Our Morning Offering – 27 February – Saturday of the First week of Lent, the Memorial of St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862) and a Marian Saturday
O Mother of Sorrows, Stand by Me in My Last Agony By St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
O Mother of Sorrows, by the anguish and love with which thou did stand at the Cross of Jesus, stand by me in my last agony. To thy maternal heart I commend the last three hours of my life. Offer these hours to the Eternal Father in union with the agony of our dearest Lord, in atonement for my sins. Offer to the Eternal Father the most precious blood of Jesus, mingled with your tears on Calvary, that I may obtain the grace of receiving Holy Communion with the most perfect love and contrition before my death and that I may breathe forth my soul in the adorable presence of Jesus. Dearest Mother, when the moment of my death has at last come, present me as your child to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive me for having offended Him, for I knew not what I did. Beg Him to receive me into His kingdom of glory to be united with Him forever. Amen
Thought for the Day – 11 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of Mary
“We should turn confidently to Mary, especially when we are tempted. She cannot allow us to offend her Jesus and to fall into the foils of the devil, as long as we pray to her with faith in her intercession. “The devil, as a roaring lion,” says St Peter, “goes about seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But, our Mother Mary is always by our side seeking to protect us. Let us entrust ourselves to her maternal care. Not only does Mary wish to help us, declares St Bonaventure but, those who do not pray to her, commit almost as great an offence, as those who openly insult her (In Spec Virg)!
Thought for the Day – 2 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Purification of Our Lady
“Today, the Church commemorates the Presentatio of the Child Jesus in the temple ad the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These ceremonies were carried out, in order to comply with a twofold Mosaic law. One part of this law referred to women who had become mothers; the other pat was concerned with first-born male children. According to the first law, a mother was officially regarded as impure for forty days after she had given birth to a child. When this period was over, she had to present herself in the temple and make an offering of a lamb and a turtledove. If she were poor, she could substitute a second young pigeon for the lamb (Cf Lev 12). The second law (Cf Es 13:2, 34:19; Num 8:16; Lev 27:26) commanded the mother to offer and consecrate to God, her first-born son. She was to do this in memory of the miracle in Egypt when the Angel of God destroyed all the first-born sons of the people of the country and spared those of the Israelites. In later times, when the ritual worship of God became the special obligation of the tribe of Levi, the first-born sons of the other tribes, had to be presented in the temple and bought back by an offering.
It is quite clear, that Jesus and Mary were not bound by this twofold law. But they voluntarily subjected themselves to it, in order to give an example of humility and obedience.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 February – The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the Presentation of the Lord
“And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God ..…”
“We must be burning with love and radiant with good deeds and so take up Christ in our hands with Simeon. Could anyone hold up a lighted candle in his hands on this day, without at once remembering that old man, who on this same day, took up in his arms Jesus, God’s Word, clothed in flesh like a candle-flame clothed in wax and affirmed Him to be “the Light which would be a beacon for the Gentiles.”
Bl Guerric of Igny O.Cist (c 1080-1157)
“She, the holy Mother of God, must go to the Temple like other Hebrew mothers, as though she had lost something, which needed restoring by a legal sacrifice. He, that is the Son of God and Son of Man, must be treated in all things, as though He were a servant and be ransomed in common. with the poorest Jewish boy. Mary adores the will of God and embraces it with her whole heart. … She was in the Temple of Jerusalem, what she was in the house of Nazareth, when she received the Archangel’s visit; she was the Handmaid of the Lord.”
Servant of God Abbot Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875)
Thought for the Day – 1 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Holy Family – The Blessed Virgin Mary
“The Blessed Vigin Mary is the second model proposed for our imitation in the Holy Family. She is the purest and most beautiful creature ever fashioned by the Hand of God. As Mother of the Word Incarnate, her dignity touches the divine. Peserved from all stain of sin from the moment of her conception, she is full of grace. Except in God Himself, no greater beauty and holiness can be found elsewhere, than in Mary.
We do not read that Mary worked miracles, had ecstasies, or possessed any extraordinary external gifts. Her sanctity was completely internal. She trod the ordinary way of perfection, therefore, the way most easily imitated by us and, nevertheless, reached the highest peak of holiness. Since we are her devoted and affectionate children, let us ask her for the grace to follow her in the way of perfection and of complete resignation to the Will of God. Although, we may have to follow her from afar, let us follow with enthusiasm. As parents, let us imitate her holy, loving and obedient hand in the growth of our Saviour.”
Our Morning Offering – 30 January – Mary’s Saturday, as always
Into the Arms of Your Mercy By St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
Into the Arms of Your Mercy, O Mary, my Queen, I cast myself, into the arms of your mercy. I place my soul and body, in your blessed care and under your special protection from this world. I entrust to you, all my hopes and consolations, all my anguish and misery, my life and the end of my life. Through your most holy intercession and through your merits, grant that all my works may be directed and carried out, in accordance with your will and the will of your Divine Son. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners (Spain)
Shelter Me Under Your Mantle Refuge of Sinners By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to you who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the Universe, the Advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I, who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate you, great Queen and I thank you for the many graces you have bestowed upon me even unto this day, in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often served by my sins. I love you, my dearest Lady and because of that love, I promise to serve you willingly forever and to do what I can, to make you loved by others also. I place in you all my hopes for salvation, accept me as your servant and shelter me under your mantle, you who are the Mother of Mercy. And since you are so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From you I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through you I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by your love for Almighty God, I pray you to assist me always but most of all, at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until you shall see me safe in heaven, there to bless you and sing of your mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 15 January – The Feast of Our Lady of Banneux/Our Lady of the Poor (1933)
O Virgin of the Poor, Our Lady of Banneux Prayer of Monsignor Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs (1878-1962) Bishop of Liège at the time of the apparitions
O Virgin of the Poor, May you ever be blessed! And blessed be He Who deigned to send you to us. What you have been and are to us now, you will always be to those who, like us and better than us, offer their faith and their prayer. You will be all for us, as you revealed yourself at Banneux: Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of the Saviour, Mother of God. A compassionate and powerful Mother who loves the poor and all people, who alleviates suffering, who saves individuals and all humanity, Queen and Mother of all Nations, who came to lead all those who allow themselves to be guided by you, to Jesus, the true and only Source of eternal life. Amen
“This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand ”– Mark 1:15
REFLECTION – “After John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee ” According to our interpretation, John stands for the Law and Jesus the Gospel. Indeed, John says: “One mightier than I is coming after me …” (Mk 1:7) and elsewhere: “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn 3:30): in this way he compares the Law with the Gospel. And afterwards he says: “I – that is, the Law – baptise you with water; he – that is the Gospel – will baptise you in the Holy Spirit” (Mk 1:8). And so, Jesus comes because John had been put in prison. In effect, the Law is finished, it has been brought to an end, it no longer has its former freedom. But we have passed from the Law to the Gospel …
“Jesus came to Galilee preaching the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God” … When I read the Law, prophets and psalms, I never heard them speak of the Kingdom of heaven, only in the gospel. For only when He came, of whom it is said “the Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Lk 17:21) that God’s Kingdom was thrown open … In fact, before the Saviour’s coming and the light of the Gospel, before Christ opened the gates of paradise with the thief (Lk 23:43), all holy souls descended to the place of the dead. Jacob himself said: “I will go down weeping and mourning to the nether world” (Gn 37:35) … In the Law, Abraham rests with the dead; in the Gospel, the thief is in paradise. We are not denigrating Abraham; we all want to rest in his bosom (Lk 16:23) but we prefer Christ to Abraham, the Gospel to the Law.
We read that after Christ’s Resurrection many saints appeared in the holy city (Mt 27:53). Our Lord and Saviour preached on earth and preached, too, to the underworld. He died and descended to hell to free the souls held captive there (1 Pt 3:18f.).” – St Jerome (347-420) Priest, Translator of Sacred Scripture, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on Saint Mark’s Gospel, no.2A ; SC 494
PRAYER – Lord, be the beginning ad the end of all that we are and do and say. Prompty our actions with Your grace and complete them with Your all-powerful help. Let our hearts belong to You alone and make us Your obedient servants. By the intercession of the Blessed Mary our Hope and all the Saints and Angels, we make our prayer through Christ our Lord, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 5 January – Christmas Weekday and the Memorial of St Charles of Mount Argus CP (1821-1893)
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Oh, my Mother! By St Charles of Mount Argus (1821-1893)
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Oh, my Mother! How sweet it is to come to thy feet, imploring thy perpetual help! If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children, how can thou, the most loving of all mothers, forget me? Grant then, to me, I implore thee, thy perpetual help in all my necessities, in every sorrow and especially in all my temptations. As we are all thy children, I ask for thy unceasing help for all who are now suffering. Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners and console all earthly mothers who are now weeping over their children. Open the gates of heaven to those we loved upon earth and who are now suffering in purgatory. Obtain for us, dear Mother, that having earnestly invoked thee on earth, we may see thee, love thee and eternally thank thee, hereafter in heaven. Amen
St Charles of Mount Argus and St Gerlach, our Saint today, are both from the same Province in the Netherlands.
Thought for the Day – 1 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Mother of God
“The near-infinite greatness of Mary, flows from the fact, that she is the Mother of God. The Eternal Word of the Father, consubstantial with Him in nature and equal to Him in majesty, willed to become man in order to set us free from the slavery of sin and to regain Heaven for us. He became man in the chaste womb of the Virgin Mary. He took a human body and soul and was born of her, as the God-Man. For this reason, there is attributed to His Divine Person, the title of Son of Mary and to Mary, the title of Mother of God.
There is a relationship between Mary and each of the three Divine Persons, for she is the daughter of God the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit by whose power the Word became incarnate in her and the mother of the Word made Man. She is, moreover, in the words of Dante, the “termine fisso di eterno consiglio” (Paradiso 33:1-3). In other words, she is the centre of the eternal plan which God established for the redemption of the human race. It was God’s eternal design to reunite creation to the Uncreated, by means of Mary. She became the mother of the Eternal Word, in whom the divine and human natures were indissolubly united. He redeemed us by His infinite merits but, in this work of redemption, He employed the co-operation of His holy Mother. All the graces, privileges and virtues of Mary, flow from this great mystery of her divine Motherhood. As befitted the future Mother of God, she was conceived free from the stain of original sin and full of grace. Her mortal life was a continuous ascent towards the highest peak of sanctity. When she died, she was assumed body and soul into Heaven, where she was crowned in glory, as Queen of Angels and Queen of Saints. When we consider the sublime nobility of Our Lady, we should be moved to love and venerate her. This love and veneration does not subtract in the slightest from God’s glory, because, she is the Mother of God. In fact, it is a great advantage to us, to imitate her and to call on her to intercede for us.”
Quote/s of the Day – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord
“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 Church
“That anyone could doubt, the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God, fills me with astonishment. Surely, she must be the Mother of God, if our Lord Jesus Christ is God and she gave birth to Him!”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor
“Having confidence in you, O Mother of God, I shall be saved. Being under you protection, I shall fear nothing. With your help, I shall give battle to my enemies and put them to flight, for devotion to you, is an arm of Salvation.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“What shall we say, brethren? Is she not our mother? Certainly, brethren, she is in truth our mother. Through her we are born, not to the world but to God.”
But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. … Luke 2:19
REFLECTION – “Is not Mary the Mother of Christ? Then she is our Mother also. And we must in truth hold that Christ, the Word made Flesh, is also the Saviour of mankind. He had a physical body like that of any other man and again, as Saviour of the human family, He had a spiritual and mystical body, the society, namely, of those who believe in Christ. “We are many, but one sole body in Christ” (Rom. xii., 5). Now the Blessed Virgin did not conceive the Eternal Son of God, merely in order, that He might be made man taking His human nature from her but, also in order, that by means of the nature assumed from her, He might be the Redeemer of men. For which reason, the Angel said to the Shepherds: “To-day there is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Wherefore, in the same holy bosom of His most chaste Mother, Christ took to Himself flesh and united to Himself, the spiritual body formed by those who were to believe in Him. Hence Mary, carrying the Saviour within her, may be said to have also carried, all those whose life was contained in the life of the Saviour. Therefore, all we who are united to Christ and, as the Apostle says, are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones (Eph 5:30), have issued from the womb of Mary, like a body united to it’s head. Hence, though in a spiritual and mystical fashion, we are all children of Mary and she is Mother of us all. … If then, the most Blessed Virgin is the Mother at once of God and men, who can doubt that she will work with all diligence to procure that Christ, Head of the Body of the Church (Col 1:18), may transfuse His gifts into us, His members and above all, that of knowing Him and living through Him (I John 4:9)?” – Saint Pius X (1835-1914) – Pope from 1903 to 1914 – Encyclical “Ad diem illum laetissimum” §10-11
PRAYER – God, our Father, since You gave mankind a Saviour through the blessed Mary, virgin and mother and a heavenly mother through our Saviour, grant that we may feel the power of her intercession, when she pleads for us with Jesus Christ, Your Son, the author of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord
HailO Mary, Mother of God By St Cyril of Alexander (376-444) Doctor of the Incarnation Known as ‘The Pillar of Faith”
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Virgin and Mother! Morning Star, perfect vessel. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Holy Temple in which god Himself was conceived. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Chaste and pure dove. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Who enclosed the One who cannot be encompassed in your sacred womb. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, From you flowed the true light, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you the Conqueror and triumphant Vanquisher of hell came to us. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you, the glory of the Resurrection blossoms. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, You have saved every faithful Christian. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. 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.
Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.
The days following Christmas are full of symbolic meaning, as on 26 December we honour the first Martyr, St Stephen, who shed his blood for Jesus. 27 December, honours St John the Evangelist, the Disciple of Jesus who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. Interestingly enough, he is the only Gospel writer to omit a narrative of Jesus’ birth. Based on this fact alone, it seems strange to include him during the Octave of Christmas. What is the Church’s reason behind this choice? Servant of God, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year, points to St John’s pure chastity and his focus on the Divinity of Christ, as the reasons why he is honoured now at the Crib of Christ.
Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle
“Nearest to Jesus’ Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God Himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends [1 John, 15:13] and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest and, which most wins the heart of Him, who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God, is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.
St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only has lather Zebedee but, even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord’s partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.
This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times — The Disciple whom Jesus loved [John, 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20] — says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built – he, then, was honoured most but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus’ thrice repeated question, that he did love Him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.
Chastity of soul and body brings him, who possesses i,t into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper – that Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls – John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love, it was both a recompense and a favour and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.
Divine wisdom, wishing to make known to the world, the Mystery of the Word and commit to Scripture, those profound secrets, which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write — the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this, his Virgin-Disciple, the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries, which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach — THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.
Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun and gaze upon Him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure and, therefore, fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head – how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! [Col. 2:3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence, the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel, [Ezechiel 1:10, 10:14] and to St John himself in his Revelations, [Apoc. 4:7] has been assigned to him by the Church and, to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian. This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John, a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master, he made them known to the Church and, especially, that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth His whole Soul to His own, whom he had always tenderly loved but most so, at the end [John, 13:1]. He wrote his Epistles and Charity is his subject – God is Charity — he that loveth not, knoweth not God — perfect Charity casteth out fear — and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was forever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was by excellence, the Apostle of that divine Charity, which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.
But, our Lord had a further gift to bestow and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on His cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who, then, shall watch over His Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send His Angels to protect and console her? — for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross – we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son — Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John, shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure and to whom, he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.
Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But, is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus [Matt. 20:22], when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, before the Latin Gate, at Rome. He was, therefore, a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, — miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.
Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood — is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses — what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth and we have seen its transformation. First, we saw Mary and Joseph alone there — they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble simple-hearted Shepherds; after these, entered Stephen the Crowned and John the Beloved Disciple; and, even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in and there will be, each day, grander glory in the Cave and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this Birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet, how divine! What King or Emperor ever received, in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday, the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day, the Wreath, that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple, breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity — an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution and our tribute to the Lamb.
Know today that the Lord will come – in the morning you will see His glory.
“She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … Matthew 1:21
REFLECTION – “The heavens were glad, earth exulted when Mary gave birth and hell was troubled and aghast. The heavens in their joy produced a shining star and a glorious army of angels, uttering praise and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will.” (Lk 2:14) The earth, exulting, brought shepherds giving glory and magi adoring and offering gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. … Reflect how that night poured forth light in the darkness and instead of blackness, it offered radiance. It gave light before the sun arose and a brightness which, from its exceeding brilliance, obscured the splendour of the sun. Concerning this night the psalmist says: “Night is my light in my delights” and turning to the Lord he says: “The darkness will not be dark for you and the night will be as bright as the day, for the darkness is as light for him” (cf Ps 38:11-12 LXX). … Taking up the newborn Emmanuel, Mary beheld a Light incomparably fairer than the sun and saw a Fire that water cannot quench. She received, in the covering of flesh that she had borne, the Light that enlightens all things and she was worthy to carry in her arms, the Word that carries the universe.” – St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IV, SC 72
PRAYER – Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel! May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen
Thought for the Day – 22 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Humility of Mary
“The profound humility of Mary was commensurate with her high dignity. As Dante put it, she was the humblest and noblest of creatures. “Umile ed altra piu che creatura” (Paradiso 33:2) None of the saints was humbler than Mary, just as none of them was greater. It was an Archangel who came down from Heaven and bowed before her as he praised her in the highest terms as “full of grace” and announced the unique dignity she was to receive as Mother of God. She bowed her head in turn and declared herself to be the handmaid of the Lord, ready to do His will in all things. Then she went to visit and congratulate her cousin, Elizabeth, because she had heard from the Angel that she was to be the mother of the Precursor. When she arrived at the house, she was greeted by Elizabeth with the words: “How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Far from being flattered, however, Mary attributed all her glory to God and replied with the Magnificat, a hymn of praise and gratitude in God’s honour. It was the same when Jesus was born in the manger at Bethlehem. There was a sudden brightness in the sky and the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among men of goodwill.” But even though she held the Lord of Heaven and earth, in her arms, the Blessed Virgin asked for nothing for herself. Her only desire was to do the will of God. The love of Jesus was enough for her. She did not seek her own glory but the glory of God. Likewise, on the weary journey into Egypt, she was content because, she was with Jesus and in the obscure life of Nazareth, she desired no other treasure but Her divine Son. During His public life, she followed Him in silence. Once only she spoke in a submissive tone, in order to ask a favour for others but not for herself. It was at the wedding celebrations in Cana, when she asked for the first miracle, in such a way, that it was not even apparent that it was she who had wrung the favour from the filial heart of Jesus. It was always like that, up to the time of Calvary and the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost. She remained humbly in the background all the time. Now, after her departure from this earth, her humility has been gloriously crowned in the dogma of the Assumption and in her Coronation as Queen of Angels and of Saints.”
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
Quote/s of the Day – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Weekdays of Advent and The Memorial of St Peter Canisius (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church
“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”
“It behooves us unanimously and inviolably, to observe the ecclesiastical traditions, whether codified or simply retained by the customary practice of the Church.”
“We ought to instruct with meekness those whom heresy has made bitter and suspicious and has estranged from orthodox Catholics, … Thus, by whole-hearted charity and goodwill, we may win them over to us in the Lord.”
“At the mention of this name [the Blessed Virgin Mary], the angels rejoice and the devils tremble. Through this invocation, sinners obtain grace and pardon.”
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.
Quote/s of the Day – 20 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent – O Clavis David/O Key of David – Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12, 14, 16, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38
“[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course, which was taken by disobedience in the beginning, through the agency of the serpent, might be also, the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the Angel Gabriel announced to her, the glad tidings, that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason, the Holy One being born of her, is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38]”
St Justin Martyr (c 100- c 165) Apologist, Theologian, Philosopher, Father of the Church and Martyr
“The angel greeted Mary with a new address, which I could not find anywhere else in Scripture. I ought to explain this expression briefly. The angel says, “Hail, full of grace.” … I do not remember having read these words elsewhere in Scripture. An expression of this kind, “Hail, full of grace,” is not addressed to a male. This greeting was reserved for Mary alone.”
Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father
“The whole universe was created by God and God was born of Mary. God created all things and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things, gave Himself form through Mary and thus, He made His own creation. He who could create all things from nothing, would not remake His ruined creation without Mary. God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father, by whom all things were given life and Mary the mother, through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made and Mary gave birth to Him as the Saviour of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed. Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted, that all nature should owe, as much to you as to Himself.”
St Anselm (1033-1109) Magnificent Doctor Marian Doctor
“Mary is the great mould of God … He who is cast in this divine mould is soon formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. With little effort and in a short time, he will become divine, since he is cast in the same mould which formed a God.”
Advent Reflection – 20 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12, 14, 16, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38
The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.
O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, who opens and no-one shuts, who shuts and no-one opens. Come and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:32-33
REFLECTION – “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.” What is said of the house of David applies not only to Joseph but also to Mary. It was a precept of the law that each man should marry a wife from his own tribe and kindred. Saint Paul also bears testimony to this when he writes to Timothy: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel” (2 Tm 2:8) …
“He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” The angel refers to the kingdom of the Israelite nation as the throne of David because, in his time, by the Lord’s command and assistance, David governed it with a spirit of faithful service … As David had once ruled the people with temporal authority, so Christ would now lead them to the eternal kingdom by His spiritual grace …
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever..” The house of Jacob here refers to the universal Church which, through its faith in and witness to Christ, shares the heritage of the patriarchs. This may apply either to those who are physical descendants of the patriarchal families, or to those who come from gentile nations and are reborn in Christ by the waters of baptism. In this house Christ shall reign forever and “of his kingdom there will be no end.” During this present life, Christ rules in the Church. By faith and love He dwells in the hearts of His elect and guides them by His unceasing care toward their heavenly reward. In the life to come, when their period of exile on earth is ended, He will exercise His Kingship, by leading the faithful to their heavenly country. There, forever inspired by the vision of His presence, their one delight will be, to praise and glorify Him.” – St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Priest and Monk, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies for Advent, no 3
PRAYER – Lord, at the angel’s message, Mary, the immaculate Virgin became the temple of God and was filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, when she received Your divine Word. Grant that, after her example, we may humbly and steadfastly follow Your will. Through Christ the Incarnate Word, our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all ages, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 18 December and also the Feast of Our Lady of Expectation
O Virgo Virginum
O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? That which ye behold, is a divine mystery.
Maiden yet a Mother By Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Tr Msgr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)
Maiden yet a mother, daughter of thy Son, high beyond all other, lowlier is none; thou the consummation planned by God’s decree, when our lost creation nobler rose in thee!
Thus His place prepared, he who all things made ‘mid his creatures tarried, in thy bosom laid; there His love He nourished, warmth that gave increase to the root whence flourished our eternal peace.
Nor alone thou hearest When thy name we hail; Often thou art nearest When our voices fail; Mirrored in thy fashion All creation’s gird, Mercy, might compassion Grace thy womanhood.
Lady, let our vision Striving heavenward, fail, Still let thy petition With thy Son prevail, Unto whom all merit, prayer and majesty, With the Holy Spirit And the Father be.
Most authors agree that there were seven original ‘O Antiphons’ and that they are a very ancient expression of Christian Prayer. While their author is unknown, they are cited in at least two works as early as the eighth century. Both Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon author and Amalarius, a liturgist and the Archbishop of Trier (died 850), who was a student of the teacher St Alcuin, cite the existence of the ‘O Antiphons’ as early as the seventh/eighth century.
The ‘O Antiphons’ get their name from the fact that they all begin with the interjection ‘O’: O Sapientia (Wisdom); O Adonai (Lord); O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse); O Clavis David (Key of David); O Oriens (Dawn of the East); O Rex Gentium (King of Gentiles); O Emmanuel.
While the original ‘O Antiphons’ numbered seven, over time a number of others were added to the liturgy of particular regions and sometimes for particular religious feast days which fell during Advent, or even in the liturgy of some medieval religious orders. Some medieval religious churches had as many as twelve O Antiphons which were sung in the Advent Liturgy leading up to Christmas Eve.
Among these, there was an important Marian ‘O Antiphon’ which appears in both the Gallican (France) and Sarum (England) liturgies. Although it is difficult to establish just when this antiphon was first introduced, it was certainly known in the Middle Ages.
This Marian Antiphon is still used today in the liturgy of the Norbertine Order. While the Latin Liturgy begins the O Antiphons on 17 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with ‘O Emmanuel,’ the Liturgy of the Norbertine Order begins their O Antiphons on 16 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with the beautiful Marian Antiphon ‘O Virgo Virginum.’
Thought for the Day – 16 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Lamb of God
“Jesus had only one consolation in the midst of His terrible sufferings. His mother, Mary was beside the Cross along with His beloved Apostle and the holy women who had always followed Him. Mary loved her Son with a love greater than that of any mother, which is the greatest love possible on earth. She loved Jesus with the heart of a Mother and of a Virgin – He was her only treasure. Moreover, she loved Him, not only as her Son but, also as her God. Precisely because she loved Him as her God, her love was in perfect harmony with the divine will.
She understood the mystery which led Jesus to accept death on the Cross – the mystery of the Redemption. “He was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). He was offered on our behalf, as a voluntary victim to His heavenly Father.”
Thought for the Day – 12 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Theological Virtues of Our Lady
“The three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, shone like constellations throughout the life of Mary. “Blessed is she who has believed” (Lk 1:45), St Elizabeth said of her. Mary’s life was one long act of faith and of love. She lived continuously in the presence of God, being united to Him by lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity. Her spirit of constant prayer was the result of her intense practice of these theological virtues. When the Archangel Gabriel came down from Heaven, to bring her the tidings of her divine motherhood, he found her absorbed in prayer. When St Elizabeth praised and called her the Mother of her Lord, Mary, from the depths of her faith, attributed everything to God and glorified Him in her Magnificat. When the baby Jesus was born in the cave of Bethlehem, she adored Him with faith, hope and love, as her God and future Saviour. When she realised that Herod was searching for her Son to put Him to death, she placed her confidence in Him. She fled with Him into Egypt and brought Him back later, to their land, always with the same faith, hope and love. Her faith and hope were not weakened by the loss of Jesus in Jerusalem, only her mother’s love was disturbed, on this occasion. When it seemed in that hidden life of Nazareth, that Jesus was leading a life of pointless silence, her faith and hope in Him, did not fade, while her love grew greater from day to day. In the triumphs and sorrows of His public life, she continued to practice, to an extraordinary degree, these three virtues – on the road to Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, at the removal of Our Lord’s body from the Cross, at the tomb, at the glorious Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost. At last, when she was alone in this world without Jesus, these three virtues seemed to burn more brightly in her soul. She thought only of Jesus, hoped in Jesus alone and loved Jesus alone. Then Jesus rewarded the lively faith, expectant hope and flaming charity of His Mother, for on her assumption into Heaven, these three virtues shared in her triumph and coronation.”
Quote/s of the Day – 12 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Readings: Zechariah 2:14-17, Judith 13:18, 19, Luke 1:26-38.
“And if any man will not receive His birth from a virgin, how shall he receive His resurrection from the dead? For it is nothing wonderful and astonishing and extraordinary, if one who was not born, rose from the dead – nay indeed, we cannot speak of a resurrection of him who came unto being without birth. For one who is unborn and immortal and has not undergone birth, will also not undergo death. For He, who took not the beginning of man, how could He receive His end?”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Martyr, Theologian, Father
“What shall we say, brethren? Is she not our mother? Certainly, brethren, she is in truth our mother. Through her we are born, not to the world but to God.”
“Scripture says, ‘Praise the Lord in his saints’. If the Lord is to be praised in those saints through whom He performs mighty works and miracles, how much more should He be praised in HER, in whom He fashioned Himself, He who is wonderful beyond all wonder.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) From his sermons – Sermon 20
Advent Reflection – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Readings: Zechariah 2:14-17, Judith 13:18, 19, Luke 1:26-38.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall name him Jesus.” – Luke 1:30-31
REFLECTION – “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb ” For all ages will call you blessed, as you said (Lk 1:48). The daughters of Jerusalem, that is to say, the Church, saw you and proclaimed your happiness … For you are the royal throne near which the angels stood contemplating their Master and Creator, who was seated on it (Dan 7:9). You have become the spiritual Eden, more sacred and more divine than the former one. The earthly Adam lived in the former; in you, lives the Lord who came from heaven (1 Cor 15:47). Noah’s ark was a prefiguration of you; it saved the seed of the second creation, for you gave birth to Christ, the world’s salvation, who submerged sin and pacified the floods.
It was you whom the burning bush described ahead of time, whom the tablets depicted, on which God wrote (Ex 31:18), which the ark of the covenant told about; it is you whom the golden urn, the candelabra … and Aaron’s staff that blossomed (Num 17:23) clearly prefigured. … I almost left out Jacob’s ladder. Just as Jacob saw heaven united with the earth by means of the two ends of the ladder and the angels descending and ascending on it and as the one who is really the strong and invincible one engaged in a symbolic struggle with him, thus you yourself became the mediator and ladder by which God came down to us and took upon Himself the weakness of our substance, embracing it and closely uniting it to Himself.” – St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father and Doctor of the Church – 1st Sermon on the Dormition
PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light, throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Jesus Christ, our Lord, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for all ages, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Readings: Zechariah 2:14-17, Judith 13:18, 19, Luke 1:26-38.
Mary Immaculate! By St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
Today, the root of Jesse has produced its shoot, she will bring forth a Divine flower for the world. Today, the Creator of all things, God the Word, composes a new book: a book issuing from the heart of His Father and written by the Holy Spirit, who is the tongue to God.
O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone.
All your desires are centred only on what merits to be sought and is worthy of love. You harbour anger only for sin and its author. You will have a life superior to nature, but not for your own sake. For it has not been created for you but has been entirely consecrated to God, who has introduced you into the world to help bring about our salvation in fulfillment of His plan, the Incarnation of His Son and the Divinisation of the human race.
Your heart will find nourishment in the words of God, like the tree planted near the living waters of the Spirit, like the tree of life that has yielded its fruit in due time, the incarnate God who is the life of all things.
Your ears will be ever attentive to the Divine words and the sounds of the harp of the Spirit, through whom the Word has come to take on our flesh. Your nostrils will inhale the fragrance of the Bridegroom, the Divine fragrance with which He scented His humanity.
Your lips will savour the words of God and will rejoice in their Divine sweetness. Your most pure heart, free from all stain, will ever see the God of all purity and will experience ardent desire for Him.
Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim.
Your feet, led by the light of the Divine Law, will follow Him along an undeviating course and guide you to the possession of the Beloved.
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself!
O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone. … Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim. … You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself! Amen