Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The LAST THINGS, The SECOND COMING

Thought for the Day – 1 December – On the Twofold Coming of Christ – St Cyril of Jerusalem

Thought for the Day – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A

On the Twofold Coming of Christ

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Catechetical Instruction, Catechesis 15

We do not preach only one coming of Christ but a second as well, much more glorious than the first.   The first coming was marked by patience, the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects.   There is a birth from God before the ages and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time.   There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.   At His second coming He will be clothed in light as in a garment.   In the first coming He endured the cross, despising the shame;  in the second coming He will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.   We look then beyond the first coming and await the second.   At the first coming we said – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.   At the second we shall say it again, we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At His own judgement He was silent, then He will address those who committed the outrages against Him when they crucified Him and will remind them – You did these things and I was silent.

His first coming was to fulfil His plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion.   This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of His kingdom by necessity. Malachi the prophet speaks of the two comings.   And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to His temple – that is one coming.

Again he says of another coming – Look, the Lord almighty will come and who will endure the day of His entry, or who will stand in His sight?   Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb and He will sit refining and cleansing.

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus – The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words:  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven.   He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day.   For there will be an end to this world and the created world will be made new.

Grant, almighty Father,
that when Christ comes again,
we may go out to meet Him,
bearing the harvest of good works,
achieved by Your Grace.
We pray, that He will receive us
into the company of the saints
and call us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Christ, our Lord,
with the Holy Spirit,
God for all eternity,
Amenfirst sun advent - grant almighty father that when your son comes again 1 dec 2019 be prepared.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH

Thought for the Day – 6 November – The Power of Faith Transcends Man’s Strength – St Cyril of Jersualem

Thought for the Day – 6 November –  Wednesday of the Thirty First week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

The Power of Faith Transcends Man’s Strength

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from the Catecheses, 5

The one word faith can have two meanings.   One kind of faith concerns doctrines  . It involves the soul’s ascent to and acceptance of, some particular matter.   It also concerns the soul’s good, according to the words of the Lord – Whoever hears my voice and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not come to be judged.   And again – He who believes in the Son is not condemned but has passed from death to life.

How great is God’s love for men!   Some good men have been found pleasing to God because of years of work.   What they achieved by working for many hours at a task pleasing to God, is freely given to you by Jesus in one short hour.   For, if you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and taken up to paradise by Him, just as He brought the thief there.   Do not doubt that this is possible.   After all, He saved the thief on the holy hill of Golgotha because of one hour’s faith, will He not save you too, since you have believed?after he saved the good thief - ast cyril of jerusalem 6 nov 2019.jpg

The other kind of faith is given by Christ by means of a special grace.   To one wise sayings are given through the Spirit, to another perceptive comments by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing.   Now this kind of faith, given by the Spirit as a special favour, is not confined to doctrinal matters, for it produces effects beyond any human capability.   If a man who has this faith says to this mountain move from here to there, it will move.   For when anybody says this in faith, believing it will happen and having no doubt in his heart, he then receives that grace.

It is of this kind of faith, moreover, that it is said – If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed.   The mustard seed is small in size but it holds an explosive force, although it is sown in a small hole, it produces great branches and when it is grown, birds can nest there.   In the same way faith produces great effects in the soul instantaneously. Enlightened by faith, the soul pictures God and sees Him as clearly as any soul can.   It circles the earth, even before the end of this world, it sees the judgement and the conferring of promised rewards.   So, may you have the faith which depends on you and is directed to God, that you may receive from Him that faith too, which transcends man’s capacity.

“[Lord God] I believe in You, increase my faith.   All my hopes are in You, secure my trust.   I love You, teach me to love You more each day… I adore You as my first beginning, I long for You as my final end.   I praise You as my constant helper and call on You as my loving protector.   Guide me by Your Wisdom, correct me with Your Justice, comfort me with Your Mercy, protect me by Your Power… Lord, enlighten my understanding, enflame my will, purify my heart, sanctify my soul.   Help me to repent of my past sins and to rise above my human weaknesses and to grow stronger as a Christian…”

(from the Universal Prayer by Pope Clement XI (1649-1721))

lord-god-i-believe-from-the-universal-prayer-pope-clement-xi-27-april-2018.jpg

Posted in CCC, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS

Solemnity of All Saints – 1 November

Solemnity of All Saints – 1 November

All Saints Day is connected to the doctrine of The Communion of Saints.   This is the Catholic teaching that all of God’s people, on heaven, earth and in Purgatory are spiritually connected and united.   In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the saints of God, are just as alive, as those on earth and are constantly interceding on our behalf.   Our connection with the saints in heaven is grounded in an eucharistic communion.   Because of our common communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly community of Christians.   St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387), testifies to this belief:

“We mention those who have fallen asleep, first the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition..”.(Catechetical Lecture 23:9).communionsaints_bon-678x380.jpg

The Catholic Catechism concisely describes this communion among believers, by which we are connected to Christ and thus to one another:

“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…  They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us…  So, by their fraternal concern, our weakness is greatly helped.”

“…as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace and the life of the People of God itself.   We worship Christ as God’s Son, we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators and rightly so, because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master.   May we also be their companions and fellow disciples.” (CCC 956, 957)

all saints solemnity

There are thousands of Canonised saints, that is, those individuals officially recognised by the Church as holy men and women worthy of our imitation.   Because miracles have been associated with them and their lives have been fully examined and found holy by the Church, we have assurance they are prime examples of holiness and powerful intercessors before God on our behalf.

There are also many patron saints, guardians or protectors of different areas and states of life.   For instance, St Vitus is the patron saint against oversleeping and St Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of air travellers.   It may sound odd to have a patron saint “against oversleeping” but the Church has something meaningful for every area of our human lives.400px-All saints - Estella-_Iglesia_de_San_Juan_Bautista_01

Christians have been officially honouring saints and martyrs since at least the second century.   The Martyrdom of St Polycarp, probably written near the middle of the second century, attests to this reality:

Accordingly, we afterwards took up his bones, more precious than the most exquisite jewels and more pure than gold and deposited them in a fitting place, so that when being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps (18).Allsaints.jpg

Initially the calendars of saints and martyrs varied by location, with churches honouring local saints.   However, gradually feast days became more universal.   The first reference to a general feast celebrating all saints occurs in St Ephrem the Syrian (306-373).   St John Chrysostom (347-407) assigned a day to the feast, the first Sunday after Pentecost, where in the Eastern Churches the feast is celebrated to this day.

The earliest certain observance of a feast in honour of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of “all the martyrs.”   In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagon-loads of bones and re-interred them beneath the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods.   The pope rededicated the shrine as a Christian church. According to Venerable Bede, the pope intended “that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honoured in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons” (On the Calculation of Time).

In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.   Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the ‘church penitent’ and the ‘church triumphant’, respectively) and the ‘church militant’ who are the living.

All-Saints-Montage.jpg

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, SACRAMENTS, SPEAKING of ....., The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 27 July – “Speaking of:   Temptation”

Quote/s of the Day – 27 July – Saturday of the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: 13:24-30

“Speaking of:   Temptation”

‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?
How then has it weeds?’

Matthew 13:27matthew 13 27 sir did you not sow good seed - 27 july 2019 temptation.jpg

“As we do battle and fight, in the contest of faith,
God, His angels and Christ Himself, watch us.
How exalted is the glory,
how great the joy of engaging in a contest with God presiding,
of receiving a crown,
with Christ as judge.”

St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258)
Bishop, Martyr, Father of the Churchas-we-do-battle-and-fight-st-cyoprian-of-carthage-6-may-2019-the-contest-of-faith.jpg

“The dragon sits by the side of the road,
watching those who pass.
Beware lest he devour you.
We go to the Father of Souls
but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.”

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Father & Doctor of the Churchthe-dragon-sits-by-the-side-of-the-road-st-cyril-of-jerusalem-16-march-2019.jpg

“So let us not be afraid of temptations.
Rather, let us glory in them saying:
“When I am weak, then am I strong.”
[2 Cor. 12:10]”

St Ambrose (339-397 AD)
Doctor of the Churchluke-4-1-2-jesus-in-the-wilderness-tempted-so-let-us-not-be-afrai-st-ambrose-10-march-2019.jpg

“He could have kept the devil from Himself
but if He were not tempted,
He could not teach you
how to triumph over temptation.”

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father
and Doctor of the Churchhe could have kept the devil from himself - st augustine - 10 march 1st sun lent 2019.jpg

“Three things are absolutely
necessary against temptation –
prayer to enlighten us,
the sacraments to strengthen us
and vigilance to preserve us.
Happy are souls that are tempted!
It is when the devil discerns
that a soul is tending towards
union with God
that he redoubles his rage!”

St John Marie Vianney (1786-1859)three things are absolutely necessary against temptation - 27 july 2019.jpg

“God will never permit anything,
to happen to us, that is not for our greater good.”

“The storms that are raging around you,
will turn out to be for God’s glory,
your own merit
and the good of many souls.”the-storms-that-are-god-will-never-permit-st-pio-23-sept-2018

“We have close to us, an angelic spirit,
who never leaves us for an instant,
from the cradle to the grave,
who guides and protects us,
like a friend or a brother.”

St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)we-have-close-to-us-an-angelic-spirit-st-padre-pio-23-sept-2018.jpg

Posted in BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, DOCTORS of the Church, EASTER, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY ORDERS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, Sacrament of the SICK, SACRAMENTS, The HOLY SPIRIT

Thought for the Day – 26 April – The Anointing with the Holy Spirit

Thought for the Day – 26 April – Friday in the Octave of Easter

The Anointing with the Holy Spirit

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Mystagogical Catechesis 3

When we were baptised into Christ and clothed ourselves in Him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God.   Having destined us to be His adopted sons, God gave us a likeness to Christ in His glory and living as we do, in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones.”   When He said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us.

We became “the anointed ones” when we received the sign of the Holy Spirit.   Indeed, everything took place in us by means of images, because we ourselves are images of Christ.   Christ bathed in the river Jordan, imparting to its waters the fragrance of His divinity and, when He came up from them, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, like resting upon like.   So we also, after coming up from the sacred waters of baptism, were anointed with chrism, which signifies the Holy Spirit, by whom Christ was anointed and of whom blessed Isaiah prophesied in the name of the Lord – The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor.

Christ’s anointing was not by human hands, nor was it with ordinary oil.   On the contrary, having destined Him to be the Saviour of the whole world, the Father Himself anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.   The words of Peter bear witness to this – Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit.   And David the prophet proclaimed: Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever; your royal sceptre is a sceptre of justice.   You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above all your fellows.

The oil of gladness with which Christ was anointed was a spiritual oil, it was in fact the Holy Spirit Himself, who is called the oil of gladness, because He is the source of spiritual joy.   But we too have been anointed with oil and by this anointing, we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in His life.   Beware of thinking that this holy oil is simply ordinary oil and nothing else.   After the invocation of the Spirit it is no longer ordinary oil but the gift of Christ and by the presence of His divinity, it becomes the instrument, through which we receive the Holy Spirit.   While symbolically, on our foreheads and senses, our bodies are anointed with this oil that we see, our souls are sanctified by the holy and life-giving Spirit.beware of thinking that this holy oil - st cyril of jerusalem 26 april 2019 easter friday - anointingwiththeholyspirit.jpg

Posted in BAPTISM, CATECHESIS, DOCTORS of the Church, EASTER, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRAMENTS

Thought for the Day – 25 April- Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s passion

Thought for the Day – 25 April – Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Congratulations to those who entered
the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation,
(Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion)
at the Easter Vigil.
You are now members with us,
in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Welcome Home!

congrats to new catholics - welcome home - 25 april 2019 easter thurs

Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s passion

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Bishop, Father, Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Mystagogical Catechesis 3

You were led down to the font of holy baptism just as Christ was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb which is before your eyes.   Each of you was asked, “Do you believe in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”   You made the profession of faith that brings salvation, you were plunged into the water and three times you rose again.   This symbolised the three days Christ spent in the tomb.

As our Saviour spent three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, so your first rising from the water represented the first day and your first immersion represented the first night.   At night a man cannot see but in the day he walks in the light.   So when you were immersed in the water, it was like night for you and you could not see but when you rose again, it was like coming into broad daylight   In the same instant, you died and were born again, the saving water was both your tomb and your mother.

Solomon’s phrase in another context is very apposite here.   He spoke of a time to give birth and a time to die.   For you, however, it was the reverse – a time to die and a time to be born, although, in fact, both events took place at the same time and your birth was simultaneous with your death.

This is something amazing and unheard of!   It was not we who actually died, were buried and rose again.  We only did these things symbolically but we have been saved in actual fact.   It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried and who rose again and all this has been attributed to us.   We share in His sufferings symbolically and gain salvation in reality.   What boundless love for men!   Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails, He suffered the pain.   I experience no pain, no anguish, yet, by the share that I have in His sufferings, He freely grants me salvation.

Let no one imagine that baptism consists only in the forgiveness of sins and in the grace of adoption.   Our baptism is not like the baptism of John, which conferred only the forgiveness of sins.   We know perfectly well that baptism, besides washing away our sins and bringing us the gift of the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of the sufferings of Christ.  This is why Paul exclaims:  Do you not know that when we were baptised into Christ Jesus we were, by that very action, sharing in His death?   By baptism we went with Him into the tomb.we know perfectly weel that baptism - st cyril of jerusalem - 25 april 2019 easter thurs.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SPEAKING of ....., The HOLY CROSS, The SIGN of the CROSS

Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – “Speaking of the Cross of Christ”

Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – Tuesday of the Fifth week of Lent

“Speaking of the Cross of Christ”

“Jesus never sinned, yet He was crucified for you.
Will you refuse to be crucified for Him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross?
You are not the one who gives the favour, you have received one first.
For your sake He was crucified on Golgotha.
Now you are returning His favour, you are fulfilling your debt to Him.”

St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)

Father & Doctor of the Churchjesus-never-sinned-yet-he-was-crucified-for-you-st-cyrilofjerusalem-7feb2019.jpg

“By Baptism we are made flesh of the Crucified.”

“The cross of Christ is the true ground
and chief cause of Christian hope.”

“Let no one be ashamed of the cross
by which Christ has redeemed the world.
None of us must be afraid to suffer
for the sake of justice or doubt the
fulfilment of the promises,
for it is through toil that we come to rest
and through death that we pass to life.”

St Pope Leo the Great (c 400-461) Doctor of the Churchby-baptism-st-leo-the-great-quotes-on-the-cross-10-nov-2018.jpg

“O Blessed Cross,
You are venerated, preached
and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs,
the predictions of the Prophets,
the senate that judges the Apostles,
the victorious army of Martyrs
and the throngs of all the Saints”
(Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304)

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churcho-blessed-cross-st-peter-damian-21-feb-2019.jpg

“This is that enviable and blessed cross of Christ . . .
the cross in which alone we must make our boast,
as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”

St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
“Father of Canon Law”

this-is-that-enviable-st-raymond-of-penafort-7 jan 2019.jpg

“And if He gave His life for us,
then it should not be difficult
to bear whatever hardships arise for His sake.
If you seek patience,
you will find no better example than the cross.
Christ endured much on the cross and did so patiently,
because “when he suffered he did not threaten,
he was led like a sheep to the slaughter
and he did not open his mouth.”

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Churchand-if-he-gave-his-life-for-us-st-thomas-aquinas-28-jan-2018 (1).jpg

“The Cross is God’s chair in the world.”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)the-cross-is-gods-chair-in-the-world-st-john-paul-22feb2019.jpg