Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Christmas Season. 'Light in darkness' by St. Bede

Christmas Octave...
Venerable Bede- James Doyle Penrose, Bede on his deathbed completing his translation of St John's Gospel to the young scribe Wilburt (Wilbur), 1902.  
Year 1

First Reading  
Second Reading
Colossians 2:4-15
          Responsory          Col 2:9-10.12
The fullness of divinity lives in Christ's humanity; + he is the head of every power and authority.
V. In baptism we were buried with Christ, and in baptism we have risen to a new life with him through our faith in the power of God. + He is the ...

From a homily by Saint Bede of England
(Hom. 1,6: CCL. 122,42-44)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light
There were shepherds nearby, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared unto them, and the glory of God shone round about them. When the true light of the world was born into the world, it was surely fitting for the herald of his birth to fill even men's bodily eyes with the wonder of heavenly light. The prophet says of his birth: Light dawned in the darkness for the upright of heart, and as if we had asked him what light he meant he immediately adds: the Lord uilio is gracious, merciful, and just. Since, then, the gracious and just Lord, creator, and Re­deemer of the human race, deigned to illuminate the world with the glory of his marvellous birth, it was altogether fitting for the glory of that wonderful light to fill the whole countryside around the place of his birth.

For today, in the city of David, a saviour has been born for us: he is Christ the Lord. Since the light of life has dawned for us who lived in the shadow of death, it is fitting that his herald sings: for (saviour has been born for us to make us always remember the night of blindness we used to live in, and urge us, now that the day of eternal salvation has come, to give up deeds done only in the dark, and live as children of the light.

Let us listen to the angel who appeared in glory speaking to the shepherds: Do not be afraid; I bring you good news, news of a great joy that will come to all people. Truly it was a great joy, for it was a heavenly joy, a joy no sadness could interrupt or disturb, a joy known only by the elect. That will come to all people: not all the Jewish people, or all the Gentile people, but all people from among the Jews, or the Gentiles spread throughout the world, who are united by the same acknowledgement of Christ, and are called Christians because they have the same understanding of the mysteries of Christ. It is of these people that the prophet says: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. We ought always to remember this sign of our Saviour’s birth in a human body, and learn from it to thank him for his kindness by living a good life. For he chose to become weak like us, not recoiling even from the condition of human poverty. That he became weak is shown by the fact that he was a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and that he was poor by his being found not in a crib but in a manger. Let us then sing of the Lord's mercies forever, since he did not refuse to share our mean estate and our mortality so that we might live in eternal bliss.

Suddenly the angel who announced the Lord's nativity was joined by a great throng of the heavenly host who had come to pay devout homage to the newborn Lord, and to celebrate his present appearance on earth with the hymns of praise they had always sung to his glory in heaven. The praise the citizens of heaven thus teaches us how to celebrate the joy of this most sacred solemnity, and what songs of praise we should sing to the Word of God for becoming man and dwelling among to raise us up to the vision of his glory and give us a share in his own fullness of grace and truth.

Light from light has appeared to us this day; come, all you peoples, and adore the Lord, P for today a great light has shone upon the earth.
V. Everlasting joy has come down to us from heaven. + For today a ...

Wishing you all the graces of this Christmas Time
and a New Year full of blessings

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Seventh Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord. Homily - Fr Anthony Mary MFVA

Wednesday 31 December 2014  

7th day within the octave of Christmas
 (optional commemoration of Saint Silvester I, Pope)  
Second Reading
A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great
The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace
God’s Son did not disdain to become a baby. Although with the passing of the years he moved from infancy to maturity, and although with the triumph of his passion and resurrection all the actions of humility which he undertook for us were finished, still today’s festival renews for us the holy childhood of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.
  Every individual that is called has his own place, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time. Nevertheless, just as the entire body of the faithful is born in the font of baptism, crucified with Christ in his passion, raised again in his resurrection, and placed at the Father’s right hand in his ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity.
  For this is true of any believer in whatever part of the world, that once he is reborn in Christ he abandons the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being reborn. He is no longer counted as part of his earthly father’s stock but among the seed of the Saviour, who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.
  For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one could reach his presence by any merits of his own.
  The very greatness of the gift conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God. That Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering him that which we received from him.
  But in the treasures of the Lord’s bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace which at the Lord’s nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir?
  For it is that peace which brings forth the sons of God. That peace is the nurse of love and the mother of unity, the rest of the blessed and our eternal home. That peace has the special task of joining to God those whom it removes from the world.
  So those who are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God must offer to the Father the unanimity of peace-loving sons, and all of them, adopted parts of the mystical Body of Christ, must meet in the First-begotten of the new creation. He came to do not his own will but the will of the one who sent him; and so too the Father in his gracious favour has adopted as his heirs not those that are discordant nor those that are unlike him, but those that are one with him in feeling and in affection. Those who are re-modelled after one pattern must have a spirit like the model.
  The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace: for thus says the Apostle, He is our peace, who made both one; because whether we are Jew or Gentile, through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Uploaded on 3 Jan 2012
EWTN Global Catholic Television Network: Homily - Fr. Anthony Mary MFVA - The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Life of the Soul, Bl. Columba Marmion. 30 DECEMBER - CHRISTMAS SEASON

Image result for Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B. Pictures
Bl. Columba Marmion OSB

Night Office Saints, Bl.

Sixth Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord.

Year I
First Reading
Colossians 1:15 - 2:3
Responsory Col 1:18.17
Christ is the head, and the Church is his body; he is the first bom from the dead, + so that in every way the primacy is his.
V. Before anything came into being, he existed: he holds all things in unity. +  So that in ...

Second Reading
From the writings of Blessed Calumba Marmion, O.S.B. (Christ the Life of the Soul 16-19).

Christ as head of the redeeme
From the creation of the first man God inaugurated his plan for us: Adam was endowed with grace that made him a child of God, an endowment for both himself and his posterity. By his own fault, however, he lost the divine gift on his own account and equally for his descendants. Since his rebellion we have all been born in a state of sin, stripped of the grace that would have made us children of God; indeed, we are the very opposite: children of wrath, enemies of God and liable to his anger. Sin thwarted God's design.
Yet in rehabilitating us God proved himself even more won­derful than in creating us, as the Church suggests in a Christmas prayer: "Lord God, we praise you for creating our human nature, and still more for restoring it in Christ." What divine marvel is this for which the Church gives him praise? It is the mystery of the incarnation. Through the Word made flesh God intends to recreate all things. This plan is the mystery hidden in God's mind from the beginning of time, and now revealed to us through Saint Paul. Christ, the man-God, is to be our mediator; he it is who will reconcile us to God and win us grace once more. Since this was foreordained by God from all eternity, Saint Paul rightly speaks of it as an ever-present mystery. It is the last majestic feature of the divine decree of predestination as the Apostle sketches it for us. Let us listen to him with faith, for we are now at the very heart of God's work.
God's purpose is to establish Christ as head of all the redeemed, and of everything that claims any title in this world or the next; so that through him, with him, and in him we may all reach union with God, and thus effectively attain the holiness that he re­quires of us.
The fullness of divine life is in Jesus Christ, and this fullness is to overflow to us and to the entire human race. The divine sonship which belongs to Christ by nature, and makes him the unique Son of God in the absolute sense, is to be shared with us through grace. Thus Christ is by God's, decree the first born of a great family of brothers and sisters, who are children of God by grace as he is by nature.

Here and here alone is the fountainhead of our holiness. Just as the whole being of Christ Jesus is summed up in his divine sonship, so the whole being of a Christian is summed up in our participation in that sonship in and through Jesus Christ. Holiness for us has no other meaning. The more abundantly we share in God's life through Christ's communication to us of that grace which he possesses in fullness forever, the higher will be our holiness. Christ is not simply holy in himself, he is our holiness. All the sanctity God has predetermined for human beings is stored up in Christ's humanity and from that wellspring we must draw.

          Responsorv   Phi! 2:6-7; jn 1:14
Though his nature was divine, + Christ did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a servant.
V. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. + Christ did not.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Various Points of the Life of Our Lord. Luisa Piccarreta

 'while I sleep, do not leave Me alone but wait for Me to awaken so that at the end of my sleep, I may awaken to your ‘I love you’.

The Kingdom of the Divine Fiat
in the Midst of Creatures


The Call to the Creature to Return to the Order,
to the Place, and to the Purpose for Which it
was Created by God.

Volume 19

Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will

June 6, 1926

Various Points of the Life of Our Lord. How All Things Have Been Established by God: The Epoch and the Time. How the Redemption is Means, the Divine Will - Beginning and End.

I was, according to my usual state, making my acts in the Supreme Will; and I searched about to retrace all that my Jesus, my Celestial Mamma, the Creation and all creatures did.
Now, while I did this, my sweetJesus helped me by making present to me all his acts that I omitted in retracing, not having the capacity for them. Jesus, all goodness, made present to me his act, saying to me: "My daughter, in my Will, all my acts are all present as arrayed among themselves. Look here. There are all the acts of my infancy; there are my tears, the whimperings. there is even when, as a little Baby, passing through the fields, I collected flowers. Come, put your ‘I love you’ upon the flowers that I cut and upon my hands that are stretched to cut them.
in those flowers it was you that I looked at; it was for you that I cut that little floweret of my Will. Do you not want, then, to keep Me company in all my infantile acts by your love and by playing with Me in these innocent acts? Look, without interruption. There is when the tiny little Baby, tired of crying for souls, took a most brief sleep; but, before shutting my eyes I wanted you to reconcile Me to sleep. I wanted to see you first kiss my tears by imprinting an ‘I love you’ and, with the madness of your love, make Me close my eyes to sleep. But, while I sleep, do not leave Me alone but wait for Me to awaken so that at the end of my sleep, I may awaken to your ‘I love you’.

My daughter, because it was established of having to live in my Will, you were inseparable from Me. And, not withstanding that you were not there then, my Will made you present and regave Me your company, your acts, your 'I love you.' And do you know what one ‘I love you’ in my Will means? That ‘I love you’ encloses an eternal happiness, a Divine Love; and, for my infantile state, it was enough to felicitate Me and form around Me a sea of joys; enough to make Me set aside all the bitternesses that creatures gave Me. If you do not follow all my acts, there will be a void of your acts in my Will. I will remain isolated without your company. On the other hand, I want your connection to all that I have done, because one being the Will that unites us, as a consequence, one must be the act.

But follow Me yet. Look at Me here, when, in my infantile state of two or three years, I withdrew from my Mamma; and, down on my knees with my arms open in the form of a cross, I prayed to my Heavenly Father that He would have pity on mankind; and in my open arms I embraced all generations.

My position was agonizing; so little, down on my knees with my little arms open to cry and pray. My Mamma would not have been able to resist seeing Me; her maternal love that loved Me so much would have made Her succumb.

Therefore, come, you who do not have the love of my Mamma; come to sustain my arms, to dry my tears. Put one of your ‘I love you’s' upon that ground where I supported my little knees so that it not be too hard for Me; and, then, throw yourself in my arms so that you offer yourself to my Eternal Father as daughter of my Will. From then on I called you; and when I found myself alone, abandoned by everyone, I said to Myself, 'If everyone leaves Me, the newborn of my Will will never leave Me, 'because isolation is too harsh for Me; and, therefore, My acts await yours and your company."

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Holy Family 'When the Son of God came into the world'.Newman

Night Office, Patristic Reading...  

Sunday in the Octave of Christmas
First Reading               Eph 5:25-27; Gal 1:4
Second Reading           From a Sermon by Cardinal John Newman (Plain and Parochial Sermons V. 93-95.)
Jesus came not to borrow from the world, but to import to it.
({93}...And when He ...).
When the Son of God came into the world, He was a pattern of sanctity in the circumstances of his life, as well as in His birth. He did not implicate and contaminate Himself with sinners. He came down from heaven, and made a short work in righteousness, and then returned back again where He was before. He came into the world, and He speedily left the world; as if to teach us how little He Himself, how little we His followers, have to do with the world. He, the Eternal Ever-living Word of God, did not outlive Methuselah's years, nay, did not even exhaust the {94} common age of man; but He came and He went, before men knew that He had come, like the lightning shining from one side of heaven unto the other, as being the beginning of a new and invisible creation, and having no part in the old Adam. He was in the world, but not of the world; and while He was here, He, the Son of man, was still in heaven: and as well might fire feed upon water, or the wind be subjected to man's bidding, as the Only-begotten Son really be portion and member of that perishable system in which He condescended to move. He could not rest or tarry upon earth; He did but do His work in it; He could but come and go.
And while He was here, since He could not acquiesce or pleasure Himself in the earth, so He would none of its vaunted goods. When He humbled himself unto His own sinful creation, He would not let that creation minister to Him of its best, as if disdaining to receive offering or tribute from a fallen world. It is only nature regenerate which may venture to serve the Holy One. He would not accept lodging or entertainment, acknowledgement, or blandishment, from the kingdom of darkness. He would not be made a king; He would not be called, Good Master; He would not accept where He might lay His head. His life lay not in man's breath, or man's smile; it was hid in Him from whom He came and to whom He returned.
"The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." He seemed like other men to the multitude. Though conceived of the Holy Ghost, He was born of a poor woman, who, when guests were {95} numerous, was thrust aside, and gave birth to Him in a place for cattle. O wondrous mystery, early manifested, that even in birth He refused the world's welcome! He grew up as the carpenter's son, without education, so that when He began to teach, His neighbours wondered how one who had not learned letters, and was bred to a humble craft, should become a prophet. He was known as the kinsman and intimate of humble persons; so that the world pointed to them when He declared Himself, as if their insufficiency was the refutation of His claims. He was brought up in a town of low repute, so that even the better sort doubted whether good could come out of it. No; He would not be indebted to this world for comfort, aid, or credit; for "the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." He came to it as a benefactor, not as a guest; not to borrow from it, but to impart to it.
And when He grew up, and began to preach the kingdom of heaven, the Holy Jesus took no more from the world then than before. He chose the portion of those Saints who preceded and prefigured Him, Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, and His forerunner John the Baptist. He lived at large, without the ties of home or peaceful dwelling; He lived as a pilgrim in the land of promise; He lived in the wilderness. Abraham had lived in tents in the country which his descendants were to enjoy. David had wandered for seven years up and down the same during Saul's persecutions. Moses had been a prisoner in the howling wilderness, all the way from Mount Sinai to the borders of Canaan. Elijah wandered back again from Carmel {96} to Sinai. And the Baptist had remained in the desert from his youth. Such in like manner was our Lord's manner of life, during His ministry: He was now in Galilee, now in Judæa; He is found in the mountain, in the wilderness, and in the city; but He vouchsafed to take no home, not even His Almighty Father's Temple at Jerusalem.

Works of John Henry Newmanhome

Holy Family (B) Homily by Fr. Aelred

Holy Family Cloister Icon
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Holy Family (B) Homily by Fr. Aelred  

Today’s Gospel relates Jesus’ first entry into the Temple of Jerusalem.

For the Evangelist (St Luke) Jerusalem and its Temple is the place that God has chosen where Jesus manifestation begins and ends. Jerusalem will be the location of the Easter event, the crucifixion and resurrection and the starting point of the mission of the Church through the Apostles. Already as an infant Jesus is recognised as the ‘Anointed of the Lord’ by two old people – a man and a woman – who represent all those who live in hope of ‘the consolation of Israel’.   

In Simeon’s canticle, the Nunc dimittis, he proclaims that the mystery of Salvation is already accomplished. He recognised that the Lord has kept promises ‘Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, you have fulfilled your word’. Upon this moment, through all the pages of the OT, God was preparing his Salvation. ‘Now’ Salvation is given and even the pagans will participate in it. Jesus ‘light of the nations’, has come to bring this revelation; his mission will be taken over the apostles and their successors, right down to our day. Without the Church we would all still be in the dark. 

But Simeon also sees that the child will be a sign of division among people. Speaking to Mary, he says, ‘and a sword shall pierce your soul too’. This refers to the sorrow of a mother and believer who is present, though powerless at the te sufferings of Jesus at the cross. Another understanding is that St. Luke presents Mary as the Daughter of Sion, a personification of the whole people of God, and the sword that cleaves the people of God has struck this daughter of Sion personally. 

The Temple story ends with the prophetess Anna who speaks of the child to all who looked towards toward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. This presentation of Jesus at the Temple is truly the feast of Encounter as the Eastern Church calls it. ‘O God, we ponder your kindness within your Temple. As your name, O God, so also your praise reaches to the ends of the earth’. 

This encounter with Simeon and Anna caused astonishment to Mary and Joseph. A journey made in the fulfilment of the Law, as many other Israelites did, has turned into an unforeseen revelation for Mary and Joseph. And surely for us too. We can now perceive that the baby Jesus is also the hidden Lord. 

Before Office of None 28/12/2014

Saturday, 27 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas, Day Four

December 28, Feast of the Holy Family
Today is the feast day of the Holy Family, but also every family's feast day, since the Holy Family is the patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states:
"The children must learn to see in their father the foster-father St. Joseph, and the Blessed Mother as the perfect model for their own mother. The lesson to be learned is both practical and theoretical, in that the children must learn how to obey and to love their parents in thought, word and action, just as Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph. Helping mother in the kitchen and in the house work, and helping father in his odd jobs about the home thus take on a new significance by being performed in a Christ-like spirit." (True Christmas Spirit, ©1955, St. Meinrad Archabbey, Inc.)

The Holy Family. Luke 2:22-40

Christmas Season....... 
Holy Family by Juan Simon Gutierrez

Sunday 28 December 2014  

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
GospelLuke 2:22-40 
Second Reading
An address given at Nazareth by Pope Paul VI
The example of Nazareth
Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.
  Here we can learn to realise who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.
  How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.
  First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.
  Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute.
  Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognise its value – demanding yet redeeming – and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.
  In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.
We wish you all joy. Perfect your lives, listen to the appeal we make, think the same thoughts, keep peace among yourselves, as you sing and give praise to the Lord in your hearts.
Whatever you are doing, put your whole heart into it, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men, as you sing and give praise to the Lord in your hearts.

The Feast of the Holy Family[edit]

The Holy Family - Rafael
The Gospels speak little of the life of the Holy Family in the years before Jesus’ public ministry.[1] All that is known are the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incident that occurred when the twelve-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem.[2] The parents were apparently observant Jews, making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year with other Jewish families (Luke. 2:41).
The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.[2] Since the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the feast is celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day (both exclusive), or when there is no Sunday within the Octave (if both Christmas Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are Sundays), it is held on 30 December, a Friday in such years. It is a holy day of obligation only if it falls on a Sunday.