Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on MISSION, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 3 December – Woe to Me if I do not Preach the Gospel

Thought for the Day – 3 December – Tuesday of the First week of Advent, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)

Woe to Me if I do not Preach the Gospel

Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
Priest and Missionary

An excerpt from Letters to Saint Ignatius

“We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago.   No Portuguese live here—the country is so utterly barren and poor.   The native Christians have no priests.   They know only that they are Christians.   There is nobody to say Mass for them, nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.

I have not stopped since the day I arrived.   I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages.   I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptised. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left.   The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand – the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

I could not refuse so devout a request, without failing in devotion myself.   I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary.   I noticed among them persons of great intelligence.   If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt, that they would make excellent Christians.

Many, many people hereabouts, are not becoming Christians for one reason only – there is nobody to make them Christians.   Again and again, I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity – “What a tragedy, how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”what a tragedy how many souls - st francis xavier - 3 dec 2019.jpg

I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books and so settle their account with God, for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them.   They would forget their own desires, their human affairs and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and His choice.   They would cry out with all their heart – Lord, I am here!   What do you want me to do?   Send me anywhere you like—even to India.”

How can we too fail!

It is Advent. All our answers remain fragmentary.
The first thing we have to accept is, ever and again,
the reality of an enduring Advent.
If we do that, we shall begin to realise
that the borderline between “before Christ” and “after Christ”
does not run through historical time, in an outward sense
and cannot be drawn on any map,
it runs through our own hearts.
Insofar, as we are living on a basis of selfishness, of egoism,
then even today, we are “before Christ.”
But in this time of Advent, let us ask the Lord to grant
that we may live less and less “before Christ”
and certainly not “after Christ”
but truly “with Christ and in Christ” –
with Him who is indeed Christ yesterday, today and forever.

Joseph Ratzinger (1964)
aka Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIit is advent - all our answers remain - joseph ratzinger - pope benedict 3 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, Papa FRANCIS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on MISSION, SAINT of the DAY

Advent Reflection – 3 December – Proclaiming the Hope of Christ

Advent Reflection – 3 December – Tuesday of the First week of Advent, Year A and the Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552)- Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-2, 7-9, 12-13, Luke 10:21-24

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”
Isaiah 11:6

Reflection
“In these passages, the meaning of Christmas shines through – God fulfils the promise by becoming man, not abandoning His people, He draws near to the point of stripping Himself of His divinity.   In this way God shows His fidelity and inaugurates a new Kingdom, which gives a new hope to mankind.   And what is this hope?   Eternal life. ”
... Pope Francis – General audience 21 December 2016Tuesday of the first week of advent - 3 dec 2019.jpg

Advent Action
Advent is a time to practice discipleship and the joy of sharing the message given to us! Today, share just a little of this joy of the Gospel and the hope of Christ, with those around you.   Giving this gift is immense, as the Lord shared His Father in the Gospel of today, so we share Him.   Spiritual love is tender, it is holy ground.   There is simply no greater investment.

” …. Paul does not seek himself, he does not want to make a fan club for himself, he does not wish to go down in history as the head of a school of great knowledge, he is not self-seeking, rather, St Paul proclaims Christ and wants to gain people for the true and real God.   Paul’s wish is to speak of and preach the One who entered his life and who is true life, who won him over on the road to Damascus.
Therefore, talking about God means making room for the One who enables us to know Him, who reveals His face of love to us; it means emptying ourselves of our own ego, offering it to Christ, in the awareness that it is not we who can win over others for God but, that we must expect God to send them, we must entreat God for them.
Talking about God, therefore, stems from listening, from our knowledge of God which is brought about through familiarity with Him, through the life of prayer and in accordance with the Commandments.”Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt – How to speak about God – The Year of Faith – 28 November 2012)

Prayer
Lord, it is my hope that I may always be in “Your will
and way.”
Sometimes I am selfish with my time and my own desires.
Today, help me sort out things in my life.
I need to make You the first priority in my life
and not the things that really do not matter.
Assist me in conducting myself in ways that are most pleasing to You.
Lord, it is my desire to live more for You this day
and share the joy of Your love with all I meet.

And today, we remember St Francis Xavier, the “second Paul”

please pray for us!
Amenst francis xavier pray for us 3 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Devotion for December The Immaculate Conception

Devotion for December
The Immaculate Conceptiondecember-month-of-the-imm-conception-1-dec-2018 and 1 dec 2019.jpg

During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church.   The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December-moved to 8 December in 2019) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption.

In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God.   The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as “without stain” (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary), in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: “immaculate.”

The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it.   Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.

It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world, as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.

The star of Mary Immaculate shines down on the path of Advent….

What person is more luminous than Mary?

Who can be for us, better than her, the star of hope,

the sunrise that proclaims the day of salvation?

Pope Benedict XVI

Holy light on earth’s horizon,
Star of hope to those who fall,
Light amid a world of shadows,
Dawn of God’s design for all.mary immaculate conception december devotion - holy light on earth's horizon 1 dec 2019.jpg

Mary, Virgin of Advent, may we always walk with you in the light of the Lord, Jesus, the fruit of your womb!    Amenthe star of mary immaculate shines down on the path of advent - pope benedict - dec month of the imm conception 1 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, G K CHESTERTON, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HELL, The HOLY FACE, The LAST THINGS

Quote/s of the Day – 29 November – Lord Jesus, May we seek Your Face

Quote/s of the Day – 29 November – Friday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:29–33

“The issue is now clear.
It is between light and darkness
and every one must choose his side.”

G K Chesterton (1874-1936)

(Chesterton’s last words)the-issue-is-now-clear-g-k-chesterton-26-oct-2018 and 29 nov 2019.jpg

“Each and everyone of us,
at the end of the
journey of life,
will come,
face to face
with either one
or the other
of two faces…
And one of them,
either, the
merciful face of Christ
or the
miserable face of Satan,
will say,
“Mine, mine.”

May we be Christ’s!”

Ven Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)each-and-everyone-of-us-ven-fulton-sheen-26-oct-2018 and 29 nov 2019.jpg

“Many who plan
to seek God
at the eleventh hour
die at 10:30.”

Bumper Stickermany-who-plan-to-seek-god-at-the-11th-hour-die-at-10-30-26-oct-2018 and 29 nov 2019.jpg

Lord Jesus, May we Seek Your Face
By Pope Benedict XVI

Lord Jesus,
grant us restless hearts,
hearts which seek Your Face.
Keep us from the blindness of heart
which sees only the surface of things.
Give us the simplicity and purity
which allows us to recognise
Your Presence in the world.
When we are not able
to accomplish great things,
grant us the courage
which is born of humility and goodness.
Impress Your Face on our hearts.
May we encounter You along the way
and show forth Your image to the world.
Amenlord-jesus-may-we-seek-your-face-pope-benedict-da-vinci-face-of-christ-no-2-26-oct-2018 and 29 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, ONE Minute REFLECTION, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY SCRIPTURES, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 November – ‘Now the word had a face…’

One Minute Reflection – 29 November – Friday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel:  Luke 21:29–33 and the Memorial of Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos SJ (1711-1735)

“But my words will not pass away….” …Luke 21:33

REFLECTION – “The Word of God makes us change our concept of realism.   Indeed, the realist is the one who recognises in the Word of God, the foundation of all things.   As you see these things happening, you know that the Kingdom of God is near (Lk 21:31).   Now the word is not simply audible, not only does it have a voice, now the word has a face, one which we can see – that of Jesus of Nazareth.” …. Pope Benedict XVIluke 21 33 but my words will not pass away - the word of god makes us change our concept - pope benedict XVI 29 nov 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Lord God, open our hearts to Your grace and the Light of Your word.   Let it go before us and be with us, open our eyes to see and our hearts to love, that we may always be intent upon doing Your will and following Your Word which has the Face of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus our Saviour.   Please hear the prayers of the beloved of Heart of Jesus, Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos on our behalf.   We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.bl bernardo de hoyos pray for us 29 nov 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

Posted in C S LEWIS, CATHOLIC Quotes, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Papa FRANCIS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on HERESY, SPEAKING of ....., The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Speaking of: False Prophets – The Culture of our Times

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11

“Speaking of: False Prophets – The Culture of our Times”

“Take heed that you are not led astray,
for many will come in my name,
saying, ‘I am he!’

Luke 21:8luke 21 8 - take heed that you are not led astray 26 nov 2019.jpg

“If you believe what you like in the Gospels
and reject what you don’t like,
it is not the Gospel you believe
but yourself.”

Saint Augustine (354-430)if you believe what you like - st augustine 26 nov 2019.jpg

“If you only follow the teachings of the Church
that you like and reject what you don’t like,
then it is not Christ and the Catholic faith
that you claim to believe in but yourself.
The creed that we profess
does not begin by saying,
“I believe in me…”if you only follow the teachings of the church that you like - g k chesteron 26 nov 2019.jpg

“A dead thing goes with the stream
but only a living thing can go against it.”

G K Chesterton (1874-1936)a dead thing goes with the stream - g k chesterton - 26 nov 2019.jpg

“Really great moral teachers
never do introduce new moralities,
it is quacks and cranks who do that.”

C S Lewis (1898-1963)

Mere Christianityreally great moral teachers - c s lewis crancks and quacks 26 nov 2019.jpg

“We are no longer able to hear God.
There are too many frequencies filling our ears.”

Pope Benedict VXIwe are no longer able to hear god - pope benedict 26 nov 2019.jpg

“No age has been more prone
to confuse the sin with the sinner,
not by hating the sinner along with the sin
but by loving the sin along with the sinner.
We often use “compassion”
as an equivalent for moral relativism.”

Peter Kreeftno age has been more prone - peter kreeft 26 nov 2019.jpg

“We have laws against polluting our rivers
but not against polluting our minds!”

Bishop Robert Barronwe have laws against polutting our rivers - robert barron - 26 nov 2019.jpg

“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries,
to swim against the tide,
yes, I am asking you
to rebel against this culture.”

Pope Francisi ask you instead to be revolutionaries pope francis 26 nov 2019.jpg