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

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

Mary, How Did You Behold Him?

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Did you behold Him your child?

You looked in His face, what found you there?

Did you see your self, your eyes, your hair?

Did you behold Him Creator?

Omnipotent God, Who created you.

In His image, was yours there too?

Did you behold Him Spirit?

Did His infant coos, speak to your heart?’

What did you hear. In His word to impart?

Did you behold Him The Word?

The Word Incarnate, who dwelled in your womb.

The Visible Word, who arose from the tomb.

Did you behold Him Healer?

In His fingers grasp, was His power perceived? 

Did you sense the healing, the lepers received?

Did you behold Him Savior?

Did the pulse of His heart, announce our Salvation bought, 

with His selfless love,  on the cross He sought.

Mother Mary how did you ever behold Him?

In a stable in Bethlehem, with angels singing,  

The Son of Man meeting your eyes, 

At rest in your lap…Is God!

Inspiring Thoughts

Second Reading in the Office Of Readings, December 20th

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord,’ she says, ‘be it done to me according to your word.”

St Bernard

 

Imminence

C4F46123-7DD8-44A2-A6AB-748D40428CC1Imminence is defined  “The state of being about to happen”.  When you link that thought with the Octave before Christmas, it can conjure up a mega dose of excitement… a child’s imagination… seeing family from afar… elaborate food… parties…Children’s Choirs…Midnight Mass…etc.

This Advent I have been more aware of how Our God may celebrate Advent and Christmas Day.  This day that Salvation is born for His beloved humanity.  We commemorate many things with national holidays, birthdays and Anniversaries.  We save our children’s baby hair, write down their first words, and photograph every milestone.  We want to celebrate and remember every positive aspect of our history and lives.

Now we are decorating, baking, gift buying, and planning for our celebrations for a Babe in a manger. In Heaven I think our God can’t think birth, without death and Resurrection. Christmas is the shot heard around the world; the cry, in the night perhaps that heralded God’s victory of salvation.  Can you imagine the heavenly vibe this octave before Christmas…Imminence

A Week of Saints/O Antiphons

There are no Saint Feast Days

on the General Roman Liturgical Calendar this week.   Usually when that happens, I just select another saint, who’s feast is that day.  Since the Church sets aside the time of Advent, to reflect upon the coming of Christmas.  I thought it fitting to do the same.

The O Antiphons are prayed during Vespers the octave before Christmas, in anticipation of the birth of the Savior.  They celebrate the prophetic titles of Jesus.  The ancient monks who first assembled the O Antiphons were very creative with the order in which they are prayed. The first letter of each antiphon (in Latin) starting from the last to the first, spells the word ERO CRAS, which translates, “Tomorrow I will come.”

Sunday,  December 16

Third Sunday of Advent

Today is Gaudete Sunday, when we shift our reflection from “the Lord is coming” to “the Lord is near.” Rejoice!

December 17

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, You came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and reach from one end of the earth to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: come and teach us the way of prudence.”

December 18

O Adonai

O Lord, of the house of Israel, You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush; on Mount Sinai You gave him Your law:  with outstretched arm, come and redeem us.”

December 19

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, You stand as an ensign to the people; before You kings shall keep silence, all Nations bow in worship: come and save us, and do not delay.”

December 20

O Clavis David

O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel; come and deliver us from the chains of prison, we who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

December 21

O Oriens

O Radiant Dawn, brightness of the light eternal, sun of righteousness; come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death/”

December 22

O Rex Gentium

“O King of Nations, You are the Cornerstone that  binds two into one: come and save the creatures whom you have fashioned from clay.”

December 23

O Emmanuel

“O Emmanuel (God is with us), the Desire of all nations and their Salvation: come and save us, O Lord our God.”

ERO-CRAS

Tomorrow I Will Come!