Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, The INCARNATION

Thought for the Day – 15 December – The Threefold Coming of the Lord

Thought for the Day – 15 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent

The Word of the Lord will come to us – The Threefold Coming of the Lord

St Bernard Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church

We know that the coming of the Lord is threefold – the third coming is between the other two and it is not visible in the way they are.   At His first coming the Lord was seen on earth and lived among men, who saw Him and hated Him.   At His last coming All flesh shall see the salvation of our God and They shall look on Him whom they have pierced. In the middle, the hidden coming, only the chosen see Him and they see Him within themselves and so their souls are saved.   The first coming was in flesh and weakness, the middle coming is in spirit and power and the final coming will be in glory and majesty.

This middle coming is like a road that leads from the first coming to the last.   At the first, Christ was our redemption, at the last, He will become manifest as our life but in this middle way He is our rest and our consolation.

If you think that I am inventing what I am saying about the middle coming, listen to the Lord Himself:  “If anyone loves me, he will keep my words and the Father will love him and we shall come to him.”   Elsewhere I have read:  Whoever fears the Lord does good things – but I think that what was said about whoever loves Him was more important, that whoever loves Him will keep His words.   Where are these words to be kept?   In the heart certainly, as the Prophet says I have hidden your sayings in my heart so that I do not sin against you.   Keep the word of God in that way – Blessed are those who keep it. Let it penetrate deep into the core of your soul and then flow out again in your feelings and the way you behave, because if you feed your soul well it will grow and rejoice.   Do not forget to eat your bread, or your heart will dry up.   Remember and your soul will grow fat and sleek.

If you keep God’s word like this, there is no doubt that it will keep you, for the Son will come to you with the Father, the great Prophet will come, who will renew Jerusalem and He is the one who makes all things new.   For this is what this coming will do, just as we have been shaped in the earthly image, so will we be shaped in the heavenly image.   Just as the old Adam was poured into the whole man and took possession of him, so in turn will our whole humanity be taken over by Christ, who created all things, has redeemed all things and will glorify all things.

Come Lord Jesus, my light, my life, I thank You!come-lord-jesus-15-december-2017-the-golden-thread

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Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION

Quote of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

Quote of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter.   It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater hap  piness or higher honour could we have than to be with God, to be made like Him and to live in His light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into His divine image, we also should cry out with joy:
It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness;  where God is seen.
For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up His abode together with the Father, saying as He enters:  Today salvation has come to this house.

With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of His eternal blessings and there where they are stored up for us in Him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.

St Anastasius of Sinai (630-701)

for here, christ takes up his abode - transfiguration homily - st anastasius of sinai - 6 aug 2018

Posted in GOD the FATHER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE

Thought for the Day – 17 July – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Thought for the Day – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

To be converted and return to the Lord
Verse Homily of
Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 449-521)
Syrian monk and Bishop

I will go back to my Father’s house like the prodigal son (Lk 15:18) and He will welcome me.
For I was dead through sin as though by sickness;
raise me up from my distress that I may praise Your name!
O Lord of heaven and earth, come to my help and show me Your way,
that I may come to You.
Draw me to You, Son of the Most Good
and bring Your compassion to completion.
I will set out towards You and there be filled with joy.
Knead for me now the grain of life at this time when I am crushed.

I set out in search of You and the Evil One spied on me like a thief (cf. Lk 10:30).
He bound and chained me in the pleasures of this wicked world:
he imprisoned me in its pleasures and slammed the door in my face.
There was no one to free me, so that I might set out in search of You, O Lord, my good!…
O Lord, I long to be Yours and walk Your way.
See how I meditate Your commandments by day and by night (Ps 1:2).
Grant my request and accept my prayer, O merciful one!
Do not cast off the hope of Your servant, for he is waiting for you.

Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 449-521)

the prodigal son - large

Posted in HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE

Thought for the Day – 20 June – Wednesday Eleventh Week of Ord Time Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 6:1-6.16-18

Thought for the Day – 20 June – Wednesday Eleventh Week of Ord Time Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 6:1-6.16-18

“We are Nothing in Ourselves”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

“When we do nothing to be ashamed of, when everything is going along according to our wishes, we dare to believe that nothing could make us fall.   We forget our own nothingness and our utter weakness.   We make the most delightful protestations that we are ready to die rather than to allow ourselves to be conquered.   We see a splendid example of this in St Peter, who told our Lord that although all others might be scandalised in Him, yet he would never deny Him.

Alas!   To show him how man, left to himself, is nothing at all, God made use, not of kings or princes or weapons but simply of the voice of a maidservant, who even appeared to speak to him in a very indifferent sort of way.   A moment ago, he was ready to die for Him and now Peter protests, that he does not even know Him, that he does not know about whom they are speaking.   To assure them even more vehemently that he does not know Him, he swears an oath about it.

Dear Lord, what we are capable of when we are left to ourselves!   There are some who, in their own words, are envious of the saints who did great penances.   They believe that they could do as well.   When we read the lives of some of the martyrs, we would, we think, be ready to suffer all that they suffered for God;  the moment is short lived, we say, for an eternity of reward.   But what does God do to teach us to know ourselves or, rather, to know that we are nothing?   This is all He does:   He allows the Devil to come a little closer to us.   Look at this Christian who a moment ago was quite envious of the hermit who lived solely on roots and herbs and who made the stern resolution to treat his body as harshly.   Alas!   A slight headache, a prick of a pin, makes him, as big and strong is he is, sorry for himself.   He is very upset.   He cries with pain.   A moment ago he would have been willing to do all the penances of the anchorites — and the merest trifle makes him despair!

Look at this other one, who seems to want to give his whole life for God, whose ardour all the torments there are cannot damp.   A tiny bit of scandalmongering …. a word of calumny …. even a slightly cold reception or a small injustice done to him …. a kindness returned by ingratitude …. immediately gives birth in him to feelings of hatred, of revenge, of dislike, to the point, often, of his never wishing to see his neighbour again or at least of treating him coldly with an air which shows very plainly what is going on in his heart.   And how many times is this his waking thought, just as it was the thought that almost prevented him from sleeping?   Alas, my dear brethren, we are poor stuff and we should count very little upon our good resolutions!”

St John Vianney, Pray for us!

st john vianney pray for us - 20 june 2018

Posted in EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday

Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday” – Todays Readings: Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29, 1 John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18

“The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep”

Despite Jesus’ realistic word-picture, the parable of the Good Shepherd only fully comes alive in Jesus Himself, God’s appointed “Shepherd” of men.   He names two characteristics of such a shepherd:  first the shepherd’s commitment to the flock even to the point of death;  and second, the reciprocal recognition between sheep and shepherd, which is anchored in the innermost mystery of God.

The theme of self-giving to the point of death, is found at both the beginning and the end of the Gospel.   This devotion, contrasts sharply with the flight of the “hired hand”, who, when facing danger, has the excuse that the life of a man is more valuable than the life of a dumb animal.   This argument loses its force, however, when the shepherd cares so much for his sheep, that he prefers them to his own life.   That is scarcely conceivable in purely natural terms but it becomes a central truth in the realm of grace.   It only makes sense with the aid of the second theme of the parable – the shepherd knows his sheep and the animals likewise instinctively recognise him.   For Jesus, this is merely the point of comparison for a completely different recognition:  “as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”   This has nothing to do with instinct but with the most profound mutual recognition, as it is found in absolute trinitarian love.   When Jesus applies this utterly sublime trinitarian love recognition to the inward mutuality between Himself and His own, He elevates this knowledge far above that which is hinted at by the parable.

And thus, it becomes clear, that the first motif of the parable (giving one’s life for the sheep) and the second motif (mutual recognition) coincide rather than merely parallel each other.   The Father’s and the Son’s knowledge of each other is identical with their mutual and perfect selfgiving and therefore, the knowledge exchanged between Jesus and His own, is one with the perfect selfgiving of Jesus for and to His own and it implicitly includes the unity of the Christian’s knowledge and loving dedication to his Lord.

At the end, both themes are expressly joined together:  the Father (also) loves the Son for His perfect selfgiving for the sake of men, a selfgiving which is both freely chosen by the Son and commissioned by the Father.   This unmitigated surrender to mankind because it is Divine Love, is at the same time the power that achieves victory over death (“the power to take up life again”).

“No other name under heaven”  in the First Reading, Peter gives the Lord all glory for the miracle he has effected.   The point is not that, Jesus excepted, all who care for sheep are “hired hands” for the Lord Himself installed Peter to pasture His flock – precisely Jesus’ Flock, not Peter’s.   Thus everything effective and appropriate ultimately is accomplished by the “chief Shepherd alone” (1 Pet 5:4), even if through the activity of His assistants.

Hans Urs von Balthasar “Light of the Word”

john 10 11 - good shepherd no 2

 

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide

One Minute Reflection – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;  he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.   For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed.”...John 6:53-55

REFLECTION – “About these words I observe, first, that they evidently declare on the face of them some very great mystery.   How can they be otherwise taken?   If they do not, they must be a figurative way of declaring something which is not mysterious but plain and intelligible.   But is it conceivable, that He who is the Truth and Love itself, should have used difficult words, when plain words would do?   Why should He have used words, the sole effect of which, in that case, would be to perplex, to startle us needlessly?   Does His mercy delight in creating difficulties?   Does He put stumbling-blocks in our way without cause?   Does He excite hopes and then disappoint them?   It is possible;  He may have some deep purpose in so doing but which is more likely, that His meaning is beyond us, or His words beyond His meaning?
All who read such awful words as those in question will be led by the first impression of them, either with the disciples to go back, as at a hard saying, or with St Peter to welcome what is promised:  they will be excited in one way or the other, with incredulous surprise or with believing hope?   And are the feelings of these opposite witnesses, discordant indeed, yet all of them deep, after all unfounded?   Are they to go for nothing?   Are they no token of our Saviour’s real meaning?   This desire and again this aversion, so naturally raised, are they without a real object and the mere consequence of a general mistake on all hands, of what Christ meant as imagery, for literal truth?   Surely this is very improbable!”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)but is it conceivable that he, who is the truth and love itself - bl john henry newman - 20 april 2018 - john chapter 6

PRAYER – Lord God, source of our freedom and our salvation, listen to our humble prayer.   We stand with St Peter and welcome what our divine Saviour, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ has promised.   Help us to grow in love and faith at each Holy Sacrifice we attend.   Help us to accept with total commitment this great Mystery and as He gives Himself to and for us, help us to give ourselves to and for the glory of Your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.  Peter, the spokesman for the apostles, proclaims, “Lord, to whom shall we go?   You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:67-69).john 6 67-69

Posted in Blessed Pope PAUL VI, CATECHESIS, EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 15 April – The Third Sunday of Easter Year B

Sunday Reflection – 15 April – The Third Sunday of Easter Year B

“Christ wished to choose this sacred symbol of human life, which bread is, to make an even more sacred symbol of Himself.   He has transubstantitated it but has not taken away its expressive power – rather, He has elevated this expressive power to a new meaning, a higher meaning, a mystical, religious, divine meaning.   He has made of it a ladder for an ascent that transcends the natural level.
As a sound becomes a voice and as the voice becomes word, thought, truth – so that sign of the bread has passed from its humble and pious being to signify a mystery, it has become a Sacrament, it has acquired the power to demonstrate the Body of Christ present.”

Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) – when Archbishop of Milan from a homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christias a sound becomes a voice - paul VI - 15 april 2018 - sunday reflection