Saturday, December 31, 2022

Open wide the doors to Christ...

    "Be not afraid... 
open wide the door to Christ.
... become the saints 
of the new millennium."
 Pope St John Paul II

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"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
Requiescat in pace
9:34 am Roma time

Consider daily Communion in 2023 -
open wide the door to this true life!

Seventh Day of Christmas

Friday, December 30, 2022

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

“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

Home life is the God-appointed training 
ground of human character...  
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
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.


Perhaps a 2023 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.

Ask the Lord to guide you to an icon, painting, print,
stained glass or statue of the Holy Family...
Or simply frame a Holy Card or Christmas card 
of the Holy Family.
Give it a place of honor in your home!

Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us! 

Sixth Day of Christmas

Thursday, December 29, 2022

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

"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!

Fifth Day of Christmas

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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)
(short reflection - excellent)

Holy Innocents, Infant Martyr Flowers,
pray for us!
Fourth Day of Christmas

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Following the Apostle of Charity...

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, 
and from his fullness we have all received - Jn 1:14,16
(Today's Communion Antiphon)

Holy Eucharist, Sacred Heart (oil on canvas) by Miguel Cabrera

"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 St John Paul II

St John the Beloved Disciple
who sensed the beating of His Heart...
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)

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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 Theethat 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.

St John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions 
Part III [XVI] para. 3

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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!
Third Day of Christmas

Monday, December 26, 2022

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

“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! 

Second Day of Christmas