our Master and following His ways, may His Immaculate Mother, be our hope and our advocate. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 December – The Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas
Beloved and Most Holy Word of God By St James of the Marches (1391-1476)
Beloved and most holy Word of God! You enlighten the hearts of the faithful, You satisfy the hungry, console the afflicted. You make the souls of all, productive of good and cause all virtues to blossom. You snatch souls from the devil’s jaw. You make the wretched holy and men of earth, citizens of heaven! Amen
Our Morning Offering – 29 December – The Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave
O Dearest Infant By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
O dearest Infant, tell me what You came on earth to do. Tell me whom You are seeking. Ah, yes, I now understand… You have come to die for me, a lost sheep, in order that I may no more hide from You but love You. O Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love, my all, if I do not love You, then whom shall I love? Where can I ﬁnd a mother or father, a friend, or a spouse more loving than You? And who has ever loved me more than You have? I am sorry that I have lived so many years in this world and yet still love You so little, even having offended You and sometimes forgotten You. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 26 December – The Second Day in the Christmas Octave
Christ, the Child
“Oh great God! Oh perfect Child! The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. How could the teaching this Child gives, not be irreproachable? It includes us all to guide us all, His children. He has stretched out His hands to us and we have placed in them all our faith. To this little Child, John the Baptist himself also gave testimony – “Behold,” he said, “the Lamb of God,” (Jn 1:29). Since Scripture has called children ‘lambs,’ it has called “Lamb of God” the Word of God Who became man for us and Who wanted to become like us in all things, the Son of God Himself, the child of the Father.”
St Clement of Alexandria (150-215) Theologian, Father
“Maker of the sun, He is made under the sun.
In the Father He remains, From His mother He goes forth.
Creator of heaven and earth, He was born under heaven.
Unspeakably wise, He is wisely speechless.
Filling the world, He lies in a manger.
Ruler of the stars, He nurses at His mother’s bosom.
He is both great in the nature of God and small in the form of a servant.”
“He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him. This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised. The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He is an infant, He does not speak, He only cries but these cries are cries of love which invite us to love Him, cries that demand our hearts.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
A Christmas Carol By G K Chesterton (1874-1936) English Catholic Convert, Writer, Poet.
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap, His hair was like a light. (O weary, weary were the world, But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast His hair was like a star. (O stern and cunning are the kings But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart, His hair was like a fire. (O weary, weary is the world But here the world’s desire.) The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee, His hair was like a crown, And all the flowers looked up at Him, And all the stars looked down.
Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave
Sleep, Holy Babe By Fr Edward Caswell C.Orat. (1814-1878)
Sleep, holy Babe, Upon Your Mother’s breast! Great Lord of earth and sea and sky, How sweet it is to see You lie In such a place of rest! Sleep, holy Babe, Your angels watch around, All bending low with folded wings Before th’incarnate King of kings In rev’rent awe profound! Sleep, holy Babe, While I with Mary gaze In joy upon that face awhile, Upon the loving Infant smile Which there divinely plays. Sleep, holy Babe, And take Your brief repose; Too quickly will Your slumbers break And You to lengthened pains awake, That death alone shall close. Amen
I offer today, special Prayers for you ALL and for all my extended family on WordPress. Most especially, my heart’s deepest thanksgiving for those most generous and loving Benefactors, who, in their generosity have constantly contributed to the upkeep of this site. For those who, in the midst of their manifold duties during this very busy time, have still found time to send Christmas donations and prayers.
“Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken togethe and overflowing, will be poured into your lap …”
And my wishes for a most Holy and Blessed Christmas May the Divine Babe of Bethlehem fill your hearts with His joy, peace and love! And my Love and Prayers to you and yours. Ana
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”
Thought for the Day – 25 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Feast of the Nativity
“The world ignores the Birth of Jesus. There is no room for Him in the inns of Bethlehem and no room for Mary and Joseph, two poverty-stricken travellers, who are obliged, as a result, to take refuge in a miserable hovel. In the world, it is always so, for men judge one another by external appearances and by financial standards.
How do we behave towards Jesus Christ? How do we behave towards the needy and the afflicted, in whom we should discern the Person of Christ Himself?
If we are prepared to open our hearts to Jesus and to welcome Him as our King and absolute Master, we shall be so transformed, that we shall live His life and act in unison with Him. In short, we shall become saints! But if we are lacking in generosity and are reluctant to welcome Jesus unreservedly into our hearts, we shall never be more than half-Christian, tepid and ungrateful! We should even be prepared to welcome the poor as the representatives of Christ. “As long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren,” He has assured us, “you did it for me” (Mt 25-40).
Before the cave at Bethelehm then, we should learn two great lessons. We should learn to love Jesus intensely, as our highest and only good and we should learn to love, in an effective and practical way, those who are poverty-stricken or suffering, in whom we should be able to see Jesus Christ Himself.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”
“On this day, on which the Lord of all came among servants, let the lords also bow down, to their servants lovingly.
On this day, when the rich One was made poor for our sake, let the rich man also make the poor man, a sharer at his table.
On this day, a gift came out to us without our asking for it, let us then give alms to those, who cry out and beg from us.
This Lord of natures, today was transformed, contrary to his nature; it is not too difficult for us also to overthrow our evil will.
Bound is the body by its nature, for it cannot grow larger or smaller but powerful is the will, for it may grow to all sizes.
Today the Deity imprinted itself on humanity, so that humanity might also be cut into the seal of Deity.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor
(Homily on Our Lord, 21)
“… Let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our Master’s; not as of weakness but as of healing; not as of creation but of re-creation.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again, for your sake, God became man.”
St Augustine 354-430) Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ – Mass during the day – Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98:1-6, Hebrews 1:1-6, John 1:1-18
Christ has been born for us, come, let us adore Him!
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. … John 1:14
REFLECTION – “Christ has come from the Father, He has come from the Word, He has come from the Holy Spirit, since the whole Trinity accomplished His conception and His incarnation. For to come from the highest Trinity was, no other, than to be conceived and to become, a human being, by the same Trinity. Therefore, it was said: “His going forth is form the highest heaven.” (cf. Ps 18:6) The Only-Begotten … begotten of the Father eternally, begotten in time, He came forth from His Mother, remaining invisibly with the Father and dwelling visibly with us. For to go forth from the Father was this – to enter upon our world, to be seen openly and to become what, from the nature of the Father, He was not. This indeed is wonderful, He came from Him from Whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with Whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father, when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own Majesty and in His Father’s at the time, when He was wholly in our humanity. If you ask how, gather the truth by means of an illustration. A word conceived in the heart goes forth complete in the voice, so that it comes perfectly to others, yet remains wholly in the heart. So the good Word, spoken forth from the heart of the Father, went forth into the broad plain, yet did not leave the Father.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk and Bishop (On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily II).
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts, shine through all that we do and say. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
The Word was God in the beginning and before all time, today, He is born to us, the Saviour of the world.
Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ
Let Me Love Your Jesus By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer, through the Holy Spirit, you became the Mother of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, may I too have Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, your flesh conceived Jesus, through the same Spirit, may my soul receive Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, you were able to know Jesus, to possess Jesus and to bring Him into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, may I too come to know your Jesus. Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word,” in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am, let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord and look on Him as Son, in the same Spirit, Mary, let me love your Jesus. Amen
Thought for the Day – 24 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Christmas Novena IX The Holy Family – Jesus
“We have in the Holy Family, the highest possible models of perfection – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As God, Jesus is essentially holy. By means of the Hypostatic Union, this sanctity is transmitted also to His human nature. The holiness of Jesus was only gradually revealed as He grew older because He wished to be like us in everything, save in sin. As the Gospel says, He “advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men” (Lk 2:52). Jesus gave us an example of holiness which we should find easier to imitate because it was eternally increasing all the time. He offered us, as an example, the kind of sanctity which has its beginning and foundation in utter humility and detachment from worldly goods. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).
Socrates advised his followers to have few desires and to desire these as little as possible, in order to remain content, for the man who is full of desires is always uneasy and restless. This human counsel is very true but, it is incomplete. It recommends detachment from earthly things but fails to teach the ardent and practical desire for supernatural things. Jesus Christ teaches us both. After He has urged us to become gentle and humble like Himself, after He has told us not to worry about the future and not to fret about what to wear and what to eat, He points out the way in which Providence clothes the lilies of the filed and feeds the birds of the air. Then He adds: “Seek the kingdom of God and all these things shall be given you besides” (Cf Lk. 12:22-31).
We must limit and moderate our desire for earthly goods, therefore but, should ardently yearn to love God, to serve and obey Him in this life and to enjoy Him forever in Heaven. This is what the Infant Jesus wishes to teach us.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight
The Burning Babe St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Priest and Martyr
As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow, Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow; And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near, A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear; Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed As though His floods should quench His flames which with His tears were fed. Alas, quoth He but newly born in fiery heats I fry, Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel My fire but I! My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel ,wounding thorns, Love is the fire and sighs, the smoke, the ashes, shame and scorns; The fuel, justice layeth on and mercy blows the coals, The metal in this furnace wrought, are men’s defiled souls, For which, as now on fire I am, to work them to their good, So will I melt into a bath, to wash them in My Blood. With this He vanished, out of sight and swiftly shrunk away, And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.
Verses from the Shepherds’ Hymn Richard Crashaw (c 1612-1649) Canon of the Holy House of Loreto
WE saw Thee in Thy balmy nest, Young Dawn of our eternal day; We saw Thine eyes break from the East, And chase the trembling shades away: We saw Thee and we blest the sight, We saw Thee by Thine own sweet Light.
Poor world, said I, what wilt thou do To entertain this starry stranger? Is this the best thou canst bestow— A cold and not too cleanly manger? Contend, the powers of heaven and earth, To fit a bed for this huge birth.
Proud world, said I, cease your contest, And let the mighty Babe alone; The phoenix builds the phoenix’ nest, Love’s architecture is His own. The Babe, whose birth embraves this morn, Made His own bed ere He was born.
I saw the curl’d drops, soft and slow, Come hovering o’er the place’s head, Off’ring their whitest sheets of snow, To furnish the fair Infant’s bed. Forbear, said I, be not too bold; Your fleece is white, but ’tis too cold.
I saw th’ obsequious Seraphim Their rosy fleece of fire bestow, For well they now can spare their wings, Since Heaven itself, lies here below. Well done, said I but are you sure Your down, so warm, will pass for pure?
No, no, your King ‘s not yet to seek Where to repose His royal head; See, see how soon His new-bloom’d cheek ‘Twixt mother’s breasts is gone to bed! Sweet choice, said we; no way but so, Not to lie cold, you sleep in snow!
She sings Thy tears asleep and dips Her kisses in Thy weeping eye; She spreads the red leaves of Thy lips, That in their buds yet blushing lie. She ‘gainst those mother diamonds tries The points of her young eagle’s eyes.
Welcome—tho’ not to those gay flies, Gilded i’ th’ beams of earthly kings, Slippery souls in smiling eyes— But to poor shepherds, homespun things, Whose wealth ‘s their flocks, whose wit ‘s to be Well read in their simplicity.
Yet, when young April’s husband show’rs Shall bless the fruitful Maia’s bed, We’ll bring the first-born of her flowers, To kiss Thy feet and crown Thy head. To Thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep The shepherds, while they feed their sheep.
To Thee, meek Majesty, soft King Of simple graces and sweet loves! Each of us his lamb will bring, Each his pair of silver doves! At last, in fire of Thy fair eyes, Ourselves become our own best sacrifice!
The Midnight Hour (Fr or Br) Frederick M Lynk, SVD
The Virgin Mother kneels upon the floor And holds her Baby in her arm, Her heart is gladder than her lips can say, To keep her newborn Baby snug and warm, A Babe more sweet and fair and dear Than any rosebud in the bright sunshine, Whose little eyes look straight into her own, O, blessed maid, God’s Son is also thine.
‘Twas holy midnight, when He came to earth: As pours a sun ray through a limpid glass, Not leaving any mark upon its face; A drop of dew upon the fresh green grass, A little star that fell upon her lap, A cooing Babe, that seeks her virgin breast. The hopes of all the sin-cursed world Upon this Baby’s eyelids rest.
And ever since the midnight hour is holy, And millions of human hearts are stirred, To wonderment and love for Him, Who came, To save the world, God’s own Incarnate Word. He came in darkness, He who was The Light, His Godhead shone from clear blue Baby eyes, The curse of earth’s first sin, was lifted then, That midnight hour re-opened paradise!
One Minute Reflection – 24 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel” – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight – Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalms 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29, Acts 13:16-17, 22-25, Luke 2:1-14
Know today that the Lord will come – in the morning you will see His glory.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel! May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
“For today in the city of David, a saviour has been born for you, who is Messiah and Lord.” – Luke 2:11
REFLECTION – “Brethren, now we have been told about the miracle, let us turn aside to see this unusual sight as Moses did (Ex 3:3) – in Mary, the burning bush is not consumed, the Virgin gives birth to the Light, without defilement … Let us then run to Bethlehem, the town of the Good News! If we are real shepherds, staying awake on our watch, then it is to us that the voice of the angels is addressed, announcing a great joy … “Glory to God in the highest for peace is coming down to earth!” There where, only yesterday, there was nothing but misfortune, battlefields and exile, now earth receives peace for today “Truth shall spring out of the earth and justice shall look down from heaven” (Ps 84:12). Behold the fruit earth gives to humankind, in reward for the goodwill reigning among men (Lk 2:14). God is joined to man, to raise man to the stature of God.
At this news, my brethren, let us go to Bethlehem to behold … the mystery of the crib, a child wrapped in swaddling clothes rests in a manger. A Virgin, after giving birth, His undefiled Mother, embraces her Son. Let us repeat the words of the prophet along with the shepherds: “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of our God.” (Ps 47:9)
But why does our Lord seek shelter in this cave at Bethlehem? Why is He sleeping in a manger? Why does He participate in Israel’s census? My brethren, He who brings liberty to the world, comes to be born into our slavery to death. He is born in this cave to reveal Himself to us, who are immersed in darkness and the shadow of death. He rests in a manger because ,He is the One Who makes grass grow for the cattle (Ps 104,14). He is the Bread of Life who feeds us with a spiritual food that we too might live in the Spirit… What more joyful feast is there than that of today? Christ, the Sun of Justice (Mal 3,20), comes to illumine our night. What had fallen, is raised up again, what was overcome, is now set free… what was dead is restored to life… Let us all sing today with one voice over all the earth: “Death came through one man, Adam, today salvation has come through one man (cf Rom 5,17)” … St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395) Bishop, Father of the Church (Sermon on the Nativity).
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Incarnate Word fills us with the new Light, He brings to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all that we do and say. And may the Immaculate Virgin Mother of our Saviour, be ever near to help and protect us. Through Christ, our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, now and for all time and eternity, amen.
24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day. This popular Christmas custom is a jubilant celebration of the Mass in honour of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on these words and explained in his Summa Theologiae, “And from this ,the Mass derives its name … the deacon on festival days ‘dismisses’ the people at the end of the Mass, by saying: ‘Ite, missa est,’ that is, the victim [Jesus] has been sent to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God.”
Bl Peter de Solanes Bl Venerandus of Clermont — • Blessed Dionysius Roneo • Blessed Philip Claro • Blessed Giulio Pons • Blessed Peter of Valladolid
Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati): Six cloistered Mercedarian nuns at the convent of Vera Cruz in Berriz, Spain. Noted for their devotion to the rules of the Order and for their deep prayer lives. • Blessed Anna Maria Prieto • Blessed Anna de Arrano • Blessed Orsola de Larisgoizia • Blessed Maguna Mary • Blessed Margaret • Blessed Mary of the Assumption Sarria
Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints): A group of forty virgins martyred in the persecutions of Decius. None of their names have come down to us. They were martyred in 250 in Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details that have survived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.
“And so, when God’s birth is proclaimed to you, keep silent. Let Gabriel’s word be held in your mind for nothing is impossible to this glorious Majesty, who humbled Himself for us and was born of our humanity.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor
“In adoring our Saviour’s birth, it is our origin that we celebrate. Christ’s temporal generation is the source of the Christian people, the birth of His Mystical Body. All of us encounter in this Mystery, a new birth in Christ.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He came from Him, from Whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with Whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own Majesty and in His Father’s, at the time when He was wholly in our humanity. ”
Thought for the Day – 22 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Christmas Novena VII Prayer and Dedication
“Let us kneel once more before the crib. Like other newborn infants, Jesus is sometimes asleep and sometimes awake, sometimes crying and sometimes smiling. Often His tiny eyes silently watch Mary and Joseph. Surely, this seems a useless existence for Almighty God. But we know that it is not purposeless. This is the first great lesson which God wishes to give to the proud and corrupt human race. It is the lesson of humility, prayer and total dedication to God.
To outward appearances, Jesus is behaving like any other baby. Internally, however, His soul is hypostatically united to the Eternal Word and dwells in the Presence of the Heavenly Father, Whom He loves with a burning and infinite love. Heart and soul, He offers Himself as a holocaust on behalf of sinful humanity and implores His Heavenly Father, to enlighten minds darkened by error, to strengthen weak human wills and to make all men holy. It may well be said, that already, in the silence and obscurity of the cradle, Jesus has begun to redeem the world, for every one of His human-divine actions has an infinite value. Whether He is awake or asleep, crying or smiling, He offers Himself silently to His Eternal Father as a holocaust of propitiation for our sins.
Let us adore the Divine Infant, therefore and thank Him for the priceless gift of our Redemption, which is already accomplished in the silence and obscurity of the manger. Let us implore the grace to love Him and to imitate Him more closely.
As we kneel before the Infant Jesus, let us beseech Him to enable us to grasp the truth of these reflections. Let us take more care of our soul than we do of our external talents and possessions. May God occupy the foremost place in our minds and may He be the principal object of our thoughts, desires and affections. Let us imitate the humble recollection and ardent love for God of the Holy Infant. Like Him, let us offer ourselves entirely to God. Let us ask Him to make us like Him, in complete acceptance of the Divine Will, especially when we are in trouble or in pain, for in this way, we shall be able to show God how sincerely we love Him.”