O Most Compassionate Jesus! By Bl Pope Pius IX(1792-1878) Indulgence of 100 days, once a day 6 October 1870
O Most compassionate Jesus! Thou alone art our salvation, our life and our resurrection. We implore Thee, therefore, do not forsake us in our needs and afflictions but by the agony of Thy Most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, succour Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy most Precious Blood. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 20 January – Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity
ACT of FAITH
O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man and died for our sins and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen
ACT of HOPE
O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen
ACT of CHARITY
O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon. of all whom I have injured. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time
An Act of Oblation By St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me, my memory and my actions, to God the Father; my understanding and my words, to God the Son; my will and my thoughts, to God the Holy Spirit. I consecrate my heart, my body, my tongue, my senses and all my sorrows, to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, Who consented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross for me. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 11 January – Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
The Golden Arrow
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven. on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen
This prayer was revealed by Jesus Himself to a Carmelite Nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy. “This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully” He said “and heal the wounds, inflicted by blasphemy.”
One Minute Reflection – 10 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord , Readings: Isaiah 55:1-11, Isaiah 12:2-3,4,5-6, 1 John 5:1-9, Mark 1:7-11
“I have baptised you with water but he will baptise you, with the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 1:8
REFLECTION – “Today, the Lord Jesus has come to be baptised. He wanted to wash His body in the water of the Jordan. Someone might say: “Why did He who was the Holy One want to be baptised?” So listen. Christ was baptised, not in order to be sanctified by the water but so that He, Himself would sanctify the water and would purify the waves, that He touched by His personal action. Thus, we have to do with the consecration of the water much more than with that of Christ. For the moment the Lord was washed, all the waters became pure in view of our baptism. The spring was purified so that grace might be obtained for the people who would come afterwards. Thus Christ was the first to go to His baptism, so that the Christian people might follow Him without hesitation. And in this I perceive a mystery. Did not the column of fire go ahead into the Red Sea in this way, so as to encourage the children of Israel to walk behind it? It crossed the water first so as to break a path for those who would follow. According to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, this event was a symbol of baptism (1 Cor 10:1f.). Without any doubt, when the people were covered by the cloud and carried by the water, it was a kind of baptism. And all that was fulfilled by the same Christ our Lord, who in the column of His body now precedes the Christian people to baptism, just as He preceded the children of Israel across the sea, in the column of fire. The same column, which in times past enlightened the eyes of those who were walking, now gives light to the hearts of the believers. Then it marked a solid path in the waves, now in this bath, it strengthens the steps of faith.” – St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420) Bishop – Sermon for the feast of the Epiphany
PRAYER– By the Benedictines of Stanbrook When Jesus comes to be baptised, He leaves the hidden years behind, The years of safety and of peace, To bear the sins of all mankind.
The Spirit of the Lord comes down Anoints the Christ to suffering, To preach the word, to free the bound And to the mourner comfort bring.
Our everlasting Father, praise, With Christ, His well-beloved Son, Who with the Soirit reigns serene, Untroubled Trinity in One. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 31 December – The Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with Thee; Blessed art thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. R. Be it done unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary, etc. V. And the Word was made Flesh. R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. LET US PRAY Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen
The Angelus (/ˈændʒələs/; Latin for “angel”) is a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation. As with many Catholic prayers, the name Angelus is derived from its incipit—the first few words of the text: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ (“The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”). The devotion is practised by reciting as versicle and response three Biblical verses narrating the mystery, alternating with the prayer “Hail Mary.” The Angelus exemplifies a species of prayers called the “prayer of the devotee.”
The devotion is traditionally recited three times daily: 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00. The Angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell, which is a call to prayer and to spread goodwill to everyone. The angel referred to in the prayer is Gabriel, a messenger of God who revealed to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive a child to be born, the Son of God (Luke 1:26–38) so honouring the Incarnation of the Saviour, Redeemer – our Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
The words of the prayer are arranged above for leader and community but, of course, most of us pray the prayer alone 3 times each day, for we are always united with each other in faith.
One Minute Reflection – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents – The Fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 1:5-2:2, Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8, Matthew 2:13-18
When Herod realised that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. – Matthew 2:16
REFLECTION – “The Apostle John said: “Whoever says he abides in Christ, ought to walk even as Christ walked” (1 Jn 2:6). Moreover, the blessed Apostle Paul exhorts and teaches us, saying: “We are God’s children but if children, then heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him that we may also be glorified together” (Rm 8:16f.) … Let us, beloved brethren, imitate righteous Abel, who initiated martyrdom, he being the first to be slain for righteousness’s sake (Gn 4:8) …; let us imitate the three children Ananias, Azarias and Misael, who … overcame the king by the power of faith (Dn 3) … What of the prophets whom the Holy Spirit quickened to a foreknowledge of future events? What of the Apostles whom the Lord chose? Since these righteous men were slain for righteousness’ sake, have they not taught us also to die?
The nativity of Christ at once witnessed the martyrdom of infants, so that they who were two years old and under were slain for His name’s sake. An age, not yet fitted for the battle, appeared fit for the crown. That it might be manifest that they who are slain for Christ’s sake are innocent, innocent infancy was put to death for His name’s sake … How grave is the case of a Christian, if he, a servant, is unwilling to suffer when his Master first suffered! … The Son of God suffered that He might make us sons of God and the son of man will not suffer that he may continue to be a son of God! … The Maker and Lord of the world also warns us, saying: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own but because you are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world … remember the word that I said to you: “The servant is not greater than his lord” (Jn 15:18-20).” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c.200-258) Martyr, Bishop of Carthage, Father of the Church – Letter 55
PRAYER – We praise You, O God, we acclaim You as Lord, the white-robed army of martyrs praise You. (from the Te Deum).
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..
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.
O Come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!
O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high And order all things far and nigh, To us the path of knowledge show And teach us in her ways to go. Refrain
O come, o come, Thou Lord of might, Who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height In ancient times did give the law, In cloud, and majesty and awe. Refrain
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem, From ev’ry foe deliver them That trust Thy mighty power to save And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Refrain
O come, Thou Key of David, come And open wide our heav’nly home, Make safe the way that leads on high, That we no more have cause to sigh. Refrain
O come, Thou Dayspring from on high And cheer us by thy drawing nigh. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadow put to flight. Refrain
O come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind. Bid every strife and quarrel cease And fill the world with heaven’s peace. Refrain
The favourite O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is unknown. It is, however, believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.
Quote/s of the Day – 22 December – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, O Rex Gentium/O King of all Nations, Readings: 1 Samuel 1:24-28, 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8, Luke 1:46-56
“Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” – Luke 1:46-47
“The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it. I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving. As I contemplate His greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgment, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that Saviour, whom I have conceived in this world of time.”
“Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul. But anyone who makes himself humble, like a little child, is greater in the kingdom of heaven.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
O KING OF ALL NATIONS and keystone of the Church come and save man, whom You formed from the dust!
“…For he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.” … Luke 1:49
REFLECTION – “Then Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour … He has helped Israel his child (Lk 1:54 Gk), remembering his mercy and the covenant he made with Abraham and his descendants forever.” Do you observe how the Virgin surpasses the perfection of the patriarch and seals the covenant God made with Abraham when He said to him: “This is to be the covenant between me and you”? (Gn 17:11) … It is the song of this prophecy that the holy Mother of God addressed to God when she said: “My soul magnifies the Lord …, for He who is Mighty has magnified me; holy is His name. In making me the mother of God He preserves my virginity. The full number of every generation is summed up within my womb, that they may be made holy in it. For He has blessed all ages, men and woman, young people, children, the old” (…)
“He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (…) The lowly, the gentile peoples hungry for righteousness (Mt 5:6), have been exalted. By making known their lowliness and hunger for God and by begging for God’s word, just as the Canaanite woman asked for crumbs (Mt 15:27), they have been satisfied with the riches concealed within the divine mysteries. For Jesus Christ our God, son of the Virgin, has handed out to the gentiles the whole inheritance of divine favours. He has raised up Israel his child: not just any Israel but His child, on whose exalted birth He bestows honour. This is why the Mother of God calls this people her child and her heir. God, who found this people worn out by the letter, wearied by the Law, calls it to His grace. By giving this name to Israel He raises him up, “remembering his mercy, as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.” These few words sum up the whole mystery of our salvation. Wanting to save humankind and seal the covenant established with our fathers, Jesus Christ then “inclined the heavens and came down” (Ps 18:10). Thus He manifested Himself to us, putting Himself within our reach so that we might see Him, touch Him and hear Him speak.” – A 4th century homily (Incorrectly attributed to Gregory of Neocaesarea, called “Thaumaturgos”, no. 2)
Prayer – The Magnificat The Canticle of Mary Luke 1:46-55
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour He looks on His servant in her lowliness Henceforth, all ages will call me blessed: The Almighty works marvels for me, holy is His Name! His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear Him. He puts forth His arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly. He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty. He protects Israel, His servant, remembering His mercy, the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his sons forever. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 21 December and the Memorial of St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
Hail Mary, the Angelic Salutation
The Hail Mary/Ave Maria
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Áve María, grátia pléna, Dóminus técum. Benedícta tū in muliéribus, et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Iésus. Sáncta María, Máter Déi, óra pro nóbis peccatóribus, nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstrae. Ámen.
On today’s Memorial of St Peter Canisius, Catholics may wish to thank this Doctor of the Church for giving us the second half of the Hail Mary prayer.
This 16th-century saint, known as the second Apostle of Germany, followed in the giant footsteps of St Boniface, who evangelised Germany a thousand years earlier. He was also active at the Council of Trent and wrote much on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The first half of the Hail Mary, of course, comes from Scripture. What many Catholics don’t know, is that the second half of this Catholic prayer is due to the intervention of St Peter Canisius at the Council of Trent. St Peter began adding on to the scriptural part of the Hail Mary, the “Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” It was Trent that officially accepted this addition to the prayer and included it in their famous Catechism of the Council of Trent in 1566.
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia- veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the Mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things- Come and teach us the way of prudence.
“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you.” – Genesis 49:8
REFLECTION – “This text appears to be directed to the Patriarch Judah, indeed but more so that later Judah is meant, the true Confessor who was born of that tribe and who alone is praised by His brothers; of them He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers.” He is the Lord by nature but a brother by grace; His hands, which He stretched out to an unbelieving people, are on the back of His enemies. For with those same hands and by that same passion, Christ protected His own, subjugated hostile powers and made subject to Himself, all people who were without faith and devotion. Of these the Father says to His Son, “And you will rule in the midst of your enemies.” It was their own wickedness that made them enemies, not Christ’s will. In this there is a great gift of the Lord. Previously, spiritual wickedness generally used to make our neck bend to the yoke of captivity. Thus even David wrote that he felt, in some way, the hands of those who triumphed over him, for he said, “Upon my back sinners have wrought.” But now spiritual wickedness is subject to the triumph of Christ and to His hands, as it were; that is, wickedness undergoes the affliction of captivity, being subject forever in deeds and in works. And, it is He indeed, to whom the sons of His Father bow down, when we bow down to Him; for he has permitted us to call upon the Father and, to be subject to the Father, is to be subject to virtue.” – St Ambrose (340-397) One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church – (The Patriarchs, 4)
PRAYER – Collect: O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature, Who willed that Your Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb, look with favour on our prayers, that Your only Begotten Son, having taken to Himself our humanity, may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity. Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel
Our Morning Offering – 17 December – O Wisdom/O Sapientia
Awaiting Baby Jesus Traditional Catholic Advent Prayer
My heart is beating, filled with joy, awaiting Mary’s baby boy. For with this child, we embrace the birth of God’s most precious grace. Baby Jesus, soon to come! For us comes the Promised One. Baby Jesus, God’s own Son, you will be the Chosen One to lead our flock into salvation. Our eternal life awaits. The birth of Jesus brings us nearer Heaven’s holy gates. Sing with joy and count the days, for soon to come, the Lord we’ll praise. Rejoice that Jesus will soon arrive, the Messiah and our faith alive. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 16 December – Wednesday of the Third week of Advent
Hark, a Herald Voice is Calling En Clara Vox Redarguit Trans. Fr E Caswall, 1695
Hark, a herald voice is calling, “Christ is nigh,” it seems to say; “Cast away the dreams of darkness, O ye children of the day.”
Startled at the solemn warning, Let the earthbound soul arise; Christ her Sun, all sloth dispelling, Shines up on the morning skies.
Lo, the Lamb so long expected, Comes with pardon down from heav’n; Let us haste, with tears of sorrow, One and all to be forgiv’n.
So when next He comes with glory, Shrounding all the earth in fear, May He then as our defender, On the clouds of heav’n appear.
Translated from En Clara Vox Redarguit, which is a 5th or 6th century hymn whose author is unknown. It was revised in the 1632 Roman Breviary and the English translation found above, is by Fr E Caswall, 1695.
In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God.
The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it. Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.
It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.
Let us Pray, this theologically rich prayer written by Ven Servant of God Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) in 1954 in honour of the 100th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Enraptured by the splendour of your heavenly beauty and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart, appeasement of our ardent desires and a safe harbour from the tempests which beset us on every side.
Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.
O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! O Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!
O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognise that they are brothers and that the nations are members of one family, upon which, may there shine forth, the sun of a universal and sincere peace.
Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications and, above all, obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars – You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honour of our people! Amen.
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
Devotion for the Month of November – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Church commemorates all her faithful children who have departed from this life but, have not yet attained the joys of heaven. St Paul warns us, that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.
The Church has always taught us to pray for those who have gone into eternity. Even in the Old Testament prayers and alms were offered for the souls of the dead by those who thought “well and religiously concerning the resurrection.” It was believed that “they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them” and that “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” We know that a defiled soul cannot enter into heaven.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them and may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
Thought for the Day – 31 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Pray for Us … at the Hour of Our Death”
“We have come to the end of this month, which we have dedicated to Mary and her blessed Rosary. Let us remember, however, that apart from this month of October, we should dedicate our whole lives to her, up to final moment of death. We are always in need of Mary’s patronage and intercession with God. Let us always have recourse to her, therefore, especially in danger and in suffering but, most especially, at the decisive moment of death, for this is the moment on which eternity depends. This day will arrive sooner or later but, it will certainly come, “at an hour that you do not expect” (Lk 12:40).
In the second part of the Hail Mary, the Church places on our lips, these words of supplication: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” How many times we have recited this prayer! But do we ever think of death? Let us remember that a mediation on death is the most valuable lesson in life. One day, we shall find ourselves face-to-face with God, drawing our last breath on earth. It may be on a sick bed, it may be in the middle of a street – we do not know. It may be after a long illness at the end of which we are comforted by the Holy Sacraments and blessed by a priest, or it may be quite unexpected. But, it is certain that death will come. Let us aim, therefore, at being always prepared, so that it may not come when we have no good works to offer and when our hearts are full of ourselves and of worldly interests. Like Mary, let us lead lives of holiness and we shall be sure to die holy deaths. Let us beseech our heavenly Mother to be by our side at that final moment to sustain us in the conflict and to consign our souls to her divine Son, Jesus. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Mary, Our Hope”
“In the beautiful prayer, known as the Salve Regina or Hail, Holy Queen, the Church salutes Mary as “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” Mary is our hope, because, she gave us our Saviour, Jesus and, because, she prays to Him continually for the graces which we need. Following the example of Luther, modern Protestants raise the objection that Mary cannot be regarded as a source of hope, because, all our trust should be placed in God. Anyone who places his trust in creatures, draws down God’s curse upon himself, they say and, they go on to quote from Jeremiah: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man” (Jer 17:5). But this is true only, when we trust in creatures independently of God, as if we can derive any good from them, without recourse to God. We invoke Mary, however, as the Mother of God and our mediatrix with Him. She is our hope, insofar as she obtains for us from God, the graces and favours which we require. St Bernard assures us, that God has placed in Mary’s hands, all the riches which He wishes to bestow on us (Serm de aquaed). “He will never experience eternal ruin,” says St Anselm, “for whom Mary has once prayed.” St Bernard calls upon Mary as the foundation of all his hope (Ibid). Let us remember, that Mary is our loving Mother who wishes us to pray to her, because, she knows that if she intercedes on our behalf, she will certainly be heard. It should be most consoling to us to have such a good and powerful Mother in whom, we can safely trust in every peril and in every necessity. Let us pray to her with love and faith, in the certainty that, we shall be answered in the way that is best for us. Let us say along with St John Damascene: “O Mother of God, if I place my trust in you, I shall be saved. If I am under your protection, I have nothing to fear, because to be devoted to you, is to possess a weapon of salvation which God grants only to those, whom He desires to redeem” (Serm de Nat, cap 4).”
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Hail Mary”
“After the Lord’s Prayer, there is no more beautiful prayer than the Hail Mary, which we should recite with particular devotion in the decades of the Holy Rosary. At the beginning of the Rosary, we can imgine that we are witnesses of the Annunciation to Mary, in her home at Nazareth. An Angel descends from Heaven and bows before the Blessed Virgin as she kneels, absorbed in prayer. “Hail, full of grace,” he says, “the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:26-28). We should join with the Angel of God in repeating these words fervently and devoutly.
The constant repetition of this prayer is very pleasing to Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother. When we greet her with the words of the Angel, we remid her of the great mystery of the Incarnation, which was the beginning of her lofty mission as co-redemptrix and the dawn of Christian civilisation.
Even when we say these words over and over again, they can never become monotonous. When a son is speaking to his mother, every word possesses an unlimited warmth and meaning because, it is the expression of a boundless love. When we recite the decades of the Rosary, we should think of the heavenly Mother who is watching over us and listening to us, eager to console and assist us. She loves us with a maternal love but, she requires us to love her also and to prove that we are her children by imitating her virtues.”
Our Morning Offering – 23 October – Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer and Friday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O Good Jesus, hear me. Within Your wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from You. From the wicked foe, defend me. At the hour of my death, call me and bid me come to You That with Your saints, I may praise You Forever and ever. Amen
For many years the prayer was popularly believed to have been composed by Saint Ignatius Loyola, as he puts it at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises and often refers to it. In the first edition of the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius merely mentions it, evidently supposing that the reader would know it. In later editions, it was printed in full. It was by assuming that everything in the book was written by Ignatius that it came to be looked upon as his composition. On this account the prayer is sometimes referred to as the Aspirations of St Ignatius Loyola.
However, the prayer actually dates to the early fourteenth century and was possibly written by Pope John XXII but its authorship remains uncertain. It has been found in a number of prayer books printed during the youth of Ignatius and is in manuscripts which were written a hundred years before his birth.
The English hymnologist James Mearns found it in a manuscript of the British Museum which dates back to about 1370. In the library of Avignon there is preserved a prayer book of Cardinal Pierre de Luxembourg (died 1387), which contains the prayer in practically the same form as we have it today. It has also been found inscribed on one of the gates of the Alcázar of Seville, which dates back to the time of Pedro the Cruel (1350–1369).
Thought for the Day – 18 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The “Our Father”
“Our Lord exhorted His disciples on many occasions to pray often and with confidence, if they wished to be heard. Everything which they asked His heavenly Father, in His name, He said, they would obtain. Ask, He said and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. Finally, He insisted that we ought to pray and never to give up. In other words, life can be a continuous prayer if we offer to God all our thoughts, words and actions.
The ideal Christian prayer is to do the will of God at all times from the motive of pure love. The Apostles, however, who had not made that much progress in the spiritual life, asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Lk 11:1). It was then that Our Lord composed the most beautiful of prayer, the “Our Father” (Mt 6:9-13). When we recite it, we speak to God, in the words of Jesus Christ Himself and unite our weak voices, with the powerful voice of the Son of God. We address the Eternal God, moreover, by the name of Father. Even in the Old Testament, God is often referred to in this way. Then, however, He figured as the Father of the chosen people, whereas now, He is the Father of all. He is our Father, the Father of all mankind and of all races, whom He has willed to redeem from the slavery of sin. The term “Our Father” has taken on a new and fuller meaning. Our weak prayer becomes united to that of Jesus, our first-born Brother and to the prayers of the Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Confessors, who form and have formed, throughout the centuries, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. We need no longer feel that we are on our own, for through the Communion of Saints, our entreaties are joined to those of the entire Church, militant, suffering and triumphant. We can be confident, therefore, that our prayer will be heard!”
Our Morning Offering – 18 October – Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I Am Not Worthy, Holy Lord
I am not worthy, holy Lord, That Thou shouldst come to me; Speak but the word – one gracious word Can set the sinner free. I am not worthy; cold and bare The lodging of my soul; How canst Thou deign to enter there? Lord, speak and make me whole. Amen
Author – Rev H W Baker (1821–1877), was an English hymn writer.
Quote/s of the Day – 13 October – The 103rd Anniversary of the Last Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima –or Our Lady of the Rosary, the name the three children called her – is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as She appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These Apparitions occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, the first on 13 May and the last today, 13 October 2017. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Her message was one of hope, repentance and conversion for the whole world.
“I have come, to warn the faithful, to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord, Who is already too much offended.”
“Look, my Daughter,” Our Lady said to Lúcia on 10 December 1925, “at my heart, surrounded with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce me.”
“Say the Rosary everyday to obtain peace for the world. And after each decade, say the following prayer: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.’”
“Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no-one to make sacrifices and pray for them.”
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Our Lady assured Lúcia: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” Thus, if we devote ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, Mary will lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ and we will be on the way to Heaven.
Official Prayer of Consecration To Our Lady of Fatima (Issued for the Jubilee in 2017)
Our lady of Fatima Hail, Mother of the Lord, Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima! Blessed among all women, you are the image of the Church dressed in the Paschal light, you are the honour of our people, you are the triumph over the mark of evil. Prophecy of the merciful Love of the Father, Teacher of the Annunciation of the Good News of the Son, Sign of the burning Fire of the Holy Spirit, teach us, in this vale of joys and sorrows, the eternal truths that the Father reveals to the little ones. Show us the strength of your mantle of protection. In your Immaculate Heart, be the refuge of sinners and the way that leads to God. In Faith, Hope and Love, I surrender myself to you. Through you, I consecrate myself to God, O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima. And thus surrounded by the Light that comes from your hands, I will give Glory to the Lord, forever and ever. Amen