Posted in "Follow Me", FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection 31 July – ‘ Christ’s Martyr before Christ’s Passion …’

One Minute Reflection 31 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” and the Memorial of Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) – Readings: Leviticus 25: 1, 8-17; Psalm 67: 2-3, 5, 7-8; Matthew 14: 1-12

This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” – Matthew 14:2

REFLECTION – “This was John’s greatness, in virtue of which, he reached such heights of greatness among the great, that he crowned his great and countless virtues… with the greatest of all the virtues – humility. Reckoned as he was the highest of all, he freely and with the greatest devotion, preferred to himself the Most Lowly One—and, he put Him before himself to such an extent, as to declare himself unworthy to take off his shoes (Mt 3,11).

Let others wonder that he was foretold by prophets, that he was promised by an angel and … that he came of so holy and noble parents, even though aged and sterile… that he preceded the coming of the Redeemer… and prepared His way in the desert, that he converted the hearts of fathers to their sons and of sons to their fathers, (Lk 1,17) that he merited to baptise the Son, to hear the Father and to see the Holy Spirit (Lk 3,22) and finally,, that he strove for the truth even to death and, so that he might go before Christ also to the lower regions, was Christ’s Martyr before Christ’s Passion. Let others, I say, wonder at these things…

What is set before us, brethren, not only to be wondered at but also to be imitated, is the virtue of his humility, by which he refused to be regarded as greater than he was, although he could have been… For as a faithful “friend of the Bridegroom”, (Jn 3,29) a lover more of the Lord than of himself, he wished that he himself might “diminish” in order that Christ might “grow” (v.30) and made it his business to increase Christ’s glory by means of his own diminution. Before St Paul, he made his own in act and in truth, those words of the Apostle: “We do not preach ourselves but the Lord Jesus Christ” (2Cor 4,5).” – Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot of Igny – 3rd Sermon for the Nativity of John the Baptist

PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that the example of Your saints may spur us on to perfection, so that we, who are celebrating the feast of St Ignatius, may follow him step-by-step in his way of life to reach You in heaven. Grant us the grace, by his intercession, to find our treasure in Your divine Son, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on MORTIFICATION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on THE WORLD, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Thought for the Day – 24 June – Mortification and Penance

Thought for the Day – 24 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mortification and Penance

“Our Lord reiterates many times, the command to do penance.
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 4:17).
He even insists on penance as a necessary condition for salvation.
“Unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner” (Lk 13:3).
It is a stern command and it may even seem cruel to some.
Why does the infinitely good God, Who is our loving Father, wish us to impose penances and sufferings on ourselves?
The answer is simple.
God makes us suffer and do penance because He knows that it is necessary for our salvation.
It is because He loves us and desires our welfare.

Mortification and suffering are necessary for two reasons.
They are particularly necessary because, we are all sinners and must expiate our sins.
Secondly, they are necessary because, without penance and suffering, we become attached to the world and forget all about Heaven, which is our real home.
In His love for us, therefore, God commands us to do penance.

The Saints were gluttons for penance and mortification and went as far as imposing on themselves, sufferings which horrify us today.
What are we doing in the way of penance?
Let us remember the command of Jesus and His precursor, St John the Baptist: “Unless you repent, you will all perish!” 
(Ibid).”

PART ONE HERE:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/03/25/thought-for-the-day-25-march-mortification-and-penance/

Posted in CHRIST the WORD, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Birthday of St John the Baptist –

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary,
the baby leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit …
“For behold, when the sound
of your greeting came to my ears,
the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

Luke 1:41,44

“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord is with him.”

Luke 1:66

“At my birth,
I took away my mother’s barrenness
and while still an infant,
I healed my father’s dumbness,
for You gave me in childhood,
the gift of working miracles.”

St Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270)
Bishop

Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4

“John is a voice for a time
but Christ is the eternal Word,
from the beginning.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace

MORE HERE:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/06/24/quote-s-of-the-day-24-june-st-john-the-baptist/

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The HEART, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – ‘ … The spirit and the power of John still go before the Lord and Saviour’s coming today…’

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist – Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80

“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.” – Isaias 49:1

REFLECTION – “The birth of John the Baptist is full of miracles. An Archangel announced the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus; similarly, an Archangel announced the birth of John (Lk 1:13) and said: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.” The Jewish people did not see that our Lord did “signs and wonders” and healed their illnesses but John leapt for joy when he was still in his mother’s womb. It was impossible to hold him back and when the mother of Jesus arrived, the child already tried to come out of Elizabeth’s womb. “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44) Still in his mother’s womb, John had already received the Holy Spirit …

Scripture then says: “Many of the sons of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.” (Lk 1:16) John brought back “a large number,” the Lord brought back not a large number but everyone. For it is his task to bring all men back to God the Father …

I, for my part, think that the mystery of John is being fulfilled in the world until the present. The spirit and the power of John, must first fill the soul of whoever is destined to believe in Christ Jesus, “to prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed” (Lk 1:17) and to “make ready the way of the Lord, [to] clear him a straight path” (Lk 3:5) in the roughness of their hearts. Not only at that time were “the winding paths … made straight and the rough ways smooth;” rather, the spirit and the power of John still go before the Lord and Saviour’s coming today.
Oh greatness of the Lord’s mystery and of his plan for the world! ” – Origen Adamantius (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father – Homilies on St Luke, no. 4, 4-6

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You sent St John the Baptist, to the people of Israel to make them ready for Christ the Lord. Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit and guide the hearts of all the faithful, in the way of salvation and peace, as they harken to the voice of John, the Lord’s herald and bring them safely to Jesus, whom John foretold. St John the Baptist, may your intercession for the Church, bring us to the Light and the Way. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Our Morning Offering – 24 June – John, the Chosen One

Our Morning Offering – 24 June – Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

John, the Chosen One
Lauds Hymn
for the Nativity of St John the Baptist
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

God called great prophets to foretell
the coming of His Son.
The greatest, called before His birth,
was John, the chosen one.

His life was filled with joy and hope;
he knew he must decrease,
and that we must prepare a place
where Jesus may increase.

John searched in solitude for Christ
and knew Him when He came.
He showed the world the Lamb of God
and hailed Him in our name.

That lonely voice cried out the truth
Derided and denied.
As witness to the law of God
His mighty Martyr died.

We praise You, Trinity in One,
the light of unknown ways,
the hope of all who search for You
whose love fills all our days.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 February – ‘Learn to think and live like a Christian.’ Mark 6:14-29

One Minute Reflection – 5 February – Friday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 13:1-8Psalms 27:135,8-9Mark 6:14-29 and the Memorial of St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin Martyr

“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” … Mark 6:28

REFLECTION – “In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet — provided they had a penitent disposition — because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day — the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.

Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events but will reap the greatest benefits.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor – On the Providence of God, 22.

PRAYER – Increase in us, O Lord, the gift of faith, so that we may arise and offer our praise to You and by Your grace, yield fruit from heaven, for the glory of Your Kingdom. Lord God, let St Agatha, who became precious in Your sight through her pure life and valiant martyrdom, plead for our forgiveness. For, with joy and rejoicing, as though to a feast, St Agatha, went to prison and offered her sufferings to You, with many prayers. Through Jesus Christ, Your divine Son, in unity with the Spirit, one God forever. St Agatha, pray for us, amen.

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PRIDE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 9 January – “He must increase but I must decrease.” John 3:30

One Minute Reflection – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 5:14-21, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4,5 and 6 and 9, John 3:22-30

“He must increase but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

REFLECTION – “He must increase but I must decrease.” In John, human righteousness had reached the highest level that man could attain. Truth itself (Jn 14:6) said: “Among men, there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (cf. Mt 11:11); so no man could have surpassed him. But he was only a man, whereas Jesus Christ, was man and God. And since, according to Christian grace, we are asked (…) not to boast about ourselves but “whoever boasts let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17), …, that is the reason John cried out: “He must increase but I must decrease.” To be sure, God is neither decreased nor increased in Himself. But for ourselves, to the extent that a true spiritual life develops, divine grace increases and human importance decreases until the temple of God, which is made up of all the members of the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:16), reaches it’s perfection, all domination, authority and importance have died and God has become “all in all” (cf. Col 1:16; 1 Cor 15:28). …
“The Word was the true light which enlightens everyone coming into this world, … from his fullness we have all received” (Jn 1:9.16). In itself, the light is always total light, however, it increases in one who is enlightened and diminishes when, what is without God in that person, is destroyed. For without God, we can only sin and this human power decreases, when divine grace overcomes and destroys the sin. The weakness of the creature gives way to the power of the Creator and the vanity of our egoism melts before the love that fills the universe. From the depths of our distress, John the Baptist acclaims the mercy of Christ: “He must increase and I must decrease.”St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace Sermon for the birth of John the Baptist;

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, through Christ, Your Son, You made of us a new creation. Shape us then, in His likeness, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, since in Him, our human nature now lives with You. Lord God, let the Blessed Virgin the Mother of Your Divine Son and our mother, ever commend us to Your love and care. May her charity and wisdom inspire us to treasure Your teaching and express it in our lives. Through our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – “Come and see.” – John 1:39

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Christmas Weekday, Readings: 1 John 3:7-10, Psalm 98:1, 7-9, John 1:35-42

He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying and they stayed with him that day … John 1:39

REFLECTION “John was there and two of his disciples with him.” John was such “a friend of the Bridegroom” that he did not seek his own glory, he simply bore witness to the truth (Jn 3:29.26). Did he dream of keeping back his disciples and preventing them from following the Lord? Not in the least. He himself showed them the one they were to follow … He declared: “Why cling to me? I am not the Lamb of God. Behold the Lamb of God ……)Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”

At these words the two disciples who were with John, followed Jesus. “Jesus turned and saw that they were following him and said to them: ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him: ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?” As yet they were not following Him definitively, as we know, they joined themselves to Him, when He called them to leave their boat …, when He said to them: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). That was the moment they joined Him definitively, no longer to leave Him. But for now they wanted to see where Jesus was living and put into practice the words of Scripture: “If you see an intelligent man, seek him out at daybreak; let your feet wear away his doorstep! Learn from him the precepts of the Lord” (cf. Sir 6:36f.). So Jesus showed them where He was living, they went and stayed with Him. What a happy day they spent! What a blessed night! Who can say what it was they heard from the Lord’s mouth? Let us, too, build a dwelling in our hearts, construct a house where Christ can come to teach and converse with us.” … St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermons on Saint John’s Gospel, no 7

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a child of eternity. Help me to live each day in such a way that I may deserve to be a child of Yours forever. Grant that by the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all Your Angels and Martyrs and Saints, we may strive always to keep our eyes fixed on Your Son, our entry to You, our Shepherd and our Saviour who will lead us to our eternal home. May we never waiver from Your commandments. Amen

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 23 December – “He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

Advent Reflection – 23 December – O Emmanuel – Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24, Psalms 25:4-5,8-9, 10 and 14, Luke 1:57-66

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

“He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

REFLECTION – [John the Baptist said:] “I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord.” So I cannot be silent, Lord, in Your presence. “I need to be baptised by you and do you come to me?” (Mt 3:3.14).
At my birth I took away my mother’s barrenness and while still an infant, I healed my father’s dumbness, for You gave me in childhood, the gift of working miracles. But when You were born of the Virgin Mary, in the way You willed and in a manner known to You alone, You did not take away her virginity but while preserving it intact, You gave her, in addition, the name of “mother.” Her virginity did not hinder Your birth, nor did Your birth destroy her virginity. On the contrary, two opposites, motherhood and virginity, were easily united by You, because the laws of nature have their origin in You.
I am a mere man, sharing in the grace of God but You are both God and man because of Your love for humankind (cf. Wis 1:6). ” – Homily attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270) Bishop – Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4

PRAYER
O Emmanuel,
King and Lawgiver
Desire of the nations,
Saviour of all people,
Come and set us free,
Lord, our God!

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRACE, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The 2nd Joyful Mystery - the VISITATION, The CHRIST CHILD, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Being aware of the Lord’s Presence – Luke 1:41,44

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Weekdays of Advent, Readings: Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18, Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21, Luke 1:39-45

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

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit … “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” – Luke 1:41,44

REFLECTION – “When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary he gave her a sign to win her trust. He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman to show that God is able to do all that he wills.
When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country. She does not disbelieve God’s word; she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign. She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.
Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, labourious efforts. Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear – as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice but John is the first to be aware of grace. She hears with the ears of the body but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s – a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation. The women speak of the grace they have received while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.
The child leaps in the womb; the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit. John leaps for you and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit but we know, that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her Son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in His mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says – Blessed are you because you have believed.
You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.
Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh but, we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.
In another place we read – Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop, Father and Great Latin Doctor – An excerpt from A Commentary on Luke, Book 2

PRAYER –
O Radiant Dawn,
Splendour of Eternal Light,
Sun of Justice!
Come and shine on those
who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent – 19 December – O Radix Jesse/O Root of Jesse – ‘a voice pointing to the Word’

Advent Reflection – Saturday of Advent – 19 December – O Radix Jesse/O ROOT OF JESSE – Readings: Judges 13:2-724-25Psalms 71:3-45-616-17Luke 1:5-25

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

O ROOT OF JESSE,
that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles
shall make supplication,
come, to deliver us and tarry not.

“And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak, until the day that these things take place because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” – Luke 1:20

REFLECTION “You will be speechless… until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words.” Voice and word are not the same thing where we are concerned, since a voice can be heard without it conveying any meaning, without words and the word can likewise be communicated to our minds without a voice, as in the wandering of our thoughts. In the same way, since the Saviour is Word…, John differs from Him in being voice, by comparison with Christ, who is Word. This is what John himself answered to those who asked him who he was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths’” (Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).
Perhaps this is the reason – because he doubted the birth of the voice that would reveal the Word of God – why Zachariah lost his voice but recovered it again, when that voice was born, who is the Word’s forerunner (Lk 1:64). Since, for the mind to be able to grasp the word intended by the voice, we must hear the voice. It is also why, according to the time of his birth, John is slightly older than Christ – for we perceive the voice before the word. Thus John points to Christ since it is with the voice that the Word is made known. Likewise, Christ was baptised by John, who admitted his need of being baptised by Him (Mt 3:14)… In brief, when John pointed to Christ it was as a man pointing to God, the incorporeal Saviour, as a voice pointing to the Word…”… Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father

PRAYER – Deepen our faith Lord, as we celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation, by which You revealed to the world the splendour of Your glory, through the most pure Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SPEAKING of ....., St JOHN the BAPTIST, The CHRIST CHILD, The DIVINE INFANT, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The HOLY CROSS, The INCARNATION, The LAMB of GOD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The SIGN of the CROSS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 16 December – The Lamb of God

Quote/s of the Day – 16 December – Wednesday of the Third week of Advent

The Lamb of God

“Behold, the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world!”

John 1:29

“The language of the cross
is foolishness to those who are perishing
but to us, who are being saved,
it is the power of God”

1 Corinthians 1:18

“Teacher of children
became Himself a child among children,
that He might instruct the unwise.
The Bread of heaven
came down to earth
to feed the hungry.”

St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)
Father and Doctor of the Church

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

“He who calls us, came here below,
to give us the means of getting there.
He chose the wood
that would enable us to cross the sea –
indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world,
who is not borne by the Cross of Christ.
Even the blind can cling to this Cross.
If you can’t see where you are going very well,
don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself.”

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

“He was humbled in the womb of the Virgin,
needy in the manger of the sheep
and homeless on the wood of the Cross.”

St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Doctor of the Church

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The HOLY CROSS, The LAMB of GOD, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 16 December – “Are you the one who is to come” … Luke 7:19

Advent Reflection – 16 December – Wednesday of the Third week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25, Psalms 85:9 and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Luke 7:18-23

“Are you the one who is to come” … Luke 7:19

REFLECTION – “The Lord, knowing that without the Gospel nobody’s faith may be complete – for the Sacred Scripture begins from the Old Testament but is brought to fulfilment by the New – does not answer questions about Himself, with words but, by acts. “Go, he says and tell John what you have seen and heard – the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” This testimony is complete because, it is of Him they had prophesied: “The Lord sets prisoners free; the Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord raises up those who are bowed down … The Lord shall reign forever, through all generations!” (Ps 145[146]:7f). These are the signs of a power that is not human but divine …
And yet these are only the least examples of the testimony given by Christ. What makes the fullness of faith is the Lord’s cross, His death, His burial. This is why, after giving the answer we have quoted, He also says: “And blessed is the one who takes no offence at me.” In fact, the cross could have indeed provoked the fall of the Chosen ones but, there is no greater testimony of a divine person, nothing that seems to go further beyond human forces, than this offering of one man for the entire world. Through this only, the Lord reveals Himself fully. Furthermore, this is how John had defined Him: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 5, 99-102

PRAYER – Almighty God, let the splendour of Your glory dawn in our hearts. May the coming of Your only Son dispel all darkness and reveal that we are children of light. By the care and love of Your Mother and ours, may we be ever strong as we carry our own crosses after You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The BAPTISM of the LORD, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 6 December – “I am unworthy” – Mark 1:7

Advent Reflection – 6 December – The Second Sunday of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14 (8), 2 Peter 3:8-14, Mark 1:1-8

Prepare the way of the Lord
make his paths straight
” – Mark 1:3

I am unworthy to stoop down to loosen the thongs of his sandals” – Mark 1:7

REFLECTION – “Jesus came to John to be baptised by him. John tried to prevent him, saying: “I need to be baptised by you and yet you are coming to me?” (Mt 3:13-14)
“I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness – prepare the way for the Lord.”
So I cannot be silent, Lord, in Your presence. I “need to be baptised by You and do You come to me?” (…)
You existed from the beginning, You were with God and You were God (Jn 1:1). You are the radiance of the Father’s glory, the perfect image of the perfect Father (Heb 1:3). You are the true light enlightening every person who comes into the world (Jn 1:9). You were in the world yet You have come to where You were already. You have become flesh but You have not been changed into flesh. You have lived among us, appearing to Your servants in the likeness of a servant (Jn 1:14; 14:23; Phil 2:7). You, by Your holy name have bridged heaven and earth and do You come to me? You, so great, to such as I? King to herald, Master to servant? (…)

I know the distance between the earth and the Creator, between the clay and the potter.
I know how far I, a lamp lit by Your grace, am outshone by You, the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 3:20; Jn 5:35).
You are concealed by the pure cloud of Your body but I still recognise Your sovereignty.
I acknowledge my servile condition; I proclaim Your greatness.
I admit Your absolute authority and my own lowly estate.
“I am unworthy to undo the strap of your sandal;” how then could I dare to touch Your Immaculate Head?
How could I stretch out my hand over You, who “stretched out the heavens like a tent,” and “set the earth upon the waters” (Pss. 104[103]:2; 136[135]:6)? (…)
Surely it is not for me to pray over You, for You are the one who receives the prayers even of those who have no knowledge of You.” – Homily attributed to Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus the Wonderworker (c 213-270) Bishop (His life: https://anastpaul.com/2018/11/17/saint-of-the-day-17-november-st-gregory-thaumaturgus-the-wonder-worker-c-213-c-270/)

MEDITATION Bombarded as we are by a deafening decibel culture; battered by commercialism; bruised by the relentless onslaught of a consumerist society; dazed and dazzled as we are by tinsel, trash and trinkets; overwhelmed by fake news, fake viruses, fake politicians, fake economies – we need the wilderness of silence and solitude – to make that most intimate and intricate journey – the wilderness of our heart. The heart of our Advent preparation is the preparation of our heart.

PRAYER – Almighty and merciful God, let neither our daily work nor the cares of this life prevent us from hastening to meet your Son. Teach us Holy Father God, silence and solitude, to hear and learn, then lead us into the company of Your Son, as He comes to save us! And may His Mother and ours, the most pure Virgin Mary be our intercessor and advocate. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

“John saw a man that was a tyrant
overthrowing the divine commands of marriage.
With boldness, he proclaimed in the midst of the forum,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip’s wife.”
So we learn from him to admonish our fellow servant as an equal.
Do not shrink from the duty of chastising a brother,
even though one may be required to die for it.
Now do not make this cold reply:
“What does it matter to me? I have nothing in common with him.”
With the devil alone we have nothing in common
but with all humanity, we have many things in common.
All partake of the same nature with us.
They inhabit the same earth.
They are nourished with the same food.
They have the same Lord.
They have received the same laws.
They are invited to the same blessings with ourselves.
Let us not say then that we have nothing in common with them.”

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

(Concerning the Statues, 1)

“He preached the freedom of heavenly peace,
yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men.
He was locked away in the darkness of prison,
though he came bearing witness to the Light of life
and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp
by that Light itself, which is Christ.”

“John was baptised in his own blood,
though he had been privileged
to baptise the Redeemer of the world,
to hear the voice of the Father above him
and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon Him.
But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth
was not a heavy burden for such men as John;
rather it was easily borne and even desirable,
for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”

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

“He chose to despise the commands of a tyrant,
rather than those of God.
His example teaches us,
that nothing should be dearer to us, than the will of God.
Pleasing other people is of little value,
indeed, it often causes great harm…
Therefore, let us die to our sins and anxieties
with all God’s friends,
tread underfoot our misguided self-will
and be careful to allow fervent love for Christ,
to grow within us.”

Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539)
Monk, Theologian

Sermon for the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Opera omnia, t 2

[Like St John the Baptist did -]
“Prepare a path for God
so that He can enter your heart.”

St John Baptiste de la Salle FSC (1651-1719)

“The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self
like St John the Baptist
and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – ‘He always went before his Lord …’

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, Readings: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31, Psalms 33: 12-13, 18-19, 20-21, Mark 6: 17-29

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”… Mark 6:24

REFLECTION –
“The great forerunner of grace and messenger of truth,
John the Baptist, Christ’s shining torch,
Now becomes the preacher of eternal Light.
The prophetic witness that he never ceased to show
In his message, life and all his mighty works,
Is signed today by the blood of his martyrdom.

He always went before his Lord:
In birth declared his coming to the world.
By his baptism of sinners in the Jordan
He foretold the one by whom baptism would be instituted
And, by shedding his blood for Him with love,
John the Baptist also experienced beforehand
The death of Christ our Saviour, who gave life to the world.

A cruel tyrant may well conceal him in a prison, bound with irons,
Yet in Christ such chains could never bind a man,
Whose heart in freedom opens to the Kingdom.
How could the darkness and torments of a dungeon dim
Gain mastery over one who sees Christ’s glory
And receives from Him the Holy Spirit’s gifts?
Willingly he gives his head to the executioner’s sword;
How could he lose his head
Whose Head is Christ?

Happy is he who wins today his forerunner’s title
By his departure from this world of ours.
Today his death proclaims his testimony while living:
Christ who comes and who now is here.
Could hell hold fast the messenger who escapes it?
The just, the prophets and the martyrs are full of joy
As they go with him to meet the Saviour.
All surround John with their praises and their love
And, with him, beg Christ to come at last to those who are His own.

O great forerunner of the Redeemer, he delays no longer
Who sets you free from death for evermore.
Led by your Lord,
Enter into glory with the saints!” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church

PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorial of The Passion of Saint John the Baptist and Memorials of the Saints – 29 August

Memorial of The Passion of Saint John the Baptist (Memorial)
Here: https://anastpaul.com/2017/08/29/saint-of-the-day-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-29-august/

AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/29/saint-of-the-day-the-martyrdom-of-st-john-the-baptist/
And here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/saint-of-the-day-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-29-august/

St Adelphus
St Adausia of Rome
St Alberic of Bagno de Romagna
St Basilia of Sirmium
St Candida of Rome
Bl Dominik Jedrzejewski
St Edwold the Hermit
St Euthymius of Perugia
Bl Filippa Guidoni
Bl John of Perugia
St Louis-Wulphy Huppy
St Maximian of Vercelli
St Medericus
St Nicaeus of Antioch
St Paul of Antioch
Bl Peter of Sassoferrato
St Repositus of Velleianum
Bl Richard Herst
St Sabina of Rome (Died c 126) Martyr
St Sabina of Troyes
Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942)
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/29/saint-of-the-day-29-august-blessed-sancja-szymkowiak-cmbb-1910-1942-the-angel-of-goodness/
St Sator of Velleianum
St Sebbe of Essex
Bl Teresa Bracco
St Velleicus
St Victor of La Chambon
St Vitalis of Velleianum

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Constantino Fernández Álvarez
• Blessed José Almunia López-Teruel
• Blessed Josep Maria Tarín Curto
• Blessed Pedro Asúa Mendía

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

The name “John” means
“God is Gracious”

the name john means god is gracious 24 june 2020 nativity of st john the baptist

“The Church observes the birth of John as a hallowed event.
We have no such commemoration for any other fathers
but, it is significant,
that we celebrate the birthdays of John and of Jesus.
This day cannot be passed by.”

the church observes the birth of john - 24 june 2020

“As a representative of the past,
he is born of aged parents,
as herald of the new,
he is declared to be a prophet,
while still in his mother’s womb.”

as a representative of the past - st augustine - the nativity of st john the baptist 24 june 2020

“The release of Zechariah’s voice at the birth of John,
is a parallel to the rending of the veil, at Christ’s Crucifixion.
If John were announcing his own coming,
Zechariah’s lips would not have been opened.
The tongue is loosened because a voice is born.

the-tongue-is-loosened-because-a-voice-is-born-24-june-2019-birth-of-john-the-baptist and 15 dec 2019 gaudete
For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked:
Who are you?
And he replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.
John was a voice that lasted only for a time;
Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.”

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

i-am-the-voice-the-voice-is-john-but-st-augustine-24-june-2019-nativity-of-st-john-the-baptist and 24 June 2020

“Our Lord says that John is a lamp:
“He was a burning and shining lamp” (Jn 5:35).
But the light of a lamp pales, when the sun shines,
it’s flame dies down, overcome by an even more radiant light.
What sensible person uses a lamp in full sunlight?…
Who would still come for John’s baptism of repentance (Mk 1:4)
when Jesus’ baptism brings salvation?”

St Maximus of Turin (5th Century)
Bishop

Sermon 99, PL 57, 535

john-5-35-he-was-a-burning-and-shining-lamp-but-the-light-of-a-lamp-pales-st-maximus-of-turin-24-june-2018 and 24 june 2020

[Like St John the Baptist did -]
“Prepare a path for God
so that He can enter your heart.”

St John Baptiste de la Salle FSC (1651-1719)

like st john the baptist prepare a path for god - st john baptiste de la salle 24 june 2020 nativity of st john the aoptist

“The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self
like St John the Baptist
and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)the-true-secret-of-love-is-this-st-peter-julian-eymard-24-june-2018-and-24-june-2019 and 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – ‘… The one who proclaimed the Christ.’

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80

“‘What do you suppose that I am?    I am not he.   Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'” … Acts 13:25

REFLECTION – “The fact that John’s birth is commemorated when the days begin to shorten, and the Saviour’s when they begin to lengthen, indicates a symbolic meaning.   And indeed, John himself disclosed the hidden significance of this difference between them.   The crowds were taking him to be the Christ on account of his outstanding virtues, whereas some were thinking of the Lord, not as Christ but as a prophet because of the weakness of his bodily state.   So John said: “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).   Our Lord certainly increased since, while they were looking on Him as a prophet, He made known to all believers in the whole world that He was the Christ.   John decreased and grew less, in that he who was taken for the Christ, came to be seen, not as the Christ but, as the one who proclaimed the Christ.

And so it is natural, that daylight begins to decrease after John’s birth because his reputation for divinity is going to vanish and his baptism will soon disappear.   It is equally natural, that the brightness of the shortest days begins to increase following our Lord’s birth – for, in truth, He came to earth to reveal the light of His knowledge to all the pagans, of which formerly, only the Jews had possessed a part and to shed abroad the fire of His love, through all the earth.” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homélie II, 20; CCL 122, 328-330acts 13 25 what do you i suppose that i am ia am not he - john decreased and grew less - st bede 24 june 2020

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You sent St John the Baptist, to the people of Israel to make them ready for Christ the Lord.   Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit and guide the hearts of all the faithful, in the way of salvation and peace, as they harken to the voice of John, the Lord’s herald and bring them safely to Jesus, whom John foretold.   St John the Baptist, may your intercession for the Church, bring us to the Light and the Way.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us-24-june-2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Feast of Madonna della Navicella and Memorials of the Saints – 24 June

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Solemnity)
https://anastpaul.com/2018/06/24/the-solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-st-john-the-baptist-24-june/

Madonna della Navicella – 24 June:
On 24 June 1508, in the afternoon, a strong storm, with disastrous effects, hit the inhabited area of ​​Chioggia and Sottomarina.   Rain, wind and storm had lashed the coast for a few hours.   In the evening, fortunately, the storm stopped and the weather got better.
A greengrocer, Baldissera Zalon, went to the vegetable gardens, where the sanctuary stands today, to see for himself the damage that the strong storm had caused.   Baldissera was a simple man, a peasant, who lived near his fields and lived on his work in the vegetable gardens.
As soon as he left the house, after scanning the clouds of the sky that were moving away and the setting sun was peeping, he heard himself called by name.   After the first moments of amazement, Baldissera turned and saw a majestic Lady, all dressed in black, who sat on a trunk thrown on the beach by the waves of the stormy sea.
The greengrocer was stunned to say the least, so much so that he was about to pass out, when the Lady revealed to her that she was the Mother of Jesus , giving him courage and inviting him to go to the Bishop to warn him that the sins of the Chioggia challenged the justice of God and that penance had to be preached tenaciously to avoid worse punishment.
Then the Lady got on a craft that was near the shore but before leaving and disappearing, she opened her cloak showing the wounded and bleeding body of Jesus, making it clear that it had also been reduced by the sins of the Chioggiotti.
Baldiserra wasted no time and went to the Bishop, who organised a pilgrimage to the place of the apparition and the turnout of the faithful became more and more consistent day after day.   In a short time, a Chapel was built on the spot and then, in 1515, a sanctuary which was, however, destroyed in 1814.
The current Church was built between 1952 and 1958 and was Consecrated on 24-25 June 1958 by Bishop Piasentini.
The miraculous image was found, according to popular belief, a few days after the apparition, together with the log on which the Madonna would sit when she appeared to Baldissera.   The image and the LOG from 15 November 1806 are preserved and are visible in the Basilica of San Giacomo.

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St Aglibert of Créteil
St Agoard of Créteil
St Alena of Brussels
St Amphibalus of Verulam
St Bartholomew of Farne OSB (Died 1193)
Bl Christopher de Albarran
St Erembert I of Kremsmünster
St Faustus of Rome and Companions
St Festus of Rome
St Germoc
St Gohardus of Nantes
Bl Henry of Auxerre/the Hagiographer
St Ivan of Bohemia
St John of Rome
St John of Tuy
St Joseph Yuan Zaide
Bl Maksymilian Binkiewicz
St Maria Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/06/24/saint-of-the-day-st-maria-guadalupe-garcia-zavala-1878-1963/
St Rumold
St Simplicio of Autun
Bl Theodgar of Vestervig
St Theodulphus of Lobbes

Martyrs of Satala: Seven Christian brothers who were soldiers in the imperial Roman army. They were kicked out of the military, exiled and eventually martyred in the persecutions of Maximian. We know little more about them than their names – Cyriacus, Firminus, Firmus, Longinus, Pharnacius, Heros and Orentius. The martyrdoms occurred in c 311 at assorted locations around the Black Sea.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 February – ‘Learn to think and live like a Christian.’

One Minute Reflection – 7 February – Friday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Sirach 47:2-11 (2-13), Psalm 18:31, 47, 50-51, Mark 6:14-29 and the Memorial of Bl Alfredo Cremonesi PIME (1902-1953) Priest and Martyr

“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.   The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” … Mark 6:28

REFLECTION – “In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment?   Who are those he did not set back on their feet — provided they had a penitent disposition — because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day — the same message he preached while he was living.   Therefore, do not say:  “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.

Learn to think and live like a Christian.   You will not only remain unharmed by these events but will reap the greatest benefits.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor – On the Providence of God, 22.he brought in the head mark 6 28 - what occurred was not a death but a crown st john chrysostom 7 feb 2020

PRAYER –  Father of mercy, You chose Blessed Alfredo Cremonesi to be a father to orphans in their need.   Grant that through his prayer, we may keep faithfully the spirit of sonship, by which we are not only called but really are Your children.   Help us to imitate his love and faith, manifesting by our commitment to Your commandments, our true faith.   May we be filled with strength and grace as we face persecution and animosity in Your service.   We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amenbl alfredo cremonesi pray for us 7 feb 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on SIN, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The BAPTISM of the LORD, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 19 January – ‘He has come down to earth to take you to heaven…’

Quote/s of the Day – 19 January – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, – Readings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6, Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, John 1:29-34

“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.”

John 1:32

“He has come down to earth to take you to heaven, He became mortal that you might become God and put on your original beauty.”

St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556)

Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poetjohn-1-32-i-saw-the-spirit-come-down-like-a-dove-he-has-come-down-to-earth-st-romanus-melodios-3-jan-2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MYSTICS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – “Come and see.” 

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Saturday of Christmas, Readings:
1 John 3:7-10, Psalm 98:1, 7-9, John 1:35-42

He said to them, “Come and see.”   They came and saw where he was staying and they stayed with him that day … John 1:39

REFLECTION“John was there and two of his disciples with him.”   John was such “a friend of the Bridegroom” that he did not seek his own glory, he simply bore witness to the truth (Jn 3:29.26).   Did he dream of keeping back his disciples and preventing them from following the Lord?   Not in the least.   He himself showed them the one they were to follow (…) He declared:   “Why cling to me?   I am not the Lamb of God.   Behold the Lamb of God (…) Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”

At these words the two disciples who were with John followed Jesus.   “Jesus turned and saw that they were following him and said to them:   ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him: ‘Rabbi, where are you staying?”   As yet they were not following Him definitively, as we know, they joined themselves to Him when He called them to leave their boat (…), when He said to them:  “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). That was the moment they joined Him definitively, no longer to leave Him.  But for now they wanted to see where Jesus was living and put into practice the words of Scripture:  “If you see an intelligent man, seek him out at daybreak;  let your feet wear away his doorstep!   Learn from him the precepts of the Lord” (cf. Sir 6:36f.).   So Jesus showed them where He was living, they went and stayed with Him.   What a happy day they spent! What a blessed night!   Who can say what it was they heard from the Lord’s mouth?   Let us, too, build a dwelling in our hearts, construct a house where Christ can come to teach and converse with us.” … St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermons on Saint John’s Gospel, no 7john 1 39 he said to them come and see - let us too build a dwelling - st augustine 4 jan 2020.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, the light of a new star in heaven, heralded Your saving love  . Let the light of Your salvation dawn in our hearts and keep them always open to Your life-giving grace.   May we stay with Your Son, for He will teach us Your ways.   Kindly hear the prayers on our behalf of Mary our mother and of all Your saints and may St Angela of Foligno intercede today on our behalf.    Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.st angela of foligno pray for us 4 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on ETERNITY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The HOLY NAME, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 January – ‘He became mortal that you might become God and put on your original beauty.’

One Minute Reflection – 3 January – Christmas Weekday and the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Readings:  1 John 2:29-3, 6, Psalm 98:1, 3-6, John 1:29-34

I did not know him but the reason why I came baptising with water, was that he might be made known to Israel.”   John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him”. … John 1:31-32

REFLECTION – “Upon Adam, blinded in Eden, a Sun has arisen, rising up from Bethlehem and has opened his eyes by washing them in the waters of Jordan.   Upon him whom darkness and shadows were covering, that light has dawned which will never go out.   Night is no more for him, all is day, Dawn is born for him, since it was dusk when he hid himself, as Scripture says (Gn 3:8).   He who fell in the evening has found the Sunrise that gives him light, he has fled from the dark and advanced towards the morning which has manifested itself and illuminated all. (…)

Sing aloud, O Adam and worship Him who comes to meet you.   While you were drawing back, He manifested Himself to you that you might see and touch and welcome Him.   He whom you feared after you had been deceived, has been made like you for your sake.  He has come down to earth to take you to heaven, He became mortal that you might become God and put on your original beauty.   Wishing to open up again for you the gates of Eden, He lived in Nazareth.   For all this, sing of Him, man and glorify with a psalm, the One who manifested Himself and has shone over all.

The eyes of the children of earth have received the strength to behold the heavenly Face, the sight of the creatures of clay, (Gn 2:7) has perceived the undimmed shining of the immaterial Light, that prophets and kings have not seen but longed to see (Mt 13:17). Great Daniel was called a man of desires because he desired to contemplate Him whom we behold.   David, too, hoped for this decree, now we can understand what lay hidden, the One who manifested Himself and illuminated all.” … St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet – 2nd hymn for the Epiphany, 1,3,8john 1 32 I saw the spirit come down like a dove - he has come down to earth - st romanus melodios 3 jan 2020.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Son’s manhood, born of the Virgin, was a new creation, untainted by our sinful condition.   Renew us then, in Christ and cleanse us from our sins.   May the Holy Name of Jesus, be our light, our safeguard and our shield.   Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all time and forever, amen.the jesus prayer - 3 jan 2018.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MOTHER of GOD, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on FRIENDSHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – Basil and Gregory and Pope Francis

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. john-1-23-i-am-the-voice-crying-in-the-wilderness-it-is-a-voice-pope-francis-2-jan-2019 and 2020

Prepare for the encounter with this Child
who will give our smile back to us.”

Pope Francis

General Audience, 7 December 2016prepare-for-the-encounter-with-this-child-pope-francis-2-jan-2019 and used quotes 2020.jpg

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”

St Basil the Great (329-379)

Father & Doctor of the Churchthe-hairsplitting-difference-st-basil-the-great-2-jan-2019 and 2020.jpg

“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.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

(from his writings on his friendship with St Basil)different-men-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2018 and 2020.jpg

“If anyone does not believe
that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Churchif-anyone-does-not-believe-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2019 and 2020.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – “Now I begin.”

One Minute Reflection – 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

He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” … 1 John 2:231 john 2 23 i am the voice of one crying in the wilderness 2 jan 2020.jpg

REFLECTION“Prepare a way for the Lord.”   Brethren, however far you journey along it… from the very nature of goodness, there is no limit to the way along which you travel. And so… the wise and indefatigable traveller… can say to himself each day:  “Now I begin”… And how many “go astray in the wilderness”… None of them can yet say:  “Now I begin.”

For “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.”   If the beginning of wisdom, then surely it is also the beginning of the way of goodness…  It is this that encourages praise…; it also moves the proud to penance, so that they hear the voice of him crying in the wilderness,ordering the preparation of the way and thus showing how to begin it:  “Do penance for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”…

If you are on the way then fear only one thing, lest you leave it, lest you offend the Lord who leads you along it so that He would abandon you to “wander in the way of your own heart”…   If you feel that the way is too narrow look forward to the end to which it leads you.   If you were to see how everything is to be attained, then you would say without hesitation:  “Broad indeed is your command!”   If you cannot see so far, believe Isaiah who could…   “Behold,” he says, “the redeemed shall walk by this way and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads  . They shall obtain also joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”   Those who dwell sufficiently on this end I think will not only make the way easier for himself but also grow wings, so that he no longer walks but flies…   May He, who is the track of the runners and the reward of the winners, lead and guide you along it – He, Christ Jesus.” … Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot – 5th sermon of Advent, SC 166may he who is the track of the runners and the reward of the winnders guide you along it bl guerric of igny 2 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love, let Your light penetrate the wilderness in our hearts.   May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace.   God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love.   Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.sts-basil-and-gregory-pray-for-us-2-jan-2018 AND 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SIN, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 23 December – Come and set us free

Advent Reflection – 23 December – Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Malachi 3:1-4; 4: 5-6 (3: 1-4, 23-24), Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14, Luke 1:57-66

The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.O emmanuel-king-and-lawgiver-23-dec-2017,2018,2019

And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he spoke, blessing God. … Luke 1:64

REFLECTION – “Speaking of John, we read in Luke:  “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord and many of the children of Israel shall he turn, to the Lord their God.   And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk 1:15-17).   For whom, then, did he prepare a people and in the sight of what Lord was he made great?   Truly of Him who said that John was something “even more than a prophet” and that “among those born of women none is greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:9.11).   For he made ready a people for the Lord’s advent, warning his fellow-servants and preaching repentance to them, so that they might receive forgiveness from the Lord, when He should arrive, after being converted to Him, from whom they had been alienated, because of their sins and transgressions ( … )

Yes, “in his mercy,” God, “the Dayspring from on high, has looked upon us and appeared to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death and has guided our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:78-79) just as Zacharias, recovering from the state of dumbness he had suffered, because of his unbelief, blessed God in a new way, when he had been filled with a new spirit.   For all things have entered upon a new phase by the fact that the Word, after a new manner, has accomplished the purpose of His coming in the flesh, that He might return to friendship with God, the human flesh that had departed from God. And this is why men were taught to worship God after a new fashion.” … St Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) Bishop, Theologian, Martyr

MEDITATION – “For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked – Who are you?   And he replied – I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.   The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John was a voice that lasted only for a time, Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.” … St Augustine (354-430)

ADVENT ACTION“The light of the world has come into the world and humanity loves darkness rather than the light.”   They have not known Him and they do not know Him because they do not wish to know Him, loving rather the darkness of sin than the light of grace.   Let each one determine this day not to be numbered among those unhappy souls who prefer the darkness.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)the light has come into the world - they have not known him - st alphonsus liguori 23 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER

O Emmanuel,
King and Lawgiver
Desire of the nations,
Saviour of all people,
Come and set us free,
Lord, our God!

 

Posted in ADVENT, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December – Why, the Benedictus?

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent – 19 December

“And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he spoke, blessing God.”…Luke 1:64

The Benedictus, is prayed every morning in the Breviary and so, the Church remembers this “forerunner of Jesus” at the beginning of every day.   The opening words of this Canticle are the source of its Latin title, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel”.
What does it mean for Catholics, that we sing this song about John the Baptists at the start of every new day?   After having been “silenced” by sleep throughout the night, God opens our mouths and one of the first things we do, is to sing this blessing of God, whose dawn breaks forth to shine on us and guide our way to peace.
In the Benedictus, we join ourselves to the mission of St John the Baptist, who came to prepare a way for the Lord by being a witness of God’s salvation, living a simple and penitential life and calling others to do the same.   Our work each day, then, is to use our voice – like Zechariah and his son – and the witness of our lives, to make God’s presence known wherever we go and to whom whomever we encounter.”the-benedictus-24-june-2019-new-2 and 19 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER –
The Benedictus – Canticle of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79

The Messiah and His forerunner
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
in the house of David, His servant,
as He promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were His prophets of old.

A Saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who us.
So His love for our fathers is fulfilled
and His holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham, our father, to grant us,
that free from fear and saved from the hands of our foes.
we might worship Him in justice and holiness
all the days of our lives, in His Presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called the prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare His ways before Him,

to make known to His people their salvation,
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God,
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death
and to guide us into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever.
Amen

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 15 December – The tongue is loosened because a voice is born.

Thought for the Day – 15 December – Third Sunday of Advent, Year A, Gaudete Sunday – Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10, Psalm 146:6-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness
Saint Augustine (354-430)

Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from his Sermon 293the-tongue-is-loosened-because-a-voice-is-born-24-june-2019-birth-of-john-the-baptist and 15 dec 2019 gaudete

…John is born of a woman too old for childbirth, Christ was born of a youthful virgin. The news of John’s birth was met with incredulity and his father was struck dumb. Christ’s birth was believed and He was conceived through faith.

Such is the topic, as I have presented it, for our inquiry and discussion.   But as I said before, if I lack either the time or the ability to study the implications of so profound a mystery, He who speaks within you, even when I am not here, will teach you better, it is He whom you contemplate with devotion, whom you have welcomed into your hearts, whose temples you have become.

John, then, appears as the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new. That he is a sort of boundary the Lord himself bears witness, when He speaks of the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist.   Thus He represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come.   As a representative of the past, he is born of aged parents, as herald of the new, he is declared to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb.   For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of blessed Mary.   In that womb, he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born, it was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor, before they ever saw one another.  These are divine happenings, going beyond the limits of our human frailty. Eventually he is born, he receives his name, his father’s tongue is loosened.   See how these events reflect reality.

Zechariah is silent and loses his voice until John, the precursor of the Lord, is born and restores his voice.   The silence of Zechariah is nothing but the age of prophecy lying hidden, obscured, as it were and concealed before the preaching of Christ.   At John’s arrival, it becomes clear, when the one who was being prophesied is about to come.   The release of Zechariah’s voice at the birth of John is a parallel to the rending of the veil at Christ’s crucifixion.   If John were announcing his own coming, Zechariah’s lips would not have been opened.   The tongue is loosened because a voice is born.   For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked – Who are you?   And he replied – I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.  The voice is John but the Lord in the beginning was the Word.   John was a voice that lasted only for a time, Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.i-am-the-voice-the-voice-is-john-but-st-augustine-24-june-2019-nativity-of-st-john-the-baptist and 15 dec 2019 gaudete sun

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday – The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.

Advent Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday – Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10, Psalm 146:6-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.gaudete-sunday-17-dec-2018-REJOICE and 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Are you he who is to come…” … Matthew 11:3

REFLECTION – “It is part of the Baptist’s approaching witness-to-death, that, even in prison, he must put up with the darkness God has given him.   He had expected a mighty One who would baptise with Spirit and fire.   And now there appears in the Gospel, this gentle One, who “will not quench a smouldering wick” (Is 42:3).   Jesus calms John’s disquie, by showing him that the prophecy is being fulfilled in Himself, in gentle miracles that still call for trusting faith:  “Blessed is the man who finds no stumblimg block in me.” Perhaps the darkness that burdens John as a witness to Christ, is the very reason why Jesus praises him to the crowd – he really is what he understood himself to be – the messenger sent in advance of Jesus to prepare the way.   John referred to himself as a mere voice in the wilderness, ringing out the marvel of the coming One.
The least among those belonging to the coming Kingdom is greater than John, who assessed himself as belong to the Old Covenant, yet, as “friend of the Bridegroom” he is showered with the light of new grace, as he humbly makes way for Christ.
On icons, he joins Mary the Mother, who also comes from the Old Covenant, yet steps across into the New Covenant, the two of them at the right and left hand, of the world’s Judge!” … Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) Theologian

MEDIATION – “I speak out in order to lead Him into your hearts but He does not choose to come where I lead Him, unless you prepare the way for Him.”
To prepare the way means to pray well – it means thinking humbly of oneself.   We should take our lesson from John the Baptist.   He is thought to be the Christ, he declares he is not what they think.   He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the ChurchI-speak-out-in-order-to-lead-Him-st-augustine-16-dec-2018 and 15 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – We begin this third week of Advent asking to feel the joy that comes from knowing our Lord’s coming to us is near.
In these precious days ahead, we are praying, longing, hoping in the background of our everyday lives.
His mission is to the poor, the brokenhearted, prisoners and captives.   His mission is for us.   It is “good news,” full of healing, liberty and release.   We can smile today as we imagine the freedom He has won for us and how liberating it will be to live it, with Him, for others.
It is right to give our God thanks and praise and to follow His mission in our lives.
Jesus will come again, very soon!ero-cras-tomororow-i-will-come-17-dec-2017 and 15 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER – O infinite God and only love of my soul,
I thank You, for having given me Your Son.
For the sake of this same Son,
accept me and bind me with chains of love
to my Redeemer. Amen … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor