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Quote/s of the Day – 6 December – Faith and Hope

Quote/s of the Day – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Matthew 9:27-31

“According to your faith be it done to you.”

Matthew 9:30

matthew 9 30 according to your faith - healing the blind man 6 dec 2019

“Faith lifts the soul.
Hope supports it.
Experience says it must.
And Love says let it be!”

St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)faith lifts the soul hope supports it experience says - st elizabeth ann seton 6 dec 2019.jpg

“Pray, hope and don’t worry.”

St Pius of Pietrelcina/Padre Pio (1887-1968)

pray hope and dont worry - st padre pio 6 dec 2019.jpg

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Advent Reflection – – 6 December – “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

Advent Reflection – – 6 December – Friday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Matthew 9:27-31

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

When he entered the house, the blind men came to him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”   And their eyes were opened.

Matthew 9:28-30

REFLECTION – “We too have been “illuminated” by Christ in Baptism and thus  we are called to behave as children of the light.   Acting as children of the light requires a radical change of mind-set, a capacity to judge men and things according to another scale of values, which comes from God.   The Sacrament of Baptism, in fact, requires the choice of living as children of the light and walking in the light.

MEDITIATION – If I were to ask you:  “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?   Do you believe that He can change your heart?   Do you believe that He can show reality as He sees it, not as we see it?   Do you believe that He is light, that He gives us the true light?”   How would you answer?   Each of you, respond in your heart.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 March 2017matthew 9 28 - 30 do you believe - pope francis 6 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – Faith engenders hope, which is a future-oriented virtue.   It acknowledges that there is a future awaiting us that is much, much better than the present.   The virtue of hope, with its orientation to the future, enables us to handle present distresses and struggles in a positive way.
Pope Benedict reminds us in Spe Salvi that this perspective. does not mean for one moment. that we live only for the future (4).   People in hope are building up the kingdom on earth but, they are also on pilgrimage, to that eternal kingdom, God has in store for those who follow Him.

PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people who come to You in confidence.   Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You.   Give courage to those who falter because of their failures.   In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in faith and hope, by the power of your Holy Spirit.   May they proclaim Your saving acts of kindness here on earth and one day, in Your eternal kingdom.    Amen.friday of the first week of advent - 6 december 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.

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Quote/s of the Day – 3 December – St Francis Xavier

Quote/s of the Day – 3 December – The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)

“Leave your country, your people
and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you.”

Genesis 12:1genesis 12 1 - leave your country your people - st francis xavier 3 dec 2019.jpg

“I am in a country
where all the niceties of life are lacking.
But I am filled with many inner consolations.
Indeed, I run the risk of crying my eyes out
because of my tears of joy”i am in a country - st francis xavier 3 dec 2019.jpg

“When trying to evangelise,
no tool is more effective,
than that of personal witness.
…People can argue with points of doctrine
but no-one can argue,
with a personal testimony!”when-trying-to-evangelise-st-francis-xavier-3-dec-2018.jpg

“Prayer is powerful!
It fills the earth with mercy,
it makes the Divine clemency
pass from generation to generation,
right along the course of the centuries.
wonderful works have been achieved.
through prayer.”

St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)prayer-is-powerful-st-francis-xavier-3-dec-2018.jpg

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Advent Reflection – 13 December – How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God? 

Advent Reflection – 13 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 4:2-6, Psalm 122:1-9, Matthew 8:5-11

“Amen, I say to you, in no-one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.” 

Matthew 8:10-11

Vatican Council II – “Gaudium et Spes” #45
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World

“While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention – that God’s kingdom may come and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass.   For every benefit, which the People of God, during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family, stems from the fact, that the Church is “the universal sacrament of salvation”, (Lumen Gentium), simultaneously manifesting and actualising the mystery of God’s love.

For God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh, so that, as perfect man, He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself.   The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilisation, the centre of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings.   He it is, Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead.   Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love:  “To re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Eph. 1:10).

The Lord Himself speaks:   “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works.   I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” (Rv 22:12-13).”matthew 8 10-11 amen i say to you in no-one in israel - centurion - for gods words - gaudium et spes no 45 2 dec 2019.jpg

Reflections
Christ is the ultimate centre of meaning in the universe.   It is through Christ that all people will be led to the Father.   How can we hope to achieve a world in which all will seek the path of God?   Only when men and women are working to achieve the unity that Christ’s redemption promises us.

“The Lord always goes beyond, goes first.   We take one step and He takes ten.   Always.   The abundance of grace, of His love, of His tenderness that never tires of seeking us.   Even, at times, with small things – we think that encountering the Lord would be something magnificent, like that man of Syria, Naaman, who was a leper [did].   And it’s not simple… And he too had a great surprise at God’s way of acting.
And our God is the God of surprises, the God that is seeking us, is awaiting us and asks of us only the little step of good will.”

Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 28 November 2016monday firsdt week advent 2 dec 2019 the lord always goes first - pope francis.jpg

Advent Action
Perform an act of kindness for someone you do not know.

Our Lives Multiply by Giving Them Away
Fr Henri Nouwen

“The fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognise it and live it, as the life of the Beloved, is beyond anything we can imagine.   One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe that the few years we live on this earth are like a little seed planted in very rich soil.   For this seed to bear fruit, it must die.   We often see, or feel, only the dying but, the harvest will be abundant, even when we ourselves are the harvesters.
How different would our life be, were we truly able to trust, that it multiplied in being given away?
How different would our life be, if we could believe, that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every little bit of joy and peace, will multiply and multiply, as long as there are people to receive it … and that – even then – there will be left-overs!”

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

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Thought for the Day – 29 November – “You are in me and I in you.”

Thought for the Day – 29 November – The Memorial of Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos SJ (1711-1735) – First apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain.

“On that day you will realise that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.”

John 14:20john 14 20 on that day you will realise that I am in my father and you are in me and I in you -29 nov 2019.jpg

Today’s young Saint and Mystic, Blessed Bernardo’s devotion led him to the most exquisite union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus … the spiritual marriage.   Yes.   It is no less strange however, that the Word, left His Father, to become one with man, to become Bread from Heaven.

I read someplace that Bl Bernardo’s intercession is especially helpful to those who struggle with the vice of impurity.   I think Bernardo’s devotion to the Sacred Heart – the complete surrender of all his affections – is an antidote to all impurity.   The grace of espousal seems to me, to be similar to the consummate love of Jesus in the Eucharist for us, whereby He gives us His body, blood, soul and divinity at every Communion.   Isn’t it like that?   Isn’t that total union what we are called to?   At every Communion – even when I feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing – it seems especially then, that faith supplies.

I never had experiences such as those Bl Bernardo participated in – I’m just grateful to be able to be recollected after each Communion and sometimes, to receive immense consolation too.    Knowing He is there and I am with Him.   I like the way Bl Bernardo put it:   “I see that everything in my heart is moving towards God, drawn like iron to a magnet.   It desires only God, searches only for God and longs only for God….” For Bernardo, that was his constant state – and he remained faithful to the graces he received.   For me, perhaps this desire is only imperfectly experienced in the thanksgiving after Communion.   Which is why I never want to waste those moments of recollection.

“Always holding my right hand, the Lord had me occupy the empty throne, then He fitted on my finger a gold ring…. “May this ring be an earnest of our love.   You are Mine and I am yours.   You may call yourself and sign Bernardo de Jesus, thus, as I said to my spouse, Santa Teresa, you are Bernardo de Jesus and I am Jesus de Bernardo.   My honour is yours, your honor is Mine.   Consider My glory that of your Spouse, I will consider yours, that of My spouse.   All Mine is yours and all yours is Mine.   What I am by nature you share by grace.   You and I are one!” – The Visions of Bernard Francis De Hoyos, S.J. by Henri Bechard, S.J.

In the ascetic-mystical life of the saints, God Himself purifies the soul of disordered passions in and through purifying trials and temptations.   Thus proving true Christ’s words, ‘what is impossible for man is possible for God.’   Blessed Bernardo was no exception.

As Catholics, we are not at all surprised by the ‘mystical marriage of today’s young Saint with Jesus’.   However, it seems the rest are prone to think this an unusual and strange occurrence and regard it as an aberration, so please if you search Blessed Bernardo you might be horrified at some nasty statements – don’t be – you know the better part!

For “I am in You and You are in Me”i-am-in-you-and-you-are-in-me-29-july-2018 and 28 july 2019.jpg

Blessed Bernardo, Pray for Us!bl bernardo de hoyos pray for us no 2 -29 nov 2019.jpg