Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘David’s Lord was made David’s Son’

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December
Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

“See, days are coming — oracle of the LORD — when I will raise up a righteous branch for David. As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.” … Jeremiah 23:5

REFLECTION – “There was only one remedy in the secret of the divine plan that could help the fallen living in the general ruin of the entire human race.   This remedy was, that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest by his example and by his merits.   This was not permitted by natural generation.   There could be no clean offspring from our faulty stock by this seed. The Scripture says, “Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed?   Isn’t it you alone?”   David’s Lord was made David’s Son and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang.   He is one without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one person.   By this one and the same conception and birth, sprung our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true manhood for the endurance of sufferings.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor (Sermon 28)david's lord was made david's son - the two requirements in the gospel - pope francis 18 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION – “Are we in the core group of Christians who embody and live the purest form of the Gospel?   Or do we find ourselves among the masses that acknowledge Jesus, enjoy being Christian but don’t pursue it at any deep level?   The two requirements in the Gospel are that we repent and believe.   If we repent, we do no wrong and speak no lies. If we believe with all our hearts, we follow the Star to the Manger.” Pope Francis Angelus, 22 December 2013

ADVENT ACTION – “Let these last few days, be a time, when we begin the journey to the Christmas core – to the Christ Child.   “Let us make ourselves ready to celebrate Christmas by contemplating Mary and Joseph – Mary, the woman full of grace who had the courage to entrust herself totally to the Word of God;  Joseph, the faithful and just man, who chose to believe the Lord rather than listen to the voices of doubt and human pride.   With them, let us walk together toward Bethlehem.” …  Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 December 2013

PRAYER 

O LORD AND RULER

of the House of Israel,

who appeared to Moses in the flame

of the burning bush

and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come and redeem us with outstretched arms.o-lord-and-ruler-18-december 2018, 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The INCARNATION, The LAMB of GOD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 17 December – The Mystery of our Reconciliation with God

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 17 December – Readings: Genesis 49:2, 8-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17, Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham. … Matthew 1:1

The Mystery of our Reconciliation with God

Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Bishop of Rome, Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Letter 31

To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man, is of no value to us if we do not believe, that He is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.   Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces His human descent by bringing His ancestral line down to His mother’s spouse, Joseph.   On the other hand, Luke traces His parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.

No doubt, the Son of God in His omnipotence, could have taught and sanctified men, by appearing to them in a semblance of human form, as He did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance He engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when He accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before Him.   But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold, the coming of One, who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs, who had gone before Him.

No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity.   The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh.   The divine nature and the nature of a servant, were to be united in one person, so that the Creator of time, might be born in time and He, through whom all things were made, might be brought forth in their midst.the divine nature and the nature of a servant - st pope leo the great 17 dec 2019.jpg

For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, had taken on Himself, the nature of our first parents, unless He had stooped to be one in substance with His mother, while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to His, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan.

The Conqueror’s victory, would have profited us nothing, if the battle had been fought outside our human condition.   But through this wonderful blending, the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth, we too might be born again in a spiritual birth and, in consequence, the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

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

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church

 

mans maker was made man - st augustine - 17 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS

Advent Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom ……. –

Advent Reflection – 17 December – O Wisdom ……. – Readings: Genesis 49:2, 8-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17, Matthew 1:1-17O WISDOM - you came forth from the mouth of the most high - 17 dec 2019

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

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. … Matthew 1:1

REFLECTION – “The Incarnation of the Word only contributed to the doing of those things that were done and the mystery of humankind’s salvation was never, even in the remotest age, at a standstill.   What the propehts foretold, the apostles announced, nor were those things fulfilled too late, which had always been believed.   But the wisdom and goodness of God, made us all the more receptive of His call…  as the foretelling of it had been ancient and oft-repeated.

And so it was no new counsel, no tardy pity whereby God took thought for us but from the foundation of the world He ordained one and the same cause of Salvation for all.   For the grace of God, by which the whole body of the saints is continually made righteous, was increased, not initiated, when Christ was born.   And this mystery of God’s great love, with which the whole world is now filled, was so effectively pre-signified, that those who believed the promise, obtained no less, than those who were the actual recipients.

And so, dearly beloved, since that loving-kindness is now manifest with which all the wealth of divine goodness has been showered on us, whose call to eternal life has been promoted, not only by the supportive example of those who went before us but by the visible and bodily appearance of Truth itself, we are bound to keep the day of our Lord’s nativity with a joy beyond this world…   By the illumination of the Holy Spirit consider who it was who received us into Himself and whom we have received, since as the Lord Jesus became our flesh by being born, so we also became His body by being re-born…  For God suggested to us the standard of His own gentleness and humility…  Let us imitate His humility, then, to whose glory we would wish to be conformed.   He Himself will help us and lead us to what He has promised.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church – 3rd sermon on the Feast of the Nativity, 4-5he himself will help us and lead us to what he has promised - st pope leo the great 17 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION – “Hope marks humanity’s journey but for Christians, it is enlivened by a certainty, the Lord is present in the passage of our lives.   He accompanies us and will one day also dry our tears.   One day, not far off, everything will find its fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace.” … Pope Benedict XVI 2 December 2009

ADVENT ACTION – Let us share the good news, the hope of the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER – O WISDOM

You came forth from the mouth of the Most High
and reaching from beginning to end,
You ordered all things mightily and sweetly.
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israelrejoice rejoice emmanuel shall come to thee o israel-19-dec-2017.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The INCARNATION, The MOST HOLY REDEEMER, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 17 December – Alma Redemptoris Mater

Our Morning Offering – 17 December

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Loving Mother of the Redeemer

Loving mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven,
star of the sea,
assist your people
who have fallen
yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature
you bore your Creator,
Yet remained a virgin
after as before.
You who received
Gabriel’s joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.

Marian Antiphon Traditionally Said from Advent to the Presentation of Jesus in the TempleALMA REDEMPTORIS MATER loving mother of the redeemer 17 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, GOD is LOVE, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, The HOLY SPIRIT, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 16 December – ‘He Loved us First’

Thought for the Day – 16 December – Monday of the Third Week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17, Psalm 25:4-9, Matthew 21:23-27

“By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” … Matthew 21:23

He Loved us First

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148)
Abbot

An excerpt from his On the Contemplation of God

Truly You alone are the Lord.   Your dominion is our salvation, for to serve You, is nothing else but to be saved by You!   O Lord, salvation is Your gift and Your blessing is upon Your people, what else is Your salvation but receiving from You the gift of loving You or being loved by You?   That, Lord, is why You willed, that the Son at Your right hand, the man whom You made strong for Yourself, should be called Jesus, that is to say, Saviour, for He will save His people from their sins and, there is no other, in whom there is salvation.   He taught us to love Him by first loving us, even to death on the cross.   By loving us and holding us so dear, He stirred us to love Him who had first loved us to the end.

And this is clearly the reason – You first loved us so that we might love You—not because You needed our love but because, we could not be what You created us to be, except by loving You.

In many ways and on various occasions You spoke to our fathers through the prophets. Now in these last days You have spoken to us in the Son, Your Word, by Him the heavens were established and all their powers came to be, by the breath of His mouth.

For You to speak thus in Your Son, was to bring out, in the light of day, how much and in what way You loved us, for You did not spare Your own Son but delivered Him up for us all.   He also loved us and gave himself up for us.

This, Lord, is Your Word to us, this is Your all-powerful message – while all things were in midnight silence (that is, were in the depths of error), He came from His royal throne, the stern Conqueror of error and the gentle Apostle of love.   Everything He did and everything He said on earth, even enduring the insults, the spitting, the buffeting—the cross and the grave—all of this, was actually You speaking to us in Your Son, appealing to us by Your love and stirring up our love for You.he came from his royal throne - william of saint thierry 16 dec 2019.jpg

You know that this disposition could not be forced on men’s hearts, my God, since You created them, it must rather be elicited.   And this, for the further reason, that there is no freedom, where there is compulsion and where freedom is lacking, so too is Righteousness.

You wanted us to love You, then, we, who could not with justice have been saved, had we not loved You, nor could we have loved You except by Your gift.   So, Lord, as the Apostle of Your Love tells us and, as we have already said, You first loved us – You are first to love all those who love You.

Thus we hold You dear by the affection You have implanted in us.   You are the one supremely good and ultimate goodness.   Your love is Your goodness, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son!   From the beginning of creation it was He who hovered over the waters—that is, over the wavering minds of men, offering Himself to all, drawing all things to Himself.   By His inspiration and holy breath, by keeping us from harm and providing for our needs, He unites God to us and us to God.your love is your goodness the holy spirit - william of theirry 16 dec 2019.jpg

William of Saint Thierry (c 1075-1148), was a twelfth century French Benedictine Abbot of Saint-Thierry, theologian and mystic who became a Cistercian monk and writer.
William wrote throughout all of his abbatial career as a Benedictine and his final years as a Cistercian monk.   His earliest works reflect a monk seeking God continually and investigating, the various and best ways of furthering the soul’s ascent to God in spiritual union, William’s ultimate goal.   When read chronologically, one can discern the development and evolution of William’s thought.
Besides his letters to St Bernard and others, William wrote several works – there were twenty two works by William (twenty one extant), all written in Latin between c 1121 and 1148.
William’s writings were widely read in the later Middle Ages.   However, they were frequently attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux – a sign of their quality and also another reason for their continued popularity.   Only in the early twentieth century, did interest in William as a distinct writer, begin to develop again and was his name correctly attached to all of his own writings.

“At this Christmas, when Christ comes,
will He find a warm heart?
Mark the season of Advent,
by loving and serving others,
with God’s own love and concern.”

St Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
(Love-A Fruit Always in Season)

at this christmas, when he comes - st mother teresa 16 dec 2019.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday – “Rejoice in the Lord always”

Quote/s of the Day – 17 December – Gaudete Sunday

“Gaudete in Domino semper”

“Rejoice in the Lord always”

Philippians 4:4philippians 4 4 rejoice in the lord always gaudete in domine semper 15 dec 2019 gaudete sunday.jpg

Rejoice, O star that goes before the Sun.
Rejoice, O womb of the Incarnate God.
Rejoice, for through you, all creation is renewed,
Rejoice, for through you, the Creator became a baby.
Rejoice, O Virgin and Bride!

Akathist Hymn to Mary (c Fifth Century)rejoice o star that goes before the sun - akathis hymn to mary gaudete sunday 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Open wide your door to the One who comes.
Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart
to see the riches of simplicity,
the treasures of peace,
the sweetness of grace.
Open your heart and run to meet
the Sun of eternal light
that illuminates all men.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father and Doctor of the Churchopen wide your door to the one who comes - st ambrose 15 dec 2019.jpg

“Awake, you who lie in the dust,
awake and give praise.
Behold, the Lord comes with salvation.
He comes with salvation,
He comes with unction,
He comes with glory.
Jesus cannot come without salvation,
Christ cannot come without unction,
nor the Son of God without glory.
For He Himself is salvation,
He is unction,
He is glory,
as it is written,
‘A wise son is the glory of his father.'”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Doctor of the Churchawake you who lie in the dust, ....he who is to come - st bernard - gaudete sunday 15 dec 2019.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – To purify like for like

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Church

the-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017.and 15 dec 2019 gaudete sun reflecjpg.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 15 December – Let Your goodness, Lord, Appear to Us – An Advent Prayer by St Bernard

Our Morning Offering – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday

Let Your goodness, Lord,
Appear to Us
An Advent Prayer
By St Bernard (1090-1153)

Let Your goodness, Lord,
appear to us,
that we, made in Your image,
conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate
Your majesty, power and wonder,
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child
but You have brought us
the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts
with Your soft, sweet cries.
Amenlet your goodness appear tp us o lord advent prayer of st bernard 15 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, HYMNS, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN Saturdays, Our MORNING Offering, POETRY, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The ANNUNCIATION, The INCARNATION, The LITTLE OFFICE of MARY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, YouTube VIDEOS

Our Morning Offering – 14 December – The God whom earth and sea and sky

Our Morning Offering – 14 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent, Year A, the Memorial of St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609) and a Marian Saturday

The God whom earth and sea and sky
For Mary, The Mother of God
For the Annunciation and Christmas
By St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609)

The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and praise and magnify,
Whose might they claim, whose love they tell,
In Mary’s body comes to dwell.

O Mother blest! the chosen shrine
Wherein the architect divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Has come in human form to lie.

Blest in the message Gabriel brought,
Blest in the work the Spirit wrought,
Most blest, to bring to human birth
The long desired of all the earth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to you
Eternal praise and laud are due,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Spirit blest for evermore.

the god whom earth and sea and sky st venantius fortunatus 14 dec 2019 hymn poem for mary

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 7 December – Saviour of the Nations, Come – St Ambrose’s Advent Hymn

Our Morning Offering – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church

Veni Redemptor gentium
Saviour of the Nations, Come
St Ambrose’s Advent Hymn

Saviour of the nations, come;
Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood;
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heaven enthroned.

From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell
High the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father’s only Son,
Hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?

Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o’ercloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.

Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.veni-redemptor-gentium-st-ambrose-advent-him-saviour-of-the-nations-come-7-dec-2017 and 7 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 6 December – A 10th Century Catholic Advent Prayer

Our Morning Offering – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A

A 10th Century Catholic Advent Prayer

Unknown Author

You are our eternal salvation,
The unfailing light of the world.
Light everlasting,
You are truly our redemption.
Grieving that the human race was perishing
through the tempter’s power,
without leaving the heights
You came to the depths
in Your loving kindness.
Readily taking our humanity
by Your gracious will,
You saved all earthly creatures,
long since lost,
Restoring joy to the world.
Redeem our souls and bodies, O Christ,
and so possess us as Your shining dwellings.
By Your first coming, make us righteous;
At Your second coming, set us free:
So that, when the world is filled with light
and You judge all things,
We may be clad in spotless robes
and follow in Your steps, O King,
Into the heavenly hall.
Amen10th-cent-advent-prayer-you-are-our-eternal-salvation-16-dec-2017.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 5 December – God is man’s glory. 

Thought for the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-202) on the Incarnation, the Word of God born for us as Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, the sign of our salvation.   He comes to restore God’s likeness in us and lead us to glory.

God is man’s glory.   Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in His conduct with men.   That is Paul’s reason for saying:  God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that He may have mercy on all.   He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God and cast off from immortality and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.

If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in His power and if man perseveres in God’s love and in obedience and gratitude to Him, he will receive greater glory from Him.   It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the One who died for him.

He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned.   He wanted to invite man to take on His likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father, that would lead to the vision of God and endowing man with power to receive the Father.   He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man, to open the way for man, to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.he-is-the-word-of-god-st-irenaeus-19-dec-2017 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

For this reason the Lord Himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel.   It was the Lord Himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved.   For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man and says:  I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God.   Again, he says: I am a wretched man, who will free me from this body doomed to die?  Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah says the same – Hands that are feeble, grow strong!   Knees that are weak, take courage!   Hearts that are faint, grow strong!   Fear not, see, our God is judgement and He will repay.   He himself will come and save us.   He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.

This excerpt from St Irenaeus’ monumental work, Against Heresies (Lib 3,20, 2-3; SC 34, 342-344) speaks of the incarnation, the birth of the Word of God as Son of Man, as the sign of our salvation.   It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Advent.   It was originally written around 185 AD.

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come!maranatha come lord jesus come - 5 dec 2019.jpg

 

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – He comes into our world

Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“If we would please this Divine Infant,
we too must become children,
simple and humble.
We must carry to Him, flowers of virtue,
of meekness, of mortification, of charity.
We must clasp Him in the arms of our love.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchif we would please this divine infant - st alphonsus liguori 5 dec 2019.jpg

“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”

Thomas Merton (1915-1968into this world this demented inn - thomas merton - 15 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Advent Reflection – 5 December – ‘He became small because you were small…’

Advent Reflection – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27, Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come.

A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace, in peace for its trust in You.   Trust in the Lord forever!   For the Lord is an eternal Rock. … Isaiah 26: 3-4

REFLECTION – “The psalmist says: “The Lord is great and worthy of praise” (96[95]:4). Who is this ‘Lord’ if not Jesus Christ, great and worthy of praise?   You surely know He appeared as man, you know, too, that He was conceived in the womb of a woman, that He was born of that womb, nourished, cradled in her arms, circumcised, that an offering was made for Him (Lk 2:24) and that He grew up.

You also know that He was struck, covered with spittle, crowned with thorns, crucified, and that He died, pierced by a lance.   You know well that He suffered all those things. Yes, “he is great and worthy of praise”.   Guard yourselves from despising His littleness – understand His greatness.   He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him.   This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised.   The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…

What can poor, human language say in praise of Him who is so great?   In saying “very” great it is trying to express what it feels and believes… but, it is as if it were saying:  “Try to grasp in thought what I am unable to express in words and yet, you must know, that whatever you may have grasped is only a fragment.”   For how can any language translate something that surpasses all thought?   “Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise!”   May He be praised, then, may He be preached, may His glory be proclaimed and His dwelling place erected.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchthursday of the first week of advent 5 dec 2019 isaiah 26 3-4 - st augustine he became small.jpg

Meditation:
We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace.
The readings today present God offering us a gate, a passageway into God’s will.   For Isaiah, the gateway to God, consists in being just and keeping the faith.   Jesus says, it is the person who hears God’s word and puts those words into practice.
Throughout these weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the Scriptures for our liturgies tell us again and again, to turn to God, to build our house on the rock of Jesus.   Only there we will find peace.

Advent Action:
Call someone who is lost.   A friend, who hears not the word of God.   Perhaps your words of faith might be a light in their darkness.

Prayer:
We thank You, Lord, for all that we have received.   Move us to give of our plenty to those who have little.   Lord, open the gate of my heart.   Let Your words be a light that will lead me to follow Your will and thus lead others to You.   Amen.

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Our Morning Offering – 5 December – Advent Prayer – God of Hope

Our Morning Offering – 5 December – Thursday of the First week of Advent, Year A

Advent Prayer – God of Hope

God of hope,
who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope,
who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope,
who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope,
the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always and particularly this Advent time.
Through Him,
who is our hope,
our joy,
our love,
our peace,
in union with the Holy Spirit,
one God forever,
amen.Advent-prayer-god-of-hope-20-dec-2018 and 5 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 4 December – “And He healed them…”

Advent Reflection – 4 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalm 23, Matthew 15:29-37

Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.

“And great multitudes came unto him,
having with them those that were lame,
blind, dumb, maimed and many others
and cast them down at Jesus’ feet
and he healed them…”

Matthew 15:30

REFLECTION – “To this assembly have come not only the disciples, as if they were leaving behind the multitudes, as they did in the case of the Beatitudes.   Rather, there are great crowds here, many of whom are deaf or suffer from many afflictions.   Look at the crowds who come to this mountain where the Son of God sits.   Some of them have become deaf to the things that have been promised.   Others have become blind in soul, not looking toward the true light.   Others are lame and not able to walk according to reason.   Others are maimed and unable to work profitably.   Each of these who are suffering in soul from such things go up along with the multitudes into the mountain where Jesus sits.

Some who do not draw near to the feet of Jesus are not healed.   But those who are brought by the multitude and cast at His feet are being healed.   Even those who come only to the edges, just the extremities of the body of Christ, who feel themselves unworthy to obtain such things, are being healed  . So now you come into the congregation of what is more commonly called the Church.   See the catechumens?   They are, as it were, cast in the far side or back of those who are the extreme end of the body, as if they were coming merely to the feet of the body of Jesus—the Church.   They are coming to it with their own deafness and blindness and lameness and crookedness. In time they will be cured according to the Word.   Observing this, you would not be wrong in saying, that these people have gone up with the multitudes into the church, up to the mountain where Jesus sits and have been cast at His feet and are being healed.   And so the multitudes are astonished at beholding the transformations that are taking place. They behold those who are being converted from such great evils to that which is so much better.” Origen (c 185-253) Father of the Church – Commentary on Matthew, 11wednesday of the first week of advent - 4 dec 2019 matthew 15 30.jpg

Meditation:
If ever there is a time to believe in miracles, Advent season is that time!   We hear of the miracle of Mary’s conception, the miracle of Jesus’ birth in a barn, the miracle of the star in the night sky leading the wise men, the feeding of the multitudes and their healings.   A Saint, whose feast is celebrated during the Advent season, St Nicholas, was often called the “wonder-worker.”   The Scriptures speak to us of God’s miraculous and unceasing care for us.   God always provides for us. (Redemptorist Fathers)

Advent Action:
Today, let us believe in miracles and wonders.   And tell all we meet, of these wonderful gifts from God.

Collect:
Prepare our hearts,
we pray, O Lord our God,
by Your divine power,
so that at the coming of Christ Your Son
we may be found worthy
of the banquet of eternal life
and merit to receive
heavenly nourishment from His hands.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 13 December – The Season of Advent by St Charles Borromeo

Thought for the Day – 13 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A

The Season of Advent

Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)
Bishop of Milan

An excerpt from A Pastoral Letter

Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation – the great season of Advent.   This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see.   This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity.   We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father, for the mercy and love He has shown us in this mystery.   In His infinite love for us, though we were sinners, He sent His only Son, to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of His grace and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Each year, as the Church recalls this mystery, she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us.   This holy season teaches us, that Christ’s Coming was not only for the benefit of His contemporaries, His power has still to be communicated to us all.   We shall share His power, if, through holy faith and the sacraments, we willingly accept the grace Christ earned for us and live by that grace and in obedience to Christ.st cahrles borromeao - the season of advent - 2 dec 2019 -in his infinite love for us CORRECT.jpg

The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again.   When we remove all obstacles to His presence He will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with Him the riches of His grace.

In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit.   She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing and, how to gain its benefit, our hearts should be as much prepared for the Coming of Christ as if He were still to come into this world.   The same lesson, is given us for our imitation, by the words and example, of the holy men of the Old Testament.

Almighty and merciful God,
let neither, our daily work, nor the cares of this life,
prevent us from hastening to meet Your Son.
Enlighten us with Your wisdom
and lead us into His Company.
We make our prayer,
through Christ, our Lord,
with the Holy Spirit,
God forever, amen.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!come o come emmanuel - 16 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote of the Day – 2 December – ‘He it is who comes …’

Quote of the Day – 2 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Churchthe-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017 and 2 dec 2019 quote of the day.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent

Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A –
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

“So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Matthew 24:44

St Bernard (1091-1153)
Doctor of the Church
Sermons 4 and 5 for Advent

“It is only right, my brothers, to celebrate our Lord’s coming with all possible devotion, so greatly does His comfort gladden us… and His love burn within us.   But do not just think about His first coming when He came “to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10), think, too, of that other coming when He will come to take us with Him.  I should like to see you constantly occupied in meditating on these two comings… “resting among the sheepfolds” (Ps 68[67]:14), for they are the two arms of the Bridegroom in which the Bride of the Song of Songs took her rest:  “His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me” (2:6)…

But there is a third coming between the two to which I have just referred and those who know of it, can rest in it for their greater happiness.   The other two are visible but this one is not.   In the first, “ the Lord has appeared on earth and has spoken to us” (Bar 3:38)… in the last, “all mankind shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6; Is 40:5)…   But the one that comes between them is secret, it is that in which the elect alone see the SavioUr within themselves and their souls find salvation.

In His first coming, Christ came in our flesh and in our weakness;  in His coming in the midst of time, He comes in Spirit and power;  in His final coming, He will come in His glory and majesty.   But it is by the strength of the virtues, that we attain to glory, as it is written:  “The Lord, the king of armies, he is the king of glory” (Ps 24[23]:10) and, in the same book:  “That I may see your power and your glory” (Ps 63[62]:3).   And so the second coming is like a road leading from the first to the last.   In the first, Christ has been our redemption, in the last, He will appear as our life, in His coming between, He is our rest and our consolation.”in-the-first-coming-st-bernard-3-dec-2017 AND 1 DEC 2019.jpg

Prayer for the Advent Wreath

Lord, our God,
we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ,
for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Saviour of us all.
O Lord,
let Your blessing come upon us
as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Waiting

We light a advent candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark.   But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master.   The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:

See! The ruler of the earth shall come,
the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.

We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle.   We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten – doing all these works hastens His coming.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuelthe first sunday of advent - 1 dec 2019 matthew 24 44

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Uncategorized

Our Morning Offering – 1 December – Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

Our Morning Offering – 1 December – First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

Breviary Lauds Hymn
First Sunday Advent

Come, O long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art,
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone,
By Thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.come o long expected jesus 1st sunday of advent 1 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Uncategorized

Reminder – The St Andrew Christmas Novena – begin today 30 November

The St Andrew Christmas Novena – The Christmas Anticipation Prayer

Pray 15 Times each day.

Let us Pray!

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment,
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe,
I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
………………… [here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
and of His blessed Mother.
Amen

st-andrew-christmas-novena-30nov2018 AND 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, NOTES to Followers, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, The NATIVITY of JESUS

St Andrew’s Christmas Novena – Begins on St Andrew’s Feast Day – 30 November

St Andrew’s Christmas Novena – Begins on St Andrew’s Feast Day – 30 November

Prepare for the arrival of our King!

Just a reminder of this beautiful Catholic tradition st-andrews-prayer-christmas-novena-no-1 - 30nov2017.jpg

The Feast of Saint Andrew has always been closely associated with the beginning of Advent as it is on 30 November, around the First Sunday of Advent.   In light of that fact, a prayer was developed as a daily preparation for Christmas and took 30 November as its starting point.

It is sometimes called the Christmas Novena, St Andrew’s Novena, St Andrew’s Christmas Prayer, or the Christmas Anticipation Prayer.

It is a beautiful prayer that focuses on the moment of Christ’s birth and can act as an inspiring meditation for Advent and of course, we pray for our own intentions – 15 times a day – God is listening!  The prayer is customarily prayed 15 times a day, as a family, it is most efficacious to pray it five times before and after mealtimes, alternating the family members.

Let us prepare our hearts to welcome Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer and pray the “Christmas Novena.”

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe,
I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
………………… [here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
and of His blessed Mother.
Amenst andrews christmas novena - begins 30 nov - say 15 times each day-posted 28 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Sunday Reflection – 13 October – He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar – St John Henry Newman

Sunday Reflection – 13 October – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

The Birth of Jesus
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

“Consider that the birth of Jesus Christ, caused universal joy in the whole world.   Jesus was the Redeemer who had been desired and awaited for so many years.   He was called ‘the desire of the nations’ and ‘the desire of the eternal hills.’   Today, we behold Him, born in a little   cave! Let us consider, that this day, the angel also announces to us the same great joy announced to the shepherds.   “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for a saviour has been born.”

What great rejoicing there is in a country when the firstborn son of a king is born.   But surely, there should be even greater rejoicing when we see the Son of God born!   We were lost and He came to save us.   He is the shepherd who has come to save His sheep from death.   He is the lamb of God, who has come to sacrifice Himself, to become our deliverer, our life, or light and even our food in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Saint Maximus says that for this reason, among many others, Jesus chose to be laid in the manger, where the animals are fed, to make us understand that He has become human and also our food.   “In the manger, where the food of animals is placed,   He allowed Himself to be laid, demonstrating that His own body would be the eternal food of humankind.

Besides this, He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Altar is the crib and we go to the Altar to be fed and nourished.   Some might desire to hold the Infant Jesus in their arms as the prophet Simeon did but faith teaches us, that when we receive Holy Communion, we too, hold the same Jesus, who was in the manger in Bethlehem, not in our arms alone but in our hearts.

My beloved Jesus, if I do not love You, who are my Lord and God, whom shall I love?”he is born every day - sun reflec - 13 oct 2019 st john henry newman

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, Pope Francis - MEDITATIONS on the ROSARY, Pope Francis ROSARY MEDITATIONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The 3rd Joyful Mystery - the NATIVITY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Marian Thoughts – 16 May – Pope Francis – The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity

Marian Thoughts – 16 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter, C

Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary

“The month of May is dedicated to Our Lady
and it is “fitting” to start the habit of a daily rosary now.”
Pope Francis

The Third Joyful Mystery – The Nativity

“Mary and Joseph had to leave their people, their home and their land and to undertake a journey in order to be registered in the census.
This was no comfortable or easy journey for a young couple about to have a child – they had to leave their land.
At heart, they were full of hope and expectation because of the child about to be born, yet their steps were weighed down by the uncertainties and dangers that attend those, who have to leave their home behind.
They they found themselves, having to face perhaps, the most difficult thing of all. They arrived in Bethlehem and experienced that, it was a land that was not expecting them. A land, whee there was no place for them.   And there, where everything was a challenge, May gave us Emmanuel.   The Son of God, had to be born in a stable because His own had no room for Him. “He came to what was his own and his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:11).
That night, the One who had no place to be born, is proclaimed to those who had no place at the table or in the streets of the city.   The shepherds are the first to hear this Good News.   By reason of their work, they were men and women forced to live on the edges of society.   Their state of life and the places they had to stay, prevented them from observing all the ritual prescriptions of religious purification, as a result, they wee considered unclean.   Their skin, their clothing, their smell, their way of speaking, their origin, all betrayed them.   Everything about them generated mistrust. They were men and women to be kept at a distance, to be feared.   They were considered pagans among the believers, sinners among the just, foreigners among the citizens. Yet, to them – pagans, sinners and foreigners – the angel says:  “Do not be afraid – for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for the people, to you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Lk 2:10-11)”

Pope Francis

pope francis meditations on the rosary - the third joyful mystery - the nativity - 16 may 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!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 12 January – 6th day after Epiphany – Today’s Gospel: John 3:22–30

One Minute Reflection – 12 January – 6th day after Epiphany – Today’s Gospel: John 3:22–30

“This joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase, but I must decrease.”…John 3:29-30this joy of mine ...he must increase - john 3 29-30 12 jan 2019

REFLECTION – “Listen, children of light: you who have been adopted for the Kingdom of God;  listen, my dearest brethren; listen and exult for joy in the Lord, you just, for “praise from the upright is fitting” (Ps 33:1).   Listen to what you already know;  reflect on what you have heard ; love what you believe; proclaim what you love!…
Christ is born, God from His Father, man through His mother.   He was born from His Father’s immortality and His mother’s virginity.   From the Father without the aid of a mother;  from the mother without that of a father.   From His Father without time; from His mother without seed.   According to His Father he is the principle of life; according to His mother, the ending of death.   According to His Father, He was born to determine the order of days;  according to His mother, to consecrate the day that is here.
He sent John the Baptist before Him, causing him to be born when the days were beginning to decrease, while He Himself was born when the days began to grow in length, thus prefiguring John’s own words:  “He must increase, I must decrease”.   For indeed, human life must grow weaker in itself but stronger in Jesus Christ “so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2Cor 5:15) and so that each one of us might repeat those words of the apostle Paul:  “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).”…St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctorchrist is born - st augustine 12 jan 2019

PRAYER – Almighty ever-living God, through Christ Your Son, You made of us a new creation.   Shape us then, in His likeness, since in Him, our human nature now lives with You.   Grant that by the prayers of our blessed Virgin Mary and of Your holy men and women, we may be granted assistance in our struggle here below.   Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.blessed virgin holy mother pray for us

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, celebrated 6 January 2019, in St Peter’s Basilica

“In order to find Jesus, we also need to take a different route, to follow a different path, His path, the path of humble love.   And we have to persevere.   Today’s Gospel ends by saying that the Magi, after encountering Jesus, “left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:12).   Another road, different from that of Herod.   An alternative route than that of the world, like the road taken by those who surround Jesus at Christmas – Mary and Joseph, the shepherds.   Like the Magi, they left home and became pilgrims on the paths of God.   For only those, who leave behind their worldly attachments and undertake a journey, find the mystery of God.for only those who leave behind their worldly attachments - pope francis epiphany 2019 9jan2019.jpg

This holds true for us too.   It is not enough to know where Jesus was born, as the scribes did if we do not go there.   It is not enough to know that Jesus was born, like Herod, if we do not encounter Him.   When His place becomes our place, when  His time becomes our time, when His person becomes our life, then the prophecies come to fulfilment in us.   Then Jesus is born within us.   He becomes the living God for me.   Today we are asked to imitate the Magi.   They do not debate – they set out.  They do not stop to look but enter the house of Jesus.   They do not put themselves at the centre but bow down before the One who is the centre.   They do not remain glued to their plans but are prepared to take other routes.   Their actions reveal a close contact with the Lord, a radical openness to Him, a total engagement with Him.   With Him, they use the language of love, the same language that Jesus, though an infant, already speaks.   Indeed, the Magi go to the Lord not to receive but to give.   Let us ask ourselves this question – at Christmas did we bring gifts to Jesus for His party, or did we only exchange gifts among ourselves?when his place becomes our place - pope franics epip homily 2019 9 jan 2019.jpg

let us ask ourselves - pope francis 9 jan 2019 epiphany homily 2019.jpg

If we went to the Lord empty-handed, today we can remedy that.   The Gospel, in some sense, gives us a little “gift list”: gold, frankincense and myrrh.   Gold, the most precious of metals, reminds us God has to be granted first place – He has to be worshipped. But to do that, we need to remove ourselves from the first place and to recognise our neediness, the fact that we are not self-sufficient.    Then there is frankincense, which symbolises a relationship with the Lord, prayer, which like incense rises up to God (cf. Ps 141:2).   Just as incense must burn in order to yield its fragrance, so too, in prayer, we need to “burn” a little of our time, to spend it with the Lord.   Not just in words but also by our actions.   We see this in the myrrh, the ointment that would be lovingly used to wrap the body of Jesus taken down from the cross (cf. Jn 19:39).   The Lord is pleased when we care for bodies racked by suffering, the flesh of the vulnerable, of those left behind, of those who can only receive without being able to give anything material in return.   Precious in the eyes of God is mercy shown to those who have nothing to give back.   Gratuitousness!

In this Christmas season now drawing to its close, let us not miss the opportunity to offer a precious gift to our King, who came to us not in worldly pomp but in the luminous poverty of Bethlehem.   If we can do this, His light will shine upon us.”in this christmas season - pope francis - 9 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Thought for the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – It is still Christmastide!

‘If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart
and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Pope Francis’ Homily – 19 December 2018 – General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In six days, it will be Christmas.   The trees, the decorations and the lights everywhere recall that this year also there will be a celebration.   Advertising invites to keep exchanging newer and newer gifts to have surprises.   However, is this the celebration that pleases God?   What Christmas would He want, what presents and surprises?

We look at the first Christmas of history to discover God’s tastes.   That Christmas was full of surprises.   It begins with Mary, who was Joseph’s promised bride – the Angel arrives and changes her life.   From being a virgin, she will be a mother.   It continues with Joseph, called to be the father of a son without generating Him.   A son that — in a dramatic turn of events — arrives in the least indicated moment, namely, when Mary and Joseph were betrothed and, according to the Law, could not live together.   In face of the scandal, the good sense of the time invited Joseph to repudiate Mary and save his good name but he, although he had the right, surprises us – not to hurt Mary he thinks of taking leave of her in secret, at the cost of losing his own reputation.   Then, another surprise – in a dream, God changes his plans and asks him to take Mary to himself.   Jesus having been born, when Joseph had his plans for the family, again in a dream he is told to rise and go to Egypt.   To summarise, Christmas brought unexpected life changes.  And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life.

However, it’s on Christmas Eve that the greatest surprise arrives – the Most High is a little baby.   The divine Word is an infant, which means literally, “incapable of speaking.”   And the divine Word becomes “incapable of speaking.”  The Authorities of the time or of the place or the ambassadors were not there to receive the Saviour – no, it was simple shepherds, who, surprised by the Angels while they were working at night, run without delay.   Who would have expected it?   Christmas is to celebrate the unheard-of God, or better, it is to celebrate an unprecedented God, who overturns our logics and our expectations.

To celebrate Christmas, then, is to receive on earth Heaven’s surprises.   One can’t live “down to earth,” when Heaven has brought its novelties into the world.   Christmas inaugurates a new era, where life isn’t planned but is given;  where one no longer lives for oneself, on the basis of one’s tastes, but for God;  and with God because since the first Christmas, God is God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us.   To live Christmas is to let oneself be shaken by its surprising novelty.   Jesus’ Birth doesn’t offer the reassuring warmth of a fireplace but the divine thrill, that shakes history.  Christmas is the revenge of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over noise, of prayer over “my time,” of God over my “I.”christmas is - pope francis no 2 - 8 jan 2019

To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy people and to come down to those in need of us.   It is to do as Mary did, to entrust ourselves, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do.   To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did, to rise to do what God wants, even if it’s not according to our plans.   Saint Joseph is surprising – he never speaks in the Gospel, there isn’t one word of Joseph in the Gospel and the Lord speaks to him in silence, He speaks to him in fact in his sleep. Christmas is to prefer God’s silent voice to the noises of consumerism.   If we are able to be silent before the Crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us also, not something already seen.   To be in silence before the Crib – this is the invitation for Christmas.  Take a bit of time, go before the Crib and stay in silence.   And you will feel, you will see the surprise.

Unfortunately, however, the celebration can be mistaken and we can prefer the usual things on earth, to the novelties of Heaven.   If Christmas remains only a beautiful traditional feast, where we and not Him, are at the centre, it will be a lost occasion.   Please, let us not make Christmas worldly!   Let us not put the One celebrated aside as ‘happened’ then, when “He came among His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).   Since the first Gospel of Advent, the Lord has put us on guard, asking us not to be weighed down with “dissipation” and “the cares of life” (Luke 21:34).   In these days one runs, perhaps more than ever during the year.   So, the opposite is done of what Jesus wants.   We blame the many things that fill our day, the world that goes fast.   Yet Jesus didn’t blame the world.   He asked us not to let ourselves be dragged, to watch at all times praying (Cf. v. 36).

Behold, it will be Christmas if, like Joseph, we make room for silence;  if, like Mary, we say to God “Here I am”;  if, like Jesus, we are close to one who is alone;  if, like the shepherds, we go out of our enclosures to be with Jesus.   It will be Christmas, if we find the light in the poor cave of Bethlehem.   It won’t be Christmas if we seek the shimmering glow of the world, if we fill ourselves with gifts, lunches and dinners but we don’t help at least one poor person, who is like God, because at Christmas God came poor.

Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you a happy Christmas, a Christmas rich in Jesus’ surprises!   They might seem uncomfortable surprises but they are God’s tastes.   If we embrace them, we will have a splendid surprise for ourselves.   Each one of us has hidden in the heart, the capacity to be surprised.   Let us let Jesus surprise us this Christmas.

It’s Christmas every day!  behold it will be christmas - pope francis given 19 dec 2018 gen aud - 8 jan 2019