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, 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, SAINT of the DAY

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A – Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday +2019 and Memorials of the Saints – 15 December

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A – Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday +2019
Gaudete Sunday:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/16/sunday-reflections-gaudete-sunday/

Blessed Karl Steeb (1773 – 1856)
The Story of Blessed Karl:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/15/saint-of-the-day-15-december-blessed-karl-steeb-1773-1856/
St Margaret of Fontana
Bl Maria della Pace
Blessed Maria Vittoria De Fornari Strata (1562–1617)
St Mary Crocifissa di Rosa (1813 – 1855)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/saint-of-the-day-15-december/

St Maximinus of Micy
St Offa of Essex
Bl Pau Gracia Sánchez
St Paul of Latros
Bl Ramón Eirin Mayo
St Silvia of Constantinople
St Urbicus
St Valerian of Abbenza
St Virginia Centurione Bracelli (1587-1651)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/saint-of-the-day-15-december-st-virginia-centurione-bracelli-1587-1651/

Martyrs of Drina – (5 beati): Also known as
• Daughters of Divine Charity of Drina
• Drina Martyrs
Five members of the Daughters of Divine Charity who were martyred while fighting off Chetnik rapists. They were –
Jozefa Bojanc
Jozefa Fabjan
Karoline Anna Leidenix
Kata Ivanisevic
Terezija Banja
Their martyrdom occured in December 1941 in Gorazde, Bosansko-Podrinjski, Bosnia-Herzegovina
They were Beatified on 24 September 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Martyrs of North Africa – (7 saints): A group of Christians martyred together for their faith in North Africa. The only details about them that survive are their names – Caelian, Candidus, Faustinus, Fortunatus, Januarius, Lucius and Mark.

Martyrs of Rome – (22 saints): A group of 22 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Valerian. The only details we have are five of their names – Antonius, Irenaeus, Saturnin, Theodorus and Victor. c 258 in Rome, Italy.

Posted in ADVENT, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The WORD

Sunday Reflections – Gaudete Sunday

Sunday Reflections – Gaudete Sunday – The Third Sunday of Advent – 16 December 2018gaudete-sunday

What is special about the Third Sunday of Advent?   For much of the Church’s history, this Sunday had a special name:  “Gaudete” Sunday.   The traditions surrounding this Sunday go back as far as the fourth or fifth century, as does the season of Advent itself. Advent, our preparation for Christmas, was originally a forty-day penitential season like Lent.   In fact, since it used to begin on 12 November (just after the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours), it was called “St Martin’s Lent.”   “Gaudete Sunday” was the Advent counterpart to “Laetare Sunday,” which marks the mid-point in Lent.

On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus.   For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.”   But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be, “The Lord is near.”   This shift is marked by a lighter mood and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation.

Liturgically, the colours lighten as well.   The priest usually wears rose-coloured vestments, a hue seen only on Gaudete Sunday and Laetare Sunday.   On this day, we light the third candle of the Advent wreath, which is also rose-coloured, or if you prefer, pink.
The word “Gaudete” is Latin for “Rejoice.”   This celebration is a reminder that God who loves us is still in charge and that we await His coming not with fear but with  tremendous joy.   Today’s Second Reading, from the Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians, reflects this joy:  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

THE “O ANTIPHONS” OF ADVENT

The one exception to the audio barrage of so-called ‘Christmas Hymns’ we hear during Advent, is the simple chant “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”   This song, with its longing for the coming of the Saviour, genuinely belongs to Advent and not to Christmas.
Its melody is based on Gregorian chant and its verses are all taken from the Church’s “O antiphons.” These antiphons introduce the Magnificat, or Canticle of Mary, in the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours from 17 December through 23 December.
Each antiphon begins with a traditional title for Christ.

They are: “O Wisdom,” “O Leader of the House of Israel
[Adonai],” “O Root of Jesse’s Stem,” “O Key of David,” “O Radiant Dawn,” “O King of all the nations,” and finally, “O Emmanuel” which means “God with us.”    Each of these traditional titles for the Messiah connects the coming of Christ with the prophetic writings of the Old Testament.stained_glass_o_antiphons.jpg

On the last days of Advent, you may wish to add these “O Antiphons” to your
evening prayer, your prayer at table, or your bedtime prayer.

17 DECEMBER
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
18 DECEMBER
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
19 DECEMBER
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
20 DECEMBER
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
21 DECEMBER
O Radiant Dawn,
splendour of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
22 DECEMBER
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
23 DECEMBER
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

the o antiphons

Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL PRAYERS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, Uncategorized

Gaudete Sunday – The Blessing of the Christ Child Figurine

Gaudete Sunday – The Blessing of the Christ Child Figurine

Pope Benedict XVI St Peter’s Square
Third Sunday of Advent, 14 December 2008

This Sunday, the Third Sunday in the Season of Advent, is called “Gaudete Sunday”: “rejoice”, because the Entrance Antiphon of Holy Mass takes up St Paul’s words in the Letter to the Philippians where it says:  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice”.   And immediately after he explains the reason, because “The Lord is at hand” (Phil 4: 4-5).   This is the reason for joy.   But what does “the Lord is at hand” mean?   In what sense must we understand this “closeness” of God?   The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians of Philippi, is evidently thinking of Christ’s return and invites them to rejoice because it is certain.   Yet, St Paul in his Letter to the Thessalonians, warns that no one can know the moment of the Lord’s coming (cf. 1 Thes 5: 1-2) and puts people on guard against any kind of alarmism, as if Christ’s return were imminent (cf. 2 Thes 2: 1-2).

Thus the Church, illumined by the Holy Spirit, already at that time understood increasingly better that God’s “closeness” is not a question of space and time but rather of love:  love brings people together!

This coming Christmas will remind us of this fundamental truth of our faith and in front of the manger we shall be able to savour Christian joy contemplating in the newborn Jesus the Face of God who made Himself close to us out of love.

In this light, it gives me real pleasure to renew the beautiful tradition of the Blessing of the Christ Child figurines, the miniature statues of the Baby Jesus to be placed in the manger.   I address you in particular, dear boys and girls of Rome, who have come this morning with your Baby Jesus figurines that I now bless.   I invite you to join me, following attentively this prayer:

God, our Father
You so loved humankind
that You sent us Your only Son Jesus,
born of the Virgin Mary,
to save us and lead us back to You.

We pray that with Your Blessing
these images of Jesus,
who is about to come among us,
may be a sign of Your presence and
love in our homes.

Good Father,
give Your Blessing to us too,
to our parents, to our families and
to our friends.

Open our hearts,
so that we may be able to
receive Jesus in joy,
always do what He asks
and see Him in all those
who are in need of our love.

We ask you this in the name of Jesus,
Your beloved Son
who comes to give the world peace.

He lives and reigns forever and ever.
Amen.Gaudete sunday the blessing of the Christ child figurine - pope benedict 16dec2018

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HYMNS, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The WORD, YouTube VIDEOS

Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018

Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018 – The Third ‘Gaudete’ Sunday of Advent

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 293

John is the voice but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning.   John is the voice that lasts for a time, from the beginning, Christ is the Word who lives forever.

Take away the word, the meaning and what is the voice?   Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound.   The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts.   When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart.   When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.

In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find a place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you.   The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away.   The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart and yet it is still also in mine.

When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say – the word ought to grow and I should diminish?   The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word and has gone away, as though it were saying – my joy is complete.   Let us hold on to the word;  we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains?   Where is John’s baptism today?   It served its purpose and it went away.   Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate.   It is in Christ that we all believe, we hope for salvation in Him.   This is the message the voice cried out.

Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ.   The voice was thought to be the word.   But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word.   I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet.   And the question came:  Who are you, then?   He replied:  I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness – Prepare the way for the Lord!

The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence.   Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying:  “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.

If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke.   But he did not say it, he acknowledged what he was.   He pointed out clearly who he was;  he humbled himself.

He saw where his salvation lay.   He understood that he was a lamp and his fear was that it might be blown out, by the wind of pride.”

I speak out in order to lead Him - st augustine - 16 dec 2018

“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

Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

 

come o come emmanuel - 16 dec 2018