PRAYER OF POPE BENEDICT XVI to Our Lady of Loreto on his visit to the Shrine of Loreto and private prayer at the Holy House in 2012 – 10 December



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.

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


ANNOUNCING a Novena to the Christ Child in preparation for Christmas

ANNOUNCING a Novena to the Christ Child in preparation for Christmas

In the birth of Jesus, God comes to us and asks us to receive Him, so that He can be born in our lives and transform them and our world, by the power of His love.    The Christmas liturgy also invites us to contemplate Christ’s birth against the backdrop of His paschal mystery.   Christmas points beyond itself, to the redemption won for us on the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection.   May this Christmas fill you with joy in the knowledge that God has drawn near to us and is with us, at every moment of our lives”. …Pope Benedict XVI

Join us for the Christmas Novena to the Christ Child beginning 9 days before Christmas on 16 December.   Each day will feature a Scripture Reflection and prayer.   Let us dispose ourselves to receive the coming Lord.   With great desire, with joy full of hope, with a heart that is free and capable of great love, for after all, we are made in His image and likeness and He is love!ANNOUNCING - CHRISTMAS NOVENA TO THE CHRIST CHILD begins 16 DEC - 2017

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY

More on today’s Saint – St Ambrose (c340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church

More on today’s Saint – St Ambrose (c 340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church – Bishop, Theologian, Apostle of Charity, Writer, Musician, Preacher, Confessor, Reformer and protector – all-in-all a brilliant, charismatic, vibrant man.

Traditionally, Ambrose is credited with promoting “antiphonal chant”, a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other, as well as with composing Veni redemptor gentium, an Advent hymn.   Ambrose is one of the four original Doctors of the Church and is the patron saint of Milan.   He is notable for his influence on Augustine of Hippo, whom he baptised.

This politician-turned churchman was profoundly aware of his lack of preparation for this great responsibility as Bishop and so set himself immediately to prayer and the study of Scripture.    His deep spirituality and love of God’s Word married together with the oratorical skill acquired in law and politics made St Ambrose one of the greatest preachers of the early church.

His feast day in the Roman calendar is 7 December, the day he was ordained bishop. From the Roman liturgy for the Feast of St. Ambrose:   “Lord, you made Saint Ambrose an outstanding teacher of the Catholic faith and gave him the courage of an apostle.   Raise up in your Church more leaders after your own heart, to guide us with courage and wisdom.   We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”  

Here is Jimmy Akin’s article “St Ambrose: Strangest Life Story Ever?”
1) Who was St Ambrose?

St Ambrose of Milan was born around A.D. 338 and died in 397.
He was the bishop of Milan, Italy.

2) What makes is his life story so strange?

Originally, he was a government official, he became bishop in a most extraordinary way.
After the death of the local bishop, the Catholics and Arians got into a vehement conflict about who should be the new bishop.
Ambrose was trying to keep the peace and settle the two groups down when someone—allegedly a small boy—began chanting “Ambrose, bishop!”
Soon the two groups began chanting together that Ambrose should be the new bishop.
(The Arians, apparently, felt that although Ambrose was Catholic in belief he would be a kinder bishop than they otherwise would likely get.)
This set of circumstances is extraordinary enough, but what’s even more extraordinary is that Ambrose wasn’t even a Christian yet. He was an unbaptised catechumen!

3) Can it get any stranger?

Ambrose did not want to be bishop and so he went into hiding.
The Emperor Valentinian then got word of all this and declared severe penalties on anyone who would give Ambrose shelter.
He was thus forced to come out of hiding and accept his ordination as bishop.
They quickly ran him through the preliminary grades of orders and he was consecrated a bishop about a week later.

4) How did he do as bishop?

He was great!   That’s part of why he ended up as a doctor of the Church.
He left many wonderful writings.   He helped convert St Augustine.   And he combated heresy.
He also introduced a practice into the West that has remained with us to this day.

5) What practice was that?

Lectio Divina. Pope Benedict XVI explained:
Culturally well-educated but at the same time ignorant of the Scriptures, the new Bishop briskly began to study them.
From the works of Origen, the indisputable master of the “Alexandrian School”, he learned to know and to comment on the Bible.
Thus, Ambrose transferred to the Latin environment the meditation on the Scriptures which Origen had begun, introducing in the West the practice of lectio divina.
The method of lectio served to guide all of Ambrose’s preaching and writings, which stemmed precisely from prayerful listening to the Word of God.

6) How did Ambrose help with Augustine’s conversion?

That also involved a rather dramatic story, in which Ambrose stood up to the emperor at the risk of his own life.
Pope Benedict explained:
A passage from St Augustine’s Confessions is relevant.
He had come to Milan as a teacher of rhetoric;   he was a sceptic and not Christian.  He was seeking the Christian truth but was not capable of truly finding it.
What moved the heart of the young African rhetorician, sceptic and downhearted and what impelled him to definitive conversion was not above all Ambrose’s splendid homilies (although he deeply appreciated them).
It was rather the testimony of the Bishop and his Milanese Church that prayed and sang as one intact body.
It was a Church that could resist the tyrannical ploys of the Emperor and his mother, who in early 386 again demanded a church building for the Arians’ celebrations.
In the building that was to be requisitioned, Augustine relates, “the devout people watched, ready to die with their Bishop”.
This testimony of the Confessions is precious because it points out that something was moving in Augustine, who continues: “We too, although spiritually tepid, shared in the excitement of the whole people” (Confessions 9, 7).

7) Was Ambrose remarkable in other ways?

He was remarkable in many ways, one of them we today would find quite surprising.
Pope Benedict explained:
[Augustine] writes in his text that whenever he went to see the Bishop of Milan, he would regularly find him taken up with catervae [Latin, “crowd”]of people full of problems for whose needs he did his utmost.
There was always a long queue waiting to talk to Ambrose, seeking in him consolation and hope.
When Ambrose was not with them, with the people (and this happened for the space of the briefest of moments), he was either restoring his body with the necessary food or nourishing his spirit with reading.
Here Augustine marvels because Ambrose read the Scriptures with his mouth shut, only with his eyes (cf. Confessions, 6, 3).
Indeed, in the early Christian centuries reading was conceived of strictly for proclamation and reading aloud also facilitated the reader’s understanding.
That Ambrose could scan the pages with his eyes alone suggested to the admiring Augustine a rare ability for reading and familiarity with the Scriptures.

Got that?

Ambrose was known for the ability to read with his mouth shut, not using his voice or moving his lips.
We’re all taught to do this today, but it was rare in the ancient world! Back then, if you even could read, you usually had to at least move your lips.
Ambrose also passed on to Augustine a very famous piece of advice, that many people quote today without even knowing where it comes from.

8) What advice was that?

Augustine noted that the liturgical customs in Rome were different than those used in other places and Ambrose told him something we still quote today.

We paraphrase it in English, but it’s the same thought: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”Some-Advice-On-Prayer-2-saint-ambrose-of-milan-1St_AmbroseSome-Advice-On-Prayer-2-St.-Ambrose-Stained-Glass

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS

Quote/s of the Day – 3 December 2017 – The First Sunday of Advent

Quote/s of the Day – 3 December 2017 – The First Sunday of Advent

“In the first Coming He comes in the flesh and in weakness;
in the second, He comes in spirit and in power;
in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty;
and the second Coming is the means
whereby we pass from the first to the third.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Churchin the first coming - st bernard - 3 dec 2017

It is Advent. All our answers remain fragmentary.
The first thing we have to accept is, ever and again,
the reality of an enduring Advent.
If we do that, we shall begin to realise
that the borderline between “before Christ” and “after Christ”
does not run through historical time, in an outward sense
and cannot be drawn on any map;
it runs through our own hearts.
Insofar as we are living on a basis of selfishness, of egoism,
then even today, we are “before Christ.”
But in this time of Advent, let us ask the Lord to grant
that we may live less and less “before Christ”
and certainly not “after Christ,” but truly “with Christ and in Christ” –
with Him who is indeed Christ yesterday, today and forever.

Joseph Ratzinger (1964) aka Pope Emeritus Benedict XVIit is advent - ratzinger - benedict - 3 dec 2017

Posted in CHRIST the KING, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, The WORD

NOVENA TO CHRIST KING in preparation for the Liturgical Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Written by Prince Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, Archbishop of Krakow

in preparation for the Liturgical Feast
of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Written by Prince Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, Archbishop of Krakow

Day Two
Through Jesus Christ and in Him

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Hebrew 1:1-2a
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets;  in these last days, he spoke to us through a son . . .

Jesus is frequently ignored and ridiculed, is announced to have been a king of the past and not to be the king of the present, let alone of tomorrow, is pushed into the junk room of issues and personages that should not be mentioned aloud and publicly…(Benedict XVI, address during the encounter with young people at Błonia Field in Cracow, 27 May 2006)

PRAYER – God, the Father of all mercy and solace, the kindest Lord and King!   You haVE sent Your only Son to make the world believe that You arE its only love, happiness and meaning of existence.   Our Lord is not only the Redeemer but that He also loves
every soul and hath shed His Blood for everyone.    May Your Kingdom arrive sooner in the souls of those who are paying this homage to You today;  in our families, parishes and the entire Nation.   You who livest and reigns world without end. Amen.

Prayer to Jesus Christ King of the Universe
by Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha (1927)

O Jesus, Lord of our hearts and immortal King of centuries, we hereby solemnly swear to You to stand faithfully by Your throne and by You.   We swear never to blemish Your standard with unbelief, sectarianism or any other apostasy.   We vow to You to persevere in the holy Catholic faith until we die.
May our posterity engrave it on our tombstones that we were never embarrassed because of our faith in You, Jesus the King and Your Gospel.   May You reign in our hearts through grace.   May You reign in our families through family virtues.   May You reign in our schools through genuine Catholic upbringing.
May You reign in our society through justice and concord.  May You reign everywhere, always and forever.   May Your standard be a guide for us all, may Your Kingdom extend to every corner of the earth! Amen

Let us pray:  Almighty God, the powerful King of all creation, we humbly beseech You to send the hosts of angels for our protection so that we may serve You with devotion, with no hindrance and in peace.   We beseech You through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.DAY TWO - novena to christ the king - 18 november 2017

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – – 18 November – The Feast of the Dediciation of the Basilicas of Sts Peter and Paul

Quote of the Day – – 18 November – The Feast of the Dediciation of the Basilicas of Sts Peter and Paul

“The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human being, limited and sinful, to convert to form a ‘cosmos,’ a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints.
This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the ‘ecclesia,’ that is, the community of the baptised, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ.
She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.”

Pope Benedict XVI – 2008the beauty and harmony - pope benedict - 18 nov 2017the beauty and harmony - pope benedict - 18 nov 2017.-no2

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, DOMINICAN, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 15 November – The Memorial of St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church: Pope Benedict XVI on St Albert, Faith and Science

Thought for the Day – 15 November – The Memorial of St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church Pope Benedict XVI on St Albert, Faith and Science (Excerpt)

One of the great masters of medieval theology is St Albert the Great.   The title “Great”, (Magnus), with which he has passed into history indicates the vastness and depth of his teaching, which he combined with holiness of life.   However, his contemporaries did not hesitate to attribute to him titles of excellence even then.   One of his disciples, Ulric of Strasbourg, called him the “wonder and miracle of our epoch”.

He still has a lot to teach us.   Above all, St Albert shows that there is no opposition between faith and science, despite certain episodes of misunderstanding that have been recorded in history.   A man of faith and prayer, as was St Albert the Great, can serenely foster the study of the natural sciences and progress in knowledge of the micro- and macrocosm, discovering the laws proper to the subject, since all this contributes to fostering thirst for and love of God.   The Bible speaks to us of creation as of the first language through which God who is supreme intelligence, who is the Logos reveals to us something of himself.   The Book of Wisdom, for example, says that the phenomena of nature, endowed with greatness and beauty, is like the works of an artist through which, by analogy, we may know the Author of creation (cf. Wis 13: 5).   With a classical similitude in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance one can compare the natural world to a book written by God that we read according to the different approaches of the sciences (cf. Address to the participants in the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 31 October 2008; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 5 November 2008, p. 6).   How many scientists, in fact, in the wake of St Albert the Great, have carried on their research inspired by wonder at and gratitude for a world which, to their eyes as scholars and believers, appeared and appears as the good work of a wise and loving Creator! Scientific study is then transformed into a hymn of praise.   Enrico Medi, a great astrophysicist of our time, whose cause of beatification has been introduced, wrote:  “O you mysterious galaxies… I see you, I calculate you, I understand you, I study you and I discover you, I penetrate you and I gather you.   From you I take light and make it knowledge, I take movement and make it wisdom, I take sparkling colours and make them poetry;  I take you stars in my hands and, trembling in the oneness of my being, I raise you above yourselves and offer you in prayer to the Creator, that through me alone you stars can worship” (Le Opere. Inno alla creazione).

St Albert the Great reminds us that there is friendship between science and faith and that through their vocation to the study of nature, scientists can take an authentic and fascinating path of holiness.

His extraordinary openmindedness is also revealed in a cultural feat which he carried out successfully, that is, the acceptance and appreciation of Aristotle’s thought.   In St Albert’s time, in fact, knowledge was spreading of numerous works by this great Greek philosopher, who lived a quarter of a century before Christ, especially in the sphere of ethics and metaphysics.   They showed the power of reason, explained lucidly and clearly the meaning and structure of reality, its intelligibility and the value and purpose of human actions.   St Albert the Great opened the door to the complete acceptance in medieval philosophy and theology of Aristotle’s philosophy, which was subsequently given a definitive form by St Thomas.   This reception of a pagan pre-Christian philosophy, let us say, was an authentic cultural revolution in that epoch.   Yet many Christian thinkers feared Aristotle’s philosophy, a non-Christian philosophy, especially because, presented by his Arab commentators, it had been interpreted in such a way, at least in certain points, as to appear completely irreconcilable with the Christian faith. Hence a dilemma arose: are faith and reason in conflict with each other or not?

This is one of the great merits of St Albert:  with scientific rigour he studied Aristotle’s works, convinced that all that is truly rational is compatible with the faith revealed in the Sacred Scriptures.   In other words, St Albert the Great thus contributed to the formation of an autonomous philosophy, distinct from theology and united with it only by the unity of the truth.   So it was that in the 13th century a clear distinction came into being between these two branches of knowledge, philosophy and theology, which, in conversing with each other, cooperate harmoniously in the discovery of the authentic vocation of man, thirsting for truth and happiness:  and it is above all theology, that St Albert defined as “emotional knowledge”, which points out to human beings their vocation to eternal joy, a joy that flows from full adherence to the truth.

St Albert the Great was capable of communicating these concepts in a simple and understandable way.   An authentic son of St Dominic, he willingly preached to the People of God, who were won over by his words and by the example of his life.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray the Lord that learned theologians will never be lacking in holy Church, wise and devout like St Albert the Great and that he may help each one of us to make our own the “formula of holiness” that he followed in his life:  “to desire all that I desire for the glory of God, as God desires for His glory all that He desires”, in other words always to be conformed to God’s will, in order to desire and to do everything only and always for His glory.

Pope Benedict XVI – Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

St Albert the Great, Pray for us!st albert the great - pray for us