Today, I am a bit under the weather, so I have only a brief thought, and I’m lucky that I can get away with only that. I honor and pray for our priests, who celebrate Mass, anoint the Sick, hear confessions, council the sheep etc, when they are not feeling well. I am grateful, I pray for their health, and admire their servitude to God’s will and their vocation.
Sunday, December 2
The First Week Of Advent
Today we begin the journey of Advent, a time of hope and anticipation of the coming of the Lord at Christmas, but also for Christ’s second coming. Take time to reflect how you will prepare spiritually for Christmas this year.
Monday, December 3
St Francis Xavier, Priest (1506-1552)
Francis was won to Jesus Christ by his good friend St Ignatius of Loyola. He joined the Infant Society of Jesus, after praying the “Spiritual Exercises” guided by St Ignatius. He was ordained, then traveled to India and Japan to teach the faith to the Hindus. He served as provincial of the new Jesuit province of India. Wherever he went, he lived with the poorest people, sharing their food and rough accommodations, and caring for the sick, with joy. He learned enough Japanese to bring the Gospel to simple folk.
“Mary is the Mysterious Book of predesttinaton to glory”
Patron: missions, epidemics, propagation of the faith
Tuesday, December 4
St John Damascene, Priest (676?-749)
Born in Damascus, John spent most of his life all of his life under Muslim rule. He held a government job, under the Arabs, but after a few years went to the monastery of St Sabas. He is famous in three areas. his writings against those, who opposed the veneration of images, his summary of the Greek Fathers, and as a poet. His devotion to the Blessed Mother and his sermons on her feasts are well known.
“To serve Mary and to be her courtier is the greatest honor we can possibly possess; for to serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there; and to live under her command is more than to govern.”
“Envy is pain over the good fortune of others.”
Patron: pharmacists, icon painters, theology students
Wednesday, December 5
St Gerald, Bishop (855-909)
St. Gerald was one of the clerics called by the Archbishop of Toledo to bring about reform in Spain. He did so well with his duties that Gerald was chosen by the clergy and people to become the Bishop of Braga. He eradicating the abuse of the administering of ecclesiastical investiture by laymen.
Patron: bachelors, counts, disabled people
Thursday, December 6
St Nicholas, Bishop (c 342)
Historically, we can only pinpoint the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a province of Asia Minor. Many stories are told of Nicholas. Probably the most famous is that of the poor man with three unwed daughters and no dowry. Because he didn’t want to see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly threw three bags of gold through the window, so they could marry. This evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast.
“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”
Patron: children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves
Friday. December 7
St Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor (340-397)
Ambrose was born and raised in the Roman Empire, with his father the governor, who died when Ambrose was very young. His sister, Saint Marcellina, and his mother and brother brought Ambrose up to know, love, and serve God. Ambrose became a lawyer and served as a governor. He was very respected.. When their corrupt Bishop died Ambrose was asked to speak to the people to calm them down. He was so successful a child cried out “Ambrose for Bishop” Ambrose, a catechumen, was unanimously acclaimed bishop of Milan. He was Baptized, Confirmed, Ordained and made Bishop on the same day. He gave up everything he owned and started serving the Church. Ambrose was famous for his sermons and his teaching, especially on the sacraments, and it was his preaching that got the attention of the young Saint Augustine.
“The devil’s snare does not catch you, unless you are first caught by the devil’s bait.”
“The devil tempts that he may ruin; God tests that he may crown.”
Saturday, December 8
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (declared dogma, 1854)
“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful…”
Pope Pius IX
“Many cry to God, but not with the voice of the soul, but with the voice of the body; only the cry of the heart, of the soul, reaches God.”
“What tongue, human or angelic, may ever describe a power so immeasurable as that exercised by the simplest priest in Mass? Who could ever have imagined that the voice of man, which by nature hath not the power even to raise a straw from the ground, should obtain through grace a power so stupendous as to bring from Heaven to earth the Son of God?”
St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Recently I was told that a priest, who was very helpful to me in my youth, died. I thought back to my younger years, before marriage and children, when I was barely an adult, and he was fresh out of the seminary, a newly ordained priest, and I thanked God for his anointed hands, and for his life dedicated to the priesthood. Although A young man, he spoke to me with inspiration, wisdom, and the dedication of God’s appointed shepherd, a spiritual guide, a priestly father.
This is the time of year for Ordinations, and anniversaries of the same. Celebrating these men, God’s Anointed, for their fiats.
Many holy people have touched my life that is certain. So, what’s so special about a priest? Here it is, in my opinion… because God is the Creator , and He said we need priests. He should know, right?
I change the oil in my car, when the the maintenance indicator tells me to, because the manufacturer says that’s what it needs to run efficiently. Well I kind of think of a priest as the mechanic of my soul. Our Creator set up a maintenance plan, Baptism, Confession, Eucharist, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, then gave our priests special hands capable of keeping us spiritually in tune. We though, are very precious to our Father, so He ordained that these “mechanics” had to be holy, compassionate and faithful. They had to love us as He does, like children. It is their gift and burden. It’s not a burden forced upon them. On the contrary, it is a grace, very tenderly offered, and selectively given. It is the fiat of a man, lovingly requested. Thus the birth of a Priest, forever, in the line of Melchizedek.