Friday, December 9, 2016

Our sacramental life...

  "Christ used the flesh and blood of Mary for His life on earth, the Word of love was uttered in her heartbeat.  Christ used His own body to utter His love on earth; His perfectly real body, with bone and sinew and blood and tears; Christ uses our bodies to express His love on earth, our humanity.


     A Christian life is a sacramental life, it is not a life lived only in the mind, only by the soul; through the bodies of men and women Christ toils and endures and rejoices and loves and dies; in them He is increased, set free, imprisoned, restrained.  In them He is crucified and buried and rises from the dead.
     Our humanity is the substance of the sacramental life of Christ in us, like the wheat for the host, like the grape for the chalice.

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     Christ works His love through material as well as spiritual things.  Into His worship, following His own lead, the Church, His Church, brings material things, pure wax, flame, oil, salt, gold, water, linen, the voices of people, the gestures and actions of people, our own souls and bodies–the substance of our flesh and blood.  All this is consistent with the Incarnation, when Christ took the human nature of our Lady to be Himself."

 Caryll Houselander
The Comforting of Christ, pp. 26-27

Stained glass from chapel of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Bambury Road, Oxford

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Lord has done marvelous deeds! ...

Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Patronal Feastday of the United States of America
December 8

Sing to the Lord a new song,
for He has done marvelous deeds.  - Psalm 98:1

God chose Mary the Immaculate to be "a model of holiness" ... At Mary's conception, a new way of being human happens, and we are "chosen, destined" to share it.  Adam and Eve were tricked by the serpent's "conception." The yes of Mary at the Annunciation, the culmination of the Immaculate Conception, undoes the disobedience of Eden and makes paradise a possibility once again for us. - From Magnificat, Vol 18, No 10, Dec 2016


Lift your heart in joy and exalt Him                   Laud the glorious Conception
In the Blessed Sacrament all Holy, supernal     Of the Queen in God's Kingdom

Where the Lord, His glory veiling,                    Who remaining Virgin stainless,
Comforts souls true and lowly.                          Bore for men the Word eternal.

Alabado, sung after Benediction


The Immaculate Conception (detail): Sassoferrato

Excerpt: Homily, St Patrick's Cathedral -
8 Dec 1996 - John Cardinal O'Connor...

"Today is the date of the Immaculate Conception, the eighth of December...Mary was made immaculate, conceived without any trace of sin because she was going to be the co-creator of the humanity of Christ.  She was going to be, as God the Father was the Creator, the re-creator of the human race with Christ.  She was going to be the tabernacle in which Christ would be conceived. 

    We cannot now, of course, be conceived without original sin.  But the more we can purify ourselves through the Sacrament of Penance, through our own penances, through trying to observe the Commandments and keeping close to Christ, then the more fitting we become as tabernacles of the Eucharist.

    All of this requires an effort, perhaps for some an unaccustomed effort. St Augustine tells us the reward.  He was still in process of conversion from a highly profligate, promiscuous life.  Then he went into a Catholic community to worship in the Eucharistic sacrifice.  He said to a Catholic friend:
        
    "How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church!  What emotion I experienced in them!  Those sounds flowed through my ears, distilling the Truth in my heart.  A feeling of devotion surged within me and the tears streamed down my face - tears that did me good."

    May that be our experience in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."
  
Incl Brief overview - What is the IC? YouTube

Glorious things are spoken of you, O Mary,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
(Communion Antiphon - today's liturgy)

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"To the maternal intercession of Mary, the Virgin of expectation, 
 let us entrust our path toward the Lord, while we continue
our Advent itinerary of making our heart and our life ready 
for the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us."
Benedict XVI, 12/05/11, Noon Angelus

 O chosen and fairest Virgin Mary, intercede for us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Throw wide the gate of your heart...

ADVENT assures us that Someone is coming who will fill our lives 
with everything we are looking for... 

The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? -
Psalm 27: 1-2

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"Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock
your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, 
and then you will see the riches of simplicity,
the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. 
Throw wide the gate of your heart,
stand before the sun of the everlasting light."

St Ambrose
Italy ~ 340-397
Father* and Doctor of the Church 
*One of four original Doctors of the Latin Church. 
He died on Holy Saturday (April 4) in the year 397 AD. 
His feast day in the Roman calendar is December 7, 
the day he was ordained bishop.
Spiritual father of St Augustine
Bishop of Milan
Feast Day - December 7


"One day after he had celebrated Holy Mass, St Ambrose was approached
by a woman afflicted with paralysis who wanted to kiss his hands. 
The woman had great faith in those hands that had
consecrated the Eucharist; and she was cured at once."
(From Jesus Our Eucharistic Love, Fr Stephano M Manelli)

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Click here: St. Ambrose - YouTube (2 mins)

Prayer of St Ambrose

Lord, teach me to seek You,
and reveal Yourself to me when I seek You.
For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, 
nor find You unless You first reveal Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in longing and long for You in seeking. 
Let me find You in love, and love You in finding. 

St Ambrose, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

His life: an Advent!...

"The life of a priest is an Advent
 bringing forth the Incarnation of souls." 
St Elizabeth of the Trinity

  

PRAYER FOR HOLY PRIESTS
(St Charles Borromeo)
O Holy Mother of God, 
pray for the priests
your Son has chosen to serve the Church.
Help them, by your intercession,
to be holy, zealous and chaste.
Make them models of virtue
in the service of God’s people.
Help them to be prayerful in meditations,
efficacious in preaching,
and zealous in the daily offering of
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Help them administer the sacraments with joy.
Amen 
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Let us generously remember our priests in daily prayer -
especially in this holy Advent season.

Happy St Nicholas Day!
December 6


Trusting you got a few goodies
in your shoes this morning!

includes a short and sweet YouTube by Fr James Kubicki, SJ

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"The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic 
God's giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves." 

- St Nicholas of Myra (+343)

St Nicholas, pray for us! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

His home - in me! ...

A heart at peace gives life to the body... Prov 14:30

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    “Some years ago, on my annual retreat, I found myself under terrible temptations and discouragement.  Every temptation you can think of, I had that night.  On my way to Mass the next morning, I felt very battered and discouraged because of the attacks and temptations of the preceding night.

As I walked up to Communion, I made an act of faith.  I said, ‘Jesus, I know I am receiving You, but I feel so discouraged, so downhearted, and so unworthy to receive You.’ This was the way I felt as I received Communion.  

As I received the Sacred Host and turned to go back to my place, I received a clear image of a tent.  I remember looking at the tent and thinking, ‘Well, that poor tent is really battered.’  I remember examining it and saying, ‘It must have gone through a terrible storm.’

As I got to my pew and knelt down, I saw a man coming to go into the tent.  I saw myself in the image and I was telling the man, ‘Oh, you can't go in there, it’s a mess.  It’s all battered.  There are big holes in it.’ The man looked at me and smiled and said, ‘What do you mean?  I live in here.’

At that moment, I realized that I was the battered tent, that I had been battered with the temptations to sin and discouragement and all those things that had harassed me during the night.  Now, Jesus was showing me that, battered and all, He still made His home in me – and that He had just come to me again under the appearance of the sacred Host.”

Sr Breige McKenna, OSC
Miracles Do Happen


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