Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Christian life is a sacramental life

Artist:  Carlo Dolci
    "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.

     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


Friday, December 30, 2011

JMJ - Feast of the Holy Family - JMJ

Jesus, Mary and Joseph
*The Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day;
If both are Sundays, the feast is celebrated on December 30

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph had only one life, one purpose: To glorify the Heavenly FatherThat is what we also must want. 

To achieve it, we have to enter into union with Mary and Joseph, share their life--family life, the intimate interior life of which God alone is secret.  What happiness to be called to this life.  Our love will consist in living with Mary and Joseph on the love of Jesus Eucharistic.”
St. Peter Julian Eymard
“The family finds in the plan of God the creator and redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do.  …And since in God’s plan it has been established as an ‘intimate community of life and love,’ the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love in an effort that will find fulfillment … we must say that the essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. 

Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church, His bride.  Every particular task of the family is an expression and concrete actuation of that fundamental mission.”

Pope Blessed John Paul II
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, ora pro nobis!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

By the design of God...

   A martyr, a saint, is always made by
the design of God for His love of men,
to warn them and to lead them,
to bring them back to His ways.”

~ St. Thomas Becket, homily excerpt, Christmas morning Mass (1170),
four days before he was martyred
St. Thomas Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr*
England  (1118-1170)
FEAST DAY - December 29
Edward Grim, who bore his cross,
was wounded in the struggle.
*On December 29th, 1170, four knights from the court of King Henry II burst into Canterbury Cathedral as the Archbishop was on his way to Vespers. Just inside the cloister door, they murdered Thomas Becket, whose defense of the rights of the Church had angered the King. His last words were: 'I accept death for the name of Jesus and for the Church.'

The murder shocked the conscience of all Europe; miracles were announced immediately; the archbishop was canonized as a martyr by Alexander III in 1173; the king did public penance at his tomb, and much of what St Thomas had worked for all his life was accomplished by his death.
Thomas said this to a friend on his way to ordination: "Hereafter, I want you to tell me, candidly and in secret, what people are saying about me. And if you see anything in me that you regard as a fault, feel free to tell me in private. For from now on, people will talk about me, but not to me. It is dangerous for men in power if no one dares to tell them when they go wrong." 

And at another time he was quoted as saying...

"Many are needed to plant and water what has been planted now that the faith has spread so far and there are so many people...No matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what is planted is the faith of Peter and unless he agrees to his teachings."  - St Thomas Becket

MORE on St Thomas Becket, incl UTube
St Thomas Becket, ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Communion: a delight to your Infant Savior

"It's a thirst of the heart of every creature that desires to be loved, and the love which can alone satisfy that craving is the Divine Love.  Let your heart delight in the love your God has for you, personally, individually.  No soul ever in ardent fervor desires to unite herself to our Lord in Holy Communion, as our Lord desires to unite Himself to her. 

So Holy Communion is a delight to your Infant Savior; because He loves you, oh, how immeasurably! 

He tells you in His heart-to-heart interview that He has become a little Infant so that you may love Him with a human love without fear." 

St Katherine Drexel


Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs
FEAST DAY - December 28

 As recorded in the gospel of Matthew after the visit of the Magi, Herod, in fear, rage and jealousy, “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under” in an attempt to destroy his perceived rival, the infant Messiah.  The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah,/sobbing and loud lamentation;/Rachel weeping for her children...” (Mt 2:18).

Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (cf. Mt 2:16-17). These innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him. Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs.  
"Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers' womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers' bosom, are justly hailed as "infant martyr flowers"; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief."  ~ St. Augustine

Holy Innocents, Infant Martyr Flowers, ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Following a holy example

St John rested his head upon the bosom of Jesus at the Last Supper. Let us rest upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus during our Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration and listen and learn from Him, Jesus, our Lord, our Teacher, our Life, our All.

St John the Beloved Disciple
Apostle and Evangelist
Son of Zebedee, brother of James
Asia Minor, Galilee (6-115 AD)
Apostle of Charity
Patron of Asia Minor, Theologians
Feast Day - December 27

It is a long way from being eager to sit on a throne of power or to call down fire from heaven to becoming the man who could write: “The way we came to know love was that He laid down His life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). Through John we know how we are to participate as our destiny in the life of Christ. ~ St Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)

The eagle, believed to look directly into the light of the sun, is the symbol of St. John.  This bird was used because in his Gospel St. John dwells particularly upon the Divinity of the Redeemer and contemplates with the unflinching eye of an eagle the highest truths.

St John, ora pro nobis!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blood of the martyrs, seed of the Church

Franciscans of the Immaculata during Adoration

"Thursday the 26th, St Stephen's Day.  I (St Paul of the Cross) was in particular uplifting of soul, especially at Holy Communion;  I wanted to go and die a martyr's death in a place where the adorable mystery of the Most Blessed Sacrament is denied.  This wish has been given to me for some time past by the Infinite Goodness, but today I had it in a special manner; I had the desire for the conversion of heretics, especially in England and the neighboring kingdoms, and I offered a special prayer for that at Holy Communion...." 
Fr Edmund, CP
Excerpt from: Hunter of Souls:
A Study of the Life and Spirit
of St Paul of the Cross

“Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King.  Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier.  Yesterday our king, clothed in the robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world.  Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven. … And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier.”  St Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop

St Stephen
Jerusalem ~  + 35 AD
Protomartyr and Archdeacon
FEAST DAY – Dec 26

St Stephen, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Felix dies Nativitatis

May God, who by the Incarnation brought together the earthly and heavenly realm, fill you with the gift of His peace and favor and make you sharers with the Church in heaven. 

Missale Romanum

Photo credit:  Loci Lenar

Felix dies Nativitatis

Merry Christmas - Glædelig Jul - Veselé Vánoce - Vrolijk Kerstfeest - Häid Jõule -
Hyvää Joulua - Joyeux Noël - Fröhliche Weihnachten - Boldog Karácsonyt - Gleðileg Jól -
Nollaig Shona - Buon Natale - Il-milied It-tajjeb - God Jul - Wesołych Świąt -
Feliz Natal - Un Crăciun Fericit - C Pождеством Xристовом - Nollaig Chridheil -
Vesele Vanoce - Feliz Navidad - Noeliniz Kutlu Olsun
...and a HAPPY NEW YEAR of the LORD!!

Let us continue in zeal to know, love and serve our Eucharistic Lord
day by day, more and more.  United in prayer and mission  ~ Janette

Make merry!

“Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice.  Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life.  The fear of Death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.  No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing.” 

~ St Leo the Great, Pope
"(At Mass) we really go to Bethlehem and we find there not a memory, not a picture, but the divine Infant Himself. ...And see how the Eucharist began at Bethlehem.  He was even then the EMMANUAL, "God with us", Who was come to dwell among His people. On the first Christmas Day He began to live in our midst; the Eucharist perpetuates His Presence.  At Bethlehem the Word was made flesh...

We even find there the inauguration of Eucharistic worship in its chief form, adoration. Mary and Joseph were the first adorers of the Word Incarnate...The shepherds and Magi also adored Him in union with Mary and Joseph. ...A new era was beginning... The Eucharist completes the restoration begun in the Crib.

Make merry therefore on this beautiful day, on which the sun of the Eucharist is rising.  Let your gratitude never separate the Crib from the Altar, the Word made Flesh from the God-Man made Bread of Life in the Most Blessed Sacrament."   

 Excerpts from the writings of St Peter Julian Eymard

"Raise Your tiny hand, divine Child,
and bless these young friends of Yours,
bless the children of all the earth."
Pope Bl John Paul II

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Allow her to accompany...

“It is the mother of Jesus who brings us to know, love and adore the Son of God, made man.  Allow her, therefore, to accompany us … with sincerity of heart and openness of spirit to recognize in the Child of Bethlehem the Son of God, Who came to earth for our redemption."

Pope Benedict XVI

"The mystery of Bethlehem is renewed upon the altar,
and the cry goes forth:
'Christ is born to us.  Come, let us adore!' "
Fr Karl Adam

Friday, December 23, 2011

He journeys toward us


"The nine months draw to a close, and our Lord's last act is to journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It is toward us, as well as toward Bethlehem, that He is journeying 

He is about to leave His home a second time for the love of us. As He had left His uncreated home in the Bosom of the Father, so is He now going to leave His created home that He may come to us and be still more ours."

Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Carry Christ everywhere

“It would seem impossible, did we not know it to be true, that God could abide with us always, in littleness and humility even more extreme than infancy. …Yet this is so.  Every day, every hour, Christ is born on the altar in the hands of the priest.  Christ is lifted up and sacrificed; Christ is buried in the tomb of the human heart and Christ rises from the tomb to be the life of the world through His Communion with men. …

This is the Host-life. …In the Host He is our Life on earth today. … The Host-life is not something new or different from the Christ-life that we know already.  It is the very core of it … the life which Christ Himself is living in the world now.  It is His choice of how to live His life among us today. … It alone can restore humanity to happiness … one thing only … supernatural life, beginning secretly in each individual heart; just as Incarnate Love began secretly on earth in the heart of Mary.  It is one thing only, the birth of the Infant Christ in us, Incarnate Love. …

Carry Christ everywhere in your hearts.  Make your souls monstrances, and go into places where Our Lord has never been adored in the Host, where the monstrance has never been lifted up.”

Caryll Houselander
The Passion of the Infant Christ
(Chapter Ten – The Host Life)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Full of power, full of tender mercy

“Let us then draw near to the Child God
with great faith…

In the Tabernacle as in the Crib,
it is the same God full of power,
the same Savior full of tender mercy."

Blessed Columba Marmion

This final week of Advent is an ideal time for approaching
our Savior, full of tender mercy, in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
May we prepare for good and grace-filled holy Communions.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.~Hebrews 4:16
"Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession." ~~ St. Isidore of Seville

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One thought, one Gift


“The Lord whom the Mother bears and the Lord in the Host are the same, and this one Lord has only one thought:  to give Himself away, to share His very substance, in an infinite manner.  The Mother understood this from the beginning and never bore anything in mind except giving the Son to the world.” 

Adrienne von Speyr

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simplicity itself

“Simplicity is the presiding unity of the Sacred Infancy.  If to be holy we are to become as little children, to be saints we must be as the little Child of Bethlehem.  And simplicity is equally the great law of the Blessed Sacrament.  It is not something consecrated by the virtue of God, it is God Himself.  It is not the influence, the effect, the grace of Jesus:  it is Jesus Himself, the personal fount of grace.”  

Fr Frederick William Faber
The Blessed Sacrament

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT
May it be done to me according to Your word. Luke 1:38

“How to find Christmas peace in a world of unrest?  You cannot find peace on the outside but you can find peace on the inside, by letting God do to your soul what Mary let Him do to her body, namely, let Christ be formed in you.  As she cooked meals in her Nazarene home, as she nursed her aged cousin, as she drew water at the well, as she prepared the meals of the village carpenter, as she knitted the seamless garment, as she kneaded the dough and swept the floor, she was conscious that Christ was in her, that she was a living Ciborium, a monstrance of the Divine Eucharist, a Gate of Heaven through which a Creator would peer upon creation, a Tower of Ivory up whose chaste body He was to climb ‘to kiss upon her lips a mystical rose.’

As He was physically formed in her, so He wills to be spiritually formed in you. If you knew He was seeing through your eyes, you would see in every fellow man a child of God.  If you knew that He worked through your hands, they would bless all the day through. If you knew the He wants to use your mind, your will, your fingers, and your heart, how different you would be.  If half of the world did this there would be no war!”

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

Saturday, December 17, 2011

O, the heavenly Rhythm of the Liturgy

On December 17th, the Church’s Advent liturgy begins to focus in a more particular way on the Nativity of the Lord.  The prayers, readings, preface at Mass, as well as the readings, antiphons for the Gospel canticles, intercessions, and prayers at the Liturgy of the Hours concentrate more resolutely than during the preceding days of Advent on the coming feast of the Nativity of the Lord. Our attention is fixed on the messianic promises proclaimed by the ancient prophets of Israel. 

The seven great “O Antiphons” have a particular role in these days. Each antiphon, always sung in a very similar melody,begins with 'O' and addresses Christ with a unique title from the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah.  Each is followed by a petition for God's people relevant to the title by which He is addressed, and the cry for Jesus to COME to us (veni) and act on our behalf:   

·                     December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
·                     December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
·                     December 19: O Radix Iesse (O Root of Jesse)
·                     December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
·                     December 21: O Oriens (O Daystar) (after this date, days get longer)
·                     December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
·                     December 23: O Emmanuel (O God-with-Us)
When taken together from the last title to the first,
the first letters of each title form a wonderful Latin acrostic:
This is the Lord’s response
to the Church’s ardent petition that He COME (veni):
Ero cras (I will be there tomorrow)!

 The “O Antiphons” not only bring holy intensity to our Advent
preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

 NOTE:  Some have used the O Antiphons as the basis of a rich Novena
up to and including Christmas Day.
Perhaps this "last lap" of Advent could also include
daily Mass and/or daily Adoration.
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is simply a reworking of the O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20)


Friday, December 16, 2011

Never lose a Communion

“…try to participate every day in the sacrifice of the Mass.  Remember that Mass is both Christmas and Calvary. … Where you have the Blessed Sacrament, there you have the living God, the Savior, as really as when He was living in Galilee and Judea, as really as when He is now in heaven.  Never lose a Communion by your own fault.  Communion is more than life, more than all the goods of the world, more than the entire universe.  It is God Himself, it is Jesus.  Can you prefer anything else?  If you love Jesus sincerely, can you willfully lose the grace of His coming within you?  Jesus asks you to love Him with all the energy and the simplicity of your heart.”

Ven Charles de Foucauld

Still looking for that ‘perfect’ Christmas gift? 
Invite someone to holy Mass!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The nectar and scent of my soul

The Eucharist by Jan van Kessel

Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, Servant of God, on the Eucharist…

"He is my only thought, my memory, my Paradise, my Heaven on earth!  He is my Eucharist, my ideal, my very breath, my good and my drink!  He is melodious music to me, sweetness itself, the nectar and scent of my soul, my strength, my delight, my measure, my desire! 

He calls forth my love in deifying me.  He gives me life while taking it away.  He sets my heart on fire, inflaming it with His glances... His beauty… His smiles… His love."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quenching one's thirst

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs of living water.  Rev 7:17

Worship of the Lamb of God – Central detail Ghent altarpiece/
Flemish VanEyck brothers (1432)

"That eternal Spring is hidden
yet I know well where it flows...
I know that there can be nothing else so beautiful
and that the heavens and the earth drink there...

I know well that its bottom cannot be found
and that no one can penetrate its depths...
Its clarity is never muddied,
and I know that every light has come from it...
Well do I know how vast, how mighty is the flow
of the stream born in this Fount...
This eternal Spring is hidden
in this living Bread to give us life...
It is here calling to creatures
and from its water they quench their thirst...
This living Fount that I long for
I see in this Bread of Life... "
St John of the Cross
Doctor (mystical theology) of the Church
Spain ~ 1542 - 1591
Carmelite priest and reformer
Co-founder Discalced Carmelites
w/St Teresa of Ávila
FEAST DAY - Dec 14
“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” 
~ St John of the Cross

St John of the Cross, ora pro nobis!