Posted in EASTER, NOTES to Followers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, The RESURRECTION

Thought for the Day – 1 April 2018 – Easter Sunday – A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!

Thought for the Day – 1 April 2018 – Easter Sunday

A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!

“Be Lifted Up, O Ancient Door”

It seems as the human world has no doors opening toward God.   It is locked in upon itself. It is a prison, a house of the dead.
People of the Old Testament and of other early civilizations initially applied the idea of the prison only to the world of the dead – the man who dies will not return.   They imagined the underworld as a vast dark prison in which death reigns, a ruthless tyrant. It is a place of no return.   Gradually, however, the feeling grew that, if all our paths lead to the prison which has entrances but no exit, then we are all prisoners.   In that case, even this present world is a house of the dead, the antechamber leading to a dungeon of horrors!   And it is a fact, if death has the last world – the world is a waiting room leading to the void (as manifested in many Eastern religions – my note).
Poets of our century have set down this feeling in terrifying visions.   The Jewish poet Franz Kafka has probably gone farthest into this abyss of ANGST.   His portrayal of a world of totalitarian control is intended as an interpretation of human life as such. In “The Castle”, life appears to be a futile waiting, a doomed attempt to penetrate the maze of bureaucracy and reach some competent authority and hence freedom.   In “The Trial”, life itself is present as a trial ending in execution.   The story ends with the parable of a man who waits all his life outside a door and cannot get in, in spite of the fact that it was made especially for him.
If Christ is not risen, there is nothing more to be said about man than this – all else, is merely an endeavour to deaden the pain.   The cries of despair we hear and the cruel attempts at liberation we see, are the necessary consequences of a world that will not accept Christ, its hope.
“Be lifted up, O ancient doors!” – these words of the psalm (24:7) are not liturgical symbolism, the gate liturgy of a long-past age.   They are the cry of man in a world that is far too narrow, even if he can travel in spaceships to the moon and beyond.
Christmas is only the first half of the Christian answer to this cry.   Christmas tells us that there is not only the tyrant, Death – there is God, who is Life and this God can and will reach us – He has broken a way into us.   He has found the door that was big enough for Him, or rather, He has made such a door for Himself.
But this answer is only complete if there is not only an entrance by which God can reach us but also an exit for us.   It is only satisfying, if death is no longer a prison from which no-one returns.   AND THIS IS THE CONTENT OF THE MESSAGE OF EASTER.   Not only is there a door in, there is also, a door out.   Death is no longer a house with no exits, a place of no return.
The ancient Church saw in this verse (ps 24:7) an interpretation of the article of faith “descended into hell”, referring particularly to Holy Saturday, not as a word of mourning but as a word of victory.   The Church expressed this word in poetic form – the bolts of death’s dungeon, of the world’s dungeon, are wrenched off – the ramparts are thrown down – the gates are torn from their hinges.   The one who has done this, Jesus, takes the long-imprisoned Adam and Eve, i.e. humanity, by the hand and leads them to freedom. Life is not a waiting room leading to the void but the beginning of eternity!   The world is not the universal concentration camp but the garden of hope!   Life is not the futile search for meaning, mirrored in the tangle of bureaucracy.   God is not a bureaucrat – He does not live in a distant castle, nor does He hide Himself behind impenetrable anterooms.   The door is open – it is called Jesus Christ!the door is open - pope benedict - 1 april 2018

The celebration of Easter is intended to show us the radiant light which streams from this door.   It challenges us steadfastly to follow this radiance, which is no will-o’-the-wisp but the brilliance of saving truth….Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) Seek that Which is Above 1985

A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!

Christós anésti.
Jesus Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
Amena blessed and holy easter to you all - 1 april 2018


The meaning of Shrove Tuesday – 13 February 2018

The meaning of Shrove Tuesday – 13 February 2018

Shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to hear a confession, assign penance and absolve from sin.   In the Middle Ages, especially in Northern Europe and England, it became the custom to confess one’s sins on the day before Lent began in order to enter the penitential season in the right spirit.   How I wish the Church would bring this practice back NOW and not concentrate on flipping pancakes – entendre intended!   Though we, as the “Church” can re-institute this practice ourselves.shrove tuesday 2( same words as no 1)shrove tuesday 3

From the earliest days of Christianity, Lent, the penitential period before Easter, has always been a time of fasting and abstinence.

While the Lenten fast today is confined to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence from meat is required only on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the other Fridays of Lent, in previous times (and not so long away either, ask anyone over 60) the fast was quite severe.   Christians abstained from all meat and items that came from animals, including butter, eggs, cheese and fat.

That is why Shrove Tuesday became known as Mardi Gras, the French term for Fat Tuesday.   Over time, Mardi Gras extended from a single day to the entire period of Shrovetide, the days from the last Sunday before Lent through Shrove Tuesday.

In the countries that speak Romance language (languages derived primarily from Latin), Shrovetide is also known as Carnivale—literally, “farewell to meat.”   In the English-speaking countries, Shrove Tuesday became known as Pancake Day, because Christians used up their eggs, butter and milk to make pancakes and other pastries.catholics go to confession on shrove tues - 13 feb 2018

Posted in DEVOTIO, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, LENT, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers, SPEAKING of .....

Thought for the Day – 12 February – Preparing for Lent – 2 days to go!

Thought for the Day – 12 February – Preparing for Lent – 2 days to go!

Lent is a season of grace.   The joy of the Risen Lord Jesus depends on how we live out the holy season of Lent.   God’s generosity has no limits but we often fall short in giving God our whole hearts so that He can fill them with His love.

Why not strive to live out this Lent as if it were to be the Last Lent in your lives!

Decide on your Lenten sacrifice.   Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the desert;  our sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice of self Jesus made to save us from our sins.   Because of this, it is a Lenten tradition to sacrifice something for these 40 days.
Think about all the trivial things in your life that shift your focus away from God.   Do you find that you dedicate more time to sending text messages and posting status updates than to prayer and time with God?   Do you have a habit of eating junk food excessively?   What is something your life could do without?

In addition to sacrificing something, include something special in your Lenten routine.   Giving up chocolate or Facebook for 40 days is great but why not do something positive, too, instead of just removing the negative?   Resolve to be more mindful of others’ needs, spend more time with your family, pray more and forgive old grudges.

Attend Holy Mass as often as possible.   In addition to weekly Sunday service, it’s good to go to Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist frequently, especially during Lent.   Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when we remember that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.

Go to Confession, is a wonderful way to turn away from sin and reunite yourself with Christ.   If you don’t already, try getting into the habit of going to Confession on a regular basis.   The Catholic Church has made it obligatory that all the faithful receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year and once during the season of Lent, though it’s recommended that you attend Confession at least once a month if possible.

Spend time on prayer and devotions.   Though not required, devotions are a great way to put yourself in the right mindset for Lent.   The Church highly encourages Adoration of God or the veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints.   Your local parish probably has regular Eucharistic Adoration, where you can go to sit and engage in deep prayer, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.   To practice veneration, you could say a decade of the Rosary daily, or pray to your patron saint.
Any prayer, so long as it means something to you, is a step in the direction God intended. If you have a prayer you’ve grown up with that speaks to you, resolve to spend more time focusing on what it truly means and how you can embody that prayer in your everyday life.   Perhaps start the Liturgy of the Hours, there are many sites online offering this devotion.

Take time for self-examination and reflection.   Christmas and Easter are times of happiness and joy;  while the preceding and succeeding seasons are cheery and bright, the same cannot be said about Lent.   It is a time of simplicity and solemnity.   It is a time to reflect on your dependence on God’s mercy and your understanding of faith.   Take moments during this time to think about how you embody Christ’s love.

Get ready to Fast and Abstain – think about how you will incorporate these practises into your life.   All Catholics aged fourteen and older are asked to abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays, though fish is allowed to be eaten.   Additionally, Catholics aged 18-59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Lenten Fridays, meaning that only one full meal may be eaten in the day.   Of course, do this however you feel is safe and effective.
Some people should definitely not fast (the pregnant or the elderly, for example).   If fasting isn’t a reasonable option for you, fast from something other than food.   Make sure it’s something that’s a challenge — like your phone or email — so you can feel the sacrifice you’re making.

Promote your Parish almsgiving project – perhaps think about volunteering your help. Ensure that you find a way to fulfil this vital Lenten requirement – it could be as simple as saving your spare change for your Parish charity or to have Masses said for the holy souls!

Make a Lenten calendar.   Such a calendar will help you to focus on the progression of the Lenten season and is a great reminder to see the days ticking away, leaving Sundays out.   It ends the Friday before Easter (the last day being Holy Thursday);   count backwards from there.
Hang the calendar in a common area in your home.   Every day, tick off a box.   As you get closer and closer to Easter, how do you find yourself feeling?   Are your sacrifices becoming more or less difficult to maintain?

A Blessed and Holy Lent to you all!Preparing to clean up - lent - 12 feb 2018lent - preparing our hearts - 30 jan 2018-no 2


Posted in DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers, NOVENAS, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Announcement of Novenas: ST FRANCIS de SALES – begins 15 January ST PAUL – begins 16 January ST JOHN BOSCO – begins 22 January

Announcement of Novenas:
ST FRANCIS de SALES – begins 15 January
ST PAUL – begins 16 January
ST JOHN BOSCO – begins 22 January

to ST FRANCIS de SALES CO OM OFM Cap (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church – begins 15 January.   St Francis de Sales is the Patron of Devotion so if there’s a Saint who might know what a Devout Heart is, it’s going to be him.   St Alphonsus Liguori said that the most useful practice of a Novena is to make up our minds at the beginning of the Novena to correct some fault we have been accustomed to commit.   Let us ask St Francis de Sales to stir our hearts toward greater devotion and love for God.ANNOUNCING A NOVENA TO ST FRANCIS DE SALES BEGINS 15 JAN - 10 JAN 2018

to ST PAUL – begins 16 January – We pray in honour of the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul on 25 January.   St Paul is the MOST NEGLECTED IN PRAYER by Catholics – come on folks let us pray for zeal, for courage, for perseverence, for strength, for LOVE of God and neighbour, in fact we can pray to ST PAUL FOR ALL our needs!ANNOUNCING A NOVENA TO ST PAUL - BEGINS 16 JAN - 10 JAN 2018

to ST JOHN BOSCO “Don Bosco” (1815-1888) “Father and Teacher of the Youth” – He was a follower of the spirituality and philosophy of Saint Francis de Sales, Bosco was an ardent Marian devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Mary Help of Christians.   He later dedicated his works to De Sales when he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco – begins 22 January.   St John Bosco is the Patron of Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people, magicians, juvenile delinquents. Choose ALL young people or your own children.   Or simply Pray the 9 days for your own growth in love of our Mother, the Help of Christians or our own growth in faith and sanctity.

Don’t forget to pray Novenas each day for nine straight days…announcing a novena to st don bosco - begins 22 jan - 10 JAN 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers, The WORD

Wishes for a Happy and Holy 2018!

My Wishes to You All
for a Blessed and Grace-filled 2018

May he give you what you desire
and make all your plans succeed.
Then we will shout for joy over your victory
and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.
May the LORD answer all your requests...Psalm 20:4-5

new year wishes 1 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers

Thought for the Day – 25 December  – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Thought for the Day – 25 December  – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

On this day, the Church focuses especially on the newborn Child, God become human, who embodies for us all the hope and peace we seek.  We need no other special saint today to lead us to Christ in the manger, although his mother Mary and Joseph, caring for his foster-son, help round out the scene.

But if we were to select a patron for today, perhaps it might be appropriate for us to imagine an anonymous shepherd, summoned to the birthplace by a wondrous and even disturbing vision in the night, a summons from an angelic choir, promising peace and goodwill.   A shepherd willing to seek out something that might just be too unbelievable to chase after and yet compelling enough to leave behind the flocks in the field and search for a mystery.

On the day of the Lord’s birth, let’s let an unnamed, “non-celebrity” at the edge of the crowd model for us the way to discover Christ in our own hearts—somewhere between skepticism and wonder, between mystery and faith.   And, like Mary and the shepherds, let us treasure that discovery in our hearts.

The precise dating in this passage sounds like a textbook on creationism.   If we focus on the time frame, however, we miss the point.   It lays out the story of a love affair: creation, the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, the rise of Israel under David.   It climaxes with the birth of Jesus.   From the beginning, some scholars insist, God intended to enter the world as one of us, the beloved people.   Praise God! (Fr Don Miller OFM)

In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential.   In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will.   Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.

Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God.   And in His presence may our hearts burst forth in prayer: “Show us, Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps 85:8).in a society - pope holiness - 25 dec 2017

And a Holy and Happy Christmas to All!  May the Christ Child live in your hearts!my-christmas-wishes

Posted in NOTES to Followers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Out of Town

Out of Town from 20 November for roughly 10 days – until the job is finished!out of town - 20 nov 2017

Dear friends and followers

I have to fly off tomorrow on a work assignment.   As soon as I am done I will start posting again.

In the meantime, I am pre-scheduling the Novena, the list of Saints for each day, a Morning Offering and a post for the beautiful Feast of Christ the King next Sunday 26 November.   On which day, I will be praying for you all to be abundantly blessed.

Stay well and be saints!

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.