Monday, June 24, 2024

The birth of the herald...

Solemnity of the Nativity
of St John the Baptist 
June 24


“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen
no one greater than John the Baptist." - 
Matthew 11:11

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Today's Entrance Antiphon - Jn 1:6-7; Lk 1:17
 A man was sent from God, whose name was John.  He came 
to testify to the light, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.



"Fortunate is John, who through the spirit of God deserved
to express his joy before he uttered any infant cries. 
Fortunate is he who deserved to possess divine benefits before
he got human goods.  Fortunate is he who deserved acquaintance
with heaven sooner than with earth.  Fortunate is he who deserved
to announce future events before he saw any present ones.  
Fortunate is who could receive God before he was received 
into his own body. Fortunate, yes, outstandingly fortunate
is he who acquired merit before he knew how to seek it.  
Fortunate is he who did not come to grace through toil 
but was enabled by grace and then proceeded to his labors." 

St Peter Chrysologus 

Hat tip : Magnificat, Vol 20, N0. 4/June 2018
Magnificat Home
Painting:  The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist - Juan de Flandes
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Today's Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia! You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.  Alleluia, alleluia!
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"Happy birthday of John the Baptist. His birth is the culmination of an age, an era, a Covenant. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets. His birth signals an end and a beginning. The Book of Hebrews says By calling this covenant “new,” [God] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13). 

Hence John would later say, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease. (Jn 3:29-30).  Today John the Baptist is born who will usher in the new by answering the most significant question ever posed:  "But where is the Lamb?'"
Msgr Charles Pope
Pastor: Holy Comforter - St Cyprian Parish ~ Washington, DC

“Behold the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world.”
(St John the Baptist is quoted at every holy Mass)

Prayer after Communion (Today's Mass)
Having feasted at the banquet of the heavenly Lamb,
we pray, O Lord,
that, finding joy in the nativity of Saint John the Baptist,
your Church may know as the author of her rebirth
the Christ whose coming John foretold.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

St John the Baptist in the Desert - Philllipe de Champaign

“I want to show you a sun that shone more brightly than all these, a soul that was truly free and detached, cleaving only to the will of God. I have often wondered who is the most mortified of the saints I know, and after some reflection I have come to the conclusion that it was Saint John the Baptist. He went into the desert when he was five years old and knew that our Savior and his came on earth in a place quite close by, one or two days' journey perhaps. How his heart, touched with love of his Savior from the time He was in His Mother's womb, must have longed to enjoy His presence! Yet he spends twenty-five years in the desert without coming to see our Lord even once; and leaving the desert he stays to catechize without visiting Him but waiting till our Lord comes to seek him out. Then when he has baptized Him he does not follow Him but stays behind to do his appointed task. How truly mortified was his spirit! To be so near his Savior and not see Him, to have Him so close and not enjoy His presence! Is this not a completely detached spirit, detached even from God Himself so as to do His will and serve Him, to leave God for God, and not to love God in order to love Him better? The example of this great saint overwhelms me with its grandeur.”  -  St Francis de Sales
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St John the Baptist, pray for us,
the He may increase and 
we may decrease!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

His dedicated emissaries...

"I propose to have no other purpose 
in all my activities, either interior or exterior, 
than the motive of Love alone...
St Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart

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"When devotion to the Sacred Heart
is recommended, what is being recommended to us
is the gift of our entire self to Jesus - soul and body, 
thoughts, feelings, words, actions, joys and sorrows.

Jesus came to light a fire on earth.
Fire purifies, gives light, communicates, unites.  
Such is the blaze of Divine Love devotion 
to the Sacred Heart enkindled in our hearts.

The Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
feeds the flame of our love for the Lord, burning from us 
the dross of self.   Thus afire we thirst for souls 
as He does, becoming His dedicated emissaries 
among the men and women of our day,
so many of whom neither know Him nor love Him."
Fr Richard Neilson

jm_hospice04.jpg (982×664)  

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Curagio!...

  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  
Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully 
to the work of the Lord, because you know 
that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 
 I Cor 15:58


"When Thomas More was Chancellor of England some of his friends reproached him for going to Communion so often.  With all his duties and responsibilities they thought that this piety took up too much of his time.  He answered their objections with these words: 

'Your reasons for wanting me to stay away from Holy Communion are exactly the ones which cause me to go so often.  My distractions are great, but it is in Communion that I recollect myself.  I have temptations many times a day; by daily Communion I get the strength to overcome them.  I have much very important business to handle and I need light and wisdom; it is for this very reason that  I go to Holy Communion every day to consult Jesus about them.' " 

John M Haffert
Excerpt from The World's Greatest Saints

St Thomas More
Husband, Father, Lawyer, Knight,
Lord Chancellor of England, Author, Martyr 
Steadfastly refused to approve 
Henry VIII’s divorce/remarriage
and establishment of the Church of England
Patron of Lawyers
England ~ 1478-1535 
Feast Day - June 22

  

 On July 6, 1535, the 57-year-old More
came before the executioner to be beheaded.
“I die the king's good servant,” 
he told the onlookers, “but God's first.”


St Thomas More, pray for us!
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ANOTHER FEAST CELEBRATED TODAY:

Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII's mandatory Oath of Allegiance, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop's stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled:
"Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death. Wherefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death's stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel."
He then knelt, said the Te Deum and submitted to the axe.
Erasmus said: "He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul."
                                          
St. John Fisher
Bishop, Martyr
England ~ 1469-1535
Feast Day - June 22

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 St. John wrote to someone who left the Church: 
“Had you but tasted one drop of the sweetness 
which inebriates the souls of those religious from
their worship of this Sacrament, you would never 
have written as you have,nor have apostatized 
from the faith that you formerly professed.

St John Fisher, pray for us!

Friday, June 21, 2024

One Communion, preparation for another...

    For Christ's love compels us... 
II Cor 5:14a


"It is said of St Aloysius Gonzaga that he used to receive Communion once a week and that he was accustomed to spend three days in preparation before it and three days in thanksgiving after it.  ... By this means, the angelic youth was enabled to walk continually with God; one Communion was the preparation for anotherthus, he constantly advanced in purity of heart and in love for Jesus Christ."

Fr Michael Muller, CSSR
The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure
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 St Aloysius Gonzaga
  Italy ~ 1568-1591
Jesuit seminarian, Patron of Youth
Spiritual Director: St Robert Bellarmine
Feast Day - June 21 


St. Aloysius spent a lot of time in prayer especially before the
Blessed Sacrament.  So much so that when it came time to make a 
painting of him it was decided to make it of him kneeling in adoration 
before of our Lord Jesus since this reflected best of who he was. 
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"I confess that I am bewildered and lose myself at the thought 
of Divine Goodness, a sea without shore and fathomless, 
of God who calls me to an eternal rest after such short 
and tiny labors summons and calls me to heaven, 
to that supreme Good..."  - St Aloysius
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"The Lord grants you your life in order that you may apply 
yourself to the pursuit of perfect virtue, 
and that during your life, you endeavor to propagate 
devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
which is most pleasing in Heaven."- St Aloysius

                                                
St Aloysius, pray for us!

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Confess to the last breath...

 "It's not enough to know Christ,
we must bring Him to everyone!" 
- St John Paul II

 
"Amen, amen, amen.
I believe, I believe, I believe
and confess to the last breath
that this is the Life-giving Flesh,
that of the Only-begotten Son,
Our Lord and our God,
our Savior Jesus Christ."
 
Ancient Egyptian Eucharistic Prayer
From Fire of God's Love
120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Mike Aquilina

photo credit:  Maria.Ratta (Shutterstock)