The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention
for February 2020
Listen to the Migrants’ Cries
We pray that the cries of our
migrant brothers and sisters,
victims of criminal trafficking,
may be heard and considered.
Listen to the Migrants’ Cries
We pray that the cries of our
migrant brothers and sisters,
victims of criminal trafficking,
may be heard and considered.
Quote/s of the Day – 29 January – Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4-17, Psalm 89:4-5, 27-30, Mark 4:1-20
“The sower sows the word. … And others are the ones sown among thorns, they are those who hear the word but the cares of the world and the delight in riches and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word and it proves unfruitful.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus invites us today to look inside ourselves –
to give thanks for our good soil
and to tend the soil that is not yet good.
Let us ask ourselves, if our heart is open to welcome
the seed of the Word of God with faith.
Let us ask ourselves, if our rocks of laziness
are still numerous and large,
let us identify our thorns of vice and call them by name…
Let us find the courage to reclaim the soil,
to effect a new conversion of our heart,
bringing to the Lord in Confession
and in prayer our rocks and our thorns.
In doing this, Jesus, the Good Sower,
will be glad to carry out an additional task –
to purify our hearts,
by removing the rocks and the thorns
which choke His Word.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.
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?
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.”
6 January 2019
Quote of the Day – 9 January – The Memorial of Blessed Alix le Clerc/Teresa of Jesus CND (1576-1622) known as Mother Alix and the Fourth Day after Epiphany
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”
“My God and Lord,
send me the light
of Your Holy and Blessed Spirit,
that I may find the path of peace
which You declared to us
on the day of Your holy Nativity…
I implore You,
my God and Saviour,
to grant us all such grace,
that we may walk
by the road
it has pleased You
to tread for us…”
“He is the Gospel of God,
He is the Mercy of God,
He is the liberation of God,
He is the One who became poor
so as to enrich us
with His poverty.”
Angelus, 24 January 2016
Quote/s of the Day – 5 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
“If the Magi had come in search of an earthly King,
they would have been disconcerted at finding
that they had taken the trouble to come
such a long way for nothing.
Consequently they would have
neither adored nor offered gifts.
But since they sought a heavenly King,
though they found in Him
no signs of royal pre-eminence,
yet, content with the testimony
of the star alone,
they adored – for they saw a man
and they acknowledged God.”
“The Gospel account of the Magi
describes their journey from the East
as a journey of the spirit,
as a journey toward the encounter with Christ.
They are attentive to signs that indicate His presence,
they are tireless in facing the trials of the search,
they are courageous in deducing the implications
for life that derive from encounter with the Lord.
This is life – Christian life, is a journey
but being attentive, tireless and courageous.
A Christian, journeys like this.
Journey attentively, tirelessly, courageously!”
“And as they fell to their knees
before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant,
the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem,
they discovered the glory of God.”
Homily for Epiphany 2017
Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – Christmas Weekday and The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390), Readings: 1 John 2:22-28, Psalm 98:1-4, John 1:19-28
“It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith.
We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith.
One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” —
“I belong to this religion…”
But your life is far from being Christian – it is far removed from God! Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”
This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find Him.
He is waiting for us.
This is John the Baptist’s preaching – prepare.
Prepare for the encounter with this Child
who will give our smile back to us.”
General Audience, 7 December 2016
“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”
“Different men have different names,
which they owe to their parents or to themselves,
that is, to their own pursuits and achievements.
But our great pursuit,
the great name we wanted,
was to be Christians,
to be called Christians.”
(from his writings on his friendship with St Basil)
“If anyone does not believe
that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”
The Holy Father’s
Prayer Intention for
Prayer Intention for Evangelisation
Promotion of World Peace
We pray that Christians,
followers of other religions
and all people of goodwill,
may promote peace
and justice in the world.
Thought for the Day – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord
“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!”
Thought for the Day – 29 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave
I am most grateful for my upbringing in a truly Catholic family, not one exit was made by the children without a blessing by our parents. This is such an important and vital element in our daily lives as Catholic families. And you too, parents, as you exit and enter your homes, bless yourselves with the Sign of the Cross – have a Holy Water Font at your doors – habits are formed by action – start today!
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
27 December 2015
“How important it is for our families to journey together towards a single goal! We know that we have a road to travel together, a road along which we encounter difficulties but also enjoy moments of joy and consolation. And on this pilgrimage of life we also share in moments of prayer.
What can be more beautiful, than for a father and mother, to bless their children at the beginning and end of each day, to trace on their forehead the Sign of the Cross, as they did on the day of their Baptism? Is this not the simplest prayer which parents can offer for their children? To bless them, that is, to entrust them to the Lord, just like Elkanah and Anna, Joseph and Mary, so that He can be their protection and support throughout the day.
In the same way, it is important for families to join in a brief prayer before meals, in order to thank the Lord for these gifts and to learn how to share what we have received with those in greater need. These are all little gestures, yet they point to the great formative role played by the family in the pilgrimage of everyday life.”
The Grace before Meals
Bless us, O Lord
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty,
through Christ our Lord.
The Grace After Meals
We give Thee thanks,
for all Thy gifts,
living and reigning
now and forever.
I learnt this Capuchin Grace Before a Meal from Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household:
Lord, bless this food
that we are about to receive
from Your bounty.
Help us to provide
for those who do not have any
and make us partakers one day
in Your heavenly banquet,
through Christ, our Lord,
Thought for the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
CHRISTMAS IS YOU!
By Pope Francis
Christmas is usually a noisy party –
we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.
Christmas is you,
when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.
The Christmas pine is you,
when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.
The Christmas decorations are you,
when your virtues are colours that adorn your life.
The Christmas bell is you,
when you call, gather and seek to unite.
You are also a Christmas light,
when you illuminate with your life the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.
The Christmas angels are you,
when you sing to the world, a message of peace, justice and love.
The Christmas star is you,
when you lead someone to meet the Lord.
You are also the wise men,
when you give the best you have, no matter who.
Christmas music is you,
when you conquer the harmony within you.
The Christmas gift is you,
when you are truly friend and brother, of every human being.
The Christmas card is you,
when kindness is written in your hands.
The Christmas greeting is you,
when you forgive and re-establish peace,
even when you suffer.
The Christmas dinner is you,
when you serve bread and hope,
to the poor man, who is by your side.
You are, yes, Christmas night,
when humble and conscious,
you receive in the silence of the night the Saviour of the world
without noise or great celebrations.
You are a smile of trust and tenderness,
in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas
that establishes the Kingdom within you.
A very Merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas.
Written by Papa Francisco
25 December 2014
Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
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 brought 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.
“The Firstborn entered the womb …
Glorious and unseen in entering,
humble and visible in birth.
He was God in entering
and He was man in birth.
A marvel and mystery to hear –
fire entered the womb,
put on a body
and came forth!”
“Christ is born, glorify Him!
Christ from heaven,
go out to meet Him!
Christ on earth, be exalted!
Sing to the Lord all the whole earth
and that I may join both in one word,
let the heavens rejoice
and let the earth be glad,
for Him who is of heaven
and then of earth.
Christ in the flesh,
rejoice with trembling and with joy,
with trembling because of your sins,
with joy because of your hope.”
He who Is,
and He, who Is,
becomes what He
“Let the just rejoice,
for their Justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
for their Saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
for their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
for their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
for Jesus Christ is born!”
“Never was a whimpering bit of humanity
so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw,
He could command the very stars
to direct whom He wished to visit Him.
Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant
who was full of grace and incarnate truth.
Never anyone so marvellous
as to be at once so small and so great,
true God and true Man,
the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh,
mighty King and a lowly slave.
Never had any child so emptied Himself
of all that He really was,
in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.”
“Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy.
Children should rejoice because on this day,
became as one of them;
virgins, because a Virgin brought forth
and remained unstained,
even after giving birth;
wives, because one of their number,
became the Mother of God;
sinners, because their Mediator and Saviour and Healer,
has come to redeem them;
the just, because their Reward, exceeding great,
has been born into the world.
In truth, all faithful Christians,
should rejoice, that their Creator and Lord,
has taken on human flesh and begun His reign
over the hearts of men,
not only as God
but also as the Son of Man
among the children of men.”
“Arise, all you nobles and peasants,
Mary invites all, rich and poor,
just and sinners,
to enter the cave of Bethlehem,
to adore and to kiss the feet
of her new-born Son.
Go in, then, all you devout souls,
go and see the Creator
of heaven and earth on a little hay,
under the form of a little Infant
but so beautiful that He sheds
all around rays of light.
Now that He is born
and is lying on the straw,
the cave is no longer horrible
but is become a paradise.
Let us enter,
let us not be afraid!”
“Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.
The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;
no longer are we alone and forsaken.
The Virgin offers us her Son
as the beginning of a new life.
The true light has come to illumine our lives
so often beset by the darkness of sin.
Today we once more discover who we are!
Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.
Now must we put away all fear and dread,
for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.
We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle.
We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger.
This is the reason for our joy and gladness:
this Child has been “born to us”;
he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).
The people who for for two thousand years
has traversed all the pathways of the world,
in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy,
is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace”
and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”
Thought for the Day – 22 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A, Readings: Isaiah7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. … Matthew 1:24
By accepting himself according to God’s design,
Joseph fully finds himself, beyond himself.
His freedom to renounce even what is his,
the possession of his very life
and his full interior availability to the will of God,
and shows us the way.
Angelus 22 December 2013
Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December
Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24
“See, days are coming — oracle of the LORD — when I will raise up a righteous branch for David. As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.” … Jeremiah 23:5
REFLECTION – “There was only one remedy in the secret of the divine plan that could help the fallen living in the general ruin of the entire human race. This remedy was, that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest by his example and by his merits. This was not permitted by natural generation. There could be no clean offspring from our faulty stock by this seed. The Scripture says, “Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed? Isn’t it you alone?” David’s Lord was made David’s Son and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang. He is one without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one person. By this one and the same conception and birth, sprung our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true manhood for the endurance of sufferings.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor (Sermon 28)
MEDITATION – “Are we in the core group of Christians who embody and live the purest form of the Gospel? Or do we find ourselves among the masses that acknowledge Jesus, enjoy being Christian but don’t pursue it at any deep level? The two requirements in the Gospel are that we repent and believe. If we repent, we do no wrong and speak no lies. If we believe with all our hearts, we follow the Star to the Manger.” … Pope Francis Angelus, 22 December 2013
ADVENT ACTION – “Let these last few days, be a time, when we begin the journey to the Christmas core – to the Christ Child. “Let us make ourselves ready to celebrate Christmas by contemplating Mary and Joseph – Mary, the woman full of grace who had the courage to entrust herself totally to the Word of God; Joseph, the faithful and just man, who chose to believe the Lord rather than listen to the voices of doubt and human pride. With them, let us walk together toward Bethlehem.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 December 2013
Happy Birthday Papa Francis!
Please join me in sending Pope Francis
all our best wishes, our love and our prayers,
today 17 December 2019
on his 83rd Birthday.
Advent Reflection – 16 December – Monday of the Third Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17, Psalm 25:4-9, Matthew 21:23-27
“The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore him.”
“We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” … Matthew 21:27
REFLECTION – “In truth, brethren, what God promised seemed humanly unbelievable, that starting from this mortal state in which people are corruptible, despicable, weak, dust and ashes, they would become equal to God’s angels! That is why God wasn’t satisfied with making a scriptural covenant for them, to believe but put forward a mediator as proof of His faith – no prince, no angel or archangel but His only Son. In this way, He would point out and bestow through His own Son, the way by which He would lead us to the end promised to us. Yet 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…
How far we were from Him! He who is so high and we so low! We were sick, with no hope of healing. A doctor was sent but the patient did not recognise Him, “for if they had known him they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Cor 2:8). But the death of the doctor has been the cure of the patient, the doctor came to visit him and died to heal him. He made those who believed in Him understand He was God and man, God who created us, man who recreated us. The one was visible in Him, the other hidden and that which was hidden, far exceeded what was seen… The patient has been healed by what was visible, that later he might be able to see in full. God postponed this final vision by concealing it, He did not refuse it.” … St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace – Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 110
MEDITATION – “Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned Your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with You. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into Your redeeming embrace”. … Pope Francis – The Joy of the Gospel
ADVENT ACTION – Let us go to Confession! Lead your family to the door of God’s love and mercy.
PRAYER – “My beloved Redeemer, how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin, which I brought on myself through my sins? What can I do without Your grace? I can do nothing but pray that You will help me but even this prayer comes from the merits of Your suffering and death! O my Jesus, help me!” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most zealous Doctor
Today, 13 December 2019, may we all wish Pope Francis
Congratulations on the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination
on 13 December 1969
On 13 December 1969, four days before his 33rd birthday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained a priest.
The now Pope Francis, received this Sacrament with the imposition of hands of the Archbishop of Cordoba, Monsignor Ramon Jose Castellano.
Young Jorge discovered his vocation on 21 September 1953, the Memorial of Saint Matthew, the tax collector who converted when Jesus invited him to follow Him. During a Confession, he had a profound experience of God’s mercy, a joy that led him to decide to be a priest, reported “Vatican News.”
Best wishes and Prayers are yours,
dear Holy Father Francis
on the wonderful occasion
of the 50th Anniversary
of your Ordination
Advent Reflection – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Readings: Zec 2:14-17, Book of Judith 13:18bcde.19, Luke 1:26-38
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.” … Luke 1:31
REFLECTION – ““The Lord is near”, the Apostle Paul tells us
and nothing should perturb us. He is close by.
He is not alone but is with His Mother.
She said to St Juan Diego:
“Why are you afraid? Am I not here who am your Mother?”.
He is near. He and His Mother.
The greatest mercy lies in His being in our midst,
in our being in His presence and company.
He walks with us, He shows us the path of love,
He lifts us up when we fall and with such tenderness,
He supports us in our labours,
He accompanies us in every circumstance of life.
He opens our eyes to see our wretchedness
and that of the world but at the same time
He fills us with hope!” … Pope Francis, 12 December 2015
MEDITATION – “Even if the sins of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my passion. When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.” — St Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 378
ADVENT ACTION – How can I lead someone to the mercy of Christ and His Mother?
PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light of Love and Mercy, throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Amen
Advent Reflection – – 8 December – The Second Sunday of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17, Romans 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-12
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” … Matthew 3:2
REFLECTION – “John the Baptist said: “Every valley shall be filled” (Lk 3:5) but it was not John who filled every valley, it was our Lord and Saviour… “And the winding roads shall be made straight.” Every one of us was going astray… and it was Christ’s coming, fulfilled within our very souls, that straightened all that was crooked… Nothing was so resistant as you were. Consider your former unruly desires, your fits of anger and other evil tendencies, as to whether they have disappeared. You will realise that nothing was so resistant as you were, or, in an even more expressive phrase, that nothing was brought so low as you were. Your behaviour was low, your words and deeds were low.
But my Lord Jesus came – He smoothed down your roughness, He changed all that muddle into roads that joined up to create a way without obstacles within you, well articulated and swept clean, so that God our Father could walk in you and Christ the Lord could make His home in you and say: “My Father and I will come to him and make our dwelling within him” (Jn 14:23).” … Origen (c 185-253)
MEDITATION – ” … The good news that Jesus brings us — and that John predicts — is that we do not need to wait for the kingdom of God in the future – it is at hand. In some way it is already present and we may experience spiritual power from now on. “The kingdom of God is in your midst!” Jesus will say. God comes to establish His lordship in our history, today, everyday, in our life and there — where it is welcomed with faith and humility — love, joy and peace blossom.” … Pope Francis (ANGELUS, 4 December 2016)
ADVENT ACTION – May we open the doors of our hearts, where the Lord dwells and share His hospitality with those in need, wherever we find them!
PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people, who come to You in confidence. Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You. Give courage to those who falter because of their failures. In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in hope, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. May they we share Your saving acts of kindness today and one day proclaim them in your eternal kingdom. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Advent Reflection – – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Matthew 9:27-31
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
When he entered the house, the blind men came to him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. …
REFLECTION – “We too have been “illuminated” by Christ in Baptism and thus we are called to behave as children of the light. Acting as children of the light requires a radical change of mind-set, a capacity to judge men and things according to another scale of values, which comes from God. The Sacrament of Baptism, in fact, requires the choice of living as children of the light and walking in the light.
MEDITIATION – If I were to ask you: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He can change your heart? Do you believe that He can show reality as He sees it, not as we see it? Do you believe that He is light, that He gives us the true light?” How would you answer? Each of you, respond in your heart.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 March 2017
ADVENT ACTION – Faith engenders hope, which is a future-oriented virtue. It acknowledges that there is a future awaiting us that is much, much better than the present. The virtue of hope, with its orientation to the future, enables us to handle present distresses and struggles in a positive way.
Pope Benedict reminds us in Spe Salvi that this perspective. does not mean for one moment. that we live only for the future (4). People in hope are building up the kingdom on earth but, they are also on pilgrimage, to that eternal kingdom, God has in store for those who follow Him.
PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people who come to You in confidence. Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You. Give courage to those who falter because of their failures. In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in faith and hope, by the power of your Holy Spirit. May they proclaim Your saving acts of kindness here on earth and one day, in Your eternal kingdom. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 5 December – Blessed Jean-Baptiste Fouque (1851-1926) Priest, Apostle of Charity “known as “Saint Vincent de Paul of Marseilles,” Founder of numerous charitable organisations for the poor, the sick, the elderly, children and orphans. Born on 12 September 1851 in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France and died on 5 December 1926 at the Saint John Hospital in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France of natural causes. Patronage – Saint John’s Hospital.
He tended to the poor during his time as a parish priest in Marseilles and was noted for his desire to create a large and free hospital for them. He achieved this in 1921 and tended to the old and infirm in the hospital. Fouque also was known for his ministering to displaced peoples during World War I and for his commitment to evangelisation.
Jean-Baptiste Fouque was born on 19 September 1851 in Marseilles to Louis Fouque and Adèle Anne Remuzat. His parents married on 29 October 1850 and were devout in their faith.
He studied in the school that the Servant of God Joseph-Marie Timon-David had opened, both David and Jean-Joseph Allemand proved to be Fouque’s spiritual masters during his education and were also influences on his desire to enter the priesthood. Timon-David helped Jean-Baptiste discern his call to the priesthood which he had felt since the beginning of his adolescence. This event – his Ordination – took place in Marseilles on 10 June 1876.
His first assignment was to serve as a pastor in Auriol at the Sainte-Marguerite parish and then in La Major. His final assignment was to serve at the Sainte Trinité parish from 15 April 1888 until his death over three decades later.
Fr Jean-Baptiste opened the “Le Sainte Famille,” ” The Holy Family ” home for girls that he later entrusted to the nuns from the Presentation order from Tours. In December 1891 the archdiocesan vicar general asked him to tend to the abandoned and to orphans. He threw himself into this work and opened an orphanage “House of the Holy Guardian Angels” that was transferred to a new location in 1894 and entrusted to nuns.
In 1903 he helped to establish a house for girls and also a home for poor domestic workers both in Marseilles. In 1903 he also re-opened the former boarding school of the Ladies of the Christian Doctrine and in 1905 – in a former convent – created “L’oeuvre de Salette” for the old and infirm. Fouque later founded “Le travail de l’enfance” on 27 November 1913 in Saint-Tronc which he later entrusted to the direction of a group of priests.
Between 1914 and 1918 – upon the outbreak of World War I – he tended to the wounded and displaced peoples. He had no financial means following the war but decided to appeal to doctors to care for the poor who had no finances to pay for medical attention. There were some doctors who agreed and Fr Jean-Baptiste proceeded to open a small clinic and hospital which would ensure better treatment of the poor. He asked industrialists and merchants to help finance this venture which became the basis for his idea in 1919 to create a large and free hospital for the poor in Marseilles. The people rallied behind him in this project and offered financial aid which resulted in Fr Jean-Baptiste finally opening and dedicating the Saint John Hospital on 20 March 1921.
Fr Jean-Baptiste died on 5 December 1926 in the Saint John Hospital. The people revered him as a saint and even referred to him as the “Saint Vincent de Paul of Marseilles.” His remains were later transferred to the Saint Joseph’s chapel in his first hospital on 29 April 1993.
He was Beatified on 30 September 2018 by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu in the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, Marseille on behalf of Pope Francis. Pope Francis said on that day at St Peter’s, Rome:
“The diocesan priest Jean-Baptiste Fouque, who was an assistant pastor throughout his life, is being proclaimed Blessed today in Marseilles. A fine example for social climbers! He lived in the 19th and 20th centuries and promoted numerous welfare and social works in favour of young people, the elderly, the poor and the sick. May the example and intercession of this Apostle of Charity, support us in the commitment to welcome and share with the weakest and most underprivileged people. A round of applause for the newly Blessed Jean-Baptiste!”
Advent Reflection – 3 December – Tuesday of the First week of Advent, Year A and the Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)- Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-2, 7-9, 12-13, Luke 10:21-24
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”
“In these passages, the meaning of Christmas shines through – God fulfils the promise by becoming man, not abandoning His people, He draws near to the point of stripping Himself of His divinity. In this way God shows His fidelity and inaugurates a new Kingdom, which gives a new hope to mankind. And what is this hope? Eternal life. ”
... Pope Francis – General audience 21 December 2016
Advent is a time to practice discipleship and the joy of sharing the message given to us! Today, share just a little of this joy of the Gospel and the hope of Christ, with those around you. Giving this gift is immense, as the Lord shared His Father in the Gospel of today, so we share Him. Spiritual love is tender, it is holy ground. There is simply no greater investment.
” …. Paul does not seek himself, he does not want to make a fan club for himself, he does not wish to go down in history as the head of a school of great knowledge, he is not self-seeking, rather, St Paul proclaims Christ and wants to gain people for the true and real God. Paul’s wish is to speak of and preach the One who entered his life and who is true life, who won him over on the road to Damascus.
Therefore, talking about God means making room for the One who enables us to know Him, who reveals His face of love to us; it means emptying ourselves of our own ego, offering it to Christ, in the awareness that it is not we who can win over others for God but, that we must expect God to send them, we must entreat God for them.
Talking about God, therefore, stems from listening, from our knowledge of God which is brought about through familiarity with Him, through the life of prayer and in accordance with the Commandments.” … Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt – How to speak about God – The Year of Faith – 28 November 2012)
Lord, it is my hope that I may always be in “Your will
Sometimes I am selfish with my time and my own desires.
Today, help me sort out things in my life.
I need to make You the first priority in my life
and not the things that really do not matter.
Assist me in conducting myself in ways that are most pleasing to You.
Lord, it is my desire to live more for You this day
and share the joy of Your love with all I meet.
And today, we remember St Francis Xavier, the “second Paul”
please pray for us!
Advent Reflection – 13 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 4:2-6, Psalm 122:1-9, Matthew 8:5-11
“Amen, I say to you, in no-one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.”
Vatican Council II – “Gaudium et Spes” #45
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World
“While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention – that God’s kingdom may come and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit, which the People of God, during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family, stems from the fact, that the Church is “the universal sacrament of salvation”, (Lumen Gentium), simultaneously manifesting and actualising the mystery of God’s love.
For God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh, so that, as perfect man, He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilisation, the centre of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. He it is, Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love: “To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Eph. 1:10).
The Lord Himself speaks: “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” (Rv 22:12-13).”
Christ is the ultimate centre of meaning in the universe. It is through Christ that all people will be led to the Father. How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God? Only when men and women are working to achieve the unity that Christ’s redemption promises us.
“The Lord always goes beyond, goes first. We take one step and He takes ten. Always. The abundance of grace, of His love, of His tenderness that never tires of seeking us. Even, at times, with small things – we think that encountering the Lord would be something magnificent, like that man of Syria, Naaman, who was a leper [did]. And it’s not simple… And he too had a great surprise at God’s way of acting.
And our God is the God of surprises, the God that is seeking us, is awaiting us and asks of us only the little step of good will.”
Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 28 November 2016
Perform an act of kindness for someone you do not know.
Our Lives Multiply by Giving Them Away
Fr Henri Nouwen
“The fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognise it and live it, as the life of the Beloved, is beyond anything we can imagine. One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe that the few years we live on this earth are like a little seed planted in very rich soil. For this seed to bear fruit, it must die. We often see, or feel, only the dying but, the harvest will be abundant, even when we ourselves are the harvesters.
How different would our life be, were we truly able to trust, that it multiplied in being given away?
How different would our life be, if we could believe, that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every little bit of joy and peace, will multiply and multiply, as long as there are people to receive it … and that – even then – there will be left-overs!”
The Holy Father’s
The Future of the Very Young
That every country
take the measures necessary,
to prioritise the future of the very young,
especially those who are suffering.
One Minute Reflection – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ, Gospel: Matthew 4:18–22
“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” … Matthew 4:19
REFLECTION – “The call reaches them in the middle of their daily activity – the Lord reveals Himself to us, not in an extraordinary or impressive way but in the everyday circumstances of our life. There we must discover the Lord and there, He reveals Himself, makes His love felt in our heart and there — with this dialogue with Him in the everyday circumstances of life — He changes our heart. The response of the four fishermen is immediate and willing – “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20). On the shores of the lake, in an inconceivable land, the first community of disciples of Christ was born. May the knowledge of these beginnings give rise in us to the desire to bear Jesus’ word, love and tenderness in every context, even the most difficult and resistant. To carry the Word to all the peripheries! … Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 January 2017
PRAYER – Lord, in Your kindness hear our petitions. You called Andrew the Apostle, to preach the Gospel and guide Your Church in faith. May he always be our friend in Your presence, to help us with his prayers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 28 November – Thursday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:20–28
“Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”…Luke 21:28
REFLECTION – “When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history, let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads. Do not give way to depression. Hope! Reality is ugly. There are many, many people, cities and people, so many people who are suffering; many wars, so much hatred, so much envy, so much spiritual worldliness and so much corruption. Yes, it’s true! All of this will fall!
Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be prepared for the banquet that awaits us, always with our heads held high.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 27 November 2014
PRAYER – Lord God, creator of all Light and creator of all good, grant that we may look up to You always and know that by Your Light and your goodness we are safe in this world of corruption. May the Light of our Lord Jesus, make the path He has set out bright and clear and may the prayers of St James of the Marches be a help in our struggle. Lead us, Lord, in Your kindness and mercy to the banquet which awaits us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11
“Take heed that you are not led astray,
for many will come in my name,
saying, ‘I am he!’“
“If you believe what you like in the Gospels
and reject what you don’t like,
it is not the Gospel you believe
“If you only follow the teachings of the Church
that you like and reject what you don’t like,
then it is not Christ and the Catholic faith
that you claim to believe in but yourself.
The creed that we profess
does not begin by saying,
“I believe in me…”
“A dead thing goes with the stream
but only a living thing can go against it.”
“Really great moral teachers
never do introduce new moralities,
it is quacks and cranks who do that.”
“We are no longer able to hear God.
There are too many frequencies filling our ears.”
“No age has been more prone
to confuse the sin with the sinner,
not by hating the sinner along with the sin
but by loving the sin along with the sinner.
We often use “compassion”
as an equivalent for moral relativism.”
“We have laws against polluting our rivers
but not against polluting our minds!”
“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries,
to swim against the tide,
yes, I am asking you
to rebel against this culture.”
One Minute Reflection – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11
“And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified” …Luke 21:9
REFLECTION – “Jesus’ words are perennially relevant, even for us today living in the 21st century too. This Christian virtue of understanding, is a call to discern where the Lord is and where the evil spirit is present. Today, too, in fact there are false “saviours” who attempt to replace Jesus – Jesus warns us: “Do not follow them, do not follow them!” The Lord also helps us not to be afraid in the face of war, revolution, natural disasters and epidemics. Jesus frees us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions. Despite the turmoil and disasters that upset the world, God’s design of goodness and mercy will be fulfilled! And this is our hope – go forward on this path, in God’s plan, which will be fulfilled. Jesus’ message causes us to reflect on our present time and gives us the strength to face it, with courage and hope, with Mary who always accompanies us.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 17 November 2013
PRAYER – True Light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, give us grace, we pray, to herald Your coming, by preparing the ways of justice, love and peace. Help us to live as Your children and by our lives to bring Your salvation and joy to all the world. May the Holy Spirit fill us with all His gifts and virtues so that we may await the coming of Your Son, guided by His Light and may Mary, the blessed Virgin, accompany us, guarding and giving us her prayerful help. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King
“Christ, has dominion over all creatures,
a dominion not seized by violence
nor usurped but His,
by essence and by nature.”
“Christ’s kingdom is not just a figure of speech.
Christ is alive, He lives as a man,
with the same body
He took when He became man,
when He rose after His death,
the glorified body which subsists
in the person of the Word
together with His human heart.
Christ, true God and true man, lives and reigns.
He is the Lord of the universe.
Everything that lives
is kept in existence
only through Him.”
You have heard Him spoken of,
indeed the greater part of you are already His – you are Christians.
So, to you Christians I repeat His name,
to everyone I proclaim Him –
Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end,
the Alpha and the Omega.
He is the king of the new world.
He is the secret of history.
He is the key to our destiny.”
“You say that I am a king. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
“But what is the “truth” that Christ
came into the world to witness to?
The whole of His life reveals that God is love –
so this is the truth to which He witnessed to the full,
with the sacrifice of His own life on Calvary.”
“When did Jesus reveal Himself as king?
In the event of the Cross!”
One Minute Reflection – 22 November – Gospel: Luke 19:45–48 – Friday of the Thirty Third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 19:45–48 – and the Memorial of St Pedro Esqueda Ramirez (1887-1927) Priest, Martyr of the Cristero War
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”…Luke 19:45-46
REFLECTION – “Have I learned to watch over myself, that the temple of my heart is only for the Holy Spirit? Purify the temple, the inner temple and watch. Be careful, be careful, what happens in the heart. Who comes in and who goes out, the feelings, the ideas… Do we speak to the Holy Spirit? Do we listen to the Holy Spirit? Watch out. Let us be attentive to what happens in our temple, in (us) ourselves.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 24 November 2017
PRAYER – Lord our God, in Your mercy listen to our prayers! Teach us the peace of Your love. Guide us in the ways of Your Commandments. Let the path laid out by Your Son, be our Light and our Joy. Grant that by the prayers of Your Martyr, St Pedro and all Your Saints, we may receive strength for our journey. Through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.