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Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December – “How shall this be…”

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

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

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” … Luke 1:34

REFLECTION – “Tell us, blessed David, how [the Word] descended.   “He came down as rain upon the fleece, and as drops that water the earth.” (Ps 71[72]:6 LXX). (…)   It remains to discuss how the rain descends upon the fleece and how the drops flow out over the earth. (…)

The rain descends upon the fleece without sound, without movement, without any cleavage or division.   It is gently poured out, peacefully received, sweetly drunk.   Thus the drops gradually, little by little, spread over the earth falling down so wonderfully and so gently that their coming is scarcely perceived and as they depart, they bring forth the shoots.   In the same way, the rain coming from beyond, above the heavenly waters, came down into the Virgin’s womb without human act, with no movement of concupiscence, her integrity unimpaired, the seal of her virginity still locked.   Gently was it poured, calmly received, ineffably made flesh.   It came drop by drop upon her soil, unseen as it entered and, as it departed, plainly going forth. (…)

We have told how the Word of God came down.   Where He came down is made clear in like manner, for He came down into the Virgin’s womb, a womb unstained, unspotted, hallowed by the touch of divine unction.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily III, SC 72luke 1 34 how shall this be - he came down into the virgin's womb - st amadeaus of lausanne 20 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION” Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?   And who shall stand in his holy place?   He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” … Psalm 24:3-4advent-with-st-alphonsus-psalm-24-3-4-who-shall-ascend-20dec2018 AND 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – “O my Jesus, I am weak, grant me strength against temptation.   I am infirm, I hope that Your precious blood will be my medicine.   I am a sinner but I hope that Your grace will make me a saint.   I acknowledge that I have co-operated with my own ruin but this day, I promise always, to call upon You and in this way co-operate with Your grace.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor

PRAYER

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.

o-key-of-david-20-dec-2017, 2018, 2019.jpg

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

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

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

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

Sermon 146, on Mt 1:18

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

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

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

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

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CONSECRATION Prayers, DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, MARY, MATER ECCLESIAE, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on THE MYSTICAL BODY, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thought for the Day – 9 December – On the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thought for the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Infallible Teaching of the Catholic Church

On the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church, to God the Father through His Son, that He would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete.

Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honour of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and by our own:

We declare, pronounce and define, that the Doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her Conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a Doctrine revealed by God and, therefore, to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.
Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment, that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith, that he has separated from the unity of the Church and that, furthermore, by his own action, he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing, or by any other outward means, the errors he think in his heart.”

Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), Ineffabilis Deus, 8 December 1854

“That one woman is both Mother and Virgin, not in spirit only but even in body.   In spirit she is mother, not of our Head, who is our Saviour Himself—of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom—but plainly she is the mother of us, who are His members, because by love, she has cooperated, so that the faithful, who are the members of that Head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very Head”

Saint Augustine (354-430)

Father and Doctor of the Churchthat one woman is both mother and virgin - st augustine - i am the imm conception - pray for us 9 dec 2019.jpg

Act of Consecration
By St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)

O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to You,
I, an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Your feet,
humbly imploring You
to take me with all that I am and have,
wholly to Yourself as Your possession and property.
Please make of me,
of all my powers of soul and body,
of my whole life, death and eternity,
whatever pleases You.
If it pleases You,
use all that I am and have without reserve,
wholly to accomplish what has been said of You:
“She will crush your head”,
and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.”
Let me be a fit instrument in Your immaculate
and most merciful hands for introducing and increasing Your glory
to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
and thus help extend as far as possible,
the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For, wherever You enter,
You obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification,
since it is through Your hands,
that all graces come to us.
from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin.

R. Give me strength against Your enemies.
Amenact-of-consecration-8-dec-2017 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – From the Fathers

Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

From the Fathers

“He was the Ark formed of incorruptible wood.
For by this, is signified, that His Tabernacle
was exempt from putridity and corruption.”

Saint Hippolytus (c 170-c 235)

Hippolytus was one of the most important
second-third century Christian theologians.he was th ark formed of incorruptible wood - st hippolytus - imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God is called Mary,
worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.”

Origen (c 185-253)this-virgin-mother-origen-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Priest and Theologian
Origen of Alexandria, also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria.

“Thou alone and Thy Mother are in all things fair,
there is no flaw in Thee
and no stain in Thy Mother.”

Saint Ephrem of Syria (306-373)

Both Father and Doctor
Deacon, Theologian, Hymnistthou-alone-and-thou-mother-st-ephrem-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled
but a virgin, whom grace has made inviolate,
free of every stain of sin.”

Sermon 22, in the year 338

Saint Ambrose (340-397)

Both Father and Doctor – One of the original four Fathers of the Latin Church, Bishop of Milanmary-a-virgin-st-ambrose-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

“A Virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect,
untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body,
like a lily, sprouting among thorns.”

Saint Theodotus of Ancrya (Died c 446)

Bishop, Theologiana virgin innocent and spotless - 9 dec 2019 imm conception st theodotus .jpg

“The very fact that God has elected her,
proves that none was ever holier than Mary,
if any stain had disfigured her soul,
if any other virgin had been purer and holier,
God would have selected her and rejected Mary.”

Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521)

Jacob of Sarug, also called Mar Jacob, was one of the foremost Syriac poet-theologians, perhaps only second in stature to Ephrem the Syrian and equal to Narsai. Where his predecessor Ephrem is known as the ‘Harp of the Spirit’, Jacob is the ‘Flute of the Spirit’.the very fact that god has elected her st jacob of sarug imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

“Today, humanity,
in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility,
receives its ancient beauty.
The shame of sin had darkened
the splendour and attraction of human nature
but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born,
this nature again regains in her person.
its ancient privileges and is fashioned
according to a perfect model,
truly worthy of God….
The reform of our nature
begins today and the aged world,
subjected to a wholly divine transformation,
receives the first fruits of the second creation.”

Saint Andrew of Crete (650-740)

Bishop, Theologian

Saint Andrew of Crete, also known as Andrew of Jerusalem, was an 8th-century Bishop, theologian, homilist and hymnist.today humanity - st andrew of crete imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The WORD

Advent Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 9 December – The wonderful tabernacle of Your glory,

Advent Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 9 December – Readings: Genesis 3:9-15, 20, Psalm 98:1-4, Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, Luke 1:26-38

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it what you have said be done to me.” … Luke 1:38luke 1 38 - let what you have said be done to me - 18dec2018 ourladyofexpectation.jpg

REFLECTION – “May the holy divinity of Your glory, my God, O my gentleness, with which You deigned to fill and to inhabit for nine months the chaste viscera of the Virgin Mary, bless You.   May the highest virtue of Your divinity, which bent to the humbleness of the virginal valley, bless You.   May the utmost art of Your almightiness, God most high, with which You imparted onto the Virgin Rose, such virtue, radiance and comeliness as You, Yourself could yearn for, bless You.   May Your wondrous wisdom, whose copious grace made all of Mary’s life and body, as well as her soul, comparable with Your worthiness, bless You.   May You, strong, wise and most dulcet love which made You, the flower and spouse of virginity, become the Son of a virgin, bless You. (…)

May the worthiest heart and soul of the most glorious Virgin Mother Mary (whom, because of my need for salvation, You chose for Yourself as mother and that her motherly clemency might always be open to me) be jubilant to You, on my behalf.   May that most faithful concern which is Yours for me (by which You have provided me with an advocate and patron saint of such capability that through her I may easily be able to find Your grace and in whom, I trustfully believe, Your eternal mercy is preserved for me) be jubilant to You.   May that wonderful tabernacle of Your glory, which alone has ministered to You worthily, as a holy dwelling place and through which, You can best make amends for me, to Yourself, for the due measure of praise and glory that I owe You, be jubilant to You.” … Saint Gertrude of Helfta the Great (1256-1301) – Exercises VI, SC 127

MEDITATION – “All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life and this life was the light of the human race.” … John 1:3-4advent - solemnity of the imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – Remember the Babe in the Manger, keep Him before your eyes and you will not be able to forget what our sins do.   Our actions with God and those, in this life, will determine our union with God and others, in eternal life.   That is our great hope.

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help us to imitate Your Immaculate Daughter Mary in her love for You.   Grant us the grace to love You as much as she, all our lives and grant, that through her help and her prayers, we ourselves may come to You , cleansed from our sins.   O Mary Immaculate, mother of our Lord, Pray for us!   Amenimmaculate-mary-pray-for-us - 8 dec 2017 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Nine – 9 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Nine – 9 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 9:  The Immaculata’s Fullness of Love

day nine - imm conception novena 9 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
The Immaculata never knew the slightest stain, in other words, her love was always full, without flaw.   She loved God with all her being and from the first instant of her existence her love united her with God so perfectly, that on the day of the Annunciation the angel could say to her, “Full of grace! the Lord is with you!” (cf. Lk 1:28).   She is, then, God’s creature, God’s image, God’s child and in all these respects, she is all this in the most perfect manner possible, among the ranks of mere creatures (“Sketches for a book,” 1940).   Intelligent creatures love God in a conscious manner, through this love, they unite themselves more and more closely with Him and so find their way back to Him. The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God Himself, was the Immaculata. . . .   In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary, we observe more than the love of two beings, in one, there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity, in the other, all of creation’s love.   So it is, that in this union, heaven and earth are joined, all of heaven with all the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love.   It is truly the summit of love (“Sketches for a book,” 17 February 1941).

Meditation:
To channel all our spiritual, physical and psychological energies into their fullest human expression, means simply to love God, as totally as possible.   May the Immaculata’s flawless love of God, inspire each of u,s to channel our love, in that same ultimate direction.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – Mary, Ever-Spotless Virgin

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Mary, Ever-Spotless Virgin
Breviary Morning Hymn

O Virgin Mary, words cannot describe you,
Clothed with the beauty of the sun at noonday,
Twelve stars to crown you
and the moon beneath you,
Queen of creation.

Through your submission,
death and hell were conquered,
Now you are seated by your Son and Saviour,
Strong to protect us by your intercession,
As we entreat you.

Guard and watch over those within the sheepfold,
Lead to the Shepherd those who are far distant,
Pity the nations groping in the darkness,
Graciously guide them.

Tenderly pleading, win us all forgiveness,
Help those in trouble, poverty or sickness,
Hope of salvation, as a star to pilgrims
Shine through the darkness.

Praise be forever, Trinity Almighty,
Who crowned you, Mary, ever-spotless Virgin,
Making you also Queen of men and angels,
Most loving Mother.
Amen.

Lebet Den Herren, Alle, 11.11.11.5
Music: Johann Crüger, 1598-1662
Text: Solis, O Virgo, Victorius Genovesi SJ 1887–1967mary ever spotless virgin breviary hymn imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg