Posted in ADVENT, ADVENT QUOTES, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The CHRIST CHILD

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us.

Thought for the Day – 28 November – It’s time to Hope! Advent is nearly upon us

This year, as before, I will post daily Advent Reflections drawn from diverse Saints and Holy people – please join me in prayer and in awakening our souls to hope.

advent reflections - o come o come emmnuel - begins 1 dec - posted 28 nov 2019.jpg

Memory Awakens Hope

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI)

In one of his Christmas stories Charles Dickens tells of a man who lost his emotional memory, that is, he lost the whole chain of feelings and thoughts he had acquired in the encounter with human suffering.   This extinction of the memory of love is presented to him as liberation from the burden of the past but it becomes clear, immediately, that the whole person has been changed, now, when he meets with suffering, no memories of kindness are stirred within him…   Since his memory has dried up, the source of kindness within him has also disappeared.   He has become cold and spreads coldness around him.

Goethe deals with the same ideas as Dickens, in his account of the first celebration of the feast of Saint Roch in Bingen, after the long interruption caused by the Napoleonic wars. He observes the people as they press, tightly packed, through the church past the image of the saint and he watches their faces – the faces of the children and the adults are shining, mirroring the joy of the festal day.   But with the young people, Goethe reports, it was otherwise.   They went past unmoved, indifferent, bored.   And he gives an illuminating explanation – they were born in evil times, had nothing good to remember and consequently had nothing to hope for. In other words, it is only the person who has memories who can hope.   The person who has never experienced goodness and kindness simply does not know what such things are.

Recently a counsellor who spends much of his time talking with people on the verge of despair, was speaking in similar terms about his own work, if his client succeeds in recalling a memory of some good experience, he may once again be able to believe in goodness and thus relearn hope, then there is a way out of despair.   Memory and hope are inseparable.   To poison the past does not give hope, it destroys its emotional foundations.

Sometimes Charles Dickens’ story strikes me as a vision of contemporary experience. This man who let himself be robbed of the heart’s memory by the delusion of a false liberation — do we not find him with us today, in a generation whose past has been poisoned by a particular program of liberation that has stifled hope?   When we read of the pessimism with which our young people look toward the future, we ask ourselves, Why?   Is it that, in the midst of material affluence, they have no memory of human goodness that would allow them to hope?   By outlawing the emotions, by satirising joy, have we not trampled on the root of hope?

These reflections bring us straight to the significance of the Christian season of Advent. For Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man.   Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God Who became a Child.   This is a healing memory, it brings hope.   The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.   All the feasts in the Church’s calendar are events of remembrance and hence events of hope.   These events, of such great significance for mankind, which are preserved and opened up by faith’s calendar, are intended to become personal memories of our own life history, through the celebration of holy seasons by means of liturgy and custom.   Our personal memories are nourished by mankind’s great memories, in turn, it is only by translating them into personal term,s that these great memories are kept alive.   Man’s ability to believe always depends in part on faith having become dear on the path of life, on the humanity of God having manifested itself through the humanity of men.   No doubt each of us could tell his own story here as to what the various memories of Christmas, Easter or other festivals mean in his life.

It is the beautiful task of Advent, to awaken in all of us, memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

“Those who run
toward the Lord,
will never lack space…
One who is climbing
never stops,
he moves from
beginning to beginning,
according to beginnings,
that never end.”

St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395)
Brother of St Basil the Greatadvent - those who run toward the Lord - st gregory of Nyssa 28 nov 2019

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The CHRIST CHILD

Our Morning Offering – 1 October – O Jesus, dear Holy Child

Our Morning Offering – 1 October – The Memorial of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus OCD (1873 – 1897)

O Jesus, dear Holy Child
By St Thérèse of the Child Jesus

O Jesus,
dear Holy Child,
my only treasure,
I abandon myself
to Thy every whim.
I seek no other joy
than that of calling forth
Thy sweet Smile.
Vouchsafe to me the graces
and the virtues of
Thy Holy Childhood,
so that on the day
of my birth into Heaven
the Angels and Saints
may recognise in Thy Spouse:
Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
Ameno jesus dear holy child by st therese of the child jesus 1 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- 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