Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 5 December – God is man’s glory. 

Thought for the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-202) on the Incarnation, the Word of God born for us as Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, the sign of our salvation.   He comes to restore God’s likeness in us and lead us to glory.

God is man’s glory.   Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in His conduct with men.   That is Paul’s reason for saying:  God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that He may have mercy on all.   He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God and cast off from immortality and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in His power and if man perseveres in God’s love and in obedience and gratitude to Him, he will receive greater glory from Him.   It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the One who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned.   He wanted to invite man to take on His likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father, that would lead to the vision of God and endowing man with power to receive the Father.   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.he-is-the-word-of-god-st-irenaeus-19-dec-2017 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

For this reason the Lord Himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel.   It was the Lord Himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved.   For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man and says:  I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God.   Again, he says: I am a wretched man, who will free me from this body doomed to die?  Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same – Hands that are feeble, grow strong!   Knees that are weak, take courage!   Hearts that are faint, grow strong!   Fear not, see, our God is judgement and He will repay.   He himself will come and save us.   He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.

This excerpt from St Irenaeus’ monumental work, Against Heresies (Lib 3,20, 2-3; SC 34, 342-344) speaks of the incarnation, the birth of the Word of God as Son of Man, as the sign of our salvation.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Advent.   It was originally written around 185 AD.

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come!maranatha come lord jesus come - 5 dec 2019.jpg

 

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Advent Reflection – 5 December – ‘He became small because you were small…’

Advent Reflection – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27, Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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

A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace, in peace for its trust in You.   Trust in the Lord forever!   For the Lord is an eternal Rock. … Isaiah 26: 3-4

REFLECTION – “The psalmist says: “The Lord is great and worthy of praise” (96[95]:4). Who is this ‘Lord’ if not Jesus Christ, great and worthy of praise?   You surely know He appeared as man, you know, too, that He was conceived in the womb of a woman, that He was born of that womb, nourished, cradled in her arms, circumcised, that an offering was made for Him (Lk 2:24) and that He grew up.

You also know that He was struck, covered with spittle, crowned with thorns, crucified, and that He died, pierced by a lance.   You know well that He suffered all those things. Yes, “he is great and worthy of praise”.   Guard yourselves from despising His littleness – understand His greatness.   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…

What can poor, human language say in praise of Him who is so great?   In saying “very” great it is trying to express what it feels and believes… but, it is as if it were saying:  “Try to grasp in thought what I am unable to express in words and yet, you must know, that whatever you may have grasped is only a fragment.”   For how can any language translate something that surpasses all thought?   “Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise!”   May He be praised, then, may He be preached, may His glory be proclaimed and His dwelling place erected.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchthursday of the first week of advent 5 dec 2019 isaiah 26 3-4 - st augustine he became small.jpg

Meditation:
We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace.
The readings today present God offering us a gate, a passageway into God’s will.   For Isaiah, the gateway to God, consists in being just and keeping the faith.   Jesus says, it is the person who hears God’s word and puts those words into practice.
Throughout these weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the Scriptures for our liturgies tell us again and again, to turn to God, to build our house on the rock of Jesus.   Only there we will find peace.

Advent Action:
Call someone who is lost.   A friend, who hears not the word of God.   Perhaps your words of faith might be a light in their darkness.

Prayer:
We thank You, Lord, for all that we have received.   Move us to give of our plenty to those who have little.   Lord, open the gate of my heart.   Let Your words be a light that will lead me to follow Your will and thus lead others to You.   Amen.

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, I BELIEVE!, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the PRIESTHOOD, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 4 December – The Statement of Faith by St John Damascene, Priest

Thought for the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church

From The Statement of Faith by St John Damascene, Priest

You have called me, Lord, to minister to Your people.   O Lord, You led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb.   You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey Your commands.

By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, You prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it but by Your ineffable grace  . The birth You prepared for me, was such, that it surpassed the laws of our nature  You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as Your son and You enrolled me among the children of Your holy and spotless Church.

You nursed me with the spiritual milk of Your divine utterances.   You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son for our redemption. And He, undertook the task willingly and did not shrink from it. Indeed, He applied Himself to it as though destined for sacrifice, like an innocent lamb.   Although He was God, He became man and in His human will, became obedient to You, God His Father, unto death, even death on a cross.

In this way You have humbled Yourself, Christ my God, so that You might carry me, Your stray sheep, on Your shoulders.   You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of true teaching at the hands of Your shepherds.   You pastured these shepherds and now they, in turn, tend Your chosen and special flock.   Now, You have called me, Lord, by the hand of Your bishop to minister to Your people.   I do not know why You have done so, for You alone know that.

Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart.   Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path.   When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of Your Spirit make my own tongue ready.   Stay with me always and keep me in Your sight.

Lead me to pastures, Lord and graze there with me  . Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left but let Your good Spirit guide me along the straight path.   Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with Your will, now until the end.

And you, O Church, are a most excellent assembly, the noble summit of perfect purity, whose assistance comes from God.   You in whom God lives, receive from us, an exposition of the faith that is free from error, to strengthen the Church, just as our Fathers handed it down to us.

St John Damascene, Pray for our Priests,

Pray for Us All!
Amen!st john damascene pray for us 4 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The HOLY TRINITY

Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – St John Damascene

Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church

“Think of the Father as a spring of life begetting the Son,
like a river and the Holy Ghost like a sea,
for the spring and the river and sea are all one nature.
Think of the Father as a root and of the Son as a branch
and the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance in these three is one.
The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat.”think of the father as a spring of life - st john damascene on the trinity 4 dec 2019.jpg

“‘How can this come about?’ Mary asked.
‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ the angel answered’
and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.’
And now you are the one who puts the question:
‘How can bread become Christ and wine His Blood?’
I answer:
‘The power of the Holy Spirit will be at work
to give us a marvel which surpasses understanding.’”how can this come about mary asked - st john damascene - eucharist - 4 dec 2019.jpg

“If the Word of God is living and powerful
and if the Lord does all things whatsoever he wills;
if he said, “Let there be light” and it happened;
if he said, “let there be a firmament” and it happened;
…if finally the Word of God Himself willingly became man
and made flesh for Himself, out of the most pure
and undefiled blood of the holy and ever Virgin,
why should He not be capable of making bread,
His Body and wine and water, His Blood?…
God said
“This is my Body”
and “This is my Blood.”

St John Damascene (676-749)

Father and Doctor of the Churchif-the-word-of-god-st-john-damascene-4-dec-2017 and 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 4 December – “And He healed them…”

Advent Reflection – 4 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalm 23, Matthew 15:29-37

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

“And great multitudes came unto him,
having with them those that were lame,
blind, dumb, maimed and many others
and cast them down at Jesus’ feet
and he healed them…”

Matthew 15:30

REFLECTION – “To this assembly have come not only the disciples, as if they were leaving behind the multitudes, as they did in the case of the Beatitudes.   Rather, there are great crowds here, many of whom are deaf or suffer from many afflictions.   Look at the crowds who come to this mountain where the Son of God sits.   Some of them have become deaf to the things that have been promised.   Others have become blind in soul, not looking toward the true light.   Others are lame and not able to walk according to reason.   Others are maimed and unable to work profitably.   Each of these who are suffering in soul from such things go up along with the multitudes into the mountain where Jesus sits.

Some who do not draw near to the feet of Jesus are not healed.   But those who are brought by the multitude and cast at His feet are being healed.   Even those who come only to the edges, just the extremities of the body of Christ, who feel themselves unworthy to obtain such things, are being healed  . So now you come into the congregation of what is more commonly called the Church.   See the catechumens?   They are, as it were, cast in the far side or back of those who are the extreme end of the body, as if they were coming merely to the feet of the body of Jesus—the Church.   They are coming to it with their own deafness and blindness and lameness and crookedness. In time they will be cured according to the Word.   Observing this, you would not be wrong in saying, that these people have gone up with the multitudes into the church, up to the mountain where Jesus sits and have been cast at His feet and are being healed.   And so the multitudes are astonished at beholding the transformations that are taking place. They behold those who are being converted from such great evils to that which is so much better.” Origen (c 185-253) Father of the Church – Commentary on Matthew, 11wednesday of the first week of advent - 4 dec 2019 matthew 15 30.jpg

Meditation:
If ever there is a time to believe in miracles, Advent season is that time!   We hear of the miracle of Mary’s conception, the miracle of Jesus’ birth in a barn, the miracle of the star in the night sky leading the wise men, the feeding of the multitudes and their healings.   A Saint, whose feast is celebrated during the Advent season, St Nicholas, was often called the “wonder-worker.”   The Scriptures speak to us of God’s miraculous and unceasing care for us.   God always provides for us. (Redemptorist Fathers)

Advent Action:
Today, let us believe in miracles and wonders.   And tell all we meet, of these wonderful gifts from God.

Collect:
Prepare our hearts,
we pray, O Lord our God,
by Your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ Your Son
we may be found worthy
of the banquet of eternal life
and merit to receive
heavenly nourishment from His hands.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN PRAYERS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 4 December – O Mary, my Hope!

Our Morning Offering – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church

O Mary, my Hope!
St John Damascene (675-749)

I salute you, O Mary!
you are the hope of Christians.
Receive the prayer of a sinner,
who loves you tenderly,
honours you in a special manner
and places in you the whole hope
of his salvation.
From you I have my life.
You reinstate me in the grace of your Son:
you are the sure pledge of my salvation.
I beseech of you, therefore, to deliver me
from the burden of my sins,
dispel the darkness of my mind,
banish from my heart the love of the world,
repress the temptations of my enemies
and so rule my whole life, that by your means
and under your guidance,
I may obtain everlasting happiness in heaven.
Ameno mary my hope - st john damascene - 4 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 December

St John Damascene (675-749) Father & Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St John’s Life:
https://anastpaul.com/2017/12/04/saint-of-the-day-st-john-damascene-676-749-last-of-the-greek-fathers-and-doctor-of-the-church/
And Pope Benedict on St John Damascene:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/04/saint-of-the-day-4-december-st-john-damascene-675-749-father-doctor-of-the-church/

St Ada of Le Mans
St Adelmann of Beauvais
Bl Adolph Kolping
St Anno II
St Apro
St Barbara (Died 3rd Century) Martyr

St Bernardo degli Uberti
St Bertoara of Bourges
St Christianus
St Clement of Alexandria
St Cyran of Brenne
St Eraclius
St Eulogio Álvarez López
St Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
St Felix of Bologna
Bl Francis Galvez
St Francisco de la Vega González
St Giovanni Calabria
St Heraclas of Alexandria
St Jacinto García Chicote
Bl Jerome de Angelis
St John the Wonder Worker
St Maruthas
St Melitus of Pontus
St Osmund of Salisbury
Bl Pietro Tecelano
St Prudens
St Robustiano Mata Ubierna
St Sigiranus
Bl Simon Yempo
St Sola
St Theophanes

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Eulogio Álvarez López
• Blessed Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente
• Blessed Francisco de la Vega González
• Blessed Jacinto García Chicote
• Blessed Robustiano Mata Ubierna