Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 21 January – The Burning Babe

Thought for the Day – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time –  and The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Seeing as it is the Memorial of St Agnes and we are thinking about martyrdom, I have included the post below, which is an excerpt from my post on St Robert Southwell’s Memorial – 21 February.    It is talk by Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000) (a hero!).   If you wish to read the whole post, it is here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

“There are two books, prose writings, that Robert Southwell wrote that are worth reading.   They are of course written in 16th century English but, powerful, written to encourage his fellow Catholics to remain firm in their faith.   The one is called ‘Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears’.   And the other one is called ‘Epistle of Comfort‘.   We would probably call it a letter of encouragement.   

His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell.   His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’”

The Burning Babe, by St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.burning babe excerpt - st robert southwell - mem 21 feb - 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom mem of st agnes

St Agnes, Pray for Us!bernardo-lorente-german-sevilla-1680-sevilla-1759-e2809csaint-agnese2809d-pray-for-us

St Robert Southwell, Pray for Us!st robert southwell - pray for us - 21 feb 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, HOMILIES, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: John 1:19–28

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: 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.”…John 1:23

REFLECTION – “It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith.   We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith.   One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” — “I belong to this religion…”.   But your life is far from being Christian – it is far removed from God!   Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”.   This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find Him.   He is waiting for us.   This is John the Baptist’s preaching: prepare.   Prepare for the encounter with this Child who will give our smile back to us.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 7 December 2016john 1 23 - i am the voice crying in the wilderness - it is a voice - pope francis 2 jan 2019prepare for the encounter with this child - pope francis 2 jan 2019

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

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Christmas Day!

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Christmas Day!

“In adoring our Saviour’s birth,
it is our origin that we celebrate.
Christ’s temporal generation
is the source of the Christian people,
the birth of His Mystical Body.
All of us encounter in this Mystery
a new birth in Christ.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Churchin-adoring-our-saviours-birth-22-dec-2017 (1)

Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy.
Children should rejoice because on this day, God Himself
became as one of them;
virgins, because a Virgin brought forth and remained unstained, 
even after giving birth;
wives, because one of their number, became the Mother of God;
sinners, because their Mediator and Saviour and Healer,
has come to redeem them;
the just, because their Reward, exceeding great,
has been born into the world.
In truth, all faithful Christians,
should rejoice, that their Creator and Lord,
has taken on human flesh and begun His reign
over the hearts of men,
not only as God
but also as the Son of Man
among the children of men.christmas day is nothing if not - st peter canisius - 25 dec 2018

“Never was a whimpering bit of humanity
so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw, He could command the very stars
to direct whom He wished to visit Him.
Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant who was full of grace and incarnate truth.
Never anyone so marvellous as to be at once so small and so great, true God and true Man, the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh, mighty King and a lowly slave.
Never had any child so emptied Himself of all that He really was, in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.”

St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Churchnever was a whimpering bit of humanity - st peter canisius - 25 dec 2018

God’s sign is simplicity.
God’s sign is the baby.
God’s sign is that He makes Himself small for us.
This is how He reigns.
He does not come with power and outward splendour.
He comes as a baby – defenceless and in need of our help.
He does not want to overwhelm us with His strength.
He takes away our fear of His greatness.
He asks for our love – so He makes himself a child.
He wants nothing other from us than our love,
through which we spontaneously learn to enter into His feelings, His thoughts and His will – we learn to live with Him
and to practice with Him,
that humility of renunciation,
that belongs to the very essence of love.
God made Himself small,
so that we could understand Him, welcome Him and love Him.
The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament,
found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes,
in order to show how God’s new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament.
There we read: “God made his Word short, he abbreviated it” (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28).
The Fathers interpreted this in two ways.
The Son Himself is the Word, the Logos – the eternal Word became small –
small enough to fit into a manger.
He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us.
In this way God teaches us to love the little ones.
In this way He teaches us to love the weak.
In this way He teaches us respect for children.
The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children who suffer
and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn.
Towards children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world;
towards children who have to beg;
towards children who suffer deprivation and hunger;
towards children who are unloved.
In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us –
it is the God who has become small who appeals to us.
Let us pray this night that the brightness of God’s love may enfold all these children.
Let us ask God to help us do our part, so that the dignity of children may be respected.
May they all experience the light of love,
which mankind needs so much more,
than the material necessities of life.”

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2006god's sign - pope benedict - 19 dec 2017the son himself is the word, the logos - pope benedict 25dec2018

“Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.
The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;
no longer are we alone and forsaken.
The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life.
The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin.
Today we once more discover who we are!
Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.
Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.
We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle. We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger. This is the reason for our joy and gladness: this Child has been “born to us”;
he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).
The people who for for two thousand years has traversed all the pathways of the world,
in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy,
is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace”
and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”

Homily of Pope Francis on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2015today-we-once-more-discover-who-we-are-pope-francis-christmas-2015

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The HOLY CROSS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The HOLY NAME, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The RESURRECTION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – Blessed is He

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessed is He
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church

Blessed is the Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe, who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit, who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One, who suddenly enriched our poverty
and supplied our need.
Blessed is He, whose tender mercy led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He, whom freedom crucified, because He permitted it.
Blessed is He, whom also the wood bore, because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He, whom the grave bound, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He, whose free choice brough Him
to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He, who sealed our soul and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One, who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He, who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He, who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high, who became flesh today for us.
Amenblessed is he by st ephrem 25 dec 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, NOTES to Followers, POETRY, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!
St John of the Cross will help us to truly appreciate this great Feast.my-christmas-wishes.2017

Romance on the Birth of Christ
By St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church

Now at last the destined ages
Their appointed course had run,
When rejoicing from His chamber
Issued forth the Bridegroom Son.

He embraced His bride, and held her
Lovingly upon His breast,
And the gracious Mother laid Him
In the manger down to rest.

There He lay, the dumb beasts by Him,
They were fitly stabled there,
While the shepherds and the angels
Filled with melody the air.

So the feast of their espousals
With solemnity was kept
But Almighty God, an Infant,
In the manger moaned and wept.

So the bride at her betrothal
Did the bridal gifts arrange
But the Mother looked in wonder
At the marvellous exchange.

Man gave forth a song of gladness,
God Himself a plaintive moan,
Both possessing that which never
Had been hitherto their own.

romance on the birth of christ st john of the cross -24 dec 2018

Posted in ADVENT, NOVENAS, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Uncategorized

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Day Nine

The Birth of Jesus in the Stable at Bethlehem

Reflection:
When the edict was issued by the emperor of Rome that everyone should go to his own city to be enrolled, Joseph and Mary went to be enrolled in Bethlehem.
How much the Holy Virgin must have suffered on this journey of four days, over mountainous road and in the wintertime, with its cold rain and wind!
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time of Mary’s delivery was near.
Joseph, therefore, sought some lodging where she might give birth to her Child.
But because they were so poor, they were driven away from the houses and even from the public inn, where other poor people had found shelter.
So in that night they went a short way out of the town and there found a cave that was used as a stable and here Mary entered.
But Joseph said to his virgin wife, “Mary, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp cave and here give birth to your Child?”   Mary however replied, “Dear Joseph, this cave is the royal palace in which the King of kings, the Son of God, wishes to be born.”

When the hour of her delivery had arrived, the holy Virgin, as she knelt in prayer, all at once saw the cave illumined with a dazzling light.
She lowered her eyes to the ground and there saw before her the Son of God now born on earth, a poor little Babe, crying and shivering in the cold.
Adoring Him as her God, she took Him to her breast and fondled Him.
Then she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him on the straw of the manger that stood in the cave.
Thus did the Son of God choose to be born among us to prove His infinite love for us.day nine christmas novena to the christ child - 24 dec 2018

Prayer:
O Adorable Infant Jesus!
I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Your feet,
if I did not know that You Yourself invite me to draw near You.
It is I who by my sins have made You shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem.
But since You have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners,
forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned You,
my Saviour and my God, who art so good and who have loved me so much.
In this night, in which You bestow great graces on so many souls,
grant Your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also.
All that I ask of You is the grace to love You always, more and more,
from this day forward, with all my heart.
Set me all on fire with Your holy love.
I love You, O my God, who have become a Babe for love of me.
Never let me cease loving You evermore.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
you can obtain everything from your Son by your prayers.
This is the only favour I ask of you, that I might love Him more and more.
Please pray to Jesus for me, I beg you. Amen.

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, HYMNS, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 24 December – Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Thought for the Day – 24 December

Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance

of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Exactly 200 years ago today, 24 December 1818 — in a little church in what is now Austria, the world heard for the first time a poem set to music that eventually would be hailed as one of the most popular and beloved Christmas carols of all time.

“Silent Night” was sung for the first time that Christmas Eve at a Midnight Mass at St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire.   The lyrics were written by a young Catholic priest, Father Joseph Mohr (1792–1848) and the music was composed by his friend, the local organist and schoolmaster, Francis Xavier Gruber (1787–1863).1024px-Stille_Nacht_Kapelle_Glasfenster_Josef_Mohr

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, how the light
Radiates love from Thy heavenly face,
At the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.Silent Night by Fr Joseph Mohr 1792-1848 24 dec 2018

Fr Joseph Mohr’s final resting place is a tiny Alpine ski resort, Wagrain.   He was born into poverty in Salzburg in 1792 and died penniless in Wagrain in 1848, where he had been assigned as pastor of the church.   He had donated all his earnings to be used for elder care and the education of the children in the area.   His memorial from the townspeople is the Joseph Mohr School located a dozen yards from his grave.   The overseer of St Johann’s, in a report to the bishop, described Mohr as “a reliable friend of mankind, toward the poor, a gentle, helping father.”

Many generations of the Mohr family lived in the Lungau region, in the southern part of the Province of Salzburg.   The pilgrimage church of St Nicholas in Mariapfarr, the little church where Father Mohr was the curate, is within walking distance of the former home of Joseph’s grandfather.   The climate is so invigorating and the Alpine air so clean, the town has become a major vacation destination for Europeans who want to get away from city life.   The pilgrimage church where Mohr celebrated Mass is undergoing the restoration of its centuries-old frescos.

The carol is believed to have caused a somewhat miraculous and well-documented Christmas truce during World War I.   On Christmas Eve 1914, British and French troops were encamped in trenches in a face-off against German troops in Ypres in Flanders, Belgium.   The two sides began singing Christmas carols to each other and “Silent Night” was the only hymn all the combatants knew.   Singing it together broke the ice and led to a temporary cease-fire with soldiers from both sides meeting in the middle “No Man’s Land” to trade tobacco and candy, play soccer and sing carols.

An early copy of Silent Night written by Joseph Mohr

As it marks its 200th anniversary, “Silent Night” remains as beloved as ever.   I am sure that all of us who attend Midnight Mass tonight, wherever we are in the world, will be singing Silent Night in one of the 300 languages into which it has been translated.

May this Holy Infant so tender and mild, bless us all!Holy infant so tender and mile bless us all 24 dec 2018