Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, PAPAL PRAYERS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 10 December – The Feast of Our Lady and the Holy House of Loreto

Our Morning Offering – 10 December – The Feast of Our Lady and the Holy House of Loreto

Prayer to Our Lady of Loreto
By Pope Benedict XVI

Mary, Mother of the “Yes”, you listened to Jesus,
and know the tone of His voice
and the beating of His heart.
Morning Star, speak to us of Him,
and tell us about your journey
of following Him on the path of faith.

Mary, who dwelt with Jesus in Nazareth,
impress on our lives your sentiments,
your docility, your attentive silence,
and make the Word flourish in genuinely free choices.

Mary, speak to us of Jesus,
so that the freshness of our faith
shines in our eyes and warms
the heart of those we meet,
as you did when visiting Elizabeth,
who in her old age rejoiced with you for the gift of life.

Mary, Virgin of the Magnificat
help us to bring joy to the world and, as at Cana,
lead every young person involved in service of others
to do only what Jesus will tell them.

Mary, look upon the Agora of youth,
so that the soil of the Italian Church will be fertile.
Pray that Jesus, dead and Risen, is reborn in us,
and transforms us into a night full of light, full of him.

Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, Gate of Heaven,
help us to lift our eyes on high.
We want to see Jesus, to speak with Him,
to proclaim His love to all.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
4 October 2012prayer-to-our-lady-of-loreto-by-pope-benedict-2012-made-10-dec-2017

Advertisements
Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN TITLES, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, VATICAN Resources, YouTube Videos

8 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Today, 8 December, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. I wish you all a Blessed and Holy Feast Day!

bartolomc3a9-esteban-murillo-1678
Murillo 1678

Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 8 December 2012

“I would like to emphasise that Mary is Immaculate through a freely given gift of God’s grace, which, however, found perfect willingness and cooperation in her.   It is in this sense that she is “blessed” because “she believed” (Lk 1:45) and because she had steadfast faith in God.   Mary represents that “remnant of Israel”, that holy root which the Prophets proclaimed.   The promises of the Old Covenant find a ready welcome in her.   In Mary, the Word of God is met with listening, acceptance and a response, He encounters that “yes” which enables Him to take flesh and to come and dwell among us.

IMM CONCEPTION - MARY Prado0048
Prado

In Mary, humanity and history are truly opened to God, they welcome His grace and are prepared to do His will.   Mary is a genuine expression of Grace.   She represents the new Israel, which the Scriptures of the Old Testament describe with the symbol of the bride. And St Paul takes up this language in his Letter to the Ephesians where he speaks of marriage and says “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (5:25-27).   The Fathers of the Church developed this image and thus the Doctrine of the Immaculate Virgin first came into being with reference to the Church virgin-mother and, subsequently, to Mary.   Thus Ephraim the Syrian writes poetically:  “Just as [it was] because these bodies themselves have sinned and are themselves dying, that the earth, their mother was also accursed (cf. Gen 3:7-19), because of this body which is the incorruptible Church, her land was blessed from the outset.   This land is the body of Mary, a temple in which a seed was sown” (Diatessaron 4, 15: sc 121, 102).

Francesco de Mura imm conception
Francesco de Mura

The light that shines from the figure of Mary, also helps us to understand the true meaning of original sin.   Indeed that relationship with God which sin truncates is fully alive and active in Mary.   In her there is no opposition between God and her being, there is full communion, full understanding.   There is a reciprocal “yes” – God to her and her to God.   Mary is free from sin because she belongs entirely to God, she empties herself totally for Him.   She is full of His Grace and of His Love.

To conclude, the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary expresses the certainty of faith that God’s promises have been fulfilled and that His Covenant does not fail but has produced a holy root from which came forth the blessed Fruit of the whole universe, Jesus the Saviour.   The Immaculate Virgin shows that Grace can give rise to a response, that God’s fidelity can bring forth a true and good faith.”

Imm Conception Jusepe de Ribera (1637) tumblr_mcpufmupix1rpq8j1o1_540
Jusepe de Ribera (1637)

Room of the Immaculate Conception

Following the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX, which took place on 8 December 1854, the pontiff decide to celebrate the event with a cycle of frescoes.
The large room adjacent to the Raphael Rooms was chosen and the task was assigned to Francis Podesti (1800-1895), a painter originally from Ancona but rooted in the Roman artistic and academic panorama.   The artist, along with his team of workers, worked on the commission from 1856 to 1865, planning it and following its execution in all its aspects –  the wooden doors and window frames and the inlaid marble work, as well as the installation of the Roman mosaic from Ostia Antica, purchased specifically for this space.
The pictorial decoration proceeds from the ceiling, with allegorical scenes alluding to the virtues of the Virgin;  it continues along the northern wall with the homage of the continents to the Church enthroned;  it continues on the west wall, devoted to the Discussion of dogma in St Peter’s Basilica and concludes on the east wall, with the Coronation of the Image of Mary, an event following the Proclamation, which took place in St Peter’s.   Podesti, who was present, included a self-portrait here.ROOM OF THE IMM CONCEPTION.png

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church

Thought for the Day – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church

“Holy Bishop Ambrose – about whom I shall speak to you today – died in Milan in the night between 3 and 4 April 397.   It was dawn on Holy Saturday.   The day before, at about five o’clock in the afternoon, he had settled down to pray, lying on his bed with his arms wide open in the form of a cross.   Thus, he took part in the solemn Easter Triduum, in the death and Resurrection of the Lord.   “We saw his lips moving”, said Paulinus, the faithful deacon who wrote his Life at St Augustine’s suggestion, “but we could not hear his voice”.   The situation suddenly became dramatic.   Honoratus, Bishop of Vercelli, who was assisting Ambrose and was sleeping on the upper floor, was awoken by a voice saying again and again, “Get up quickly! Ambrose is dying…”.   “Honoratus hurried downstairs”, Paulinus continues, “and offered the Saint the Body of the Lord.   As soon as he had received and swallowed it, Ambrose gave up his spirit, taking the good Viaticum with him.   His soul, thus refreshed by the virtue of that food, now enjoys the company of Angels” (Life, 47).

On that Holy Friday 397, the wide open arms of the dying Ambrose expressed his mystical participation in the death and Resurrection of the Lord.   This was his last catechesis – in the silence of the words, he continued to speak with the witness of his life.

Like the Apostle John, Bishop Ambrose – who never tired of saying: “Omnia Christus est nobis! To us Christ is all!” – continues to be a genuine witness of the Lord.   Let us thus conclude our Catechesis with his same words, full of love for Jesus:  “Omnia Christus est nobis!   If you have a wound to heal, He is the doctor;  if you are parched by fever, He is the spring;  if you are oppressed by injustice, He is justice;  if you are in need of help, He is strength;  if you fear death, He is life;  if you desire Heaven, He is the way;  if you are in the darkness, He is light….   Taste and see how good is the Lord, blessed is the man who hopes in Him!” (De Virginitate, 16, 99).   Let us also hope in Christ.   We shall thus be blessed and shall live in peace.”

Pope Benedict – Excerpt, General Audience, Catechesis on St Ambrose, 24 October 2007

St Ambrose, Pray for us!st-ambrose-pray-for-us-2- 7dec2017

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for our HOLY FATHER and all PRIESTS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ

Thought for the Day – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Andrew
Wednesday, 14 June 2006

“This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

“Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with His limbs as though they were precious pearls.   Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear.   Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

Believers know of the great joy that you possess and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared.   I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you…. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!…

Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me.

Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!”.hail o cross - from the passion of st andrew - 30nov2018

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality.   It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

We have a very important lesson to learn, our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of His light illuminates them.   It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about Him to those we meet and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with Him, acutely aware that in Him alone, can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.”

St Andrew, Pray for your Church, Pray for Us all!st andrew apostle pray for us-30nov2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Saint of the Day – 30 November – St Andrew, Apostle of Christ, Martyr

Saint of the Day – 30 November – St Andrew, Apostle of Christ, Martyr – Called the “First Called ” or “Protoclete” – born at Bethsaida, Galilee and was martyred by crucifixion on a saltire (x-shaped) cross in Patras Greece (around the year 62AD) – Patronages: fishermen, fishmongers and rope-makers, textile workers, singers, miners, pregnant women, butchers, farm workers, protection against sore throats, protection against convulsions, protection against fever, protection against whooping cough, Scotland, Barbados, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Patras, Burgundy, San Andrés (Tenerife), Diocese of Parañaque, Telhado, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria.ANDREW - GLASS maxresdefault

The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name – it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored.   We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present.   Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10: 1-4) and in Luke (6: 13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3: 13-18) and in the Acts (1: 13-14).   In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities.   The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels.   We read:  “As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.   And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'” (Mt 4: 18-19; Mk 1: 16-17).

From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail:  Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel’s hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.   He was truly a man of faith and hope and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as, “the Lamb of God” (Jn 1: 36), so he was stirred and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called “the Lamb of God”.   The Evangelist says that “they saw where he was staying and they stayed with him that day…” (Jn 1: 37-39).   Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus.   The account continues with one important annotation:  “One of the two who heard John speak and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.   He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1: 40-43), straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit.

Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus.   Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname: “Protokletos”, [protoclete] which means, precisely, “the first called”.Sant_Andrea_S

The Gospel traditions mention Andrew’s name in particular on another three occasions that tell us something more about this man.   The first is that of the multiplication of the loaves in Galilee. On that occasion, it was Andrew who pointed out to Jesus the presence of a young boy who had with him five barley loaves and two fish, not much, he remarked, for the multitudes who had gathered in that place (cf. Jn 6: 8-9). In this case, it is worth highlighting Andrew’s realism.   He noticed the boy, that is, he had already asked the question: “but what good is that for so many?” (ibid) and recognised the insufficiency of his minimal resources.   Jesus, however, knew how to make them sufficient for the multitude of people who had come to hear Him.

The second occasion was at Jerusalem.   As He left the city, a disciple drew Jesus’ attention to the sight of the massive walls that supported the Temple.   The Teacher’s response was surprising:  He said that of those walls not one stone would be left upon another.   Then Andrew, together with Peter, James and John, questionedHhim: “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?” (Mk 13: 1-4). In answer to this question Jesus gave an important discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and on the end of the world, in which He asked His disciples to be wise in interpreting the signs of the times and to be constantly on their guard.   From this event we can deduce that we should not be afraid to ask Jesus questions but at the same time that we must be ready to accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that He offers us.andrew snip

Lastly, a third initiative of Andrew is recorded in the Gospels:  the scene is still Jerusalem, shortly before the Passion.   For the Feast of the Passover, John recounts, some Greeks had come to the city, probably proselytes or God-fearing men who had come up to worship the God of Israel at the Passover Feast.   Andrew and Philip, the two Apostles with Greek names, served as interpreters and mediators of this small group of Greeks with Jesus.   The Lord’s answer to their question – as so often in John’s Gospel – appears enigmatic but precisely in this way proves full of meaning.   Jesus said to the two disciples and, through them, to the Greek world:  “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.   I solemnly assure you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (12: 23-24). Jesus wants to say:  Yes, my meeting with the Greeks will take place but not as a simple, brief conversation between myself and a few others, motivated above all by curiosity.   The hour of my glorification will come with my death, which can be compared with the falling into the earth of a grain of wheat.   My death on the Cross will bring forth great fruitfulness, in the Resurrection the “dead grain of wheat” – a symbol of myself crucified – will become the bread of life for the world, it will be a light for the peoples and cultures. Yes, the encounter with the Greek soul, with the Greek world, will be achieved in that profundity to which the grain of wheat refers, which attracts to itself the forces of heaven and earth and becomes bread. In other words, Jesus was prophesying about the Church of the Greeks, the Church of the pagans, the Church of the world, as a fruit of His Pasch.

Some very ancient traditions not only see Andrew, who communicated these words to the Greeks, as the interpreter of some Greeks at the meeting with Jesus recalled here but consider him the Apostle to the Greeks in the years subsequent to Pentecost.   They enable us to know that for the rest of his life he was the preacher and interpreter of Jesus for the Greek world.ANDREW ICON

Peter, his brother, travelled from Jerusalem through Antioch and reached Rome to exercise his universal mission, Andrew, instead, was the Apostle of the Greek world.   So it is that in life and in death they appear as true brothers – a brotherhood that is symbolically expressed in the special reciprocal relations of the See of Rome and of Constantinople, which are truly Sister Churches.

A later tradition, as has been mentioned, tells of Andrew’s death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion.   At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus.   In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as “St Andrew’s cross”….Pope Benedict XVI – 14 June 2006

Mattia_Preti_-_The_crucifixion_of_St_Andrew_-_Google_Art_Project-Public-Domain-Image

Andrew is the patron saint of several countries and cities and is the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece.  He is considered the founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium and is consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.   The flag of Scotland (and consequently the Union Flag and those of some of the former colonies of the British Empire) feature Saint Andrew’s saltire cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife, the former flag of Galicia and the Russian Navy Ensign.

 

The feast of Andrew is observed on 30 November in both the Eastern and Western churches and is the national day of Scotland.   In the traditional liturgical books of the Catholic Church, the feast of Saint Andrew is the first feast day in the Proper of Saints.VATICAN - ANDREW STATUE -640px-Saint_Andreas

Posted in CHRIST the KING, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The SIGN of the CROSS

One Minute Reflection – 25 November – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

One Minute Reflection – 25 November – Today’s Gospel: John 18:33–37 – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

“You say that I am a king.   For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.   Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”...John 18:37

REFLECTION – “But what is the “truth” that Christ came into the world to witness to?   The whole of His life reveals that God is love – so this is the truth to which He witnessed to the full, with the sacrifice of His own life on Calvary.
The Cross is the “throne” where He manifested His sublime kingship as God Love, by offering Himself in expiation for the sin of the world, He defeated the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all.   It is a Kingdom that will be fully revealed at the end of time, after the destruction of every enemy and last of all, death (cf. I Cor 15: 25-26).   The Son will then deliver the Kingdom to the Father and God will finally be “everything to everyone” (I Cor 15: 28).
The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cut, indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God’s love.   He is Love and Truth and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed, they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy.   This is how God reigns, this is His project of salvation, a “mystery” in the biblical sense of the word, a plan that is gradually revealed in history.”….Pope Benedict XVI 26 November 2006john 18 37 - for this i was born - but what is this truth - pope benedict - 25 nov 2018 - christ the king

“When did Jesus reveal Himself as king?   In the event of the Cross!   Those who look at the Cross cannot but see the astonishing gratuitousness of love.   One of you could say, “Father, that was a failure!”.   It is precisely in the failure of sin — sin is a failure — in the failure of human ambitions – the triumph of the Cross is there, the gratuitousness of love is there.   In the failure of the Cross, love is seen, a love that is gratuitous, which Jesus gives us.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 November 2015when did jesus reveal himself as king - pope francis - 25 nov 2018 christ the king no 2

PRAYER – Lord God, You gave the peoples of the world as the inheritance of Your only Son;  You crowned Him as King of Zion, Your holy city and gave Him Your Church to be His Bride.   As He proclaims the law of Your eternal kingdom, may we serve Him faithfully and so share His royal power forever.   We make our prayer, through Him and with Him and in Him, our King and our Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.our lord jesus christ king of the universe - 25 nov 2018.no 2

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on UNITY, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 11 November – “Standing before the Lord” – Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday Reflection – 11 November

“Standing before the Lord” (Excerpt)

Pope Benedict XVI

In the Church of former times, the word for this was statio. …From the very beginning, when Christianity spread throughout the world, its heralds laid the greatest importance on there being only one bishop and only one altar in every town.   This was meant to express the unity of the one Lord, who unites us all in His embrace from the Cross, an embrace that goes beyond the frontiers drawn by earthly life and forms us into one body. And this, of course, is the innermost meaning of the Eucharist, that, by receiving the one bread, we actually enter into this one centre and thus become a living organism, the one body of the Lord.
The Eucharist is not a private matter among friends, taking place in a club of like-minded people where congenial spirits meet together.   On the contrary, just as the Lord allowed Himself to be crucified publicly outside the city walls, stretching out His hands to all, the Eucharist is the public worship celebrated by all, whom the Lord calls….
It was fundamental to the Eucharist in the Mediterranean world, which first saw the growth of Christianity, that the aristocrat who had found his way to Christianity should sit down with the Corinthian dock-worker, the miserable slave who, according to Roman law, was not even held to be a human being and was dealt with as chattel.   It is of the very nature of the Eucharist, that the philosopher should sit beside the illiterate man, the converted prostitute and the converted tax-collector beside the ascetic who has found his way to Jesus Christ.
In Rome, for instance, even during the era of persecution, the titular churches came into being as predecessors of the later parishes…..the Eucharist continued to unite people who would otherwise not mix.   Consequently, the statio was introduced – here, particularly during Lent, the Pope, as the single Bishop of Rome, goes among the individual titular churches and celebrates the liturgy for the whole city of Rome.
Christians gather together and go to church together, thus, in the individual churches, the whole Church is visible and is manifest at the individual level.
The Lord gathers us together and opens us so that we can accept one another and belong to one another, so that, in standing side by side with Him, we can learn once again to stand together with one another. ….What binds us together is not the private interest of this or that group but the interest which God takes in us.   And we can calmly and confidently, entrust all our interests to Him.   We commit ourselves to the Lord.   And the more we commit ourselves to the Lord and stand before Him, the more we stand together with one another and the more power we discover to understand each other, to recognise each other as human beings, as brothers and sisters.   In this way, in this fellowship with one another, we are building the foundations for humanity and making it possible.

Joseph Card Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI “Seek that Which is Above”this of course is the innermost meaning of the eucharist - sun reflection - 11 nov 2018