Thursday, December 31, 2015

Opening the door...

 "The Lord is knocking at the door of our hearts.
Have we put a sign on the door saying:
'Do not disturb'?"- Pope Francis
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"The Eucharist is essential for us: 
it is Christ who wishes to enter our lives
and fill us with His grace."
Pope Francis

Image: Light of the World, William Holman Hunt

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Christian life is a 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

Top image ~  Artist:  Carlo Dolci

To warn, to lead, to bring them back...

“Remember then how our fathers worked out their salvation;
remember the sufferings through which the Church has grown, and 
the storms the ship of Peter has weathered because it has Christ on board.  
Remember how the crown was attained by those whose sufferings gave 
new radiance to their faith.  The whole company of saints bear witness
to the unfailing truth that without real effort no one wins the crown.” 
– St Thomas Becket

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"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


*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." 

St Thomas Becket, pray for us!

Monday, December 28, 2015

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

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Feast of the HOLY FAMILY

Feast* of the HOLY FAMILY of 
Jesus, Mary and Joseph

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

May the example of the Holy Family,
with the aid of the Holy Spirit,
guide all families, especially those most troubled,
to be homes of communion and prayer
and to always seek your truth and live in your love.
Through Christ our Lord.  Amen
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

 World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015

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“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

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 "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.” - St John Paul II

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.

Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us! 

Perhaps a 2016 resolution might include resuming or beginning
the practice of writing/typing JMJ (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) atop
or at the close of your papers (emails) of correspondence.  
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 26, 2015

Blood of the martyr, 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.  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
St Stephen
Jerusalem ~  + 35 AD
Protomartyr and Archdeacon
FEAST DAY – Dec 26

“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

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 

St Stephen, pray for us! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

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

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 Adoration of the shepherd - Ribera

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 earnest and zeal
to know, love and serve our Eucharistic Lord
day by day, more and more -
and invite all that we meet to embrace the same!
Please pray a MEMORARE every day for this intention
when you open this daily Eucharistic reflection.

United in prayer and mission  ~ Janette

Honey throughout the world...

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."

St Peter Julian Eymard
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Today is the dawn of the new redemption,
of the old restoration, of eternal happiness:
today, the heavens have distilled honey
throughout the whole world." - St Bonaventure

"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 Chrysostom

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"Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day,
even every moment,
in the interior temple of your spirit."- St Paul of the Cross

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 Adoration of the Shepherds ~ Guido Reni

 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

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


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Our abiding Bethlehem...

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

“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. 
...Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; 
we need His caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. 
They give us peace and strength. We need His caresses. 
God is full of love: to Him be praise and glory forever!Pope Francis

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"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. "

Fr Frederick W Faber

"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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

He both leads us and journeys towards us...

 Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

"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

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"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

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From Mary's sweet silence
Come, Word mutely spoken!

Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!

Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.

Fullness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,

Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,


Sr M Charlita, I.H.M

 Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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.  

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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)

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Unending pregnancy, perpetual birth...

The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon, and his name 
will be called Emmanuel, because he will be God- with-us.
Cf Isaiah 7:14; 8:10 (Today’s Entrance Antiphon)

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Image: Our Ladyof the Light

"After Holy Communion, we carry Christ within us in the sacramental species just as Mary carried Him in His own species for nine months.  ...
Pregnancy in particular is dense with spiritual lessons: being 'with child' is the model of being 'with Christ' in faith, hope, love, in humble service and deepest prayer. 
Having come, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to make his home within me, Christ wants to remain sub tectum meum, 'under my roof', the king and centre of my heart.  Obedience to God, formed by loving contemplation and flowering into loving action, is unending pregnancy, perpetual birth."

John Saward
Redeemer in the Womb

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Thanksgiving After Communion ~ Alphonse Legros (1837-1911)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love!

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT

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Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you
by the Lord would be fulfilled. - Luke 1:45 (from Today's Gospel)

Incarnation ~ Piero di Cosimo

“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 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 that 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!”

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

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It bears repeating - for you, for me...
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you
by the Lord would be fulfilled. - Luke 1:45 

Saturday, December 19, 2015 make room...

“The humility of Jesus can be seen in the crib ...

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and now in His permanent state
of humility in the tabernacle,
where He has reduced Himself
to such a small particle of bread
that the priest can hold Him with two fingers.

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The more we empty ourselves,
the more room we give God to fill us.”

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come 
to you without leaving happier.” Bl Mother Teresa of Calcutta