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

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

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

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

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

Memory Awakens Hope

By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quote of the Day – 20 December

Quote of the Day – 20 December

“Christ…took our nature, when He would redeem it,
He redeemed it by making it suffer in His own Person –
He purified it, by making it pure in His own Person.
He first sanctified it in Himself,
made it righteous,
made it acceptable to God,
submitted it to an expiatory passion
and then, He imparted it to us.
He took it,
consecrated it,
broke it
and said,
“Take and divide it among yourselves.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)christ took our nature when he would redeem it bl john henry 20dec2018

Posted in ADVENT, Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION

Quote of the Day – 19 December

Quote of the Day – 19 December

“Having clothed Himself with a created essence,
He made it the instrument of His humiliation –
He acted in it,
He obeyed and suffered through it…
That Eternal Power, which, till then,
had thought and acted as God,
began to think and act as a man,
with all man’s faculties, affections
and imperfections, sin excepted.
Before He came on earth,
He was infinitely above joy and grief,
fear and anger,
pain and heaviness
but afterwards, all these properties
and many more,
were His as full as they are ours.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)having clothed himself - bl john henry newman no 3 19dec2018

Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Uncategorized

Our Morning Offering – 19 December 

Our Morning Offering – 19 December

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

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Quote/s of the Day – 15 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent

Quote/s of the Day – 15 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent

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

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

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

St Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

(Love:  A Fruit Always in Season)at this christmas when christ comes - st mother teresa 15 dec 2018

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, The WORD

Friday of the Third Week of Advent – 22 December

Friday of the Third Week of Advent – 22 December

“The Lord is at hand – come let us adore Him.”

Daily Meditation:
.…But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers...Psalm 1:2-3

We ask to be guided by His love.
He comes to us in more and more ways
as our longing grows.
At the same time, we are being prepared to receive even more grace
that we might be faithful in our daily lives.
Jesus is the Light that shines
in the midst of any darkness.
May we open our hearts to His coming.

Come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Today’s Daily Reflection – Intercessions:
Through His son, God the father revealed His glory to men and women.
Therefore, let our joyful cry resound:
Lord, may Your name be glorified.
Teach us, Lord, to love each other,
– as Christ loved us for God’s glory.
Fill us with all joy and peace and faith,
– that we may walk in the hope and strength of the Holy Spirit.
Help all of men and women,
Lord, in Your loving mercy,
– be near to those who seek You without knowing it.
You call and sanctify the elect,
– though we are sinners, crown us with eternal happiness.

O KING OF ALL NATIONS
and keystone of the Church
come and save man,
whom You formed from the dust!o king of all nations - 22 dec 2017

Closing Prayer:
Jesus, You shine a light into the darkness of my life.
I am like a plant in limited sun,
and I find my being turning toward You
longing to be closer,
wanting only to draw near.
Help me to be faithful
in the big decisions of my life
and in the smallest of ways I live out each day.
My goal is salvation, Lord,
and I am painfully aware I can’t do that myself.
Teach me to be patient, to be faithful.
I know there is so much more grace I need
and so much more you want to give me.
Help me to be open to it and to recognise
the many gifts You give me each day.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.Friday of the third week - 22 dec 2017