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Thought for the Day – 1 January – Take heart, dear children, here I am, your Mother!

Thought for the Day – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lordtake heart dear children here i am your mother - pope francis 1 jan 2019.jpg

Excerpt
Pope Francis’ Homily on
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
1 January 2019

“All who heard were amazed at what the shepherds told them” (Lk 2:18).   To be amazed -this is what is asked of us today, at the conclusion of the Octave of Christmas, as we continue to contemplate the Child born for us, lacking everything, yet abounding in love. Amazement is what we should feel at the beginning of each year, for life is a gift that constantly gives us a chance to make a new start, even from the most lowly of circumstances.

Today is also a day to be amazed by the Mother of God.   God appears as a little child, held in the arms of a woman who feeds her Creator.   The statue before our eyes depicts the Mother and Child so close as to appear as one.   That is the mystery we celebrate today, which gives rise to boundless amazement – God has become one with humanity forever.   God and man, always together, that is the good news of this new year.   God is no distant lord, dwelling in splendid isolation above the heavens but love incarnate, born like us of a mother, in order to be a brother to each of us, to be close to us – the God of closeness.   He rests on the lap of His mother, who is also our mother and from there he pours out upon humanity a new tenderness.   Thus we come to understand more fully God’s love, which is both paternal and maternal, like that of a mother who never stops believing in her children and never abandons them.   God-with-us, Emmanuel, loves us despite our mistakes, our sins and the way we treat our world.   God believes in mankind, because its first and pre-eminent member is His own Mother.

At the beginning of the year, let us implore from Mary the grace to be amazed at the God of surprises.   Let us renew the amazement we felt when faith was first born in us. The Mother of God helps us – the Mother who gave birth to the Lord, now presents us, reborn, to the Lord.   She is a mother who generates in her children the amazement of faith, because faith is an encounter, not a religion.   Without amazement, life becomes dull and routine and so it is with faith.   The Church too needs to renew her amazement at being the dwelling place of the living God, the Bride of the Lord, a Mother who gives birth to her children.   Otherwise, she risks turning into a beautiful museum of the past.   A “Church museum”.   Our Lady, instead, gives the Church the feel of a home, a home in which the God of newness dwells.   Let us receive with amazement the mystery of the Mother of God, as the inhabitants of Ephesus did at the time of the Council.   Like them, let us acclaim her “Holy Mother of God”.   From her, let us allow ourselves to be gazed upon, to be embraced, to be taken by the hand.

Let us allow ourselves to be gazed upon.   Especially in times of need, when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to Our Lady, to Our Mother.   Yet first, we should let ourselves be gazed upon by Our Lady.   When she gazes upon us, she does not see sinners but children.   It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul, the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven.   Jesus Himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22) – the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner, everywhere they rekindle hope.   As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children, here I am, your Mother!”

Holy Mother of God, OUR  mother, Pray for Us!mother of god and our mother - mary pray for us - 14 may 2018.jpg

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One Minute Reflection – 1 January – ‘..For the sake of His love take me…’

One Minute Reflection – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord, Readings: Numbers 6:22-27, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, Galatians 4:4-7, Luke 2:16-21

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. … Luke 2:19luke 2 19 but mary kept all these things pondering 1 jan 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “You will pray to the Virgin Mother that she obtain for you a perfect renewal of life and that, by this grace, she herself, the venerable rose, become your mother and godmother in such a way, that you may be her true daughter in conduct.  And pray that this very gem of decency, may envelop your soul, in the mantle of her cleanliness, preserving you without any spot, under her most dulcet tutelage, for her Son, the Lord King.   And pray that your name may be numbered among Israel, the choicest lot, so that you have share with those who walk in innocence of heart, always seeing the Lord before them in all of their ways. (cf. Ps 15:8)

Greetings, Mary, queen of clemency, olive tree of mercy, through whom life’s remedy has come to us.   Queen of clemency, Virgin Mother of the divine offspring, through whom the Child of supernal light came to us, the scented offspring of Israel.   Ah!   Just as you became the true mother of us all, through your Son, who Himself, your one and only Son, did not scorn to become our Brother, now then, for the sake of His love take me, an unworthy woman, into your motherly care.   Aid my faith, keep and instruct it and become so much the godmother of my renewal and faith now, that you may be my only mother and closest to my heart for eternity, always caring for me with loving-kindness in this life and taking me, into your full motherliness, at the hour of death.   Amen.” … St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)greetings mary queen of clemency - 1 jan 2020 st gertrude the great.jpg

PRAYER – God, our Father, since You gave mankind a Saviour through the blessed Mary, virgin and mother, grant that we may feel the power of her intercession, when she pleads for us with Jesus Christ, Your Son, the author of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever, amen.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 30 December – Her Amazement at her Only Child – Karol Wojtyla

Thought for the Day – 30 December – The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave

Her Amazement at her Only Child
Karol Wojtyla
Saint Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Light piercing, gradually, everyday events,
a woman’s eyes, hands
used to them since childhood.
Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days,
and hands clasped when the words lost their space.

In that little town, my Son, where they knew us together,
You called me mother but no-one had eyes to see,
the astounding events as they took place day by day.
Your life became the life of the poor
in Your wish to be with them, through the work of Your hands.

I knew – the light that lingered in ordinary things,
like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days —
the light was You,
it did not come from me.

And I had more of You in that luminous silence,
than I had of You as the fruit of my body, my blood.

ST JOHN PAUL II’S CHRISTMAS POETRY
Poem from his 1950 Collection, “The Mother”

 

her amazement at her only child - st john paul karol wojtyla 30 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, St JOSEPH, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave

981px-THE HOLY FAMILY V LG Cathedral_Dili_window.jpgFeast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave

The devotion to the Holy Family was born in Bethlehem, together with the Baby Jesus. The shepherds went to adore the Child and, at the same time, they gave honour to His family.   Later, in a similar way, the three wise men came from the East to adore and give honour to the newborn King with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, that would be safeguarded by His family.the holy family.jpg

We can go further to affirm that in a certain sense Christ, Himself, was the first devotee of His family.   He showed His devotion to His mother and foster father by submitting Himself, with infinite humility, to the duty of filial obedience towards them.   This is what St Bernard of Clairvaux said in this regard, ‘God, to whom angels submit themselves and who principalities and powers obey, was subject to Mary and not only to Mary but Joseph also, for Mary’s sake [….].   God obeyed a human creature, this is humility without precedent.   A human creature commands God, it is sublime beyond measure.’   (First Homily on the ‘Missus Est’).Polidoro_da_Lanciano_Holy_Family_with_Angel just amazing

Today’s celebration demonstrates Christ’s humility and obedience with respect to the fourth commandment, whilst also highlighting the loving care that His parents exercised in His keeping.   The servant of God, St Pope John Paul II, in 1989, entitled his Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Redemptoris Custos’ (Guardian of the Redeemer) which was dedicated to the person and the mission of Saint Joseph in the life of Christ and of the Church.   After exactly a century, he resumed the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, for who Saint Joseph ‘.. shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men’  (Encyclical Quamquam Pluries [1889] n. 3).   Pope Leo XIII continued, ‘.. Joseph became the guardian, the administrator and the legal defender of the divine house whose chief he was.[…]   It is, then, natural and worthy, that as the Blessed Joseph ministered to all the needs of the family at Nazareth and girt it about with his protection, he should now cover with the cloak of his heavenly patronage and defend the Church of Jesus Christ.’   Not many years before, blessed Pope Pius IX had proclaimed Saint Joseph, ‘Patron of the Catholic Church’ (1870)415px-The_Holy_Family_-_Rafael

Almost intuitively, one can recognise that the mysterious, exemplary, guardianship enacted by Joseph was conducted firstly, in a yet more intimate way, by Mary. Consequently, the liturgical feast of the Holy Family speaks to us of the fond and loving care that we must render to the Body of Christ.   We can understand this in a mystical sense, as guardians of the Church and also in the Eucharistic sense.   Mary and Joseph took great care of Jesus’ physical body.   Following their example, we can and must take great care of His Mystical Body, the Church, and the Eucharist which He has entrusted to us.   If Mary was, in some way, ‘the first tabernacle in history’ (John Paul II Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 55) then we, the Tabernacle in which Our Lord chose to reside in person, in His Real Presence, was also entrusted to us.   We can learn from Mary and Joseph! What would they ever have overlooked in the care of Jesus’ physical body?   Is there something, therefore, that we can withhold for the right and adoring care of His Eucharistic Body?   No amount of attention, no sane act of love and adoring respect, will ever be too much!   On the contrary, our adoration and respect will always be inferior to the great gift that comes to us in the Holy Eucharist.

Looking at the Holy Family, we see the love, the protection, and the diligent care that they gave to the Redeemer.   We can not fail to feel uneasiness, perhaps a shameful thought, for the times in which we have not rendered the appropriate care and attention to the Blessed Eucharist.   We can only ask for forgiveness and do penance for all the sacrilegious acts and the lack of respect that are committed in front of the Blessed Eucharist.   We can only ask the Lord, through the intersession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, for a greater love for their Son Incarnate, who has decided to remain here on earth with us every day until the end of time.

From the Congregation for the Clergymichelangelo_donitondo_holy family grt

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, I BELIEVE!, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The INCARNATION, The WORD

Thought for the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December – Mary visits Elizabeth – You also are blessed!

Thought for the Day – Saturday of Advent 21 December

Mary visits Elizabeth

Saint Ambrose of Milan (340-397)
Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from A Commentary on Luke, Book 2

When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary, he gave her a sign to win her trust.   He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman, to show that God is able to do all that He wills.

When she hears this, Mary sets out for the hill country.   She does not disbelieve God’s word, she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign.   She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.

Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights?   The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, laborious efforts.   Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear, as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Notice the contrast and the choice of words.   Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice but John, is the first to be aware of grace.   She hears with the ears of the body but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery.   She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s – a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation.   The women speak of the grace they have received, while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.

The child leaps in the womb, the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit.   John leaps for you and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit but we know, that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.   Her Son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in His mother, in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord.   Elizabeth says:  Blessed are you because you have believed.

You also are blessed, because you have heard and believed.   A soul that believes, both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.

Let Mary’s soul be in each of you, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord.   Let her spirit be in each, to rejoice in the Lord.   Christ has only one mother, in the flesh but we all bring forth Christ, in faith.   Every soul receives the Word of God, if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, it’s modesty undefiled.   The soul that succeeds in this, proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.   In another place we read – Magnify the Lord with me.   The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but, because He is magnified within us.   Christ is the image of God and, if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.you also are blessed becauxe you have believed - st ambrose - 21 dec 2019 the vistation.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CARMELITES, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on HAPPINESS, QUOTES on JOY, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent 21 December – ‘Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love.’

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent 21 December, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.

“Mary set out… in haste” … Luke 1:26

REFLECTION – “Our Lady’s strength was her gaiety and joy.   This is what made her God, her son’s attentive servant, because as soon as He came to her she “set out in haste.”   Joy alone could have given her the strength to set out in all haste across the hill country of Judah to become the servant of her cousin.   It is just the same for us.   Like her, we must be true servants of the Lord and after holy communion each day we must hurry over the mountains of the difficulties we encounter, offering our service to the poor with all our heart.   Give to Jesus in the poor, as a servant of the Lord.joy alone could have given her - st mother teresa 21 dec 2019.jpg

Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love.   It is love’s net with which to catch souls.   “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).   Those who give with joy give twice over.   If you meet up with difficulties and accept them with joy, with a big smile, in this, as in many other things, people will realise that your works are good and the Father will be glorified in them.   The best way, of showing God and others your gratitude, is to accept everything with joy.   A joyful heart comes from a heart that is burning with love.” … St Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) – Founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity – Jesus, the Word to Be Spoken

MEDITATION – “A soul united to Jesus, is a living smile that radiates Him and, gives Him.”St Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906)a-sol-united-to-jesus-is-a-living-smile-that-radiates-him-and-gives-him-st-elizabeth-of-the-trinity-8-nov-2019 and 21 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – “God is interested in even the smallest events in the lives of His creatures – in your affairs and mine — and He calls each of us by name.   This certainty that the faith gives, enables us to look at everything in a new light.   And everything, while remaining exactly the same, becomes different, because it is an expression of God’s love.  god is interested in even the smallest events in the lives of His creatures - st josemaria - 31 may 2018 - the visitation.jpgOur life is turned into a continuous prayer, we find ourselves with good humour and a peace that never ends and everything we do is an act of thanksgiving, running through all our day.   ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,’ Mary sang, ‘and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.’”St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) – “To Jesus through Mary,” Christ is Passing By, 144

PRAYER

O Radiant Dawn,
splendour of eternal light, sun of justice!
Come and shine on those
who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

o-radiant-dawn-21-dec-2017, 2018 and 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘O Church, true Spouse…’

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph … Matthew 1:18

Saint Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 146, on Mt 1:18

“His mother, Mary, was betrothed.”   It should have been enough to say:  Mary was betrothed.   What can a betrothed mother mean?   If she is a mother then she isn’t betrothed, if she is betrothed, then she isn’t yet a mother!   “His mother, Mary, was betrothed” – betrothed by virginity, mother by fecundity.   This was a mother without experience of a man but who yet experienced motherhood.   How could she not be a mother before she had conceived who, after giving birth, remains both virgin and mother?   When was she not a mother, she who is about to conceive Him, who set in motion, the time that gives things their beginning?

Why was the mystery of heavenly innocence given to a betrothed girl and not to a virgin who was still free?   Why did a fiancé’s jealousy put his betrothed in peril?   Why should such great virtue appear to be sin or salvation to be eternal danger?…   What mystery exercises us in all this, my brethren?   There is not a stroke, a letter, a syllable, a word, a name, a person in all the Gospel that is empty of Divine significance.

A betrothed girl was chosen that the Church, Christ’s betrothed, might also be signified according to the word of the prophet Hosea:  “I will betroth you to me in right and justice, in love and mercy;  I will betroth you in fidelity” (Hos 2:21-22).   That is why John said: “The one who has the bride is the Bridegroom” (Jn 3:29).   And Saint Paul:  “I betrothed you to one Spouse to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

O Church, true spouse, who through the virginal birth [of baptism] conceives a new infancy from Christ!o church true spouse - st peter chrysologus 18 dec 2019.jpg