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Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, celebrated 6 January 2019, in St Peter’s Basilica

“In order to find Jesus, we also need to take a different route, to follow a different path, His path, the path of humble love.   And we have to persevere.   Today’s Gospel ends by saying that the Magi, after encountering Jesus, “left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:12).   Another road, different from that of Herod.   An alternative route than that of the world, like the road taken by those who surround Jesus at Christmas – Mary and Joseph, the shepherds.   Like the Magi, they left home and became pilgrims on the paths of God.   For only those, who leave behind their worldly attachments and undertake a journey, find the mystery of God.for only those who leave behind their worldly attachments - pope francis epiphany 2019 9jan2019.jpg

This holds true for us too.   It is not enough to know where Jesus was born, as the scribes did if we do not go there.   It is not enough to know that Jesus was born, like Herod, if we do not encounter Him.   When His place becomes our place, when  His time becomes our time, when His person becomes our life, then the prophecies come to fulfilment in us.   Then Jesus is born within us.   He becomes the living God for me.   Today we are asked to imitate the Magi.   They do not debate – they set out.  They do not stop to look but enter the house of Jesus.   They do not put themselves at the centre but bow down before the One who is the centre.   They do not remain glued to their plans but are prepared to take other routes.   Their actions reveal a close contact with the Lord, a radical openness to Him, a total engagement with Him.   With Him, they use the language of love, the same language that Jesus, though an infant, already speaks.   Indeed, the Magi go to the Lord not to receive but to give.   Let us ask ourselves this question – at Christmas did we bring gifts to Jesus for His party, or did we only exchange gifts among ourselves?when his place becomes our place - pope franics epip homily 2019 9 jan 2019.jpg

let us ask ourselves - pope francis 9 jan 2019 epiphany homily 2019.jpg

If we went to the Lord empty-handed, today we can remedy that.   The Gospel, in some sense, gives us a little “gift list”: gold, frankincense and myrrh.   Gold, the most precious of metals, reminds us God has to be granted first place – He has to be worshipped. But to do that, we need to remove ourselves from the first place and to recognise our neediness, the fact that we are not self-sufficient.    Then there is frankincense, which symbolises a relationship with the Lord, prayer, which like incense rises up to God (cf. Ps 141:2).   Just as incense must burn in order to yield its fragrance, so too, in prayer, we need to “burn” a little of our time, to spend it with the Lord.   Not just in words but also by our actions.   We see this in the myrrh, the ointment that would be lovingly used to wrap the body of Jesus taken down from the cross (cf. Jn 19:39).   The Lord is pleased when we care for bodies racked by suffering, the flesh of the vulnerable, of those left behind, of those who can only receive without being able to give anything material in return.   Precious in the eyes of God is mercy shown to those who have nothing to give back.   Gratuitousness!

In this Christmas season now drawing to its close, let us not miss the opportunity to offer a precious gift to our King, who came to us not in worldly pomp but in the luminous poverty of Bethlehem.   If we can do this, His light will shine upon us.”in this christmas season - pope francis - 9 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, THE EPIPHANY of the LORD

“Chalk the Door” – 6 January – Epiphany House Blessing

“Chalk the Door” – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Each year around the feast of the Epiphany many parishes throughout the world participate in an annual blessing of chalk.   It is an ancient tradition that not only places God at the entrance of your home, it places your entire family under his protection.

The Epiphany blessing of chalk and homes is a centuries old tradition where priests would visit each home in their parish after the Feast of the Epiphany.   Over time it became more difficult to accomplish such a feat, as parishes became larger and larger and priests were stretched thin.   For this reason it became an accepted tradition that a member of the household is able to lead this blessing in place of the priest.

The blessing has biblical roots, deeply tied to the Passover in the book of Exodus.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt … “take some of the blood [of the lamb], and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it … The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (cf. Exodus 12:1-13)

It is no coincidence that the Epiphany blessing is traditionally written on the lintel of the main doorway and even some of the prayers echo God’s words of protection that He gave to Moses.   While the Epiphany blessing was not given in the same manner as it was to Moses, the Church provides it for our own spiritual benefit.   The Church desires our salvation and so gives us beautiful sacramentals to assist us along the path to Eternal Life.

Traditionally a priest blesses chalk on the Feast of the Epiphany by saying the following prayer (from the Roman Ritual):

Bless, + O Lord God, this creature, chalk and let it be a help to mankind.   Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul, through Christ our Lord.

The chalk is then distributed after Mass.   If your local parish does not administer such a blessing, inquire around and see if any neighbouring parishes do.   Parishioners then take the chalk home and use it while invoking God’s blessing upon their home.

It is a beautiful blessing, one that brings many graces upon those who practice it in faith and is an added protection against any spiritual enemies that may be lurking around.

The Blessing:
Once you acquire the blessed chalk, either a priest or another member of the household can bless the home in the following manner (adapted from the Roman Ritual):

Upon entering the house [or at the front door]:

Priest/Head of Household:   Peace be to this house.
All:   And to all who dwell herein.
Priest:   From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord and opening their treasures, they offered precious gifts – gold for the great King, incense for the true God and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

During the Magnificat, the room is sprinkled with holy water and incensed.

The Magnificat
The Canticle of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour
He looks on His servant in her lowliness
Henceforth all ages will call me blessed:
The Almighty works marvels for me,
holy is his Name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear Him.
He puts forth His arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, His servant,
remembering His mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons forever. the-magnificat-luke-1-46-55-31-may-2018-feast-of-the-visitation1

After this is completed:  All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord and opening their treasures, they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

Priest:   Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.   And lead and lead us not into temptation,
All: But deliver us from evil.
Priest:  All they from Saba shall come
All:  Bringing gold and frankincense.
Priest:  O Lord, hear my prayer.
All:  And let my cry come unto Thee.

Priest:
Let us pray.   O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty.   Through Christ our Lord.

All:  Amen.
Priest:  Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee– Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.
All:  And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendour of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

Priest:  Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfilment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.   And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein.   Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

After the prayers of the blessing are recited, walk through the house and bless each room by sprinkling with Epiphany/holy water and incensing it.

Take the blessed chalk and first write the initials of the three Wise Men, connected with Crosses, over the inside of your front door (on the lintel, if possible).   Then write the year, breaking up the numbers and the year so that they fall on both sides of the initials. It should look like this, for example

20 C+M+B 19

The equation is written to be the first two digits of the year, followed by the initials C, M, and B, followed by the last two digits of the year.   Each portion is split by plus signs.   For this year, the equation would be written as “20 + C + M + B + 19.”

The chalking holds two meanings. The C, M and B, refer to the traditional names of the Magi:  Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.   The letters also stand for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless the house.”   The plus signs represent the cross and the 20 and 19 simply refer to the year.epiphany house blessing 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, REDEMPTORISTS CSSR, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Thought for the Day – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

epiphany-feast-7-jan-2018 (1)

“They saw the child with Mary his mother.   They prostrated themselves and did him homage”...Matthew 2:11

The magi find a poor young woman with a poor child wrapped in poor linen bands… and yet, on entering this cave, they feel a joy never experienced before… The divine Infant’s expression lights up, sign of the loving delight with which He welcomes them as the first conquest of His redeeming work.   Then the holy kings turn their eyes to Mary, who does not speak, remaining silent, yet her face, reflecting joy and shining with a heavenly sweetness, confirms that she welcomes them and is grateful to them for being the first to recognise her Son for who He is – their Sovereign Lord…

O Child so worthy of our love, I see You lying on the straw in this cave, so poor and despised.   Yet faith teaches me that You are my God come down from heaven for my salvation.   I acknowledge You as my Sovereign Lord and Saviour, as such I proclaim You, yet I have nothing at all to offer You.   I am without love’s gold, since I have given my love to the things of this world – I have only loved my own whim, rather than loving You, so infinitely worthy of love.   I am without prayer’s incense since I have lived wretchedly without thinking of You.   I have no myrrh of mortification since, so as not to forsake some paltry pleasures, I have so often saddened Your infinite goodness.   So what am I to offer You?   O my Jesus, I offer You my heart, soiled and naked as it is.   Take it and change it, for You have come down to us to wash our guilty hearts with Your blood and so transform us from sinners into saints.   O grant me that gold, incense and myrrh that I lack.   Grant me the gold of Your holy love;  grant me the incense that is the spirit of prayer;  grant me myrrh, the willingness and strength to deny myself in all that displeases You…

O holy Virgin, you welcomed those devout magi kings with keen affection and satisfied them.   Deign to welcome and comfort me also, I who come, following their example, to visit and offer myself to your Son.i acknowledge you as my lord and saviour - st alphonsus 6 jan 2019

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Quote/s of the Day – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?
For we saw his star when it rose
and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:2matthew 2 2 - where is he - 6 jan 2019

“For by gold, the power of a king is signified,
by frankincense the honour of God,
by myrrh the burial of the body
and accordingly they offer Him,
gold as King,
frankincense as God,
myrrh as Man.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchfor-by-gold-st-john-chrysostom-7-jan-2018

“Though many kings of the Jews
had been born and died, none of them,
did the Magi seek to adore.
And so they, who came from a distant foreign land,
to a kingdom that was entirely strange to them…
But they had learnt, that such a King was born,
that by adoring Him, they might be sure of obtaining
from Him the salvation which is of God.”though many kings had been born and died st augustine 6 jan 2019

“Truth,
by which the world is held together,
has sprung from the earth,
in order to be carried
in a woman’s arms.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchtruth by which the world is held together - st augustine - 6 jan 2019.jpg

“Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder
at what they see:
heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God,
God in man, one whom the whole universe
cannot contain, now enclosed in a tiny body.
As they look, they believe and do not question,
as their symbolic gifts bear witness:
incense for God,
gold for a king,
myrrh for one who is to die.”

St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Father & Doctor of the Churchtoday the magi gaze in deep wonder - st peter chrysologus 6 jan 2019.jpg

“What are you doing, O Magi?
Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel,
wrapped in miserable rags?
Can this Child be truly God? …
Are you become foolish, O Wise Men …
Yes, these Wise Men have become fools
that they may be wise!”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Churchwhat-are-you-doing-o-magi-st-bernard-7-jan-2018.jpg

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One Minute Reflection – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

One Minute Reflection – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was...Matthew 2:9

REFLECTION – “The Gospel account of the Magi describes their journey from the East as a journey of the spirit, as a journey toward the encounter with Christ.   They are attentive to signs that indicate His presence;  they are tireless in facing the trials of the search;  they are courageous in deducing the implications for life that derive from encounter with the Lord.   This is life – Christian life, is a journey but being attentive, tireless and courageous.   A Christian, journeys like this.   Journey attentively, tirelessly, courageously.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 6 January 2015matthew 2 9 when they heard the king - the gospel account of the magi pope francis 6 jan 2019

PRAYER – On this day, Lord God, by a guiding star, You revealed Your Only-begotten Son to all the peoples of the world.   Lead us from the faith by which we know You now, to the vision of Your glory, face to face.   May the prayers of St Andre Bessette and all Your saints, who stand beside You, assist us on our journey.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever amen.the solemnity of epiphany light of all light reveal yourself this day 6 jan 2019

st andre bessette pray for us -6 jan 2018

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Our Morning Offering – 6 January – The Solemnity of Epiphany

Our Morning Offering – 6 January – The Solemnity of Epiphany

Traditional Andalusian Epiphany Prayer

The heavens are shining
with the clear beauty of the stars,
O Lord
and the very earth, is made beautiful,
by a shining light
because You did vouchsafe
to appear to the world
from out Your holy dwelling place.
Remove, therefore,
from our hearts all sadness,
for unto this end You are come,
that You may make all things new.
Grant also, that light unto our eyes
which may purify us
and fit us to behold You forever,
that thus we, who preach to the nations,
the glad joys of Your Apparition,
may be made glad with You
in infinite joy.
Amentrad epiphany prayer - 6 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – 6 January

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – 6 Januaryepiphany

For many years in the English speaking world the feast of Epiphany has been overshadowed by that of Christmas.   But unless we realise the significance of this great day, we see only one side of the mystery of the Incarnation.   Now after contemplating the staggering fact that God has become a human child, we turn to look at this mystery from the opposite angle and realise that this seemingly helpless Child is, in fact, the omnipotent God, the King and Ruler of the universe.   The feast of Christ’s divinity completes the feast of His humanity.   It fulfils all our Advent longing for the King “who is come with great power and majesty.”   We see that whereas Christmas is the family feast of Christianity, Epiphany is the great “world feast of the Catholic Church.”

1024px-francesco_bassano_the_younger_-_adoration_of_the_magi_-_wga01413
Francesco Bassano the Younger

Epiphany is a complex feast.   Originating in the Eastern Church and formed by the mentality of a people whose thought processes differ sharply from our own, the Epiphany is like a rich Oriental tapestry in which the various themes are woven and interwoven — now to be seen in their historical setting, again to be viewed from a different vantage point in their deep mystical significance.   In this brief introduction four of the main ideas of the Epiphany will be outlined.

Divine manifestation:   The Epiphany takes its name from the Greek epiphania, which denotes the visit of a god to earth.   The first idea of the feast is the manifestation of Christ as the Son of God.   “Begotten before the daystar and before all ages, the Lord our Saviour is this day made manifest to the world.”   The feast unites three events in the life of Christ when His divinity, as it were, shines through His humanity – the adoration of the Magi;  the baptism of Christ in the Jordan and the first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana.   Moreover, at Epiphany the Church looks forward to the majestic coming of Christ on the “youngest day” when His manifestation as God will be complete.   The Gospels of the baptism and the marriage at Cana are read on the Octave Day and the Second Sunday after Epiphany and later Sunday masses in the Epiphany season continue to show the divine power of our Lord in some of His most striking miracles.

epiphany 793px-peter_paul_rubens_009
Peter Paul Rubens

Royal kingship:   A second important idea in Epiphany is the extension of Christ’s kingship to the whole world.   The revelation of Christ to the three kings at Bethlehem is a symbol of His revelation to the whole of the Gentile world.   Epiphany presents to us the calling of not merely a chosen few but all nations to Christianity.

epiphany bartolomé_esteban_murillo_-_adoration_of_the_magi_-_google_art_project
Bartholome Esteban Murillo

Your Light is Come:   Closely linked to both these themes of divine manifestation and world kingship is a third idea running through the Epiphany feast – that of light.   During Advent, the world was in darkness and we prayed and waited in the spirit of the Jewish nation, which lived in expectation of the Coming Light during thousands of years.   At Christmas, the Light shone forth but dimly, seen only by a few around the crib, Mary and Joseph and the shepherds.   But at Epiphany the Light bursts forth to all nations and the prophecy is fulfilled:  “The Gentiles shall walk in Thy light and kings in the brightness of Thy rising.”   The mysterious star of Epiphany, “flashing like a flame,” is still another facet of the light-motif, a symbol capable of being interpreted in a dozen different ways.

epiphany velázquez_-_adoración_de_los_reyes_(museo_del_prado,_1619)
Velazquez

How much food for thought and reflection is contained in just these three ideas and what a significance they have for our own time!   Epiphany lifts our eyes from the family celebrations and demands that we should include in our vision “all the ends of the earth.”   It demands that, like the three wise men, we should have the courage to follow the light of the star we have seen, however hazardous the journey;   that the light of our faith, like that of the wise men, should be so strong that we are able to see and recognise our Lord and Ruler, in however unexpected a way, He may present Himself to us and that having recognised Him, we should bow down and adore Him, offering Him our total loyalty.

Moreover, Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ.   “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,” says the Epistle of the Epiphany Mass, “and a mist the people but the Lord shall arise upon Thee and His glory shall be seen upon Thee.   And the Gentiles shall walk in Thy light. . .”   These words may be applied to us, upon whom the light of Christ has indeed risen and who have the responsibility to radiate that light in the darkness of our own world.   It is clear how much the feast of Epiphany must mean to all who are engaged in the apostolate and are striving to extend the kingdom of Christ.

The royal nuptials:   Besides the important ideas outlined above, there is still another great theme threaded through the Epiphany feast—the theme of the royal nuptials, the wedding of Christ with humanity.   It is an idea on a completely different level from the historical events which the Epiphany celebrates, yet inextricably bound up with them; for example, the historical marriage feast of Cana is used by the Church to suggest the setting for Christ’s nuptials with the Church, the wise men represent not only the three Persian Magi adoring the Babe 2000 years ago at Bethlehem but also the Gentile world hurrying to the wedding feast at the end of time when mankind’s nuptials with the divine Bridegroom will be celebrated, the gold, frankincense and myrrh are not only tokens for the little Baby King in the stable but royal wedding gifts for the mystical marriage feast of heaven.

epiphany pieter_van_lint_-_adoration_of_the_magi
Pieter van Lint

The Epiphany antiphon for the hour of Lauds brings out strikingly this theme of the divine marriage of Christ with humanity and at the same time shows the deep mystical significance behind the historical events surrounding the feast.   Perhaps nowhere more clearly than in this antiphon, do we see that on Epiphany we do not commemorate a set of historical facts, as much as we celebrate a great mystery:

“This day the Church is joined to her heavenly Spouse, for Christ has cleansed her crimes in the Jordan.   With gifts the Magi hasten to the royal nuptials and the guests are gladdened with wine made from water.”this day the church - epiphany - 6 jan 2019

Twelve Days of Christmas, The by Elsa Chaney, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1955

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord and Memorials of the Saints – 6 January

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Epiphany celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles.   The date of Epiphany, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is 6 January the 12th day after Christmas.   However, in most countries, the celebration of Epiphany is transferred to the Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8 (inclusive).   Greece, Ireland, Italy and Poland continue to observe Epiphany on 6 January as do some dioceses in Germany.
Because Epiphany is one of the most important Christian feasts, it is a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries.

Epiphany 2018:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/the-solemnity-of-the-epiphany-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-7-january-god-reveals-himself-to-us/

St Andre Bessette (1845-1937) (7 January in Canada)

St Andrew Corsini
St Antoninus
St Basillisa of Antinoë
St Charles of Sezze OFM (1613-1670)

About St Charles:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/saint-of-the-day-6-january-st-charles-of-sezze-o-f-m-1613-1670/

St Demetrius of Philadelphia
St Diman Dubh of Connor
St Edeyrn
St Eigrad
St Erminold of Prüfening
St Felix of Nantes
Bl Frederick of Saint-Vanne
Bl Gertrud of Traunkirchen
Bl Gertrude van Oosten
St Guarinus of Sion
St Guy of Auxerre
St Honorius
St Hywyn of Aberdaron
St John de Ribera
St Julian of Antinoë
St Julius
Bl Luc of Roucy
Bl Macarius the Scot
St Macra of Rheims
St Merinus
St Nilammon of Geris
St St Petran of Landévennec
St Peter of Canterbury
Bl Peter Thomas
St Pia of Quedlinburg
St Pompejanus
St Rafaela Porras y Ayllón
Bl Raymond de Blanes
Bl Rita Amada de Jesus
St Schotin
St Wiltrudis of Bergen

Martyrs in Africa: Unknown number of Christian men and women who were martyred in the persecutions of Septimus Severus. They were burned to death c 210.

Martyrs of Sirmium – 8 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only surviving details are the names of eight of them – Anastasius VIII, Florianus, Florus, Jucundus, Peter, Ratites, Tatia and Tilis. They were martyred in the 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Vojvodina, Serbia).

Twelve Apostles Saints of Ireland: Twelve 6th century Irish monks who studied under Saint Finian at Clonard Abbey and then spread the faith throughout Ireland. Each has his own commemoration but on this day they and their good work are considered and celebrated together. Though Saint Finian is sometimes included, most ancient writers list them as –
• Brendan of Birr
• Brendan the Navigator
• Columba of Iona
• Columba of Terryglass
• Keiran of Saighir
• Kieran of Clonmacnois
• Canice of Aghaboe
• Lasserian of Leighlin
• Mobhí of Glasnevin
• Ninnidh the Saintly of Loch Erne
• Ruadh´n of Lorrha
• Senan of Iniscathay

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY

The Solemnity of Epiphany – 7 January 2018 – T S Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi”

The Solemnity of Epiphany – 7 January 2018 – T S Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi”

The Journey of the Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This:  were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?   There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;  this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

t s eliot
excerpt from t s eliot's journey of the magi
Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The CHRIST CHILD

Sunday Reflection – 7 January 2018 – The Feast of Epiphany

Sunday Reflection – 7 January 2018 – The Feast of Epiphany

Each Sunday towards the end of Mass, we come to the altar rail, receive Holy Communion, return to our seats and sit or kneel quietly for a while in contemplation.   But in these quiet moments after we have received Communion, what prayers do we offer up?  Perhaps we don’t pray at all but in those quiet moments our thoughts turn to other things, like Sunday lunch or a planned visit to visit the grandchildren after Mass.

I recently came across this wonderful article, written by a priest.  He writes:

“A few years ago it became evident to me that my prayers after distributing Holy Communion to my congregation were wholly inadequate.   As I sat on my seat on the altar I was finding it extremely difficult to express into words, what this moment meant to me.   Looking through my book collection I read all the prayers I could get my hands on but none seemed to be what I was looking for, so I gave up in frustration.   However, each day I would pray to Mary our Blessed Mother asking her to teach me how to express my innermost feelings to the Lord.   Sometime later I was preaching a retreat to a group of nuns when one of the elderly nuns came to visit me and said she felt she had a problem concerning her prayers after receiving Holy Communion.   Feeling I had at last found a kindred spirit, I asked her what she usually prayed and she replied, ‘I don’t pray anything, I just sit in silence and allow Him to love me and to teach me to love Him.’   At that moment I realised that Mary had indeed answered my prayers.

“I just sit in silence and allow Him to love me and to teach me to love Him.”

What a simple, but moving description of what this moment means to us all.

“Above all, let us pray Him to draw us to Him and to give us faith.   When we feel that His mysteries are too severe for us and occasion us to doubt, let us earnestly wait on Him for the gift of humility and love.    Those who love and who are humble will apprehend them, carnal minds do not seek the and proud minds are offended at them but while love desires them, humility sustains them.

Let us pray Him to give us an earnest longing after Him – a thirst for His presence – an anxiety to find Him – a joy on hearing that He is to be found, even now, under the veil of sensible things – and a good hope that we shall find Him there.

Blessed indeed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.   They have their reward in believing, they enjoy the contemplation of a mysterious blessing, which does not even enter into the thoughts of other men and while they are more blessed than others, in the gift vouchsafed to them, they have the additional privilege of knowing that they are vouchsafed it.”….Blessed John Henry Newman  (1801-1890) – Parochial & Plain Sermons, Vol. VI, no. 11let us pray him to give us - bl john henry newman - 7 jan 2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

6 January – Feast of the Epiphany and Memorials of the Saints

Feast of the Epiphany – Almost universally celebrated on Sunday 7 January this year.
St André Bessette (Optional Memorial)

St Andrew Corsini
St Antoninus
St Basillisa of Antinoë
St Demetrius of Philadelphia
St Diman Dubh of Connor
St Edeyrn
St Eigrad
St Erminold of Prüfening
St Felix of Nantes
Bl Frederick of Saint-Vanne
Bl Gertrud of Traunkirchen
Bl Gertrude van Oosten
St Guarinus of Sion
St Guy of Auxerre
St Honorius
St Hywyn of Aberdaron
St John de Ribera
St Julian of Antinoë
St Julius
Bl Luc of Roucy
Bl Macarius the Scot
St Macra of Rheims
St Merinus
St Nilammon of Geris
St St Petran of Landévennec
Peter of Canterbury
Bl Peter Thomas
St Pia of Quedlinburg
St Pompejanus
St Rafaela Porras y Ayllón
Bl Raymond de Blanes
Bl Rita Amada de Jesus
St Schotin
St Wiltrudis of Bergen

Martyrs in Africa: Unknown number of Christian men and women who were martyred in the persecutions of Septimus Severus. They were burned to death c 210.

Martyrs of Sirmium – 8 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only surviving details are the names of eight of them – Anastasius VIII, Florianus, Florus, Jucundus, Peter, Ratites, Tatia and Tilis. 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Vojvodina, Serbia).

Martyrs of Ukraine – 25 beati
Seven Holy Deacons
Twelve Apostles of Ireland

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, The WORD

Celebrating the CHRISTMAS SEASON The Third Week: SOLEMNITY of EPHIPHANY – 8 January 2017

Celebrating the
CHRISTMAS SEASON
The Third Week
SOLEMNITY of EPHIPHANY
8 January 2017

“Lord, open my lips,and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Daily Meditation:

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. …
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. 1 John 4

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were (completely) astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. Mark 6

How often fear takes away our ability to love!
But, love drives out fear.
It appears that the key is to “understand the incident of the loaves.”
If Jesus has power, then it is foolish for us to fear.
If we won’t let Jesus have power in our lives,
then our hearts are still hardened.

Let us surrender our hearts to the Lord,
that we might let him love us
and take away all our fears,
that we might love more courageously, more completely.

Closing Prayer:
Lord.give me the joy of lasting peace
and fill my heart with so much love
that there is no more room for the worry and dread.

Teach me too, to follow Your Star and thus to become a shining star in the world.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

sunday-third-week-epiphany

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DEVOTIO, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers

Thought for the Day – Epiphany

Thought for the Day – Epiphany

“These men who set out towards the unknown were, in any event, men with a restless heart. Men driven by a restless quest for God and the salvation of the world. They were filled with expectation, not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society. They were looking for something greater. They were no doubt learned men, quite knowledgeable about the heavens and probably possessed of a fine philosophical formation. But they desired more than simply knowledge about things. They wanted above all else to know what is essential. They wanted to know how we succeed in being human. And therefore they wanted to know if God exists and where and how he exists. Whether he is concerned about us and how we can encounter him. Nor did they want just to know. They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about God and the world. Their outward pilgrimage was an expression of their inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts. They were men who sought God and were ultimately on the way towards him. They were seekers after God.

The Wise Men followed the star and thus came to Jesus, to the great Light which enlightens everyone coming into this world (cf. Jn 1:9). As pilgrims of faith, the Wise Men themselves became stars shining in the firmament of history and they show us the way. The saints are God’s true constellations, which light up the nights of this world, serving as our guides. Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians, told his faithful that they must shine like stars in the world (cf. 2:15).”

Extract from the HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI – Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 6 January 201
3

benedict-on-epiphany

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

One Minute Reflection – 8 January

One Minute Reflection – 8 January

…..and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. …………..Mt 2:11

REFLECTION – If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus….; for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib.
Here the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped not in swaddling clothes but in the rays of the Holy Spirit……………..St John Chrysostum

PRAYER – Lord, God, teach me to see the living presence of Your Divine Son in the Eucharist. Make my faith so vivid that I will gladly come to encounter Jesus in every Mass.
Holy Christ Child, intercede for us, amen.

matthew-2-11if-we-approachepiphany-feast

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers

Our Morning Offering – 8 January EPIPHANY

Our Morning Offering – 8 January EPIPHANY

Lord Jesus
may Your light shine our way,
as once it guided the steps of the Magi:
that we too may be led into Your presence
and worship You,
the Child of Mary,
Mother of God,
the Word of the Father,
the King of nations,
the Saviour of mankind;
in union with Your heavenly Father
and the Holy Spirit, You are One God
forever and ever, amen.

epiphany-prayer

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DEVOTIO, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers

Blessing of a Home at Epiphany

Blessing of a Home at Epiphany

Priest: Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who live here.

Priest: Bless, O Lord, Almighty God,
this home, that in it there may be health,
chastity, strength of victory, humility,
goodness, and industry,
a fullness of law and the action of graces
through God the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit and that this blessing
may remain on this home
and on those who frequent it.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen..

After the blessing,
the initials of the Magi
(traditional names: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar)
are written with chalk over the main door way of the house, like this:
20 + C + M + B + 17
(the + is a cross; the “17” stands for 2017;
change the year accordingly).

house-blessing

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

SOLEMNITY of the Epiphany of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. “The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power.” With these words the Church proclaims that today’s feast brings to a perfect fulfillment all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season. — Pius Parsch

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is celebrated either on January 6 or, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. The young Messiah is revealed as the light of the nations. Yet, as the antiphon for the Magnificat at Second Vespers reminds us, three mysteries are encompassed in this solemnity: the adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi, the Baptism of Christ and the wedding feast at Cana. Extra candles and/or lamps may be placed around the sanctuary and in other parts of the church to honor Christ revealed as the Light of the Gentiles (Ceremonial of Bishops). It is customary to replace the images of the shepherds at the crib with the three Magi and their gifts. — Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, Msgr. Peter J. Elliott, Ignatius Press.

The feast of the Epiphany, which was kept in the East and in certain Western Churches before being observed in Rome, seems to have been originally a feast of the nativity; January 6, for those churches where it was kept, was the equivalent of Christmas (December 25) in the Roman Church. The feast was introduced at Rome in the second half of the sixth century and became the complement and, so to say, the crown of the Christmas festival.

Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. Christian tradition has ever seen in the Magi the first fruits of the Gentiles; they lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth and thus the Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation. St. Leo brings out this point admirably in a sermon, read at Matins, in which he shows in the adoration of the Magi the beginnings of Christian faith, the time when the great mass of the heathen sets off to follow the star which summons it to seek its Saviour.

Traditions for the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany

Many traditions and genuine manifestations of popular piety have been developed in relation to the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany, which is of ancient origin and rich in spiritual content. Among such forms of popular piety, mention may be made of:

  • the solemn proclamation of Easter and the principal dominical feasts; its revival in many places would be opportune since it served to make the connection between the Epiphany and Easter, and orientate all feasts towards the greatest Christian solemnity;
  • the exchange of “Epiphany gifts”, which derives from the gifts offered to Jesus by the three kings (cf. Mt 2,11) and more radically from the gift made to mankind by God in the birth of Emmanuel amongst us (cf. Is 7, 14; 9, 16; Mt 1, 23). It is important, however, to ensure that the exchange of gifts on the solemnity of the Epiphany retain a Christian character, indicating that its meaning is evangelical: hence the gifts offered should be a genuine expression of popular piety and free from extravagance, luxury, and waste, all of which are extraneous to the Christian origins of this practice;
  • the blessing of homes, on whose lintels are inscribed the Cross of salvation, together with the indication of the year and the initials of the three wise men (C+M+B), which can also be interpreted to mean Christus Mansionem Benedicat, written in blessed chalk; this custom, often accompanied by processions of children accompanied by their parents, expresses the blessing of Christ through the intercession of the three wise men and is an occasion for gathering offerings for charitable and missionary purposes;
  • initiatives in solidarity with those who come from afar; whether Christian or not, popular piety has encouraged a sense of solidarity and openness;
    assistance to the work of evangelisation; the strong missionary character of the Epiphany has been well understood by popular piety and many initiatives in support of the missions flourish on 6 January, especially the “Missionary work of the Holy Child”, promoted by the Apostolic See;
  • the assignation of Patrons; in many religious communities and confraternities, patron saints are assigned to the members for the coming year.
    — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

Saints and Feasts – 8 January

SOLEMNITY of the Epiphany of the Lord

St Abo of Tblisi
St Albert of Cashel
St Apollinaris the Apologist
St Athelm of Canterbury
St Atticus of Constantinople
St Carterius of Caesarea
Bl Edward Waterson
St Ergnad of Ulster
St Erhard of Regensburg
St Eugenian of Autun
Bl Eurosia Fabris
St Garibaldus of Regensburg
St Gudule of Brussels
St Helladius
St Julian of Beauvais
St Lawrence Giustiniani
St Lucian of Beauvais
St Maximian of Beauvais
St Maximus of Pavia
Bl Nathalan of Aberdeen
St Patiens of Metz
St Pega of Peakirk
St Severinus of Noricum
St Theophilus the Martyr
St Thorfinn
St Wulsin of Sherborne

Martyrs of Greece – 9 saints
Martyrs of Terni – 4 saints

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, The WORD

Celebrating the CHRISTMAS SEASON FRIDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK 6 January 2017 – EPIPHANY of the LORD

Celebrating the
CHRISTMAS SEASON
FRIDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK
6 January 2017 – EPIPHANY of the LORD

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Daily Meditation:
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. …
There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love………… 1 John 4

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened”………….. Mark 6

How often fear takes away our ability to love!
But, love drives out fear.
It appears that the key is to “understand the incident of the loaves.”
If Jesus has power, then it is foolish for us to fear.
If we won’t let Jesus have power in our lives,
then our hearts are still hardened.

Let us surrender our hearts to the Lord,
that we might let Him love us
and take away all our fears,
that we might love more courageously, more completely.

Closing Prayer:
My love for You is so imperfect, Lord.
I know I am filled with fear
and yet I long to taste the depths of Your love.

Give me the joy of lasting peace
and fill my heart with so much love
that there is no more room for the worry and dread.

Open my eyes to those around me
and give me the courage to act in justice
to help make their lives better,
to share Your love with all.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

epiphany-friday-6-jan

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers

Our Morning Offering – 6 January

 

Father of light, unchanging God,
today You reveal to men of faith
the resplendent fact of the Word made flesh.
Your light is strong,
Your love is near;
draw us beyond the limits
which this world imposes,
to the life where Your Spirit
makes all life complete.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

morning-prayer-friday-6-jan

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

Saints and Feasts : 6 January

Epiphany (Celebrated generally on Sunday 8 January) – Epiphany celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. The date of Epiphany, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is January 6, the 12th day after Christmas. However, in most countries, including the United States, the celebration of Epiphany is transferred to the Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8 (inclusive). Greece, Ireland, Italy and Poland continue to observe Epiphany on January 6, as do some dioceses in Germany.
AND just in case you wish to know and be ready:
When Is the Feast of the Epiphany in Future Years?

Here is the date of Epiphany and the date it will be observed in most countries, next year and in future years:
Epiphany 2018: Saturday, January 6, 2018 (transferred to Sunday, January 7, in the United States and most other countries)
Epiphany 2019: Sunday, January 6, 2019
Epiphany 2020: Monday, January 6, 2020 (generally transferred to Sunday, January 5)
Epiphany 2021: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 (generally transferred to Sunday January 2)
Epiphany 2022: Thursday, January 6, 2022 (generally transferred to Sunday January 2)
Epiphany 2023: Friday, January 6, 2023 (generally transferred to sUNDAY January 9)
Epiphany 2024: Saturday, January 6, 2024 (generally transferred to Sunday January 7)
Epiphany 2025: Monday, January 6, 2025 (generally transferred to Sunday January 5)
Epiphany 2026: Tuesday, January 6, 2026 (generally transferred to Sunday January 4)
Epiphany 2027: Wednesday, January 6, 2027 (generally transferred to Sunday, January 3)
Epiphany 2028: Thursday, January 6, 2028 (generally transferred to Sunday, January 2)
Epiphany 2029: Saturday, January 6, 2029 (generally transferred to Sunday, January 7)
Epiphany 2030: Sunday, January 6, 2030

Because Epiphany is one of the most important Christian feasts, it is a Holy Day of Obligation.


St André Bessette (Optional Memorial,
St Andrew Corsini
St Antoninus
St Basillisa of Antinoë
St Demetrius of Philadelphia
St Diman Dubh of Connor
St Edeyrn
St Eigrad
St Erminold of Prüfening
St Felix of Nantes
Bl Frederick of Saint-Vanne
Bl Gertrud of Traunkirchen
Bl Gertrude van Oosten
St Guarinus of Sion
St Guy of Auxerre
St Honorius
St Hywyn of Aberdaron
St John de Ribera
St Julian of Antinoë
St Julius
Bl Luc of Roucy
Bl Macarius the Scot
St Macra of Rheims
St Merinus
St Nilammon of Geris
St St Petran of Landévennec
Peter of Canterbury
Bl Peter Thomas
St Pia of Quedlinburg
St Pompejanus
St Rafaela Porras y Ayllón
Bl Raymond de Blanes
Bl Rita Amada de Jesus
St Schotin
St Wiltrudis of Bergen

Martyrs in Africa
Martyrs of Sirmium – 8 saints
Martyrs of Ukraine – 25 beati
Seven Holy Deacons
Twelve Apostles of Ireland