Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

Though each and every individual occupies a definite place in this body to which he has been called, and though all the progeny of the church is differentiated and marked with the passage of time, nevertheless as the whole community of the faithful, once begotten in the baptismal font, was crucified with Christ in the passion, raised up with him in the resurrection and at the ascension placed at the right hand of the Father, so too it is born with him in this Nativity, which we are celebrating today.

St Leo the Great

Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth. First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

St Paul VI, Pope

A Week of Saints (December 30, 2018 – January 5, 2019)

Sunday, December 30: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

God uses the family to teach relationship: our relationship with the Father as children, Jesus as brother, Our Lady as Mother, the Church as the bride of Christ.  On this feast of the Holy Family, we have the opportunity to pray and meditate on the family God chose for His own Son. 

May the Holy Family, who had to overcome many painful trials, watch over all the families in the world, especially those who are experiencing difficult situations. May the Holy Family also help men and women of culture and political leaders, so that they may defend the institution of the family, based on marriage, and so that they may sustain the family, as it confronts the grave challenges of the modern age!…may Chtistian families find the light and strength to be united and grow as the ‘domestic church’, especially in their diligent participation in he celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. “St John Paul II

Monday, December 31: St Sylvester, Priest, Pope (c 250-335):  

St Sylvester was born in Rome. He enjoyed providing shelter to Christians passing through the city, and would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table and give them all the care the needed in the name of Christ. One such Christian was Timothy of Antioch.  After Timothy’s death, Sylvester was imprisoned for helping Timothy, but later released upon the death of the governor.  Under the tyranny of Diocletian, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. Sylvester became Pope in 314. He is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the triumph of the Church, and the Baptism of Constantine (when Constantine was cured of leprosy).

Tuesday, January 1:  The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

“Today, the liturgy of the Octave of Christmas presents to us the icon of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. The Apostle Paul points her out as the “woman” through whom the Son of God entered the world. Mary of Nazareth is the Theotokos, the One who “gave birth to the King of Heaven and earth for ever” (Entrance Antiphon; cf. Sedulius). At the beginning of this new year, let us place ourselves with docility at the school of Mary. We want to learn from her, the Holy Mother, how to accept in faith and prayer the salvation that God never ceases to offer to all who trust in his merciful love.”    St John Paul II

Wednesday, January 2: St Basil the Great, Priest, Bishop (329-379)

After studying various modes of religious life, St Basil founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor, and his principles influence Eastern monasticism today. Basil stood strong against Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, and was at its height. He worked hard to unite and rally his fellow Catholics, who were crushed by tyranny. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition.  Basil was best known as a speaker. 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.

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

Patron:  hospital administrators, reformers, monks, education, exorcism, liturgists

Thursday, January 3:The Most Holy Name of Jesus 

Jesus, the name that is above every name. St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter class struggles and family feuds in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, because of Fr.  In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church.

“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” St John Neumann

Friday, January 4: St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Mother Seton is first American to be canonized. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity, opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage, while raising her five children. She was born a protestant, in high society, married a wealthy business man, William Magee Seton, who died of Tuberculosis.  At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.  While in Italy Elizabeth witnessed three basic points that led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore.

“How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound.”

Patron:  Catholic Schools

Saturday, January 5: St John Neumann, Priest, Bishop (1811-1860):  

John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York. There he did missionary work, and joined the Redemptorists becoming its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio.  As bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one. He drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. John Neumann became the first American bishop to be canonized.

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

Patron: Catholic education

Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

Every other person who ever came into this world came into it to live. He came into it to die. Death was a stumbling block to Socrates — it interrupted his teaching. But to Christ, death was the goal and fulfillment of His life, the gold that He was seeking. Few of His words or actions are intelligible without reference to His Cross. He presented Himself as a Savior rather than merely as a Teacher. It meant nothing to teach men to be good unless He also gave them the power to be good, after rescuing them from the frustration of guilt.

The story of every human life begins with birth and ends with death. In the Person of Christ, however, it was His death that was first and His life that was last. …

The manger and the Cross thus stand at the two extremities of the Savior’s life! He accepted the manger because there was no room in the inn; He accepted the Cross because men said, “We will not have this man for our king.” Disowned upon entering, rejected upon leaving, He was laid in a stranger’s stable at the beginning, and a stranger’s grave at the end. An ox and an ass surrounded His crib at Bethlehem; two thieves were to flank His Cross on Calvary. He was wrapped in swaddling bands in His birthplace, He was again laid in swaddling clothes in His tomb — clothes symbolic of the limitations imposed on His Divinity when He took a human form. …

He was already bearing His Cross — the only cross a Babe could bear, a cross of poverty, exile and limitation. His sacrificial intent already shone forth in the message the angels sang to the hills of Bethlehem:

     This day, in the city of David

     A Savior has been born for you,

     The Lord Christ Himself. (Luke 2:11)

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

”We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas-time, not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility, in a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another.” –

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

St. John Chrysostom

Inspiring Thoughts (Octave Of Christmas)

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier (St Stephen). Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world. Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe