Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Come to know His face...

 "Wherever God is , there is heaven, a fullness of glory. 
We need no wings, only a place of silence where we can be alone
and center our gaze on the Guest within." - St Teresa of Avila (16th c.)

“Above all else, this is what Christmas bids us to do: 
Give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful. 
Today I voice my hope that every one will come to know
the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. 
My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness,
live in His presence, love Him and adore Him.”

Pope Francis
Urbi et Orbi
25 Dec 2013
Seventh Day of Christmas

Monday, December 30, 2013

Living Bread

"Let no one eat that flesh, unless he has first adored it." - St Augustine
massgroegoty.jpg picture by kking_8888
"In order to penetrate a whole human life
with the divine life
it is not enough to kneel once a year before the crib
and let ourselves be captivated by the charm of the holy night. 
To achieve this,
we must be in daily contact with God. ...
Just as our earthly body needs its daily bread,
so the divine life must be constantly fed.
'This is the living bread
that came down from heaven.'"
~ St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

+JMJ+ Feast of the Hoy 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 Father.  That 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

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life:

The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus - the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character... A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the "Carpenter's Son", in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work. . . To conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern their brother who is God. (Pope Paul VI at Nazareth, January 5, 1964)

534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus (Lk 2: 41-52). Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from His divine Sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" (Lk 2:49) Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.
Holy Family of Nazareth, help us to willingly enter the hidden life of Nazareth, the school of Nazareth, that allows us to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life.  Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us. Amen.

CONSIDER THIS:  Perhaps a 2014 resolution might include resuming or beginning the practice of writing/typing JMJ (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) atop your papers (emails) of correspondence.  This beautiful practice and devotion  just might stir up some good conversation. It symbolically illustrates a worldview, a mindset that reminds that we follow an example, a way that is sanctified and greater than ourselves. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Communion: delight to your Infant Savior

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving kindness. – Jeremiah 31:3

"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 (Childermas)
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

Triumph of the Innocents ~ William Holman Hunt (1883)
Holy Innocents, Infant Martyr Flowers,pray for us!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Following a holy example...

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

Icon: Sacred Heart of Naur (Jordan)

"The presence of Jesus in the tabernacle must be a kind of magnetic pole attracting an ever greater number of souls enamoured of Him, ready to wait patiently to hear His voice and, as it were, to sense the beating of His heart. “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps 34:8)."  

Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay With Us Lord)
Apostolic Letter, 10/07/04, Pope Bl John Paul II

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
O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still… I worship Thee with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it, but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace. Amen. - Bl John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions, Part III [XVI] para. 3

Valentin de boulogne
"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 Theresa 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, pray for us!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Blood of the martyrs, seed of the Church

The gates of heaven were opened for blessed Stephen, who was found
to be first among the number of the Martyrs and therefore is
crowned triumphant in heaven.  ~ Today's Entrance Antiphon
"Thursday the 26th, St Stephen's Day (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

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

The first of all the martyrs in... Our Christian history ... St Stephen looked upon his foes... With love and sympathy ... Before the twelve apostles died ... He gave his life for Christ ... And in whatever way he could  ... He always sacrificed ... To those in high authority ... He pointed out that they  ... Enforced the laws which they had no ... Intention to obey ... He showed them their hypocrisy ... And did not fear his end ... As every pauper he had helped ... Became his special friend ... And as he loved the children of  ... His boundless charity ... The final prayer before his death ... Was for his enemy.  

 From Poem Portraits of the Saints, James J. Metcalfe (pg 118)

St Stephen, pray for us! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sharing the JOY

“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.”

From a sermon of St Leo the Great, Pope

"The Holy Eucharist is the continuation
of Christ’s incarnation on earth.
The mystery of the Eucharist gives us the joy
of having Christmas every day."

Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta

  Each of us must sink to child-level before the Crib. Each of us, at the
same time, must rise to the Incarnation-level - Msgr Ronald Knox
Relic of the crib of Jesus ~ Basilica of St Mary Major, Rome ~ Photo Credit: Juliette Carter
"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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Our abiding Bethlehem

Behold, when the fullness of time had come,
God sent his Son into the world. – Gal 4:4

Nativity ~ Edward Burnes-Jones (1875)

"The Bethlehem of that night ... has never passed away. ... It lives a real, unbroken, unsuspended life, not in history only, or in art, or in poetry, or even in the energetic fertile worship and fleshly hearts of the faithful, but in the worshipful reality of the Blessed Sacrament.

Round the Tabernacle, which is our abiding Bethlehem, goes on the same world of beautiful devotion which surrounded the new-born Babe, real, out of real hearts, and realized by God's acceptance."
Frederick W Faber


Monday, December 23, 2013

He both leads and journeys toward us...

"He it is Who though as yet hidden is nevertheless leading all..... He it is Who is now leading the whole world and placing everybody in His own city. He it is Who is leading Joseph away from Nazareth. He it is Who is leading His own Mother over every step of that difficult and tiring journey, letting the joy in His own Heart overflow into hers; and He is my Leader too. With such a General, nothing will be overlooked in my life; everything will be arranged in wisdom and love.....Oh! come, little Leader, come and redeem us."
Mother St. Paul (1861-1940)
Ortus Christi
"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.

He will show us in this last action that He is not obedient merely to His holy and chosen Mother, but that He has come to be the servant of our commands and to wait upon our forwardness..."

Fr. Frederick W. Faber


O God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT
For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins. - Matthew 1: 20b-21
Statue of Mary with Child, Spain

 “The modern world’s feverish struggle for unbridled,
often unlicensed, freedom is answered by the bound,
enclosed helplessness and dependence of Christ:

Christ in the womb,
Christ in the Host,
Christ in the tomb."

Caryll Houselander 
The Reed of God

HEEM, Jan Davidsz. de (b. 1606, Utrecht, d. 1684, Antwerpen)
Eucharist in Fruit Wreath 1648
Oil on canvas, 138 x 125,5 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The full unfoldment of the Incarnation

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. - John 17:23

"Now Jesus Christ, God and Man, enters into us and enacts a mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary's womb....the Eucharist passes into our bodies and, uniting with us, prolongs, extends the Incarnation to each of us separately. 

In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us, this Communion with the individual soul; it was one of the ends for which He came into the world. Communion is the perfect development, the full unfoldment of the Incarnation, as it is likewise the completion of the sublime sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each morning in the Mass....without Communion the Sacrifice would be incomplete. Thus the Body of Jesus Christ is united with our body, His Soul with our soul, and His Divinity hovers over both."

St. Peter Julian Eymard
Holy Communion

Friday, December 20, 2013

Full of power, full of tender mercy...

He will defend the afflicted among the people and save
the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.  - Psalm 72:4

“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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Never lose a Communion

Behold, the Desired of all the nations will come,
and the  house of the Lord will be filled with glory.  - Haggai 2:7
“…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!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rightly moved to silence...

 To the King of ages, immortal , invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. - I Timothy 1:17
"If ...we find ourselves standing, deeply moved,
before the manger, contemplating the incarnation of the Word...
What must we not feel before the altar upon
which Christ makes His Sacrifice present in time
through the poor hands of the priest?
There is nothing to do but to kneel
and adore the great Mystery of faith
in silence."
Pope Bl John Paul II

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

O, the heavenly Rhythm of 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 Wisdom, O Holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation. (Isaiah 11:2-3; Wisdom 8:1; Proverbs 9:1)
December 18: O Sacred Lord of Ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. (Exodus 3:1-8; 20:1-20; Deuteronomy 26:5-9)
December 19: O Flower of Jesse’s Stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. (Isaiah 11:1-4; 45:23; 52:13; Luke 1:32-33)
December 20: O Key of David, O Royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom. (Isaiah 22:22; 42:6-7; Luke 4:16-19)
December 21: O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. (Malachi 3:20; Isaiah 9:1; Psalm 107:14)
December 22: O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust. (Isaiah 28:16; Genesis 2:7; Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:4-5)
December 23: O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the Nations, Savior of all People, come and set us free, Lord our God. (Isaiah 7:14; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 1:21-23)

·                     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)

Our Lady of Advent ~ "Master of the Madonna del Parto"
More on the 'O Antiphons': http://fisheaters.com/customsadvent10.html
Happy Birthday, Holy Father!
77 years old today
You have the pledge of our prayers!