Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY SPIRIT, The HOLY TRINITY, The WORD

One minute Reflection – 13 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

One minute Reflection – 13 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Gospel:  Luke 3:15-22 and Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church

“…when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son with thee I am well pleased.”…Luke 3:21-22when jesus also had been baptised luke 3 21-22 13 jan 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Jesus rises from the waters;  the world rises with Him.   The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.   The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.  A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.   The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honour to the body that is one with God.
Today, let us do honour to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.   Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.   Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom His every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world.   You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.   You are to enjoy, more and more, the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received—though not in its fullness—a ray of its splendour, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. “…St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390 – Father & Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Oration 39: On Holy Light)he wants you to become a living force - st gregory of nazianzen - 13 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Father, keep us from vain strife of words.
Grant to us constant profession of the Truth!
Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith
so that we may hold fast to that
which we professed when we were baptised
in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
that we may have You for our Father,
that we may abide in Your Son
and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen…St Hilary of Poitierso-holy-trinity-prayer-for-perseverance-in-truth-st-hilary-of-poitiers-13-jan-2018.jpg

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Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Christmas Weekday – Today’s Gospel: John 1:35–42

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Christmas Weekday – Today’s Gospel: John 1:35–42

“….he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”   The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus.”...John 1: 36-37behold the lamb of god - john 1 36-37 4 jan 2019

REFLECTION – “He is the Way, because He leads us through Himself;   Door, as letting us in;   Shepherd, as making us dwell in green pastures and bringing us up to the waters of rest, leading us there and protecting us from wild beasts, restoring the erring and bringing back the lost sheep.  He binds the wounded, guards the strong and thanks to His words of pastoral knowledge He gathers them together into the Fold on high.”…St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctorhe is the way because he leads us - st gregory of nazianzen 4 jan 2019

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a child of eternity.   Help me to live each day in such a way that I may deserve to be a child of Yours forever.   Grant that by the prayers of St Elizabeth Ann Seton and St Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, we may strive always to keep our eyes fixed on Your Son, our entry to You, our Shepherd and our Saviour who will lead us to our eternal home.   May we never waiver from Your commandments. Amen.st-e-a-seton-pray-for-us-4-jan-2018

st manuel gonzalez garcia pray for us 4 jan 2019

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 2 January – Sts Basil & Gregory

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen

“It often happens, that men of very dissimilar talents, tastes, are attracted together by their very dissimilitude …. Gregory the affectionate, the tender-hearted, the man of quick feelings, the accomplished, the eloquent preacher – and Basil, the man of firm resolve and hard deeds, the high-minded ruler of Christ’s flock, the diligent labourer in the field of ecclesiastical politics.
Thus they differed, yet not as if they had not much in common still – both had the blessing and the discomfort of a sensitive mind; both were devoted to an ascetic life; both were men of classical tastes’ both were special champions of the Catholic creed; both were skilled in argument and successful in their use of it; both were in highest place in the Church, the one Exarch of Caesarea, the other Patriarch of Constantinople.”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Historial Sketches

“Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) (from his writings on his friendship with St Basil).

It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten.   Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, no pain.

In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.

Sts Basil and Gregory, Pray for Us!different-men-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil & St Gregory

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen

Two are better than one:
they get a good wage for their toil.
If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one.
But woe to the solitary person!
If that one should fall, there is no other to help…

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10ecc-4-9-10 - two are better than one - 2 jan 2017

“Let us raise ourselves from our fall
and not give up hope, as long as we are free from sin.
Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.
‘Come, let us adore and prostrate ourselves and weep before him’ (Psalm 95:6).
The Word calls us to repentance, crying out:
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will refresh you’ (Matthew 11:28).
There is, then, a way to salvation
if we are willing to follow it”
(from a letter by Saint Basil the Great)let us raise ourselves - st basil the great 2 jan 2019.jpg

“A tree is known by its fruit;
a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost,
he who sows courtesy, reaps friendship
and he who plants kindness, gathers love.”a tree is known by its fruits - st basil the great 2 jan 2019.jpg

“The bread which you use
is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe
is the garment of him who is naked;
the shoes you do NOT wear,
are the shoes of the one who is barefoot;
the acts of charity that you do NOT perform,
are so many INJUSTICES that you commit.”the bread you store up - st basil the great - 1 jan 2019

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe hairsplitting difference - st basil the great - 2 jan 2019

“Give something, however small,
to the one in need.
For it is not small to one who has nothing.
Neither is it small to God,
if we have given what we could.”give-something-however-small-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2016.jpg

“If anyone does not believe
that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”if anyone does not believe - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2019.jpg

“Let us not esteem worldly prosperity,
or adversity, as things real or of any moment
but let us live elsewhere
and raise all our attention to Heaven,
esteeming sin as the only true evil
and nothing truly good
but virtue, which unites us to God.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchlet us not esteem worldly prosperity - st gregory of nazianzen 2 jan 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, HOMILIES, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: John 1:19–28

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: John 1:19–28

He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”…John 1:23

REFLECTION – “It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith.   We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith.   One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” — “I belong to this religion…”.   But your life is far from being Christian – it is far removed from God!   Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”.   This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find Him.   He is waiting for us.   This is John the Baptist’s preaching: prepare.   Prepare for the encounter with this Child who will give our smile back to us.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 7 December 2016john 1 23 - i am the voice crying in the wilderness - it is a voice - pope francis 2 jan 2019prepare for the encounter with this child - pope francis 2 jan 2019

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love, let Your light penetrate the wilderness in our hearts.   May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace. God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory.   Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love.   Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.sts-basil-and-gregory-pray-for-us-2-jan-2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) “Two Bodies one Spirit”

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church “Two Bodies one Spirit”basil-and-gregory

On 2 January, the Roman Catholic Church honours the memory of two friends from an area of what is now Turkey that was called Cappadocia.   These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who were the backbone of Catholic Orthodoxy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion.   Gregory presided over the 2nd ecumenical council, held at Constantinople, whose great achievement was the completion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.   These Cappadocian Fathers, both Doctors of the Church, proved to be some of the most influential Christian teachers of all time, honoured by both East and West, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

 

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty.   After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor.   He is to monks of the East what Saint Benedict is to the West and Basil’s principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea—now southeastern Turkey—and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

Arianism, one of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height.   Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down.   But trouble remained.   When the great Saint Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil.   He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension.   He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition.   Even appeals to the pope brought no response.   “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”St-Basil-the-Great-1.jpg

Basil was tireless in pastoral care.   He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world—as a youth he had organised famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself—and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator.   Though not recognised greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church.   Seventy two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”st-basil-the-great1

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery.   The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate.   It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility.   He skilfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism.   At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.

An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese.   Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades.   Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence.   He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city.   In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous.   In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence.   An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity.   He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty.   He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”st-gregory-of-nazianzus-e1480804203636

 

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Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018

Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018 – The Third ‘Gaudete’ Sunday of Advent

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 293

John is the voice but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning.   John is the voice that lasts for a time, from the beginning, Christ is the Word who lives forever.

Take away the word, the meaning and what is the voice?   Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound.   The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts.   When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart.   When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.

In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find a place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you.   The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away.   The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart and yet it is still also in mine.

When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say – the word ought to grow and I should diminish?   The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word and has gone away, as though it were saying – my joy is complete.   Let us hold on to the word;  we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains?   Where is John’s baptism today?   It served its purpose and it went away.   Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate.   It is in Christ that we all believe, we hope for salvation in Him.   This is the message the voice cried out.

Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ.   The voice was thought to be the word.   But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word.   I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet.   And the question came:  Who are you, then?   He replied:  I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness – Prepare the way for the Lord!

The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence.   Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying:  “I speak out in order to lead Him into your hearts but He does not choose to come where I lead Him, unless you prepare the way for Him.”

To prepare the way means to pray well – it means thinking humbly of oneself.  We should take our lesson from John the Baptist.   He is thought to be the Christ, he declares he is not what they think.   He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.

If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke.   But he did not say it, he acknowledged what he was.   He pointed out clearly who he was;  he humbled himself.

He saw where his salvation lay.   He understood that he was a lamp and his fear was that it might be blown out, by the wind of pride.”

I speak out in order to lead Him - st augustine - 16 dec 2018

“The very Son of God, 
older than the ages, 
the invisible,
the incomprehensible, 
the incorporeal, 
the beginning of beginning, 
the light of light, 
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype, 
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image 
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul 
for the good of my soul, 
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Churchthe-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete sunday 2017

Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

 

come o come emmanuel - 16 dec 2018