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 PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 12 January – St Aelred of Rievaulx OCSO (1110-1167)

Thought for the Day – 12 January – 6th day after Epiphany and The Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx OCSO (1110-1167)

“Charity may be
a very short word
but with its tremendous
meaning of pure love,
it sums up man’s
entire relation to God
and to his neighbour.”

St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)charity may be a very short word - st aelred - 12 jan 2019

Aelred of Rievaulx on Jesus Christ as the model of brotherly love and patience through His forgiveness of persecutors and enemies and His prayer from the cross
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies.   We can find no greater inspiration for this, than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ.   He who is more fair than all the sons of men, offered His fair face to be spat upon by sinful men;  He allowed those eyes that rule the universe to be blindfolded by wicked men;  He bared His back to the scourges;  He submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers, to the sharpness of the thorns;  He gave Himself up to be mocked and reviled and, at the end, endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace.

In short, He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before the shearers, He kept silent and did not open His mouth.

Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity – Father, forgive them – and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love?   Father, He says, forgive them!   Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer?

Yet He put into it something more.   It was not enough to pray for them – He wanted also to make excuses for them.  Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.   They are great sinners, yes but they have little judgement;  therefore, Father, forgive them.   They are nailing me to the cross but they do not know who it is that they are nailing to the cross – if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory, therefore, Father, forgive them.   They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people.   I have hidden my face from them and they do not recognise my glory, therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature.   If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord.   Further, if he wishes to savour the joy of brotherly love, with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love.

But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Saviour.”

This excerpt from the Mirror of Love by Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, abbot (Lib 3, 5: PL 195, 382) focuses on Christ as the supreme model of brotherly love, shown primarily in His love of persecutors and enemies.   It is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for Friday of the 1st week in Lent with the accompanying biblical reading taken from Exodus 12: 21-36.

St Aelred, Pray for Us!st-aelred-pray-for-us-12-jan-2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The WORD

Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

27 December – The Third Day of the Christmas Octave

Jesus in swaddling clothes

“Consider the Blessed Mother, having given birth to her Son, now takes Him with reverence in her arms, adoring Him as God and then wrapping Him in swaddling clothes. Behold the infant Jesus, who obediently offers His little hands and feet and allows Himself to be swaddled. Consider, that every time the holy Infant allowed Himself to be swathed, He thought of the cords with which He would one day be bound and led captive from the Garden of Gethsamene. Also, consider the cords which secured Him to the column on which He was whipped and the nails which would secure Him to His Cross. All of this He permitted, in order to deliver our souls from the chains of hell. Bound in these swaddling clothes, Jesus turns to us and invites us to unite ourselves with Him, with the holy bonds of love.”

Scripture

And she gave birth to her first-born son
and wrapped him in swaddling clothes
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

Prayer (St Alphonsus)

“My beloved Jesus,
You have imprisoned Yourself
in swaddling clothes
because of Your love for me.
I will become a prisoner
of Your infinite love.
Bind me tight,
so that I may never be able
to disengage myself
from Your love!
Amen”and she wrapped him in swaddling christmas with st alphonsus -luke 2 7 - my beloved jesus 27dec2017

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The HOLY CROSS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The HOLY NAME, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The RESURRECTION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – Blessed is He

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessed is He
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church

Blessed is the Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe, who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit, who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One, who suddenly enriched our poverty
and supplied our need.
Blessed is He, whose tender mercy led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He, whom freedom crucified, because He permitted it.
Blessed is He, whom also the wood bore, because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He, whom the grave bound, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He, whose free choice brough Him
to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He, who sealed our soul and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One, who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He, who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He, who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high, who became flesh today for us.
Amenblessed is he by st ephrem 25 dec 2018

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The PASSION

Quote of the Day – 23 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Quote of the Day – 23 December – The Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Jesus Christ, the God-Man,
was born in a manger and is spiritually reborn on the altar.
He suffered on Calvary
and continues to offer Himself on the altar.
In His earthly life, He spread His teaching
and worked miracles among the crowds.
In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries
and communicates Himself to all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchjesus-christ-the-god-man-st-john-chrysostom-23-dec-20171

Posted in ADVENT, Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The HOLY CROSS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Quote of the Day – 20 December

Quote of the Day – 20 December

“Christ…took our nature, when He would redeem it,
He redeemed it by making it suffer in His own Person –
He purified it, by making it pure in His own Person.
He first sanctified it in Himself,
made it righteous,
made it acceptable to God,
submitted it to an expiatory passion
and then, He imparted it to us.
He took it,
consecrated it,
broke it
and said,
“Take and divide it among yourselves.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)christ took our nature when he would redeem it bl john henry 20dec2018

Posted in ADVENT, ADVENT PRAYERS, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION, The WORD

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

19 December

The passion of Jesus lasted throughout His whole life

“Consider that when Abraham was leading his son Isaac to death, that he did not give him notice of it beforehand, even during the short time that was necessary for them to arrive at the mount.   But the eternal Father chose that His incarnate Son, whom He had destined to be the victim for the atonement of our sins, should know the sorrow He was to endure from the very first moment that He was in His mother’s womb.  The whole life, then, of our blessed Redeemer and all the years that He spent, was a life of pain and tears. His divine heart never passed one moment free from suffering.   The martyrs have suffered but assisted by grace, they suffered with you and fervour.   Jesus Christ suffered but He suffered with a heart full of weariness and sorrow and He accepted all, for our love.

O sweet, O amiable, O loving heart of Jesus, I thank You.   O afflicted and loving heart of my Lord, I thank You for all that You suffered for me!”

Scripture

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
Psalm 71:4advent with st alphonsus rescue me o my god psalm 71-4 o sweet 19dec2018

Prayer

O ROOT OF JESSE,
that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication,
come, to deliver us and tarry not.o-root-of-jesse-19-dec-2017

Advent Action
Speechless I stand before You, contemplating the Father’s mysterious design for our salvation.   I revere the elaborate preparations the Father puts in place for Your coming into our midst as one of us.    First, He prepares a mother for You, preserving her from sin right from conception and filling her with grace.   Then, in the fullness of time, He approaches her announcing His plan and the role she has to play in it.   Then, He takes care of her heart-broken husband, Joseph, announcing to him the mystery of Your incarnation.   And finally, the Father raises one more prophet to prepare the field for Your mission and to introduce You to our world.
Today, Your Word invites me to reflect on the role of the Baptist in Your redemptive work and challenges me to make space for You to be born in our world and in my heart.
Lord, let my life be a pointer to You as John’s was…I beg You!