Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 February – ‘Learn to think and live like a Christian.’ Mark 6:14-29

One Minute Reflection – 5 February – Friday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 13:1-8Psalms 27:135,8-9Mark 6:14-29 and the Memorial of St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin Martyr

“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” … Mark 6:28

REFLECTION – “In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet — provided they had a penitent disposition — because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day — the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.

Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events but will reap the greatest benefits.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor – On the Providence of God, 22.

PRAYER – Increase in us, O Lord, the gift of faith, so that we may arise and offer our praise to You and by Your grace, yield fruit from heaven, for the glory of Your Kingdom. Lord God, let St Agatha, who became precious in Your sight through her pure life and valiant martyrdom, plead for our forgiveness. For, with joy and rejoicing, as though to a feast, St Agatha, went to prison and offered her sufferings to You, with many prayers. Through Jesus Christ, Your divine Son, in unity with the Spirit, one God forever. St Agatha, pray for us, amen.

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 23 December – “He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

Advent Reflection – 23 December – O Emmanuel – Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24, Psalms 25:4-5,8-9, 10 and 14, Luke 1:57-66

The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.

“He spoke, blessing God ” – Luke 1:64

REFLECTION – [John the Baptist said:] “I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord.” So I cannot be silent, Lord, in Your presence. “I need to be baptised by you and do you come to me?” (Mt 3:3.14).
At my birth I took away my mother’s barrenness and while still an infant, I healed my father’s dumbness, for You gave me in childhood, the gift of working miracles. But when You were born of the Virgin Mary, in the way You willed and in a manner known to You alone, You did not take away her virginity but while preserving it intact, You gave her, in addition, the name of “mother.” Her virginity did not hinder Your birth, nor did Your birth destroy her virginity. On the contrary, two opposites, motherhood and virginity, were easily united by You, because the laws of nature have their origin in You.
I am a mere man, sharing in the grace of God but You are both God and man because of Your love for humankind (cf. Wis 1:6). ” – Homily attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270) Bishop – Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4

PRAYER
O Emmanuel,
King and Lawgiver
Desire of the nations,
Saviour of all people,
Come and set us free,
Lord, our God!

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRACE, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The 2nd Joyful Mystery - the VISITATION, The CHRIST CHILD, The DIVINE INFANT, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Being aware of the Lord’s Presence – Luke 1:41,44

Advent Reflection – 21 December – O Oriens/O Radiant Dawn – Weekdays of Advent, Readings: Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18, Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21, Luke 1:39-45

The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit … “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” – Luke 1:41,44

REFLECTION – “When the angel revealed his message to the Virgin Mary he gave her a sign to win her trust. He told her of the motherhood of an old and barren woman to show that God is able to do all that he wills.
When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country. She does not disbelieve God’s word; she feels no uncertainty over the message or doubt about the sign. She goes eager in purpose, dutiful in conscience, hastening for joy.
Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, labourious efforts. Quickly, too, the blessings of her coming and the Lord’s presence are made clear – as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice but John is the first to be aware of grace. She hears with the ears of the body but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s – a woman aware of a woman’s presence, the forerunner aware of the pledge of our salvation. The women speak of the grace they have received while the children are active in secret, unfolding the mystery of love with the help of their mothers, who prophesy by the spirit of their sons.
The child leaps in the womb; the mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, he fills his mother with the same Spirit. John leaps for you and the spirit of Mary rejoices in her turn. When John leaps for joy, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit but we know, that though Mary’s spirit rejoices, she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her Son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in His mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says – Blessed are you because you have believed.
You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.
Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh but, we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour.
In another place we read – Magnify the Lord with me. The Lord is magnified, not because the human voice can add anything to God but because he is magnified within us. Christ is the image of God and if the soul does what is right and holy, it magnifies that image of God, in whose likeness it was created and, in magnifying the image of God, the soul has a share in its greatness and is exalted.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop, Father and Great Latin Doctor – An excerpt from A Commentary on Luke, Book 2

PRAYER –
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.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

“John saw a man that was a tyrant
overthrowing the divine commands of marriage.
With boldness, he proclaimed in the midst of the forum,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip’s wife.”
So we learn from him to admonish our fellow servant as an equal.
Do not shrink from the duty of chastising a brother,
even though one may be required to die for it.
Now do not make this cold reply:
“What does it matter to me? I have nothing in common with him.”
With the devil alone we have nothing in common
but with all humanity, we have many things in common.
All partake of the same nature with us.
They inhabit the same earth.
They are nourished with the same food.
They have the same Lord.
They have received the same laws.
They are invited to the same blessings with ourselves.
Let us not say then that we have nothing in common with them.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church

(Concerning the Statues, 1)

“He preached the freedom of heavenly peace,
yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men.
He was locked away in the darkness of prison,
though he came bearing witness to the Light of life
and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp
by that Light itself, which is Christ.”

“John was baptised in his own blood,
though he had been privileged
to baptise the Redeemer of the world,
to hear the voice of the Father above him
and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon Him.
But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth
was not a heavy burden for such men as John;
rather it was easily borne and even desirable,
for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”

St Bede the Venerable (673-735)
Father & Doctor of the Church

“He chose to despise the commands of a tyrant,
rather than those of God.
His example teaches us,
that nothing should be dearer to us, than the will of God.
Pleasing other people is of little value,
indeed, it often causes great harm…
Therefore, let us die to our sins and anxieties
with all God’s friends,
tread underfoot our misguided self-will
and be careful to allow fervent love for Christ,
to grow within us.”

Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539)
Monk, Theologian

Sermon for the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Opera omnia, t 2

[Like St John the Baptist did -]
“Prepare a path for God
so that He can enter your heart.”

St John Baptiste de la Salle FSC (1651-1719)

“The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self
like St John the Baptist
and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – ‘He always went before his Lord …’

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, Readings: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31, Psalms 33: 12-13, 18-19, 20-21, Mark 6: 17-29

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”… Mark 6:24

REFLECTION –
“The great forerunner of grace and messenger of truth,
John the Baptist, Christ’s shining torch,
Now becomes the preacher of eternal Light.
The prophetic witness that he never ceased to show
In his message, life and all his mighty works,
Is signed today by the blood of his martyrdom.

He always went before his Lord:
In birth declared his coming to the world.
By his baptism of sinners in the Jordan
He foretold the one by whom baptism would be instituted
And, by shedding his blood for Him with love,
John the Baptist also experienced beforehand
The death of Christ our Saviour, who gave life to the world.

A cruel tyrant may well conceal him in a prison, bound with irons,
Yet in Christ such chains could never bind a man,
Whose heart in freedom opens to the Kingdom.
How could the darkness and torments of a dungeon dim
Gain mastery over one who sees Christ’s glory
And receives from Him the Holy Spirit’s gifts?
Willingly he gives his head to the executioner’s sword;
How could he lose his head
Whose Head is Christ?

Happy is he who wins today his forerunner’s title
By his departure from this world of ours.
Today his death proclaims his testimony while living:
Christ who comes and who now is here.
Could hell hold fast the messenger who escapes it?
The just, the prophets and the martyrs are full of joy
As they go with him to meet the Saviour.
All surround John with their praises and their love
And, with him, beg Christ to come at last to those who are His own.

O great forerunner of the Redeemer, he delays no longer
Who sets you free from death for evermore.
Led by your Lord,
Enter into glory with the saints!” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church

PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – ‘… The one who proclaimed the Christ.’

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80

“‘What do you suppose that I am?    I am not he.   Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'” … Acts 13:25

REFLECTION – “The fact that John’s birth is commemorated when the days begin to shorten, and the Saviour’s when they begin to lengthen, indicates a symbolic meaning.   And indeed, John himself disclosed the hidden significance of this difference between them.   The crowds were taking him to be the Christ on account of his outstanding virtues, whereas some were thinking of the Lord, not as Christ but as a prophet because of the weakness of his bodily state.   So John said: “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).   Our Lord certainly increased since, while they were looking on Him as a prophet, He made known to all believers in the whole world that He was the Christ.   John decreased and grew less, in that he who was taken for the Christ, came to be seen, not as the Christ but, as the one who proclaimed the Christ.

And so it is natural, that daylight begins to decrease after John’s birth because his reputation for divinity is going to vanish and his baptism will soon disappear.   It is equally natural, that the brightness of the shortest days begins to increase following our Lord’s birth – for, in truth, He came to earth to reveal the light of His knowledge to all the pagans, of which formerly, only the Jews had possessed a part and to shed abroad the fire of His love, through all the earth.” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homélie II, 20; CCL 122, 328-330acts 13 25 what do you i suppose that i am ia am not he - john decreased and grew less - st bede 24 june 2020

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You sent St John the Baptist, to the people of Israel to make them ready for Christ the Lord.   Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit and guide the hearts of all the faithful, in the way of salvation and peace, as they harken to the voice of John, the Lord’s herald and bring them safely to Jesus, whom John foretold.   St John the Baptist, may your intercession for the Church, bring us to the Light and the Way.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us-24-june-2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 February – ‘Learn to think and live like a Christian.’

One Minute Reflection – 7 February – Friday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Sirach 47:2-11 (2-13), Psalm 18:31, 47, 50-51, Mark 6:14-29 and the Memorial of Bl Alfredo Cremonesi PIME (1902-1953) Priest and Martyr

“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.   The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” … Mark 6:28

REFLECTION – “In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment?   Who are those he did not set back on their feet — provided they had a penitent disposition — because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day — the same message he preached while he was living.   Therefore, do not say:  “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.

Learn to think and live like a Christian.   You will not only remain unharmed by these events but will reap the greatest benefits.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor – On the Providence of God, 22.he brought in the head mark 6 28 - what occurred was not a death but a crown st john chrysostom 7 feb 2020

PRAYER –  Father of mercy, You chose Blessed Alfredo Cremonesi to be a father to orphans in their need.   Grant that through his prayer, we may keep faithfully the spirit of sonship, by which we are not only called but really are Your children.   Help us to imitate his love and faith, manifesting by our commitment to Your commandments, our true faith.   May we be filled with strength and grace as we face persecution and animosity in Your service.   We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amenbl alfredo cremonesi pray for us 7 feb 2020

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 CCC, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – ‘..the archives of truth written in letters of blood…’

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it and they went and told Jesus. ... Matthew 14:12and his disciples came and took the body - 3 august 2019 st john the baptist.jpg

REFLECTION – “Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth,” (Jn 18:37).   The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord,” (2 Tim 1:8).   In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St Paul before his judges.   We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men,” (Acts 24:16).

The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it.   This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds.   Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known: “All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation” (Vatican II).

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith – it means bearing witness even unto death. the martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity.   He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.   He endures death through an act of fortitude…  The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs.   They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood…:the church has painstakingly collected - ccc 2472-2474 3 aug 2019 st john the baptist matthew 12 1-12

“I bless You for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among Your martyrs….  You have kept Your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise You, I bless You, I glorify You through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son” (St. Polycarp) … CCC #2471-2474lord god you have considered me worth - st polycarp - prayer before martyrdom 9 july 2019

PRAYER – Almighty God, teach us to bear witness to Christ, Your only-begotten Son, who died for our sins. May each moment of our lives radiate the truth of the Word, Christ our Lord.   Through the intercession of our holy Mother, the Channel of all Graces, may our strength be such, that we would bear witness even unto death.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary channel of grace - pray for us - 30 may 2018.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST

Thought for the Day- 24 June – The tongue is loosened because a voice is born. 

Thought for the Day- 24 June – The Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist Year C, Gospel: Luke 1:57–66

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.jpg

The Church observes the birth of John as a hallowed event.   We have no such commemoration for any other fathers but it is significant, that we celebrate the birthdays of John and of Jesus.   This day cannot be passed by.   And even if my explanation does not match the dignity of the feast, you may still meditate on it with great depth and profit.

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.jpg

St John the Baptist, Pray for Us!st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us-2-29 aug 2017.jpg

 

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Quote/s of the Day- 24 June – Love to the point of sacrifice

Quote/s of the Day- 24 June – The Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist Year C, Gospel: Luke 1:57–66 and the Memorial of St Maria Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963) “Mother Lupuita”

“The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self
like St John the Baptist
and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)the-true-secret-of-love-is-this-st-peter-julian-eymard-24-june-2018 and 24 june 2019

“Look today to John the Baptist,
an enduring model of fidelity to God and His Law.
John prepared the way for Christ,
by the testimony of his word and his life.
Imitate him with docile and trusting generosity.”

St Pope John Paul (1920-2005)
(24 June 2001)look-today-to-john-st-john-paul-24-june-2018 and 24 june 2019

“With deep faith, unlimited hope
and great love for Christ, Mother “Lupita”
sought her own sanctification,
beginning with love for the Heart of Christ
and fidelity to the Church.
In this way she lived the motto
which she left to her daughters:
“Charity to the point of sacrifice
and perseverance until death”.

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

On the Beatification of
St Maria Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963)
“Mother Lupuita”charity to the point of sacrifice - st maria guadalupe mother lupita - 24 june 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT, ADVENT PRAYERS, BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 19 December – “You will be speechless….” Origen

Thought for the Day – 19 December – “You will be speechless….” Origen

“But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Luke 1:20

“You will be speechless… until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words”.   Voice and word are not the same thing where we are concerned, since a voice can be heard without it conveying any meaning, without words and the word can likewise be communicated to our minds without a voice, as in the wandering of our thoughts.    In the same way, since the Saviour is Word…, John differs from Him in being voice, by comparison with Christ, who is Word.   This is what John himself answered to those who asked him who he was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths’” (Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).

Perhaps this is the reason – because he doubted the birth of the voice that would reveal the Word of God – why Zachariah lost his voice but recovered it again when that voice was born who is the Word’s forerunner (Lk 1:64).   Since, for the mind to be able to grasp the word intended by the voice, we must hear the voice.   It is also why, according to the time of his birth, John is slightly older than Christ – for we perceive the voice before the word.   Thus John points to Christ since it is with the voice that the Word is made known. Likewise, Christ was baptised by John, who admitted his need of being baptised by Him (Mt 3:14)… In brief, when John pointed to Christ it was as a man pointing to God, the incorporeal Saviour, as a voice pointing to the Word…”Origen (c.185-253)

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.

The Benedictus – Canticle of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79
The Messiah and His forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
in the house of David, His servant,
as He promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were His prophets of old.

A Saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So His love for our fathers is fulfilled
and His holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham, our father, to grant us,
that free from fear and safe from the hands of our foes.
we might worship Him in justice and holiness
all the days of our lives, in His Presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called the prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare His ways before Him,

to make known to His people their salvation,
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God,
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and to guide them into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever.
Amen

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy: 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israelthe Benedictus - BEST - 19dec2018

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

 

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honour, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist.  The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him:  rejection and martyrdom.   The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth.   But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?

This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah.   His vocation was one of selfless giving.   The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of yjr Lord.   “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.   I am not worthy to carry His sandals.   He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power.   John never allowed himself the false honour of receiving these people for his own glory.   He knew his calling was one of preparation.   When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus:   “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’   The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37).

It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ.   John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people.   His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions  . His heart was lifted on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart.   Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation, repentance, and salvation.

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen.   No-one will ever repeat the mission of John and yet all of us are called to that very mission.   It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus.   Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ.   By our words and deeds, others should realise that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord.   We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.

St John the Baptist, Pray for us!st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us-2-29 aug 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

“And what else did John have in mind but what is virtuous,
so that he could not endure a wicked union even in the king’s case, saying:
“It is not lawful for thee to have her to wife.”
He could have been silent, had he not thought it unseemly for himself
not to speak the truth for fear of death,
or to make the prophetic office yield to the king,
or to indulge in flattery.
He knew well that he would die as he was against the king
but he preferred virtue to safety.
Yet what is more expedient than the suffering
which brought glory to the saint.”

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Churchhe knew well that he would die - st ambrose - beheading st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

“As an authentic prophet,
John bore witness to the truth without compromise.
He denounced transgressions of God’s commandments,
even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them.
Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery,
he paid with his life,
sealing with martyrdom,
his service to Christ who is Truth in person.”

Pope Benedict XVI (24 June 2007)as an authentic prophet - pope benedict - mem of beheading of st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD, WYD - World Youth Day

Thought for the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

Thought for the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

John challenges us Christians to the fundamental attitude of Christianity—total dependence on the Father, in Christ.   Except for the Mother of God, no one had a higher function in the unfolding of salvation.   Yet the least in the kingdom, Jesus said, is greater than he, for the pure gift that the Father gives.   The attractiveness as well as the austerity of John, his fierce courage in denouncing evil—all stem from his fundamental and total placing of his life within the will of God.

The Benedictus, below, is prayed every morning in the Breviary and so, the Church remembers this “forerunner of Jesus” at the beginning of every day.   The opening words of this Canticle are the source of its Latin title, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel”.

What does it mean for Catholics, that we sing this song about John the Baptists at the start of every new day?   After having been “silenced” by sleep throughout the night, God opens our mouths and one of the first things we do, is to sing this blessing of God, whose dawn breaks forth to shine on us and guide our way to peace.

In the Benedictus, we join ourselves to the mission of St John the Baptist, who came to prepare a way for the Lord by being a witness of God’s salvation, living a simple and penitential life and calling others to do the same.   Our work each day, then, is to use our voice – like Zechariah and his son – and the witness of our lives, to make God’s presence known wherever we go and to whom whomever we encounter.

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy:  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.

The Benedictus – Canticle of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79
The Messiah and His forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour,
in the house of David, His servant,
as He promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were His prophets of old.

A Saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who us.
So His love for our fathers is fulfilled
and His holy covenant remembered.

He swore to our father Abraham, our father, to grant us,
that free from fear and saved from the hands of our foes.
we might worship Him in justice and holiness
all the days of our lives, in His Presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called the prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare His ways before Him,

to make known to His people their salvation,
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God,
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and to guide us into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever. Amen

Ant. The mouth of Zechariah was opened and he spoke this prophecy:  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.the benedictus - the birth of john the baptist - 24 june 2018 - from my lit of the hours

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

“The true secret of love consists in this:
we must forget self
like St John the Baptist
and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)the true secret of love is this - st peter julian eymard - 24 june 2018

“His name is John” (Lk 1:63)
…which in Hebrew means “God is benevolent”.
God is benevolent to human beings,
He wants them to live; He wants them to be saved.
God is benevolent to His people,
He wants to make of them a blessing, for all the nations of the earth.
God is benevolent to humanity,
He guides its pilgrim way, towards the land,
where peace and justice reign.
All this is contained in that name:
John!”his name is john - st john paul - 24 june 2018

“Look today to John the Baptist,
an enduring model of fidelity to God and His Law.
John prepared the way for Christ,
by the testimony of his word and his life.
Imitate him with docile and trusting generosity.”

St Pope John Paul (1920-2005)

(24 June 2001)look today to john - st john paul - 24 june 2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, B

“He was a burning and shining lamp”…John 5:35

REFLECTION – “Our Lord says that John is a lamp:  “He was a burning and shining lamp” (Jn 5:35).   But the light of a lamp pales, when the sun shines, it’s flame dies down, overcome by an even more radiant light.   What sensible person uses a lamp in full sunlight?…  Who would still come for John’s baptism of repentance (Mk 1:4) when Jesus’ baptism brings salvation?… St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420) Bishop – Sermon 99 ; PL 57, 535john 5 - 35 - he was a burning and shining lamp - but the light of a lamp pales - st maximus of turin - 24 june 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You sent St John the Baptist, to the people of Israel to make them ready for Christ the Lord.   Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit and guide the hearts of all the faithful, in the way of salvation and peace, as they harken to the voice of John, the Lord’s herald and bring them safely to Jesus, whom John foretold.   St John the Baptist, may your intercession for the Church, bring us to the Light and the Way.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.st john the baptist - pray for us - 24 june 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”…Mark 6:24mark 6 24

REFLECTION – “O great and admirable mystery! He must increase, but I must decrease, said John, said the voice which personified all the voices that had gone before announcing the Father’s Word Incarnate in His Christ….   But He is said to grow in us, when we grow in Him.   To him, then, who draws near to Christ, to him who makes progress in the contemplation of wisdom, words are of little use; of necessity they tend to fail altogether.   Thus the ministry of the voice falls short in proportion as the soul progresses towards the Word;  it is thus that Christ must increase and John decrease.   The same is indicated by the beheading of John and the exaltation of Christ upon the Cross;  as it had already been shown by their birthdays:  for, from the birth of John the days begin to shorten and from the birth of Our Lord they begin to grow longer.”….St Augustine (354-420)thus the ministry of th voice falls short - st augustine

PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John The Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.st john the baptist pray for us