Monday, December 31, 2012

Open, open wide the doors to Christ

Do not be afraid of Christ!
He takes nothing away and He gives you everything.
When we give ourselves to Him,
we receive a hundred-fold in return.
Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ -
and you will find true life." 
Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, December 30, 2012

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.

The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities ~ Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1675)

"Looking closely at the Holy Family we do not see the conventional model; we see a Virgin Mother, a Foster Father, and a mysterious Only Child. We also see --and this is where the model reaches us-- a mirror of the Most Holy Trinity in which each person lives in movement toward the other; receiving himself from the other, and giving himself for the other. This is family at the deepest level...

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are brought into the communion of the Most Holy Trinity, a Family unlike any other, and yet the pattern for all life together, be it that of the conventional family, or of the monastic community. The Most Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity: the mystery by which we are drawn out of ourselves toward the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. In the Most Holy Eucharist we experience, at the deepest level, what it is to be persons-in-relationship, members of One Body.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by drawing us after the priest into the bosom of the Father, through and with the Son, in the Holy Spirit, plunges into Divine Love, the only Love capable of healing souls and of reconciling families scarred and broken apart by sin. The Precious Blood of Christ poured out for the many is, ultimately, what makes sinners into a "Holy Family," like that of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph." 

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby ~ Prior of Silverstream Priory, under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland

Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home
more and more like Yours, until we are all one family,
happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.

CONSIDER THIS:  Perhaps a 2013 Year of Faith resolution might include resuming or beginning the practice of writing/typing JMJ (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) atop your papers (or emails) of correspondence.  This beautiful practice and devotion just might stir up some good conversation - and conversion. 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 29, 2012

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


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." 

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!

Friday, December 28, 2012

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 (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, ora pro nobis!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Follwing 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

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 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!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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.  ~ 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

St Stephen, ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

His perfect Gift

“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
"Christmas is the day on which God
gave Himself to humanity,
and in the Eucharist this gift of His
becomes, so to speak, perfect."
Pope Benedict XVI
14 December 2006
May our Eucharistic Lord bless you abundantly!

"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

Felix dies Nativitatis

 Behold, the Virgin shall be with Child
And bear a Son, and they shall name Him
Emmanuel, which means
GOD IS WITH US (Mt. 1:23).
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

Monday, December 24, 2012

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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT

Fourth Sunday of ADVENT

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you
by the Lord would be fulfilled. Luke 1:45

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!”

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

Saturday, December 22, 2012

For in us too, Christ rests

"In Advent Christ rested in Mary still, silent, helpless, utterly dependent. The Creator trusted Himself to His creature....This was a foreshadowing of what the Incarnation would mean for us; for in us too, Christ rests as He rested in Mary. From the moment when the Christ life is conceived in us, our life is intended for one thing, the expression of His love, His love for God and for the world.... We must allow the Christ life to grow in us in rest. Our whole being must fold upon Christ's rest in us, as the earth folds upon the seed."

Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ
(London: Sheed and Ward, 1949)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Full unfoldment of the Incarnation

"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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When and how do you pray for our priests?

When and how do you pray for our priests?
Today find responses to original POST this blogspot 11/26/12 - when inquiry made.

“Each day I say a Hail Mary for our pastor; also at each Mass at the “Lord, I am not worthy…” I pray for our Archbishop & various priests by name, especially those who are not obedient, that Jesus Himself will bring them back to the Truth!”   ~ B.K.

“My boys and I pray every night for our priests at bedtime.” ~ Erika

“I pray the Rosary on Thursdays when the Luminous Mysteries are prayed I offer the 5th Luminous Mystery for our Pope, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Seminarians & all those discerning Priesthood. I also specifically name our Archbishop/Bishop, Priest, Deacon, and Seminarians at my church and all those I personally know who are not yet in the Seminary yet are discerning the Priesthood (that they may hear "THE CALL" loud & clear).”

 “A few years ago, our parish vocations committee started the custom of printing a prayer card with our parish priest's picture on it, and the "Prayer for Priests" on the back. We have had 3 different priests in the past 5 years so I have 3 of these cards now!  I keep mine on the refrigerator door where I am reminded often to say a quick prayer of thanks for our parish priest and for priests everywhere.” ~ Lisa

“After the homily each day at mass, I make the sign of the cross and say thank for the gift of priesthood and ask Jesus to touch the hearts and minds of our young men and women to consider if they have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. There is a woman at our church that organizes prayers for an hour a day in the Adoration chapel for our pastor and our associate pastor.”

“I offer a special prayer for priests each evening with my children. I also pray during the consecration that His thoughts, words, and actions may be one with Christ.” ~ Molly

“I pray a rosary daily for them for their strength and deepening of their relationship with Christ!” ~ Angie

“When I pray at Mass every day for my son and the other special priests in my life, I pray that they will have energy and enthusiasm for the work that God has called them to, that they will have rest and balance in their lives, that they will be faithful to their vows and to the Magisterium, that no harm will touch them, and that they will be good and holy priests.” ~ PP

“I pray for priests when they are consuming the Body & Blood of Christ (right before they distribute Holy Communion) ~ Colleen - Here is the prayer…

"Heavenly Father, I ask & beg in Jesus' name, Your richest blessings upon Fr. ____.
Bless him, support him, encourage him.
Purify him, sanctify him, cleanse him.
Forgive him all his sins and heal him body, mind, and spirit.
Empty him of himself, and fill him with Your Holy Spirit
So everything he says and does will be anointed,
So he may lead many souls to Christ,
And may merit for himself everlasting life.
Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, surround him.
Protect him from all evil,
And guide his feet along that very narrow path
Set with so many traps and snares for the feet of priests
And never leave his side until he reaches heaven, his true home.
I pray this same prayer for priests everywhere, but esp for ____ (other priests near my heart)
For any priest who has ever given me any of the sacraments,
For those priests who are most in need of prayer today,
And for those priests whose souls are still in purgatory.
I offer this pray for the newly ordained, for the seminarians, and for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life."
“Mine is simple but orchestrated by God over time. When I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, He asked me to offer the first ten beads for those who are ill and esp those who will die today (as I am praying, the HS reminds me of specifics of those to pray for). The second ten beads are for those who are sick in mind- the mentally ill, depressed, hopeless, dementia, and those who care for them, the third for those who are sick in spirit- those who have left the church, those who are lukewarm and lazy (the majority of Catholics and Christians) those who have no faith,  those heading for hell without the slightest awareness, the fourth those sinners who appear be lost causes (St. Rita and Jude help me with this one and it's ugly) and the last ten beads for the priests who can restore them to the graces they need through the Mass and sacraments and seminarians who are approaching the altar one day.

Also at Mass, when the priest lifts the cup to his lips, his reflection resounds on the shiny metal. That is when I pray for the priests to be filled with God's grace.” ~ Barb

“My brother is also a priest.  I pray for him and our parish priest in different ways, but one way I like is short and simple:  "Mary, be a mother to Fr. Tony today."  Then I say a Hail Mary for him and insert his name in the prayer.”  ~ Marcia

“I pray for all the clergy when the priest intones the prayer- 'Let us pray for our Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinals, Bishops, priests and all the religious.'

“I pray for the Priest who is offering the Mass.
 I pray for my Parish Priest at Adoration.
 I pray for Priests when I see one.
 I pray for the Priest as we are driving to Mass.
 I pray for Priests when I read about them being martyred.  ie.  St. Maxmillion Kolbe
 I pray for Seminarians...especially, when reading about them in the Catholic Spirit.
 I pray that they will remain close to Our Blessed Mother and under her mantle of protection.
 I pray that each Priest will be safe and protected from any evil and that their needs and issues will be met.
 I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them to be the Good Shepherd leading their flock.
 I pray with a heart of gratitude that we have good Priests and the freedom to worship God any time and any where.
 I pray that people will show respect for Priests every where.
 I say a short prayer asking God to bless them.
 I pray for men to consider the Priesthood for their vocation.
 Thanks for giving me this opportunity”… Rosemary

“I pray for priests and for more vocations to the priesthood during my weekly hour of adoration on Tuesday evenings.” ~ Sue

 “Our family prays together every night. During that time we mention by name those clergy that have touched us in a special way. Then we also pray for the Pope, (his successor) the Cardinals, Arch Bishops, Bishops, Monsignors, All Priests, Deacons, all Seminarians world wide and those at St John Vianney and St. Paul Major Sem..All of them are dear to our family, (especially a certain Deacon in Rome).”  ~ C.K.

          I love the linking of the prayer with the specific moments of the Eucharist.
                   Only in heaven will souls know the gifts that having been petitioned,  silently rest in the heart of God.
                        But their fruits are immediate.   God hears and answers with the very breath. ~

“I pray for the priests and religious esp those in the missionaries:  Every day and several times a day a rosary and if at Adoration 15 minutes reserved for the priests. I believe in praying for those who assist the priests like volunteers of the Maryknolls, Jesuits, the Salesians, the Claretians, all those working on the native American Indian reservation etc I have always felt the missionaries have a very SPECIAL calling and must have a certain grace to do what they do away from the comforts of basic life while some other priests protests too much. Praying the priest remain HOLY is very important to me.”  C.D.

“I pray during my prayer time with the name of a priest on a rosary bead.  Also I pray for them at Mass right after I come back from receiving Holy Communion.  (I mention the names of them)” ~ M.A.

 “I use the Monthly Prayer Request For Priests Calendar each month and pray for those priests that are on the calendar for that month.  At the bottom of the calendar there is a prayer.
The Month of December prayer: Eternal Father, we lift up to you these and all the priests of the world. Sanctify them. Heal and guide them. Mold them into the likeness and holiness of your Son, Jesus, the Eternal High Priest. May their lives be pleasing to you. In Jesus name we pray.
Also I use the prayer of Pope Benedict's, that was taken from June Intentions. I am not sure what year. Here it is: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ may be always be true to the caring and merciful love of God.
                                                             Prayer for Priests
O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful priests, for Your unfaithful and tepid priests. For Your priests laboring at home and abroad in distant mission fields. For Your dying priests . For the souls of Your priest in purgatory. But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me. The priests who baptized me, who absolved me from my sins. The priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion: the priest who taught and instructed me, all the priests in whom I am indebted in any other way. O Jesus, keep them all close to your Heart and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity.                              
Also - I give something up, that I really, really like, and every time I see it, it reminds that I gave it for priests.” ~ Sandy

When the priest lifts the chalice at Mass I pray a prayer of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood: "Our Lady of the Precious Blood, watch over the living chalices of the blood of Jesus." ~ Anne

I pray for all the clergy when the priest intones the prayer- 'Let us pray for our Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinals, Bishops, priests and all the religious.' ~ Ruth

When I was a child and attended a Catholic grade school...the teacher asked us to pray a Hail Mary after each Mass for the Priest who said the Mass. I have continued that, and have taught my children (now adults to do the same) and I still do it and have suggested it to others. We really need to pray for our wonderful Priests and encourage them in their Vocation! God bless you!

At the moment at Mass (Consecration) when the priest lifts up the Precious Blood I visually "wash" Christ's Blood down and over him and all the other priests who have been in our parish, plus others I might recall at the moment. Also, I often entrust priests that come to mind, to the Blessed Virgin Mary for protection, especially for purity.  ~ mary clare

“I look forward to hear how others pray for our Priests & those who are being called, so that I may pick up on one that speaks to me & do the same.” ~ Pat

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for Priests

LORD JESUS CHRIST,eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the
Father on the altar of the Cross and through the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly
people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial
priesthood may be ever more conformed to you,
the divine Master. May they preach the
Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart,
single-minded in service to you and to the Church
and shining examples of a holy, simple and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks
entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where
you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  



Never lose a Communion

Jan Pauwel Gillemans Flanders (Mid-17th Century)

“…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.”

Venerable Charles de Foucauld

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Model: in welcoming, in sharing

"In the mystery of the Annunciation and the Visitation, Mary is the very model of the life we should lead. First of all, she welcomed Jesus in her existence; then, she shared what she had received.

Every time we receive Holy Communion, Jesus the Word becomes flesh in our life -- gift of God who is at one and the same time beautiful, kind, unique.

Thus, the first Eucharist was such: Mary's offering of her Son in her, in whom He had set up the first altar. Mary, the only one who could affirm with absolute confidence, 'this is my body,' from that first moment offered her own body, her strength, all her being, to form the Body of Christ."

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta