Posted in CATECHESIS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHASTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Saint of the Day – 27 December – The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle by Dom Prosper Guéranger

Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

The days following Christmas are full of symbolic meaning, as on 26 December we honour the first Martyr, St Stephen, who shed his blood for Jesus. 27 December, honours St John the Evangelist, the Disciple of Jesus who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. Interestingly enough, he is the only Gospel writer to omit a narrative of Jesus’ birth. Based on this fact alone, it seems strange to include him during the Octave of Christmas. What is the Church’s reason behind this choice? Servant of God, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year, points to St John’s pure chastity and his focus on the Divinity of Christ, as the reasons why he is honoured now at the Crib of Christ.

Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle

“Nearest to Jesus’ Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God Himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends [1 John, 15:13] and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest and, which most wins the heart of Him, who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God, is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.

St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only has lather Zebedee but, even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord’s partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.

This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times — The Disciple whom Jesus loved [John, 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20] — says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built – he, then, was honoured most but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus’ thrice repeated question, that he did love Him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.

Chastity of soul and body brings him, who possesses i,t into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper – that Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls – John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love, it was both a recompense and a favour and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.

Divine wisdom, wishing to make known to the world, the Mystery of the Word and commit to Scripture, those profound secrets, which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write — the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this, his Virgin-Disciple, the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries, which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach — THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.

Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun and gaze upon Him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure and, therefore, fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head – how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! [Col. 2:3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence, the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel, [Ezechiel 1:10, 10:14] and to St John himself in his Revelations, [Apoc. 4:7] has been assigned to him by the Church and, to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian. This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John, a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master, he made them known to the Church and, especially, that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth His whole Soul to His own, whom he had always tenderly loved but most so, at the end [John, 13:1]. He wrote his Epistles and Charity is his subject – God is Charity — he that loveth not, knoweth not God — perfect Charity casteth out fear — and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was forever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was by excellence, the Apostle of that divine Charity, which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.

But, our Lord had a further gift to bestow and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on His cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who, then, shall watch over His Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send His Angels to protect and console her? — for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross – we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son — Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John, shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure and to whom, he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.

The Blessed Virgin in the House of St John by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1859

Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But, is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus [Matt. 20:22], when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, before the Latin Gate, at Rome. He was, therefore, a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, — miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.

Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood — is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses — what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth and we have seen its transformation. First, we saw Mary and Joseph alone there — they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble simple-hearted Shepherds; after these, entered Stephen the Crowned and John the Beloved Disciple; and, even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in and there will be, each day, grander glory in the Cave and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this Birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet, how divine! What King or Emperor ever received, in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday, the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day, the Wreath, that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple, breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity — an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution and our tribute to the Lamb.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, Feast of the Holy Family +2020, of St John the Apostle and Evangelist and Memorials of the Saints – 27 December

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

Feast of the Holy Family +2020:
Today’s Feast is held on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If both are Sundays, the Feast is celebrated on 30 December.

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/29/feast-of-the-holy-family-of-jesus-mary-and-joseph-fifth-day-of-the-christmas-octave/

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/30/feast-of-the-holy-family-of-jesus-mary-and-joseph-30-decembe/

https://anastpaul.com/2017/12/31/31-december-feast-of-the-holy-family-and-the-seventh-day-of-the-octave/

Today is the Feast day of the Holy Family but also every family’s feast day, since the Holy Family is the Patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states:

“The children must learn to see in their father the foster-father St. Joseph, and the Blessed Mother as the perfect model for their own mother. The lesson to be learned is both practical and theoretical, in that the children must learn how to obey and to love their parents in thought, word and action, just as Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph. Helping mother in the kitchen and in the house work, and helping father in his odd jobs about the home thus take on a new significance by being performed in a Christ-like spirit.” (True Christmas Spirit, ©1955, St Meinrad Archabbey, Inc.)

St John the Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
St John the Beloved:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-john-the-apostle-and-evangelist/

Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach
Bl Alejo Pan López
Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz
Bl Christina Ebner
St Fabiola (Died 399)
St Fabiola’s Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-fabiola-died-399/
Bl Francesco Spoto
Bl Hesso of Beinwil
St José María Corbin-Ferrer
St Maximus of Alexandria
St Nicarete of Constantinople
Bl Odoardo Focherini
Bl Raymond de Barellis
Bl Roger of Verdun
Blessed Sára Schalkház S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr
Biography of Blessed Sára:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-blessed-sara-salkahazi-s-s-s-1899-1944-martyr-a-catholic-gem/
St Theodore of Apamea
St Theophanes of Nicaea
Bl Walto of Wessobrünn

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Our MORNING Offering, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 26 December – Sleep, Holy Babe

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.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES on JUSTICE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on TRUTH, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 25 December – The Feast of the Nativity

Thought for the Day – 25 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Feast of the Nativity

“While the earth, plunged in darkness, ignores the birth of Jesus, the sky brightens above the lowly barn in which the Infant is lying.
The voices of Angels are heard singing a sweet refrain which will echo through the centuries.
“Glory to God in the highest,” they chant “and on earth, peace among men of goodwill (Lk 2:14).”

The world rejects and despises Jesus; one day, moreover, He will be condemned as a criminal and Crucified.
What happens to Jesus is what always happens to TRUTH and JUSTICE, which are often spurned by men but are always victorious in the end.
For a time, truth and justice may seem to have been defeated once and for all but then, they triumph in an extraordinary manner.
The example of Christ is enough to convince us of this.

Let us never reject Jesus Christ, however.
Let us refuse to trample on His holy law or to crucify Him again, by our sins!
Let us listen to the chorus of Angels singing.
Let us make our lives a hymn of praise to Almighty God and then, we shall have that peace of heart which is rserved for men of goodwill.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – A Child My Choice

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ and remembering Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306)

“Blessed is the Child,
Who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe,
Who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit,
Who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One,
Who suddenly enriched our poverty
and supplied our need.
Blessed is He,
Whose tender mercy
Led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He,
Whom freedom crucified
because He permitted it.
Blessed is He,
Whom also the wood bore
because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He,
Whom the grave bound,
when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He,
Whose free choice brough Him
to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He,
Who sealed our soul
and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One,
Who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He,
Who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He,
Who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high,
Who became flesh today for us.
Amen”

St Ephrem (306-373)
Father & Doctor of the Church

“He was created of a mother,
whom He created.
He was carried by hands,
that He formed.
He cried in the manger,
in wordless infancy.
He, the Word,
without Whom,
all human eloquence is mute.”

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

“Christ is the Morning Star,
Who, when the night
of this world is past,
gives to His saints,
the promise of the light of life,
and opens everlasting day.”

St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church

“He came from His royal throne,
the stern Conqueror of error
and the gentle Apostle of love.”

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)

“Let all your desires then be,
directed toward Him,
the Infinite One,
the Giver of all Good.”

Bl Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306)

A Child My Choice
By St Robert Southwell (1561-1595)
Martyr

Let folly praise that fancy loves, I praise and love that Child
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand no deed defiled.

I praise Him most, I love Him best, all praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live, and cannot live amiss.

Love’s sweetest mark, laud’s highest theme, man’s most desired light,
To love Him life, to leave Him death, to live in Him delight.

He mine by gift, I His by debt, thus each to other due;
First friend He was, best friend He is, all times will try Him true.

Though young, yet wise; though small, yet strong; though man, yet God He is:
As wise, He knows; as strong, He can; as God, He loves to bless.

His knowledge rules, His strength defends, His love doth cherish all;
His birth our joy, His life our light, His death our end of thrall.

Alas! He weeps, He sighs, He pants, yet do His angels sing;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs, doth bud a joyful spring.

Almighty Babe, whose tender arms can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life, direct me when I die!

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on SIN, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – St Augustine ‘The Divine Physician’ John 1:14

One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ – Mass during the day – Readings:  Isaiah 52:7-10Psalms 98:12-33-45-6Hebrews 1:1-6John 1:1-18

Christ has been born for us, come, let us adore Him!

“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.” – John 1:14

REFLECTION – “His glory no-one could see unless he was healed by the lowliness of His flesh. Why could we not see? Concentrate, my beloved people and see what I am saying. Dust, so to speak, had forcibly entered humanity’s eye; earth had entered it, had injured the eye and it could not see the light. That injured eye is anointed; it was injured by earth and earth is put there that it may be healed. For all salves and medicines are nothing but [compounds] of the earth. You have been blinded by dust, you are healed by dust; thus the flesh has blinded you, flesh heals you. For the soul had become carnal by assenting to carnal passions; from that the eye of the heart had been blinded. “The Word was made flesh.” That physician made a salve for you. And because He came in such a way that by His flesh He might extinguish the faults of the flesh and by His death He might kill death, it was, therefore, effected in you that, because “the Word was made flesh,” you could say, “And we saw his glory.”St Augustine (354-430) Great Western Father & Doctor of Grace –Tractates on the Gospel of John, 2

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.

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, HYMNS, POETRY, PRAYERS, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES for CHRIST, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – Afar from Where the Sun Doth Rise

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Afar from Where the Sun Doth Rise
A Solis Ortus Cardine
By Coelius Sedulius (Died c 450)
Trans Fr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)

Afar from where the sun doth rise
To lands beneath the western skies,
Homage to Christ our King we pay,
Born of a Virgin’s womb this day

Blessed Creator, Thou didst take__
A servant’s likeness for our sake,
And didst in flesh our flesh restore
To bid Thy creature live once more.

Chaste was the womb where Thou didst dwell,
Of heavenly grace the hidden cell;
Nor might the blessed Maid proclaim
Whence her dread Guest in secret came.

Down from on high God came to rest__
His glory in a sinless breast;
Obedience at His word believed,
And virgin innocence conceived.

Ere long, that holy child she bore
By Gabriel’s message named before,
Whom yet unborn, with eager pride,
The swift forerunner prophesied.

Fast doth He sleep, where straw doth spread,
A humble manger for His bed.
A Mother’s milk that strength renewed,
Which gives the birds of heaven their food.

Glory to God, the angels cry;
Earth hears the echo from on high;
Mankind’s true Shepherd and it’s Lord
By shepherd hearts is first adored.

“A Solis Ortus Cardine…” (Latin for “From the Pivot of the Sun’s Rising”) is a poem by Christian Poet, Coelius Sedulius (Died c 450), recounting Christ’s life from His birth to His resurrection. Its 23 verses each begin with a consecutive letter of the Latin alphabet, making the poem an abecedarius. It is one of the oldest parts of the Roman Catholic liturgy, with two hymns formed from the first seven and four later verses.
There have been monastic translations into Anglo-Saxon and later translations into other languages..

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FRANCISCAN OFM, HYMNS, LENT, MARIAN PRAYERS, POETRY, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306)

Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Franciscan Friar, Confessor, Hymnist, Poet, Mystic, Lawyer, – an Italian from Umbria in the 13th century. He wrote several laude (songs in praise of the Lord) in the local vernacular. He was an early pioneer in Italian theatre, being one of the earliest scholars who dramatised Gospel subjects. Born in c 1230 at Todi, Italy as Jacopo Benedetti and died on 25 December 1306 at Collazzone, Italy of natural causes, as the Priest intoned the Gloria from midnight Mass. He is also known as Jacomo da Todi, Jacopo Benedetti, Jacopo Benedicti, Jacopone Benedetti da Todi, Jacopone of Todi, James da Todi.

Jacomo, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna.

His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realised that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life.

Jacomo divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order. Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or “Crazy Jim,” by his former associates. The name became dear to him.

After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be received into the Order of Friars Minor. Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile, he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular.

Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became Pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping “because Love is not loved.” During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, Stabat Mater.

On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed “Sister Death” with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the Priest intoned the “Gloria” from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint, both within and outside of the Franciscan Order, although never formally Canonised.

Here lie the bones of Blessed Jacopone dei Benedetti da Todi, Friar Minor, who, having gone mad with love of Christ, by a new artifice deceived the world and took Heaven by violence. – from the tomb of Blessed Jacopone

Stabat Mater Dolorosa is a fine example of religious lyric in the Franciscan tradition. It was inserted into the Roman Missal and Breviary in 1727 for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on the Friday before Good Friday. Following changes by Pope Pius XII, it now appears on the Feast of Our Lady’s Sorrows celebrated on 15 September. Many composers have set it to music

His contemporaries called Jacopone, “Crazy Jim.” We might well echo their taunt, for what else can you say about a man who broke into song in the midst of all his troubles? We still sing Jacopone’s saddest song, the Stabat Mater, but we Christians claim another song as our own, even when the daily headlines resound with discordant notes. Jacopone’s whole life rang out our song: “Alleluia!” May he inspire us to keep singing.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ (Solemnity)
Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast, the Saviour’s birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200. The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning. This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calender. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence. Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John.

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/25/the-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-25-december-2/

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/25/the-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-25-december/

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/25/25-december-the-solemnity-of-the-birth-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-2/

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse
Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Franciscan Friar, Author of the “Stabat Mater”
St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, NOTES to Followers

For YOU!

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 Donors, who, in their generosity have constantly contributed to the upkeep of this site.
For Rosemary, Hugh, Melanie who have sent Christmas gifts –

Thank you!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise,
give thanks to him and praise his name.”

Psalm 100:4

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!
Love
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.

John 1:14

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The DIVINE INFANT, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE, The NATIVITY of JESUS

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

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, The DIVINE INFANT, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The LAMB of GOD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The REDEMPTION

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

… 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)
Archbishop of Constantinople
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Jesus Christ, the God-Man,
was born in a manger
and is spiritually reborn on the altar.
He suffered on Calvary
and continues to offer Himself on the altar.
In His earthly life, He spread His teaching
and worked miracles among the crowds.
In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries
and communicates Himself to all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father & Doctor of the Church

“… For God it was too small a thing
that His Son should show us the way,
He made of Him the Way (cf Jn 14:6),
the Way by which you would go
under His direction,
the Way you would follow…”

“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

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MOTHER of GOD, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The DIVINE INFANT, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 December – “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel” ‘The Light that enlightens all things’

One Minute Reflection – 24 December – “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel” The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight – Readings:  Isaiah 62:1-5Psalms 89:4-516-172729Acts 13:16-1722-25Matthew 1:1-25

Know today that the Lord will come – in the morning you will see His glory.

“She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … Matthew 1:21

REFLECTION – “The heavens were glad, earth exulted when Mary gave birth and hell was troubled and aghast. The heavens in their joy produced a shining star and a glorious army of angels, uttering praise and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will.” (Lk 2:14) The earth, exulting, brought shepherds giving glory and magi adoring and offering gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. …
Reflect how that night poured forth light in the darkness and instead of blackness, it offered radiance. It gave light before the sun arose and a brightness which, from its exceeding brilliance, obscured the splendour of the sun. Concerning this night the psalmist says: “Night is my light in my delights” and turning to the Lord he says: “The darkness will not be dark for you and the night will be as bright as the day, for the darkness is as light for him” (cf Ps 38[139]:11-12 LXX). …
Taking up the newborn Emmanuel, Mary beheld a Light incomparably fairer than the sun and saw a Fire that water cannot quench. She received, in the covering of flesh that she had borne, the Light that enlightens all things and she was worthy to carry in her arms, the Word that carries the universe.” – St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IV, SC 72

PRAYER –
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.
Amen

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, HYMNS, PRAYERS for SEASONS, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – What Child is This?

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight

What Child is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant king to own Him,
The King of kings, salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

By William C Dix (1837-1898) English Hymnist and is sung to the tune of Greensleeves.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, SAINT of the DAY, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight and Memorials of the Saints – 24 December

24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight
In many Western Christian traditions 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, even many of those Christian denominations that do not regularly employ the word “Mass” uniquely use the term “Midnight Mass” for their Christmas Eve liturgy.

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.”

All the Holy Ancestors of Christ – A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament has preserved two different genealogies of Our Lord, in Matthew 1; and Luke 3.

Saint Matthew’s list is divided artificially into three equal parts of 14 names each, with several intentional omissions: from Abraham the father of the chosen people to David the king, to whose family the promise was made (2 Kings 7); David and the royal line after him to the Babylonian captivity; the descendants of the royal line from the captivity to Joseph, the legal father of Our Lord.

Saint Luke proceeds in reverse order; he starts from Joseph and goes, beyond Abraham, back to Adam the father of the human race, in accord with the character of his Gospel; and he merely enumerates the names without grouping them according to a thesis or point, as is the case in Saint Matthew.

Few names are common to both lists: viz., those between Abraham and David, then Salathiel and Zorobabel after the captivity, and Joseph the foster-father of Christ; the others are absent from Matthew’s list, or the persons are different. To account for these differences several explanations have been advanced, but no decisive evidence is extant. Not a few authors hold that Saint Luke gives Mary’s genealogy; but this view is more generally considered improbable, so that both lists are taken as giving Joseph’s ancestry. Only it must be supposed that at several points, instead of the actual descent, the one or the other of the lists gives the legal relationship based on adoption in some manner. Our Lord was considered to belong to the family of David; this seems to be taken for granted in the New Testament, where we find no difficulty raised against Him on the ground of His descent. The genealogies show His relationship to the royal family of Juda through Joseph, as it was only through the father, legal or natural, that the rights could be transmitted, and Joseph was the legal father of Jesus. To trace Our Lord’s ancestry through His mother would not have served the purpose of the Evangelists.

Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Luke 3:23-38

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux
St Emiliana and St Trasilla (died sixth Century)
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/24/saints-of-the-day-24-december-saints-tarsilla-and-emiliana-died-sixth-century-virgins/
St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto
St Hanno of Worms OSB (Died 978) Bishop
Bl Ignacio Caselles García
St Irmina of Oehren
St Mochua of Timahoe
Bl Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865)
Her Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/24/saint-of-the-day-24-december-saint-paola-elisabetta-cerioli-1816-1865/
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 surived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 17 December – The Cave of Bethlehem

Thought for the Day – 17 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Cave of Bethlehem

“Why, asked Bossuet, should the Eternal Word of God, infinitely and everlastingly happy, have deigned to assume in time, the fallen state of humanity?
Why should He have chosen, as the scene of His miraculous life of love, this insignificant world, a planet almost imperceptible among the myriads of gigantic heavenly bodies?
It was for the very same reason, Bossuet replied, that propmpted Him, once He had become man, to choose as His birthplace, the tiny and unknown village of Nazareth in Galilee rather than Rome, the centre of power, or Athens, the centre of learning, or Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.
Our world is the Nazareth of creation, one of the smallest planets in the firmament.

God did not even choose, moreover, to be born in the poor but comparatively comfortable house at Nazareth.
He preferred to be born in the strange town of Bethlehem.
It was the cradle of His ancestral line but it gave Him no welcome and compelled Him to be born in a cold and squalid barn on the straw of a manger.
God had no need of human grandeur.
His power and majesty shone more brightly through the insignificance of the objects and means which He employed in order to fulfil His purpose.
It would be ridiculous to imagine, even for a moment, that He had any need of human aid in order to accomplish His designs.
God chooses the weak things of the world in order to confound the strong!” (Missale Romanum, Miss. Virg et Mart).

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, CONFESSION/PENANCE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, SACRED HEART QUOTES, The DIVINE INFANT, The WORD

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)

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on TIME, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The REDEMPTION, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 10 December – “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8

Quote/s of the Day – 10 December – Thursday of the Second week of Advent

“But when the Son of Man comes,
will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18:8

“Man’s Maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother’s breast,
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey,
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood,
that Strength might grow weak,
that the Healer might be wounded,
that Life might die.”

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

“The divine nature and the nature of a servant,
were to be united in one person,
so that the Creator of time,
might be born in time and He,
through whom all things were made,
might be brought forth in their midst.”

“He Himself will help us
and lead us
to what He has promised.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“You first loved us
so that we might love You—
not because You needed our love
but because, we could not be
what You created us to be,
except by loving You.”

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)
was a twelfth century French Benedictine Abbot of Saint-Thierry,
theologian and mystic who became a Cistercian monk and writer.

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, The CHRIST CHILD, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – St Bernard’s Let Your goodness, Lord, Appear to Us

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – Wednesday of the Second week of Advent

Let Your goodness, Lord, Appear to Us
An Advent Prayer
By St Bernard (1090-1153)

Let Your goodness, Lord,
appear to us,
that we, made in Your image,
conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate
Your majesty, power and wonder,
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child
but You have brought us
the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts
with Your soft, sweet cries.
Amen

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on VIRTUE, SPEAKING of ....., The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – The Divine Infant

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – Saturday of the First week of Advent

“He is the Word of God
who dwelt with man
and became the Son of Man,
to open the way for man, to receive God,
for God to dwell with man,
according to the will of the Father.”

St Irenaeus (130-202)
Father of the Church

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

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

“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

“If we would please this Divine Infant,
we too must become children,
simple and humble.
We must carry to Him, flowers of virtue,
of meekness, of mortification, of charity.
We must clasp Him in the arms of our love.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, NOTES to Followers, NOVENAS, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The CHRIST CHILD

Getting Ready for the arrival of our King! Blessed Advent Season to you all!

Getting Ready for the arrival of our King!

Blessed Advent Season to you all!

Finally, having traversed the long roads and trials of the desert we have arrived in our new coastal home and after much ado, we are back online at last and I am so happy to be with you.
Blessed be God as His many Graces have been poured down upon us and may He bless you all for your many prayers which so kindly accompanied us during this time.

From tomorrow, I will be back in the usual way. May we share this beautiful season of anticipation together.

In the meantime, herewith, a little reminder of the beautiful Catholic tradition of the St Andrew Novena, the Christmas Anticipation Prayer which we began yesterday and pray 15 times everyday until Christmas.

While a Novena is normally a nine-day prayer, the term is sometimes used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. It is an ideal Advent devotion; the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in honour of the birth of His Son at Christmas. You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once; or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).

Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your family and children on the Advent season.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment,
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe,
I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
………………… [here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
and of His blessed Mother.
Amen

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Ven Servant of God John A Hardon

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – The Burning Babe

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church and St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Priest and Martyr

The Burning Babe, by Saint Robert Southwell

burning-babe-excerpt-st-robert-southwell-mem-21-feb-21-jan-2019 and 21 feb 2020 as quote of the day

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.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.

St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyr, Religious Priest, Poet, Hymnodist, Writer, clandestine missionary was born in 1561 in Horsham Saint Faith, Norfolk, England and he was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 21 February 1595 (aged 33) in Tyburn, London, England. St Robert was Canonised on 25 October 1970 by Blessed Pope Paul VI.
“His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell. His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’” (Ven Fr John A Hardon SJ)

St Peter Damian quotes here:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/21/quote-s-of-the-day-21-february-st-peter-damian/
And some from St Robert Southwell here:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/21/quote-s-of-the-day-21-february-the-memorial-of-st-peter-damian-o-s-b-1007-1072-and-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595/

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Our MORNING Offering, POETRY, PRAYERS for SEASONS

Our Morning Offring – 14 January – Be Born in Us

Our Morning Offring – 14 January – Tuesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Be Born in Us
By Caryll Houselander (1901-1954)

Be born in us,
Incarnate Love.

Take our flesh and blood,
and give us Your humanity.

Take our eyes,
and give us Your vision.

Take our minds,
and give us Your pure thought.

Take our feet,
and set them in Your path.

Take our hands,
and fold them in Your prayer.

Take our hearts,
and give them Your will to love.

Amen

Caryll Houselander (29 September 1901 – 12 October 1954) was an English lay Roman Catholic ecclesiastical artist, mystic, popular religious writer and poet.be born in us caryll houselander no 2 14 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, The CHRIST CHILD, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 11 January – ‘Then Jesus is born within us…’

Quote/s of the Day – 11 January – Saturday after Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 5:14-21, Psalm 149:1-6, 9, John 3:22-30

“He must increase
but I must decrease.”

John 3:30john-3-30-he-must-increase-12-jan-2019-no-2.and 11 jan 2020jpg.jpg

“Christ is born, God from His Father,
man through His mother.
He was born from His Father’s immortality
and His mother’s virginity.
From the Father, without the aid of a mother,
from the mother, without that of a father.
From His Father, without time,
from His mother, without seed.
According to His Father,
He is the principle of life,
according to His mother,
the ending of death.
According to His Father,
He was born to determine the order of days,
according to His mother,
to consecrate the day that is here.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Churchchrist is born god from his father man through his mother - st augustine 11 jan 2020.jpg

“When His place becomes our place,
when His time becomes our time,
when His person becomes our life,
then the prophecies come to fulfilment in us.
Then Jesus is born within us.
He becomes the living God for me.
Today we are asked to imitate the Magi.
They do not debate – they set out.
They do not stop to look but enter the house of Jesus.
They do not put themselves at the centre
but bow down before the One who is the centre.
They do not remain glued to their plans
but are prepared to take other routes.
Their actions reveal a close contact with the Lord,
a radical openness to Him,
a total engagement with Him.
With Him, they use the language of love,
the same language that Jesus, though an infant, already speaks.
Indeed, the Magi go to the Lord not to receive but to give.

when-his-place-becomes-our-place-pope-franics-epip-homily-2019-9-jan-2019 and 11 jan 2020

Let us ask ourselves this question –
at Christmas, did we bring gifts to Jesus for His party,
or did we only exchange gifts among ourselves?

let-us-ask-ourselves-pope-francis-9-jan-2019-epiphany-homily-2019 and 11 jan 2020.jpg

In this Christmas season, now drawing to its close,
let us not miss the opportunity
to offer a precious gift to our King,
who came to us,
not in worldly pomp
but in the luminous poverty of Bethlehem.
If we can do this,
His light will shine upon us.”

Pope Francis

6 January 2019

in-this-christmas-season-pope-francis-9-jan-2019 and 11 jan 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, GOD is LOVE, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 10 January – ‘Can it be true ….?’

One Minute Reflection – 10 January – Fifth Day after Epiphany and the Memorial of Bl Dolores Rodríguez Sopeña (1848-1918), Readings:  1 John 5:5-13, Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20, Luke 5:12-16

“Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him” … Luke 5:13luke 5 13 jesus stretched out his hand and touched him - can it be true - st alphonsus liguori 10 jan 2020.jpg

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 Bl Dolores Rodríguez Sopeña, 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.bl dolores sopena pray for us 10 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRAMENTS, SAINT of the DAY, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 January – ‘What is heaven’s most precious possession?’ 

One Minute Reflection – 7 January – Second day after Epiphany, Readings:  1 John 4:7-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, Mark 6:34-44 and the Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275)

And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people ... Mark 6:41

REFLECTION – “Christ gave us His flesh to eat in order to deepen our love for Him.  When we approach Him, then, there should be burning within us, a fire of love and longing…  The wise men paid homage to Christ’s body even when it was lying in a manger…  They only saw Christ in a manger, they saw nothing of what you now see and yet they approached Him with profound awe and reverence.

You see Him, not in a manger but on an altar, not carried by a woman but offered by a priest and you see the Spirit bountifully poured out upon the offerings of bread and wine.   Unlike the wise men, you do not merely see Christ’s body, you know His power as well and the whole divine plan for our salvation…  Let us then awaken in ourselves a feeling of awe and let us show a far greater reverence than did those foreigners so that we do not approach this sacrament casually, without thinking of what we do…

This food strengthens us, it emboldens us to speak freely to our God, it is our hope, our salvation, our light and our life. mark 6 41 he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke - this food strengthens us - st john chrysostom 7 jan 2019.jpg

If we go to the next world fortified by this sacrifice, we shall enter its sacred portals with perfect confidence, as though protected all over, by armour of gold.   But why do I speak of the next world?   Because of this sacrament earth becomes heaven for you.   Throw open the gates of heaven, look through and you will see the proof of what I say.   What is heaven’s most precious possession?   I will show you it here on earth.   I do not show you angels or archangels, heaven or the heaven of heavens but I show you the very Lord of all these.   Do you not see how you gaze, here on earth, upon what is most precious of all?   You not only gaze on it but touch it as well.   You not only touch it but eat it.  So cleanse your soul from sin and prepare your mind to receive these mysteries.” … St John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church

because of this sacrament earth becomes heaven fo ryou -st john chrysostom 7 jan 2020.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, our Father, when Your only-begotten Son revealed Himself in flesh and blood, we came to know Him as our fellow-man  . Now He feeds us by His mysteries and cleanses us by His Blood to transform us inwardly, until we bear His likeness.   As You inspired St Raymond of Peñafort with an immense compassion for sinners and captives, grant us, through his prayer, freedom from sin and the grace to do Your will.   Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever with You, amen.st raymond of penafort pray for us 7 jan 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, ONE Minute REFLECTION, SAINT of the DAY, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD, The INCARNATION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 January – In Your Light, God, we see light

One Minute Reflection – 6 January – First Day after Epiphany, Readings:
1 John 3:22–4:6, Psalm 2:7-8, 10-11, Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

” .. The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.” … Matthew 4:16

REFLECTION – “In speaking of vision, or rather of a great light, Matthew undoubtedly intends us to understand our Saviour’s luminous preaching, the radiance of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.   The land of Zebulon and of Naphtali heard it from our Lord’s own mouth before anyone else…

For in fact it was in this particular land that our Lord began to preach, it was there His preaching was inaugurated…   And the apostles, who were the first to see this true light over these regions of Zabulon and Naphtali, themselves became “lights of the world”...  As Isaiah’s text continues:   “They rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing the spoils.”    This joy will indeed become the apostles’s joy, it will be a twofold joy when “they come back like reapers carrying their sheaves” and “as conquerors sharing the spoil”, that is to say of the conquered devil…

For it was You, our Lord and Saviour, who removed from their shoulders “the yoke that burdened them”, that yoke of the devil’s who in former times lorded it over the world when he reigned over all the nations and caused their necks to bow beneath the yoke of a grievous slavery…   You it was who, without troops, without bloodshed, in the secret of Your power, freed us to place us at Your service…  Yes, the devil will be “burned as fuel for the flames” because “a child is born to us”, the lowly Son of God “upon whose shoulders dominion rests” because, being God, He is able to possess the pre-eminence by His own strength…   And His “dominion extends” since He will not only reign over the Jews, as David did but He will have the sovereignty over all nations “both now and forever”.” … Rupert of Deutz OSB (c 1075-1130) Benedictine Monk, Theologian, Exegete, Writer.matthew 4 16 the people who sit in darkness - you it was who without troops - rupert of deutz 6 jan 2020.jpg

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.   May the prayers of St Andre Bessette and all Your saints who stand beside You, be an assistance in our moments of trial.   Through Christ, the Light which shows us light and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.in your light god we see light - 6 jan 2020.jpgst andre bessette pray for us -6 jan 2018-no. 2.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Our Morning Offering – 6 January – Write Your Blessed Name, Upon My Heart

Our Morning Offering – 6 January – First Day after Epiphany and the Month of the Most Holy Name

Write Your Blessed Name, Upon My Heart
By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

Write Your blessed name,
O Lord,
upon my heart,
there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity,
no adversity shall ever move me
from Your love.
Be to me a strong tower of defence,
a comforter in tribulation,
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble
and a guide to heaven
through the many temptations
and dangers of this life.
Amenwrite your blessed name o lord upon my heart - thomas a kempist - 5 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD

Chalk the Door – Epiphany House Blessing

Chalk the Door – Epiphany House Blessing

20 C+M+B 20

“Christus mansionem benedicat”

The equation is written to be the first two digits of the year,
followed by the initials C, M, and B,
followed by the last two digits of the year.
Each portion is split by plus signs.
For this year, the equation would be written as
“20 + C + M + B + 20.”

The chalking holds two meanings.
The C, M and B, refer to the traditional names
of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
The letters also stand for the Latin phrase
“Christus mansionem benedicat” which means
“May Christ bless the house.”
The plus signs represent the cross
and the 20 and 20 simply refer to the year.

epiphany-house-blessing-2019 - half done - changed for 2020.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on LOVE

Thought for the Day – 5 January – Epiphany of the Lord – It was Love

Thought for the Day – 5 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 - antonio bacci 5 jan 2020.jpg

“Let us consider the faith of the Magi, a faith which was willing, lively and active.
They saw in the sky, the star which heralded the Infant Jesus and experienced the divine inspiration in their hearts.
Immediately, they went in search of Him.
They were not even deterred by the long and hazardous journey, which lay before them.

When they arrived at Jerusalem, they found Herod, who did not know what they were talking about.   The star disappeared and the priests replied coldly to the questions they asked.
But all the time, their trust in the divine call continued to grow.
Eventually, they reached a poor barn, where they found, not an earthly King but a little child, who was crying on the straw bed of a manger.
As a reward for their trouble and perseverance, a voice in their hearts told them, that this was Jesus, the King of Kings and Saviour of the world.

Unfortunately, when we hear the divine call, no matter how clear and simple it is, we find a thousand excuses for delaying and perhaps for not responding to it at all.

Let us humbly promise to be more generous in listening for it and more energetic in complying with it, regardless of the cost!

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!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci