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Thought for the Day – 8 January 2018 – Christmastide ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Remembering and Celebrating our Baptisms – Adding a new date to our Calendars!

Thought for the Day – 8 January 2018 – Christmastide ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Remembering and Celebrating our Baptisms – Adding a new date to our Calendars!goodbye christmastide 8 jan 2018- for this he bore our body - st basil the great

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends the Christmas season and invites us to think of our Baptism.   Jesus willed to receive the baptism preached and administered by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.   It was a baptism of penance:  all those who approached it expressed the desire to be purified from sin and, with God’s help, committed themselves to begin a new life.

We understand then the great humility of Jesus, He who had not sinned, put himself in the queue with the penitents, mixing among them, to be baptised in the waters of the river.   What humility Jesus has!   And, by doing so, He manifested what we celebrated at Christmas:  Jesus’ willingness to immerse Himself in the river of humanity, to take upon himself the failures and weaknesses of men, to share their desire of liberation and to overcome all that distances one from God and renders brothers strangers.   As at Bethlehem, along the banks of the Jordan God keeps His promise to take charge of the human being’s fate and Jesus is the tangible and definitive sign of it.   He took charge of all of us, He takes charge of all of us, in life, in the days.

The feast of Jesus’ Baptism invites every Christian to remember his own Baptism.   I can’t ask you the question if you remember the day of your Baptism, because the majority of you were babies, like me…. However, I can ask you another question?   Do you know the date on which you were baptised? …And if you don’t know the date or have forgotten it, when you go home ask your mother, your grandmother, your uncle, your aunt, your grandfather, your godfather, your godmother – what was date?
And we must always have that date in our memory, because it’s a date of celebration, it’s the date of our initial sanctification;  it’s the date in which the Father gave us the Holy Spirit who pushes us to walk, it’s the date of the great forgiveness.
Don’t forget: what’s the date of my Baptism?

the holy spirit

We invoke the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy so that all Christians can understand increasingly the gift of Baptism and commit themselves to live it with coherence, witnessing the love of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 7 January 2018

So let us do exactly this, this is a date in need of remembrance and celebration, this date of our new birth – I am certainly going to do this for all my family.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Jesus’ solidarity with us
“Jesus shows His solidarity with us, with our efforts to convert and to be rid of our selfishnesss, to break away from our sins in order to tell us that if we accept Him in our life He can uplift us and lead us to the heights of God the Father.   And Jesus’ solidarity is not, as it were, a mere exercise of mind and will.   Jesus truly immersed himself in our human condition, lived it to the end, in all things save sin and was able to understand our weakness and frailty.   For this reason He was moved to compassion, He chose to “suffer with” men and women, to become a penitent with us.   This is God’s work which Jesus wanted to carry out:  the divine mission to heal those who are wounded and give medicine to the sick, to take upon himself the sin of the world.” ….. From Homily of Pope Benedict XVI on feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2013remember and celebrate our baptism day - 8 jan 2018

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Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

“Dearly Beloved, each word and deed of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
is for us a lesson in virtue and piety.
For this end also did He assumed our nature,
so that every man and every woman,
contemplating as in a picture the practice of all virtue and piety,
might strive with all their hearts to imitate His example.
For this He bore our body, so that as far as we could,
we might repeat within us, the manner of His life.
And so, therefore, when you hear mention of some word or deed of His,
take care not to receive it simply as something that incidentally happened
but raise your mind upwards towards the sublimity of what He is teaching
and strive to see what has been mystically handed down to us”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churchdearly beloved - st basil the great - 8 jan 2018

“Today let us do honour to Christ’s baptism
and celebrate this feast in holiness.
Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.
Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men,
for whom His every word and every revelation exist.
He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world.
You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light,
bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.
You are to enjoy more and more, the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity,
as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendour,
proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord,
to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Church – from a sermon on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lordtoday let us do honour - st gregory of nazianzen - 8 jan 2018

“O Lord, wishing to fulfill all things
that You ordained before the ages,
You received the servants of Your mystery,
from among the Angels, Gabriel,
from among Men, the Virgin,
from among the Heavens, the Star
and from among the Waters, the Jordan,
in which You washed away the sin of the world,
O our Saviour, glory to You.”

St John Damascene (675-749) Doctor of the Churcho lord wishing to fulfil all things - st john damascene - 7 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 8 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

One Minute Reflection – 8 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

You cannot have forgotten that all of us, when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death.   So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life…Romans 6:3-4romans 6 3 - 8 jan 2018

REFLECTION – “The purpose of Christ’s existence was precisely to give humanity God’s life and His Spirit of love, so that every person might be able to draw from this inexhaustible source of salvation.   This is why St Paul wrote to the Romans that we were baptised into the death of Christ in order to have His same life as the Risen One.” …Pope Benedict XVI Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2013the purpose of christs existence was precisely...- pope benedict 2013 - 8 jan 2018

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, I pray to live each day in Your shadow, protected by Your mercy, living out my Baptismal Vows and following Your Son on my journey home to You. Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us, that we may faithfully live as true Christians each moment of our lives, amen.luke-3-22.- 9 jan 2016

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 8 January – The Baptism of the Lord

Our Morning Offering – 8 January – The Baptism of the Lord

God in flesh made manifest
By Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885)
(nephew of the great lake-poet, William Wordsworth)

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to You we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David’s stem,
in Your birth at Bethlehem.

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest and King supreme;
and at Cana, wedding guest,
in Your Godhead manifest,
You revealed Your power divine,
changing water into wine.

Manifest in making whole
weakened body, fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil’s might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill.
Anthems be to Thee addressed.
God in man made manifest.god in flesh made manifest - c wordsworth - 8 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and Memorials of the Saints – 8 January 2018

Baptism of the Lord (Feast) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ktDObo0Og

St Abo of Tblisi
St Albert of Cashel
St Apollinaris the Apologist
St Athelm of Canterbury
St Atticus of Constantinople
St Carterius of Caesarea
Bl Edward Waterson
St Ergnad of Ulster
St Erhard of Regensburg
St Eugenian of Autun
Bl Eurosia Fabris
St Garibaldus of Regensburg
St Gudule of Brussels
St Helladius
St Julian of Beauvais
St Lawrence Giustiniani
St Lucian of Beauvais
St Maximian of Beauvais
St Maximus of Pavia
Bl Nathalan of Aberdeen
St Patiens of Metz
St Pega of Peakirk
St Severinus of Noricum
St Theophilus the Martyr
St Thorfinn
St Wulsin of Sherborne

Martyrs of Greece – 9 saints:   A group of Christians honored in Greece as martyrs, but we have no details about their lives or deaths. – Euctus, Felix, Januarius, Lucius, Palladius, Piscus, Rusticus, Secundus and Timotheus

Martyrs of Terni – 4 saints:   A group of Christian soldiers in the imperial Roman army. Executed during the persecutions of emperor Claudius.   Martyrs. – Carbonanus, Claudius, Planus and Tibudianus.   They were martyred in 270 in Terni, Italy.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY

The Solemnity of Epiphany – 7 January 2018 – T S Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi”

The Solemnity of Epiphany – 7 January 2018 – T S Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi”

The Journey of the Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This:  were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?   There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;  this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

t s eliot
excerpt from t s eliot's journey of the magi
Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The CHRIST CHILD

Sunday Reflection – 7 January 2018 – The Feast of Epiphany

Sunday Reflection – 7 January 2018 – The Feast of Epiphany

Each Sunday towards the end of Mass, we come to the altar rail, receive Holy Communion, return to our seats and sit or kneel quietly for a while in contemplation.   But in these quiet moments after we have received Communion, what prayers do we offer up?  Perhaps we don’t pray at all but in those quiet moments our thoughts turn to other things, like Sunday lunch or a planned visit to visit the grandchildren after Mass.

I recently came across this wonderful article, written by a priest.  He writes:

“A few years ago it became evident to me that my prayers after distributing Holy Communion to my congregation were wholly inadequate.   As I sat on my seat on the altar I was finding it extremely difficult to express into words, what this moment meant to me.   Looking through my book collection I read all the prayers I could get my hands on but none seemed to be what I was looking for, so I gave up in frustration.   However, each day I would pray to Mary our Blessed Mother asking her to teach me how to express my innermost feelings to the Lord.   Sometime later I was preaching a retreat to a group of nuns when one of the elderly nuns came to visit me and said she felt she had a problem concerning her prayers after receiving Holy Communion.   Feeling I had at last found a kindred spirit, I asked her what she usually prayed and she replied, ‘I don’t pray anything, I just sit in silence and allow Him to love me and to teach me to love Him.’   At that moment I realised that Mary had indeed answered my prayers.

“I just sit in silence and allow Him to love me and to teach me to love Him.”

What a simple, but moving description of what this moment means to us all.

“Above all, let us pray Him to draw us to Him and to give us faith.   When we feel that His mysteries are too severe for us and occasion us to doubt, let us earnestly wait on Him for the gift of humility and love.    Those who love and who are humble will apprehend them, carnal minds do not seek the and proud minds are offended at them but while love desires them, humility sustains them.

Let us pray Him to give us an earnest longing after Him – a thirst for His presence – an anxiety to find Him – a joy on hearing that He is to be found, even now, under the veil of sensible things – and a good hope that we shall find Him there.

Blessed indeed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.   They have their reward in believing, they enjoy the contemplation of a mysterious blessing, which does not even enter into the thoughts of other men and while they are more blessed than others, in the gift vouchsafed to them, they have the additional privilege of knowing that they are vouchsafed it.”….Blessed John Henry Newman  (1801-1890) – Parochial & Plain Sermons, Vol. VI, no. 11let us pray him to give us - bl john henry newman - 7 jan 2018

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Thought for the Day – 7 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ Excerpt from Pope Francis Homily for Epiphany 2017

Thought for the Day – 7 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Excerpt from Pope Francis Homily for Epiphany 2017

The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland.   They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts be anaesthetised.
A holy longing for God wells up in the heart of believers because they know that the Gospel is not an event of the past but of the present.   A holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life.   A holy longing for God is the memory of faith, which rebels before all prophets of doom.   That longing keeps hope alive in the community of believers, which from week to week continues to plead: “Come, Lord Jesus”.
We want to worship.   Those men came from the East to worship and they came to do so in the place befitting a king:  a palace.   This is significant.   Their quest led them there, for it was fitting that a king should be born in a palace, amid a court and all his subjects. For that is a sign of power, success, a life of achievement.   One might well expect a king to be venerated, feared and adulated.   True, but not necessarily loved.   For those are worldly categories, the paltry idols to which we pay homage:   he cult of power, outward appearances and superiority.   Idols that promise only sorrow, enslavement, fear.

It was there, in that place, that those men, come from afar, would embark upon their longest journey.   There they set out boldly on a more arduous and complicated journey. They had to discover that what they sought was not in a palace but elsewhere, both existentially and geographically.   There, in the palace, they did not see the star guiding them to discover a God who wants to be loved.   For only under the banner of freedom, not tyranny, is it possible to realise that the gaze of this unknown but desired king does not abase, enslave, or imprison us.   To realise that the gaze of God lifts up, forgives and heals.   To realise that God wanted to be born where we least expected, or perhaps desired, in a place where we so often refuse him.   To realise that in God’s eyes there is always room for those who are wounded, weary, mistreated, abandoned.   That His strength and His power are called MERCY.   For some of us, how far Jerusalem is from Bethlehem!for only under the banner of freedom - pope francis 2017 - 7 jan 2018

Herod is unable to worship because he could not or would not change his own way of looking at things.   He did not want to stop worshipping himself, believing that everything revolved around him.   He was unable to worship, because his aim was to make others worship him.   Nor could the priests worship, because although they had great knowledge, and knew the prophecies, they were not ready to make the journey or to change their ways.

The Magi experienced longing, they were tired of the usual fare.   They were all too familiar with, and weary of, the Herods of their own day.   But there, in Bethlehem, was a promise of newness, of gratuitousness.   There something new was taking place.   The Magi were able to worship because they had the courage to set out.   And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant, the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem, they discovered the glory of God.and as they fell - pope francis - epiphany 2017 - 7 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The CHRIST CHILD

Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“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 (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchif we approach with faith - st john chrysostom - 7 jan 2018

“Truth, by which the world is held together,
has sprung from the earth,
in order to be carried in a woman’s arms.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchtruth, by which the world - st augustine - 7 jan 2018

“Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see:
heaven on earth,
earth in heaven,
man in God,
God in man,
one whom the whole universe cannot contain
now enclosed in a tiny body.
As they look, they believe and do not question,
as their symbolic gifts bear witness:
incense for God,
gold for a king,
myrrh for one who is to die.”

St Peter Chrysologus (406-450) Doctor of the Churchtoday the magi gaze in deep wonder - st peter chrysologus - 7 jan 2018

“What are you doing, O Magi?
Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel,
wrapped in miserable rags?
Can this Child be truly God? …
Are you become foolish, O Wise Men …
Yes, these Wise Men have become fools
that they may be wise!”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Churchwhat are you doing o magi - st bernard - 7 jan 2018

“It is no magic formula He brings
because He knows that the salvation
He offers must pass through human hearts.
What does He first do?
He laughs and cries and sleeps defenceless,
as a baby, though He is God incarnate.
And He does this,
so that we may fall in love with Him,
so that we may learn to take Him in our arms….”it is no magic formula he brings - st josemaria - 7 jan 2018

“As you kneel at the feet of the child Jesus
on the day of His Epiphany
and see Him a king bearing none
of the outward signs of royalty,
you can tell Him:
“Lord, take away my pride;
crush my self-love,
my desire to affirm myself
and impose myself on others.
Make the foundation of my personality
my identification with you.”

St Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975)
Christ is passing by, 31as you kneel at the feet of the child jesus - st josemaria - 7 jan 2018

“As pilgrims of faith, the Wise Men themselves
became stars shining in the firmament of history
and they show us the way.
The saints are God’s true constellations,
which light up the nights of this world,
serving as our guides.
Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians,
told his faithful that they must shine like stars in the world.”

Extract from the Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 6 January 2013benedict-on-epiphany.7 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY NAME

3 January – Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

3 January – Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the optional memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.   The Church reveals to us the wonders of the Incarnate Word by singing the glories of His name.   The name of Jesus means Saviour;  it had been shown in a dream to Joseph together with its meaning and to Our Lady at the annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel.

feast-of-the-holy-name-of-jesus-in-nomine-jesu-omne-genu-flectatur-coelestium-terrestrium-et-infernorum-philippians-2-10033c481cc136ea3897c694b37ca1bc23--names-of-jesus-jesus-is

Devotion to the Holy Name is deeply rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the Acts of the Apostles.   It was promoted in a special manner by St Bernard, St Bernardine of Siena, St John Capistrano and by the Franciscan Order.   It was extended to the whole Church in 1727 during the pontificate of Innocent XIII.   The month of January has traditionally been dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.header - ihs

This feast marks no progress in the development of the Church year.   It merely embellishes the occasion just observed when the Child received the Name Jesus as had been foretold by the angel.   The feast is meant to impress on us Christians the dignity of the Holy Name.   It is a relatively new feast, stemming out of devotional piety. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to find in it some liturgical or ancient Christian dogma. What did a name signify originally?   The name should express the nature of a thing. Thus Adam in paradise gave the animals names in accordance with their being.   Among the Jews God’s name expressed His essence, Yahweh, i.e., I (alone) am who am (and cause all else to be).   The Jews had the highest respect for the name of God, a reverence that finds continuation in the Our Father:  “Hallowed be Thy Name.”

Persons who played prominent roles in the history of salvation often received their names from God Himself.   Adam — man of the earth;   Eve — mother of all the living; Abraham — father of many nations;   Peter — the rock.   The Saviour’s precursor was given the name God assigned him.   According to divine precedent, then, the name of the Redeemer should not be accidental, of human choosing but given by God Himself.   For His name should express His mission.   We read in Sacred Scripture how the angel Gabriel revealed that name to Mary:  “You shall call His name Jesus.”   And to St Joseph the angel not merely revealed the name but explained its meaning:   “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”   The Messiah should not only be the saviour, but should be called Saviour.   With Jesus, therefore, the name actually tells the purpose of His existence.   This is why we must esteem His name as sacred. Whenever we pronounce it, we ought to bow our heads;  for the very name reminds us of the greatest favor we have ever received, salvation.BOW YOUR HEAD!

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch