Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 21 January – The Burning Babe

Thought for the Day – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time –  and The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Seeing as it is the Memorial of St Agnes and we are thinking about martyrdom, I have included the post below, which is an excerpt from my post on St Robert Southwell’s Memorial – 21 February.    It is talk by Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000) (a hero!).   If you wish to read the whole post, it is here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

“There are two books, prose writings, that Robert Southwell wrote that are worth reading.   They are of course written in 16th century English but, powerful, written to encourage his fellow Catholics to remain firm in their faith.   The one is called ‘Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears’.   And the other one is called ‘Epistle of Comfort‘.   We would probably call it a letter of encouragement.   

His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell.   His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’”

The Burning Babe, by St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.burning babe excerpt - st robert southwell - mem 21 feb - 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom mem of st agnes

St Agnes, Pray for Us!bernardo-lorente-german-sevilla-1680-sevilla-1759-e2809csaint-agnese2809d-pray-for-us

St Robert Southwell, Pray for Us!st robert southwell - pray for us - 21 feb 2018

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Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, NOTES to Followers, POETRY, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!

A Blessed and Holy Christmas to you all!
St John of the Cross will help us to truly appreciate this great Feast.my-christmas-wishes.2017

Romance on the Birth of Christ
By St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church

Now at last the destined ages
Their appointed course had run,
When rejoicing from His chamber
Issued forth the Bridegroom Son.

He embraced His bride, and held her
Lovingly upon His breast,
And the gracious Mother laid Him
In the manger down to rest.

There He lay, the dumb beasts by Him,
They were fitly stabled there,
While the shepherds and the angels
Filled with melody the air.

So the feast of their espousals
With solemnity was kept
But Almighty God, an Infant,
In the manger moaned and wept.

So the bride at her betrothal
Did the bridal gifts arrange
But the Mother looked in wonder
At the marvellous exchange.

Man gave forth a song of gladness,
God Himself a plaintive moan,
Both possessing that which never
Had been hitherto their own.

romance on the birth of christ st john of the cross -24 dec 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, HYMNS, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 24 December – Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Thought for the Day – 24 December

Today, the 200th anniversary of the first performance

of the beloved carol ‘Silent Night’

Exactly 200 years ago today, 24 December 1818 — in a little church in what is now Austria, the world heard for the first time a poem set to music that eventually would be hailed as one of the most popular and beloved Christmas carols of all time.

“Silent Night” was sung for the first time that Christmas Eve at a Midnight Mass at St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire.   The lyrics were written by a young Catholic priest, Father Joseph Mohr (1792–1848) and the music was composed by his friend, the local organist and schoolmaster, Francis Xavier Gruber (1787–1863).1024px-Stille_Nacht_Kapelle_Glasfenster_Josef_Mohr

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, how the light
Radiates love from Thy heavenly face,
At the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.Silent Night by Fr Joseph Mohr 1792-1848 24 dec 2018

Fr Joseph Mohr’s final resting place is a tiny Alpine ski resort, Wagrain.   He was born into poverty in Salzburg in 1792 and died penniless in Wagrain in 1848, where he had been assigned as pastor of the church.   He had donated all his earnings to be used for elder care and the education of the children in the area.   His memorial from the townspeople is the Joseph Mohr School located a dozen yards from his grave.   The overseer of St Johann’s, in a report to the bishop, described Mohr as “a reliable friend of mankind, toward the poor, a gentle, helping father.”

Many generations of the Mohr family lived in the Lungau region, in the southern part of the Province of Salzburg.   The pilgrimage church of St Nicholas in Mariapfarr, the little church where Father Mohr was the curate, is within walking distance of the former home of Joseph’s grandfather.   The climate is so invigorating and the Alpine air so clean, the town has become a major vacation destination for Europeans who want to get away from city life.   The pilgrimage church where Mohr celebrated Mass is undergoing the restoration of its centuries-old frescos.

The carol is believed to have caused a somewhat miraculous and well-documented Christmas truce during World War I.   On Christmas Eve 1914, British and French troops were encamped in trenches in a face-off against German troops in Ypres in Flanders, Belgium.   The two sides began singing Christmas carols to each other and “Silent Night” was the only hymn all the combatants knew.   Singing it together broke the ice and led to a temporary cease-fire with soldiers from both sides meeting in the middle “No Man’s Land” to trade tobacco and candy, play soccer and sing carols.

An early copy of Silent Night written by Joseph Mohr

As it marks its 200th anniversary, “Silent Night” remains as beloved as ever.   I am sure that all of us who attend Midnight Mass tonight, wherever we are in the world, will be singing Silent Night in one of the 300 languages into which it has been translated.

May this Holy Infant so tender and mild, bless us all!Holy infant so tender and mile bless us all 24 dec 2018

Posted in ADVENT, Our MORNING Offering, POETRY

Our Morning Offering – The Third Sunday of Advent – 16 December 2018

Our Morning Offering – The Third Sunday of Advent – 16 December 2018

How Beautiful
By Daryl Madden

How beautiful
Your light this day
Reflection of
Colours arrayed

How beautiful
Your precious gift
Our daily bread
The soul to lift

How beautiful
Your living Word
Let soul be lead
By Spirit heard

How beautiful
Your blessed grace
Our gift, Your light
Souls to embrace

By courtesy of the Poet Daryl Madden

https://darylmadden.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/how-beautiful/comment-page-1/#comment-3319how beautiful poem prayer by daryl madden 16 dec 2018

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, POETRY, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 31 October – The Memorial of St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)

Quote/s of the Day – 31 October –

The Memorial of St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)

“In the difficulties which are placed before me,
why should I not act like a donkey?
When one speaks ill of him – the donkey says nothing.
When he is mistreated – he says nothing.
When he is forgotten – he says nothing.
When no food is given him – he says nothing.
When he is made to advance – he says nothing.
When he is despised – he says nothing.
When he is overburdened – he says nothing.
The true servant of God must do likewise
and say with David:
“Before Thee I have become like a beast of burden.”

St Alphonsus Rodriguez (1532-1617)in-the-difficulties-which-are-placed-before-me-st-alphonsus-rodriguez-20-june-2018

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca, Alfonso watched the door.

Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889),
in honour of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)gerard manley hopkins in honour of st alphonsus rodriguez - 31 oct 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube Videos

Quote of the Day – 25 October – The Memorial of Saints Crispin & St Crispinian – (†285 or 286) Martyrs

Quote of the Day – 25 October – The Memorial of Saints Crisp  in & St Crispinian – (†285 or 286) Martyrs

The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is 25 October.   Although this feast was removed from the Roman Catholic Church’s universal liturgical calendar following the Second Vatican Council, the two saints are still commemorated on that day in the most recent edition of the Roman Martyrology.   Sts Crispin and Crispinian were the first “band of brothers,” who fought bravely on the battlefield of the soul.

The historian and bishop, St Gregory of Tours (538-594) refers twice in his History of the Franks to a Basilica of Sts Crispin and Crispinian in the northern French city of Soissons, if the Church was already well-established at that time, the commemoration of the martyrs dates from much closer to their martyrdom.

The St Crispin’s Day speech was delivered on 25 October 1415 by King Henry V of England to rouse his soldiers on the morning of the Battle of Agincourt and later chronicled by William Shakespeare in his play, Henry V, in Act IV Scene iii 18–67. In the speech, which fell on Saint Crispin’s Day, Henry V urged his men — who were vastly outnumbered by the French — to recall how the English had previously inflicted great defeats upon the French.

The speech by Shakespeare has been famously portrayed by Sir Laurence Olivier to raise British spirits during the Second World War, and by Sir Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 film Henry V (see video below) and it made famous the phrase “band of brothers.”   The play was written around 1600 and several later writers have used parts of it in their own texts.excerpt from the speech by henry V st crispians day - 25 oct 2018 shakespeare

Note: the text is Shakespeare’s, as the wording of Henry’s historical speech is not known.

WESTMORLAND.   O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING.   What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin,
If we are mark’d to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost,
It yearns me not if men my garments wear,
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace!  I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart, his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse,
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester—
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.

This story shall the good man teach his son,
And Crispin, Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition,
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Posted in MORNING Prayers, POETRY, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 22 October – The Memorial of St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Thought for the Day – 22 October – The Memorial of St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

St Peter’s Square had a special meaning for St John Paul. In earlier days he wrote a poem about it.   Below is an excerpt from it:

Marble Floor

Marble floor
our feet meet the earth in this place,
there are so many walls,
so many colonnades,
yet we are not lost. If we find
meaning and oneness,
it is the floor that guides us….
Peter, you are the floor, that others
may walk over you… You guide their steps…
You want to serve their feet that pass
as rock serves the hooves of sheep.
The rock is a gigantic temple floor,
the cross a pasture.

St Peter’s name means “a rock” and Christ said of him “on this Rock I will build my Church.”   The poem is about the role of the Holy Father, who is a shepherd to his flock, a guide to the Church.

St John Paul, keep being our shepherd by your prayers!marble floor by st john paul - 22 oct 2018st-jp-pray-for-us-22 oct 2017 -2