Sunday, December 31, 2006


Saint Catherine Laboure was born on 2nd May 1806 to the Labouré family living about 200 miles south of Paris. Catherine was the third youngest of ten children. When she was nine years old her mother died. Then she turned to Mary, her heavenly Mother, for consolation. One day she was seen standing on a chair embracing the family statue and saying, “From now one you will be my mother.” Some time afterwards her elder sister entered the Daughters of Charity. Catherine rose at 5am each day and walked two miles to the next village for daily morning Mass since there was no priest for their parish church. She prayed in their local church every evening.One night she dreamt she was in a church and a strange priest was saying Mass. Still in her dream after Mass she called to a sick person and the priest was in the house. He said, “It is good to look after the sick” and he also said that though she would go away from him then she would come back to him later because God had special plans for her. Sometime later Catherine visited a convent of the Daughters of Charity, the congregation her sister had entered. On the wall of the parlour she saw a picture and realized it was the priest in her dream, St Vincent de Paul, who founded the Daughters of Charity 200 years previously.

At the age of twenty she asked her father’s permission to enter the Daughters of Charity. He refused but relented a few years later and in January 1830 she joined the congregation. A few months after she entered she was moved to the congregation’s mother house in a street called rue du Bac in Paris to begin her training. At 11.30 pm on 18th July, the eve of the feast of St Vincent de Paul, she was wakened by a child of four or five whom she took to be her guardian angel and who led her to the convent chapel where Our Lady appeared to her at midnight. Our Lady sat on the priest’s chair for two hours and invited Catherine to kneel beside her. She gave Catherine a message for herself and all the world, “Come to the foot of this altar. There graces will be poured out for all who ask for them.” Our Lady told her God had a special mission for her but did not tell her what it was. On 27th November, she received a second apparition of Our Lady when she was praying in the convent chapel at 5.30 pm. Our Lady was standing on a globe with her foot crushing the head of a serpent and there were rays of light coming from gems on her fingers. Our Lady said, “Behold the symbol of graces that I will shower down on all who ask me for them.” An oval frame surrounded Our Lady and Catherine could read this prayer in gold lettering on the oval frame, “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Those of you who wear the miraculous medal know that this is the image on the front of the medal. The frame turned and Catherine could see a cross with a large M, representing Mary, beneath it. Beneath the cross were two hearts, one surrounded with thorns whom Catherine understood to represent Jesus, and the other heart was pierced by a sword which Catherine took to represent Mary recalling the words of Simeon in the Temple to Mary that a sword of sorrow would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35). Catherine was told to have a medal struck according to this model. Our Lady said that those who wear the medal properly blessed and repeat the prayer, “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee” will have great graces. Following Our Lady’s request, Catherine told no one but her spiritual director about these apparitions. He went to the archbishop of Paris who allowed the medal to be struck. Originally it was known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception but so many cures and miracles were attributed to it that it was called the Miraculous Medal.

In 1831, the year after her apparitions, Catherine was appointed to another convent. No one knew which Daughter of Charity had received these apparitions of Our Lady although Catherine was suspected because of her piety. In 1876 she felt her life was drawing to a close and she told the mother superior of the Daughters of Charity that she was the sister. When she died the sisters released the news that the sister who had seen Our Lady had died, and though unknown throughout her life she was now the most talked about person. In 1933 as part of the canonisation process her body was exhumed and found to be in perfect preservation and was removed to the convent in the rue du Bac where it may now be seen behind glass in the spot where she received the request from Our Lady for the medal. In 1947 Pope Pius XII declared her to be St Catherine Labouré and called her the ‘saint of silence.’

At the time Our Lady appeared to Catherine in 1830, the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, although widely believed, was not a dogma requiring to be believed. Pope Pius IX is thought to have been influenced by the apparitions to Catherine in the rue du Bac when he decided to consult with the Church if the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady should be declared a dogma. He received overwhelming support and on 8th December 1854 declared Our Lady to have been free of sin from the moment of her conception. Four years later in 1858 Our Lady appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes and when asked who she was she replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” So the apparitions in the rue du Bac in 1830 and the Miraculous Medal prepared for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception to be proclaimed in 1854 and the apparition at Lourdes in 1858 confirmed it.

Every day we have to overcome temptation and sin. We ask Mary Immaculate to help us overcome all temptation and sin in our lives. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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One year of this blog existence has just passed

Today is one year since this blog started posting the meditation themes according to the liturgical Church year. In the coming new year I will continue posting but on less regular basis. Thanks to all visitors who accompanied me on this spiritual journey with their comments and I wish you all a good spiritual progress and all necessary blessings through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Today's image depicts St Anne and Blessed Virgin Mary with child Jesus Read whole post......
after Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's 'The Church's Year'

INTROIT For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night came was in the midst of her course, Thy almighty Word, O Lord, down from heaven, from Thy royal throne (Wis. 18:14-15). The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself (Ps. 92:1). Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT Almighty and everlasting God, direct our actions according to Thy good pleasure; that in the name of Thy beloved Son we may deserve to abound in good works. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE (Gal. 4:1-7). Brethren, as long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all: but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father: so we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: that he might redeem them who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son; and if a son, an heir also through God.

EXPLANATION St. Paul desired to instruct the Galatians, many of whom still clung to the Mosaic law, that this was no longer necessary, because Christ had freed them from its hard bondage, which contained merely the rudiments, so to speak, of the one only saving faith, and had made them children and heirs of God, for which they should rejoice.

Ours is a far greater happiness than that which the Jews received, because we, through our ancestors, were converted by apostolic messengers of the faith from heathenism to the true, saving Catholic faith, and by this holy religion were changed from vassals of Satan, into children and heirs of God. What a great advantage is this! Must it not be dearer to us than all the kingdoms of the world? Let us thank the Lord for it, and be careful not to lose this prerogative of being a child of God, an heir to heaven, let us not by sin give ourselves anew, as voluntary slaves to Satan.

GOSPEL (Lk. 2:33-40). At that time, Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold, this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted: and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she at the same hour coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

Why did Mary and Joseph wonder at the things which were spoken of the child Jesus?
They wondered, not because that which was said of the child Jesus by Simeon was new to them, for they already knew why He was sent from God, but because of the marvellous ways in which God revealed the mysteries of the new-born Savior to Simeon, the shepherds, and to other pious people.

How is Christ set for the fall of many?
Christ is set for the fall, that is, for the eternal damnation, of all those who either reject His doctrine, or live not according to its teachings. They themselves, not Christ, are the cause of their damnation on account of their perversity and hard-heartedness. "If I had not come and spoken to them," says Christ, "they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin" (Jn. 15:22).

For whom is Christ the resurrection?
For those who believe in Him, and live in accordance with the teachings of His doctrine. These, if they persevere will at the Last Day rise to eternal life.

Why is Christ a sign that shall be contradicted?
Because, by His birth from a virgin, by His life and death, and especially by His heavenly doctrine, which is entirely opposed to the carnal spirit of this world, Christ became an object of mockery and blasphemy. Even now, according to the saying of St. Bernard, Christ is a sign of contradiction for many Christians who contradict His humility by their pride, His poverty by their avarice, His fasting by their gluttony, His purity by their impurity, His zeal by their indolence, etc., thus denying by their actions that which they confess with their lips, proving thereby that they are Christians but in name, of whom it is written: "Thou hast the name of being alive, but thou art dead" (Apoc. 3:1).

What is meant by these words: Thy own soul a sword shall pierce?
It means that the greatest grief should cut like a sword through the inmost parts of the soul, which came to pass, when Mary heard the calumnies and blasphemies of the Jews against her Son, and when she saw Him die on the cross between two thieves. Meditating on this grief of the most loving mother Mary, St. Bonaventure exclaims: "Never was there grief so great, for never was there a Son so loved!"

What else do we learn from this gospel?
The widows should learn from Anna, who spent nearly all her life in the temple, to serve God by prayer and fasting; for a widow who prays not, but lives in pleasures, is dead, while she is living (I Tim. 5:6). Parents should learn from it, to be careful that their children not only increase in knowledge, but that they by a pious life advance in grace before God and man.

ASPIRATION O Jesus, Thou new-born Savior, do Thou move our hearts to the fulfillment of Thy precepts that Thou mayst be set for our fall; for it would be much better for us, not to have known the ways of righteousness, than having known them, to have departed from them.


And Simeon blessed them (Lk. 2: 34).

What is meant by a blessing?
A blessing on the part of God, means the giving to man some spiritual or temporal grace; a blessing on the part of an angel or a man, means the expression in prayer of a wish or desire that God would give to some particular person a corporal or spiritual grace. In the proper sense of the word, only God can give a blessing, because all spiritual and temporal good comes from Him; angels and men can only wish and ask of God that He would bestow His gifts.

Have we examples of blessing in the Bible?
Yes, for the angels blessed Jacob (Gen. 32:26), and Jacob blessed his sons and grandsons (Gen. 48:15), Melchisedech blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:19), and Rebecca was blessed by her brothers (Gen. 24:60).

Is it well for parents to bless their children?
Yes, for God frequently ratifies the blessings wished by the parents, as in the case of Isaac who blessed Jacob, and Jacob who blessed his own sons (Gen. 49). And, on the contrary, God permits the curses of parents to be fulfilled on their children as history shows. "The father's blessing establisheth the houses of the children; but the mother's curse rooteth up the foundation" (Ecclus. 3:11).

What power has the priest's blessing?
A very great one, because it is given by the priest, the vicar of Christ on earth, in the name of Jesus, and of the Church founded by Him, in which He has deposited the plenitude of His blessings. The Church expresses this, when the bishop, anointing the hands of the newly ordained, makes the sign of the cross over them. "All that they bless, is blessed; that they consecrate, is consecrated and sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." The blessing of the priest is to be prized therefore, and an obstacle not set to it by a sinful life. Parents should ask his blessing for their children when he happens to visit them. Children were brought to Christ that He might lay His hands on them and bless them (Mt. 19:13).

What is the effect of God's blessing?
In spiritual life it gives great joy and strength to practice virtue; and in physical life it gives fruitful prosperity in our occupations and undertakings. Therefore, all is contained in the blessing of God, and he who receives it, is richer than if he possessed the whole world. We should endeavor by a pious life to secure this blessing, for it rests only on the head of the just (Prov. 10:6).

after Read whole post......

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women Luke 1:28.
Meditation on Immaculate Conception may help us to realize how great is God's detestation of sin. He wanted to have the poor mother but free from even the smallest sin. Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity (Ps 5:7). That is why He wrought His biggest miracle, to keep His chosen one without blemish. This miracle will help us to realize how mighty is God's grace. It will help to increase our hope for salvation. The sweet true is that purity brings joy. For Immaculata brought us joy which she expressed in Magnificat. She brought happiness into the house of Elisabeth and during Cana wedding. Purity of heart is mighty even with God, for Mary is the most pure and mighty before God's throne. We can learn from her. In holy wonder Triune God call: How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! Canticles 4:1. Keeping in mind Our Redeemer words: Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you. Matt 7:6 we need to take great care of the soul's purity. Let us turn to Immaculate Mary and recommend our efforts to her: O Most Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for my poor heart! . Let us be brave in fighting for holy purity of heart, and Immaculata will bring us spiritual happiness and joy and will make us God's friends. Let us sing together with the Holy Church: With joy we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin, asking her intercession with her divine Son Our Lord Jesus Christ
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Friday, December 29, 2006

I am posting today a very useful link to the website which lists the index of false apparitions condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. Private revelations are not dogmas of faith, one is not bound to believe in them. We can read and meditate on the private revelation officially approved by the Church. However, we are bound to believe in Holy Scriptures revelations. As St. John of the Cross says: In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty. (The Ascent of Mount Carmel 2, 22)

Happy New Year and many blessings to all visitors to this blog. Read whole post......
For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Matt 11:10

What was the mission of St John the Baptist? He was calling all to: Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. Matt 3:8 And he baptised those listening to him in the spirit of conversion. The serious time of Advent is the time of conversion, true repentance and forgiveness of sins. Let us look into the Holy Scriptures. How many times God Himself calls His people to genuine repentance: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Joel 2:12-13. In St James'Epistle we read:Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you. Js 4:8-10. David sinned seriously but he repented and his penance was heavy: I have laboured in my groanings, every night I will wash my bed: I will water my couch with my tearsPs 6, 7. And God forgave him. Look at Ninive's inhabitants who sinned so heavily against God. But they repented, fasted and did penance in sacklothes and merciful God took pity on them and on their city which He was about to destroy (Jon 3:5). In similar manner God forgave all who's repentance was genuine, like Peter, the good thief, Mary Magdalene. This is a great consolation and encouragement. Let us not delay repentance and confession and let us not forget about the good practice of little self-denials and mortifications, and maybe we will become like Our Lord's good wheat:(for) he will thoroughly cleanse his floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire Matt 3,12.

Today's picture is "St John the Baptist" by Velazquez Read whole post......
Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr

Spiritual Bouquet: Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth. Apoc 3:16

Saint Thomas, son of an English nobleman, Gilbert Becket, was born on the day consecrated to the memory of Saint Thomas the Apostle, December 21, 1117, in Southwark, England. He was endowed by both nature and grace with gifts recommending him to his fellow men; and his father, certain he would one day be a great servant of Christ, confided his education to a monastery. His first employment was in the government of the London police. There he was obliged to learn the various rights of the Church and of the secular arm, but already he saw so many injustices imposed upon the clergy that he preferred to leave that employment rather than to participate in iniquity. He was perfectly chaste and truthful, and no snares could cause to waver his hatred for any form of covert action. He was employed then by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on missions to Rome and permitted him to study civil law at the University of Bologna (Italy) for an entire year. After a few years, witnessing his perfect service, he made him his Archdeacon and endowed him with several benefices. The young cleric’s virtue and force soon recommended him also to the king, who made of him his Lord Chancellor. In that high office, while inflexible in the rendition of justice, he was generous and solicitous for the relief of misery. He was severe towards himself, spending the better part of every night in prayer. He often employed a discipline, to be less subject to the revolts of the flesh against the spirit. In a war with France he won the respect of his enemies, including that of the young king Louis VII. To Saint Thomas, his own sovereign, Henry II, confided the education of the crown prince. Of the formation of the future king and the young lords who composed his suite, the Chancellor took extreme care, knowing well that the strength of a State depends largely on the early impressions received by the elite of its youth. When Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died, the king insisted on the consecration of Saint Thomas in his stead. Saint Thomas at first declined, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be threatened by his own obligations to uphold the rights of the Church against infringement by the sovereign, whose tendencies were not different from those of his predecessors. In the end he was obliged by obedience to yield. The inevitable conflict was not long in coming. Saint Thomas resisted when the king’s courtiers drew up a list of royal “customs” at Clarendon, where the parliament of the king was assembled, and Henry obliged all the bishops as well as the lords to sign a promise to uphold these without permitting any restrictions whatsoever. Many of these pretended “customs” violated the liberties of the Church, and some were even invented for the occasion. Saint Thomas, obliged in conscience to resist, was soon the object of persecution, not only from the irritated king but by all who had sworn loyalty to his nefarious doings. Saint Thomas took refuge in France under the protection of the generous Louis VII, who resisted successfully the repeated efforts of Henry to turn away his favor from the Archbishop. The Pope at that time was in France, and he, too, was besieged by Henry’s emissaries, but knew well how to pacify minds and protect the defender of the Church. Thomas retired to a Benedictine monastery for two years, and when Henry wrote a threatening letter to its abbot, moved to another. After six years, his office restored as the Pope’s apostolic legate, a title which Henry had wrested from him for a time, he returned to England, to preach again and enforce order in his see. He knew well that it was to martyrdom that he was destined; it is related that the Mother of God appeared to him in France to foretell it to him, and that She presented him for that intention with a red chasuble. By this time the persecuted Archbishop’s case was known to all of Christian Europe, which sympathized with him and elicited from king Henry an appearance of conciliation. A few words which the capricious Henry spoke to certain courtiers who hated Thomas, sufficed for the latter to decide to do away with the prelate who contravened all their unchristian doings. They violated a monastic cloister and chapel to enter there while he was assisting at Vespers; the Saint himself prevented the monks from resisting the assassins at the door. Refusing to flee the church as the assassins summoned him to do, he was slain before the altar, by cruel and murderous repeated blows on the head. He died, saying: “I die willingly, for the name of Jesus and for the defense of the Church.” The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church’s Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church’s rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.

The martyred Archbishop was canonized by Pope Alexander III on Ash Wednesday, 1173, not yet three years after his death on December 29, 1170, to the edification of the entire Church.

Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14.


Today's image is 'Martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury (St. Thomas Becket)' painted originally by Boucicaut Master Read whole post......

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holy Innocents Day


And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying (a): Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel (b) bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child. Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: (c) and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene.


a. Joseph is treated as the one with authority in the Holy Family: it is to him the Angel speaks: he who arranges the journey and provides everything. Authority is attached to office, not to knowledge or holiness.

b. Rachel's tomb was close to Bethlehem

c. He had proposed the settling in Bethlehem, the country which the Prophet had assigned to the expected Saviour

Meditation after Rev. Canon Alfred Weber's "The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ or The four Gospels Harmonized" Read whole post......

Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist Mat.11:11

These words of the Redeemer were very much justified. Let us think about St John the Baptist virtues. His chastity was prominent. To keep it unsullied he left the world and lived in the wilderness. St Thomas Aquinas says us that St John's life was angelic. Although he was human as each one of us, the appearance was his only human attribute. His deeds, desires and thoughts were angelic. We, however, expose our chastity to the world full of dangers and temptations. The most precious stone must be kept hidden! Let us think about severity of his life: John had his garment of camels' hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Mat 3:4. In Luke 1:80 we read: And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel. Our Lord says : This is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet that John the Baptist. Luke 7:27-28 and for John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine Luke 7:33. St Francis de Sales in comments on this passages says that angelic St John was practicing his virtues and mortifications without ceasing. In this days we scarcely use words like penance, mortifications, discipline and self-denial. But the maxim of St Gregory the Great is still binding, for God does not let any sin go without penance. The sinner has to do it on his own, or God, who is just, will do it for reluctant sinner. Let us look then at St John's purity as an excellent example and let him be to us now what he was to those following him: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Mat 11:10 Read whole post......
Martyrs at the time of the Nativity of Our Lord
(†1 A.D.)

Spiritual Bouquet: Hold fast what you have, that no one receive your crown. Apoc 3:11

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod’s superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled. He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He said to the strangers: “When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him.” The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings. God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route. Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant. When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour’s legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

Reflection: That the Holy Innocents may be invoked to be preserved from illusion is the Church’s belief. Herod’s illusion of threat from the newborn King cost their lives... How few, perhaps, of these innocent little ones, if they had lived, would have escaped the dangers of the world! From what snares, what sins, what miseries were they preserved! Surely they rejoice now in their fate. We often lament, as misfortunes, many accidents which in the designs of Heaven are the greatest mercies.

Sources: The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).


Today's picture is 15th century painting - 'The Massacre of the Innocents' - by Sano di Pietro, after Read whole post......

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


"And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John. Mat 11:7

It is the best prize to be praised by the Lord. There was another man, St John the Baptist, who was also this way honoured by Our Lord. In him the prophecy of the Angel was fulfilled: "For he shall be great before the Lord. Luke 1:15St John the Baptist was great prophet who was chosen to announce the Lord's coming. Christ Himself gave testimony: For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.Mat 11:10To him was given the task to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah: And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people. Luke 1:17 Let us do our best to be like St John the Baptist and the beloved Apostle. Let us try to talk to our loved ones and our friends about Christ and about His teachings. Let us be very zealous in preparation for Lord's coming at the beginning of the new liturgical year, by little mortifications of the flesh and sacrifices during Advent. Let us go as often as we can to hear the Mass and let us do not neglect family prayers. Let us act in St John spirit in the world. Pope Pius XI writes about one matter important since the times of the Apostles. For St Pauls asks : I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the gospel Ph 4:3reminding us not to forget those who helped him in his mission. Let us pray for the share of St Joh's virtues, maybe we can deserve Lord's praise: For he shall be great before the Lord. Luke 1:15 Read whole post......

Spiritual Bouquet: If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at what hour I shall come upon you. Apoc 3:3

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus. Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: “My dear children, love one another.”

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

Reflection: Saint John is a living proof of Our Lord’s beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Sources: The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Heavenly Friends, by Rosalie M. Levy (St. Paul: Boston, 1958).


Today's image is 'St John the Evangelist on Patmos' by Titian after Read whole post......

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


"And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me"(Mat.11:6).

What dose it mean? Our Lord did not meet the Jews' expectations. For them, Messiah would come in splendour and grandour to establish His new kingdom. But He came in poverty and humility. In vain His divinity shone with countless miracles, the signs for His mission. In their pride and blindness the Jews did not want to see and accept these signs and were scandalized at His poverty, passion and death on the Cross. That is why Our Lord rebukes them: Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida: for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to heaven? thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matt 11;21-24). From this comes also His blessing: "And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me"(Mat.11:6). Blessed is he who shall not be scandalized because of Our Lord external humiliations. Surely, even now there are pharisee-like, proud and haughty fools who despise the poor and suffering Christ. They ridicule His teaching, they deride and scoff at His Church and His servants, they sneer at religious observances and practices.The Apostle warns us rightly: Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ (Col 2:8).
Also for those who are commited to their wordly passions, gluttony and intemperance, Our Redeemer's example is still scandalizing. Are we better than them? Let us reject and despise pride, superstition, sensuality and let us stay firmly by the Lord for: there (is no) salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.( Acts 4; 12.) Read whole post......
SAINT STEPHEN - Protomartyr (†35)

Spiritual Bouquet: If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar. I St. John 4:20
The Jewish origin of Saint Stephen is universally acknowledged; he is known and loved everywhere as the first follower of Christ to give to his martyred God love for love, blood for blood. It is not certain whether he was among the seventy-two disciples of Jesus; some believe he was of the Greek tongue and not a native of Palestine. He studied with Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas under the famous Doctor of the Law, Gamaliel, who, being a member of the Sanhedrin, attempted to stop the persecution of the Apostles. (Acts of the Apostles 5:34-40) What is certain, however, is that he distinguished himself among his brethren as an admirable Christian, replete with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. To his great beauty and angelic chastity were joined humility, patience, gentleness and charity, so perfect that they drew from all the faithful great admiration and esteem for him. He was head of the seven disciples whom the Apostles named as deacons, to execute the works of charity which their mandate to preach did not permit them to carry out. Stephen manifested all the qualities one could wish for in a minister of charity and of the Gospel. He knew Scripture to perfection and was steeped in its divine spirit; he was endowed with invincible force because he feared nothing in the service of God. Everywhere in Jerusalem, he was proving Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, and working great prodigies to confirm the truths he taught. Some believe he was the cousin of Saul, later Saint Paul; in any case, the latter, still a fire-breathing Pharisee, took offense at his boldness and presided at the scene of his martyrdom by stoning. The fervent deacon, insensible to his own fate, defended Christ before the Jerusalem tribunal with a perfection which enraged the proud authorities of Jerusalem, unwilling to recognize a humble carpenter of Nazareth for their Saviour. He boldly upbraided the chief priests with their hard-hearted resistance to the Holy Spirit. And when he accused them of putting to death, just as their forebears had treated the prophets who foretold Him, the long-awaited Just One announced by Moses, they stoned him without further delay. (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 7)

Saint Stephen died, beholding his Lord standing at the right hand of God. He imitated Him in death; crying out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” He concluded on his knees, “Lord, do not impute to them this sin!” And then he fell asleep, the narrative says. His mortal remains were left outdoors to be devoured by beasts, but were protected by God; and Gamaliel, the Doctor of the Law, took the body of the martyr to his own country home, a few leagues from the city, where he buried him. His tomb was discovered miraculously in the fifth century, by the intervention of Gamaliel himself in a priest’s dream. The greater part of his relics are still conserved in the Basilica of Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen in Rome. His death was the signal for a great persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem, spurred on by Saul, who had approved his death. But Saint John Chrysostom remarks that because Stephen prayed, we have Saint Paul, whose conversion miraculously came about soon afterwards.

Source: The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14.


today's image is by Rembrandt Read whole post......

Monday, December 25, 2006








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after Fr Goffine "The Church's Year"

What is Christmas Day?
It is the day on which Christ Jesus, our Redeemer, was born of the Blessed Virgin in a stable at Bethlehem.

Why is this festival called "the Holy Night"?
Because this night has been especially blessed and sanctified by the holy, mysterious birth of the Redeemer of the world.

Why do priests say three Masses on this day?
In commemoration of the threefold birth of the Redeemer: of His birth from all eternity in the bosom of His Heavenly Father; of His birth in the fullness of time; and of His spiritual birth in the hearts of the faithful who, by lively faith in Him, receive the power to become children of God (Jn. 1:12).

Why is the first Mass said at midnight?
Because Christ, the true light which came into the world to enlighten those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, that is, of unbelief and of sin (Lk. 1:79), was born at night, and because the divine birth is incomprehensible to us.

Why is the next Mass said at daybreak, and the third after sunrise?
To signify that the birth of Christ, expelling the darkness of ignorance and infidelity, brought us the clear daylight of the knowledge of God, and that the spiritual birth of Christ can take place at any time in the pure soul.

When does this spiritual birth take place?
It takes place when the soul, having been cleansed from all sin, makes the firm, unalterable resolution to die to the world and all carnal desires, and arouses in itself the ardent desire henceforth to live only for Christ, and, by His grace, to practice all virtues.


The Introit of this Mass reminds us of the eternal birth of Christ, the Lord.

INTROIT The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day (that is, from all eternity) have I begotten thee (Ps. 2:7). Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things (Ps. 2:1)? Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT O God, who hast made this most sacred night to shine forth with the brightness of the true light: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may enjoy His happiness in heaven, the mystery of whose light we have known upon earth. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE (Tit. 2:11-15). Dearly beloved, the grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak, and exhort, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In what special manner has the grace and goodness of God been manifested to us?
In the incarnation and birth of Christ, His Son, whom, in His infinite love, He has made like unto us, our brother and our teacher, by whom we have become children of God, and co-heirs of His kingdom.

What does Christ by His incarnation desire to teach us especially?
That we should put aside all unrighteousness, all infidelity and injustice, and endeavor to become like unto Him, who, except in sin, has become altogether like unto us. But especially that we repress the desires of lust, wealth, and honor, and not rest until we have rooted them from our hearts.

How do we live soberly, justly, and godly?
We live soberly, when we fulfill all duties towards ourselves; justly, when we fulfill all duties towards our neighbor; and godly, when we fulfill all duties to God.

ASPIRATION Blessed art Thou, Oh! new-born Savior, who hast descended from on high to teach me the ways of justice, hast become man and equal to me. In return for this goodness of Thine, I renounce all evil, all sinful desires, words, and deeds. In return for Thy love, I will ever uproot from my heart all carnal desires, and always live soberly, justly, and godly; do Thou by Thy grace, strengthen me in this resolve.

GOSPEL (Lk. 2:1-14). At that time there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night-watches over their flock. And behold, an Angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round them; and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will.

Why, at the time of Augustus, were all the Roman subjects enrolled?
This happened by a special ordinance of God, that by this enrollment Mary and Joseph should be obliged to go to Bethlehem, that it might be made known to the world that Christ was really born at Bethlehem, of the tribe of Juda, and the house of David, and that He was the Messiah who had been foretold by the prophets (Mich. 5:2).
Let us learn from this how the providence of God directs all things according to His will, and consider the obedience which Mary rendered to the command of a heathen emperor, or rather to God who caused the command.

Why is Christ called the "first-born" of Mary?
Because she gave birth to no child before Him; she bore none after Him, He was the only son of Mary, as He was the only-begotten Son of the Heavenly Father.

Why was Christ born in such poverty?
To teach us not by words but by example that which He afterwards so often preached and forcibly taught, namely: the love of poverty, the practice of humility and patience with contempt of the world, and also to confound by His humble birth the foolish wisdom of the world which seeks only honors, pleasures and riches.

Why was the birth of Christ announced to poor shepherds, and not to King Herod and the chief priests?
That it might be known that God loves to dwell with poor, simple, pious, faithful people, such as the shepherds were, and reveals Himself to those who are little in their own eyes (Mt. 11:25), while He despises the proud and leaves them over to their own spiritual blindness.
Let us learn from this to acquire simplicity and humility, and despise pride and cunning, that God may reveal Himself to us by His interior inspirations.

What is meant by the angelic song of praise: "Glory be to God on high"?
By this song of praise which the priests usually say in the Mass is meant that the greatest praise and the most heartfelt thanks are due to God for having sent His Son into the world; and that those who have the good will to glorify God by all their actions, will receive peace, that is, all happiness, blessings, and salvation.
Rejoice with the angels over the birth of the Savior, return thanks to God, and honor Him alone in all things, that you may have that peace: peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with all men.
Learn also from the angels, who rejoiced in the graces which man would receive from the birth of Christ, to rejoice, and thank God for the favors which He gives your neighbor, and by rejoicing participate in them.

after Read whole post......

Saturday, December 23, 2006

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Luke 1:28
There is no Advent without Blessed Virgin. She gave us Messiah, the long expected Saviour. Liturgical Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas, is only a symbol of true Advent - which lasted thousands of years of expectation for the Saviour's coming. The world was submerged in spiritual darkness, and there she was, shining star with no blemish. Can we realise how different Mary is from the rest of us? - we are all smeared with the stain of original sin as the Holy Scriptures say: For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. Ps 50:7 Blessed Virgin who was chosen to bear the Son of the Most High was the only one free of original and actual sin or imperfection through her whole life. That is why, the heavenly messenger salutes her: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee - for where the Lord dwells there is no place for Satan: - blessed are thy amongs women which means Mary is above the rest of us - full of sin, imperfections and faults. It would be foolish, however, to think that she did not make any efforts and all was smooth and easy for her. In reality Mary was very keen in practising her virtues. She received Anuntiation news with greatest humility and obedience. How great was her faith and trust in God in many trials of her life - she was steadfast in Betlehem, Egypt, Nazareth. She was full of charity towards Elisabeth and in Cana. She was very patient in her suffering. Truly we can think of her while reading these words in Holy Scriptures: Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all Prov 31:29. Let us turn to Immaculata when we need help in our efforts to practice virtue and achieve Christian perfection. Let us often meditate upon the mystery of Immaculate Conception, particularly on Saturdays. On this day consecrated by the Church to Our Lady, we can say some special prayer in her honour, make sacrifice, participate in Mass or visit her image and adorn it with some flowers and candles. In joy let us pray to Immaculate Mother of God: Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee. Judith 13:31 Read whole post......
EPISTLE (2 Thess 2:1-8).
Brethren, we beseech you, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him: that you be not easily moved from your mind, nor be frighted, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you I told you these things? And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh: only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way, and then that wicked one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.

At the time when St. Paul wrote this epistle, the false report was circulated that the Last Day was at hand, and Christ was coming to judge all men. The Apostle warns the faithful against trusting this, telling them they should not permit themselves to be misled; for first, the greater part of mankind would fall away from God, and Antichrist, the son of perdition appear, but not until the gospel was everywhere preached. The great falling off would be gradual, caused by the heresies which would arise from time to time, and would be completed by Antichrist, whom our Lord, at last, on the Day of Judgment would kill with the breath of his mouth. Let us learn from this epistle not to be curious concerning the Last Day, and the Advent of Christ, but to prepare, rather for the coming of Jesus into our hearts, that He may be merciful to us in death, and at judgment.

The gospel of this day will be found in the instruction on the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

O God, who seest us afflicted on account of our own wickedness; mercifully grant, that by Thy coming we may be comforted. Through our Lord.
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Friday, December 22, 2006


EPISTLE (Is. 11:1-5). And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness, and he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.

EXPLANATION In this epistle the Lord announced to the Jews, through the prophet, the consoling promise that when they were sufficiently punished, and had come to the consciousness of their own misery, the Savior would come and bring all things to order. The rod spoken of by the prophet, is the Blessed Virgin who would proceed from the root of Jesse, that is, from the stem of David, and give birth to the flower, viz., to the Savior upon whom the Holy Ghost, with His sevenfold gifts, would descend, that is, dwell in Him. As a reader of the heart He would judge man, not according to his outward appearance, but according to his intentions. He would not flatter the sinner, but with severe words punish his sinful life, and because just and faithful, He would reward every man without respect to person. Let us be always mindful in all our omissions and commissions, that our Lord sees into our hearts, and judges not only according to our works, but principally according to our intentions, and let us strive ever to have pure motives in all our actions.

ASPIRATION O Fragrant Flower of the Virgin, Jesus our Savior, come and draw us to Thee, that we may walk in the perfume of Thy ointments, and obtain a merciful judgment from Thee.

COLLECT Show forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power, and come, that we who confidently trust in Thy love, may be the sooner delivered from all adversities. Through our Lord. Read whole post......

Thursday, December 21, 2006


fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006


Do not commit this abominable thing which I hate. Jer. 44:4
You that love the Lord, hate evil: the Lord preserveth the souls of his saints: he will deliver them out of the hand of the sinner. Ps. 96:210
A fainting hath taken hold of me, because of the wicked that forsake thy law. I have hated all wicked ways. I hated and abhorred iniquity; but I have loved thy law. Ps. 118:53, 128, 163
Have I not hated them, O Lord, that hated thee: and pined away because of the enemies? Ps. 138:21
Three sorts my soul hateth, and I am greatly grieved at their life: a poor man that is proud: a rich man that is a liar: an old man that is a fool, and doting. Ecclus. 25:3f
My mouth shall meditate truth, and my lips shall hate wickedness. The fear of the Lord hateth evil. Prov. 8:7, 13
Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which good. Rom. 12:9
The deeds of the Nicolaites I hate. Apoc. 2:6
Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his friend: and love not a false oath: for all these are the things that I hate, saith the Lord. Zach. 8:1
Thou hast hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Ps. 44:8
Six things there are which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth:
1. haughty eyes,
2. a lying tongue,
3. hands that shed innocent blood,
4. a heart that deviseth wicked plots,
5. feet that are swift to run into mischief,
6. a deceitful witness that uttereth lies,
7. and him that soweth discord among brethren. Prov. 6:16-19 Read whole post......
Apostle and Martyr († First Century)

Spiritual Bouquet: The world with its lust passes away, but he who does the Will of God abides forever. I St. John 2:17

Saint Thomas was one of the fisherman on the Lake of Galilee whom Our Lord called to be His Apostles. By nature slow to believe, too apt to see difficulties and to look at the dark side of things, he had nonetheless a very sympathetic, loving, and courageous heart. When Jesus spoke to His apostles of His forthcoming departure, and told His faithful disciples that they already knew the Way to follow Him, Saint Thomas, in his simplicity, asked: “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?” When the Master during a journey turned back to go toward Bethany, near Jerusalem, to the grave of Lazarus, the apostle Thomas, knowing of the malevolent intentions of the Jerusalem religious authorities, at once feared the worst for his beloved Lord. Yet he cried out bravely: “Let us go then and die with Him!” After the Resurrection his doubts prevailed, and while the wounds of the crucifixion remained vividly imprinted in his affectionate memory, he could not credit the report that Christ had risen. But at the actual sight of the pierced hands and side, and the gentle rebuke of his Saviour, his unbelief vanished forever. His faith and ours have always triumphed in his joyous utterance: “My Lord and my God!”
That Saint Thomas, after the dispersion of the Apostles, went to India, where he labored and died at Meliapour, is a certain fact of history. The Roman Breviary states that he preached in Ethiopia and Abyssinia, as well as in Persia and Media. Surely his was a remarkable history, reserved for the inhabitants of Christ’s glory to see in its fullness some day. Before he died in Meliapour, he erected a very large cross and predicted to the people that when the sea would advance to the very foot of that cross, God would send them, from a far-distant land, white men who would preach to them the same doctrine he had taught them. This prophecy was verified when the Portuguese arrived in the region, and found that the ocean had advanced so far as to be truly at the foot of the cross. At the foot of this cross was a rock where Saint Thomas, while praying fervently, suffered his martyrdom by a blow from the lance of a pagan priest. This happened, according to the Roman Breviary, at Calamine, which is in fact Meliapour, for in the language of the people the word Calurmine means on the rock (mina). The name was given the site in memory of the Apostle’s martyrdom.

Reflection: Cast away all disquieting doubts, and learn to triumph over outlived weaknesses as Saint Thomas did, who by his ignorance has instructed the ignorant, and by his incredulity has served the faith of all ages.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


EPISTLE (Is. 7:10-15). And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye, therefore, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.'

EXPLANATION In this Epistle is contained the important prophecy of the Savior's birth from a virgin. War was declared by the kings of Israel and Syria against Achaz, king of Juda, who at their approach was overpowered with fear, and thought of seeking aid from the Assyrians instead of looking to Almighty God for help; and for this lack of confidence in God, the prophet Isaiah was sent to announce to him the destruction of both kings, and his own preservation. The prophet, wishing Achaz to prove his assertion, requested the king to demand a sign from God; but he being given to idolatry, did not wish to ask a sign from heaven, for he had more faith in the assistance of the demons and of the Assyrians. He offended God by his refusal and the prophet rebuked him, saying: The Lord himself will give you (that is, your posterity) a sign, for the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel, that is-God with us. By these words Isaias desired to impress upon the king, that as surely as he should be preserved from his enemies, so surely this Emmanuel, the Son of the Virgin, would appear to redeem the world from Satan's power. Let us learn from this lesson always to trust in God, who can deliver us from all danger, and let us also be grateful to Him, who seven hundred and forty-three years before the time, permitted, for our consolation, the announcement of the coming of His Son, our Savior.

The gospel (Lk. 1:26-28) of this day will be found in the second part of this book on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.

ASPIRATION O Emmanuel, powerful, holy God! Our Savior and our Redeemer! be with us always in life and death: for, if Thou art with us who can be against us?

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that the approaching celebration of our redemption may bring us the necessary graces for the present life, and bestow upon us the rewards of eternal happiness. Through our Lord. Read whole post......

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful admonishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 18: The Example of the Holy Fatherspart 2.

4. They were strangers to the world, but near and familiar friends to God. They seemed to themselves as nothing, and were despised by this world; but in the eyes of God they were precious and beloved. They stood in true humility, they lived in simple obedience, they walked in charity and patience; and therefore they daily advanced in spirit, and obtained great favour with God. They were given as an example for all religious and ought more to excite us to make good progress than the number of the lukewarm to grow slack.

5.Oh, how great was the favour of all religious in the beginning of their holy institution! Oh, how great was their devotion in prayer. How great their zeal for virtue! What great discipline was in force among them! What great reverence and obedience in all, flourished under the rule of a superior! The footsteps remaining still bear witness that they were truly perfect and holy men, who waging was so stoutly, trod the world under their feet. Now he is thought great who is not a transgressor, and who can with patience endure what he hath undertaken.

6. Ah, lukewarmness and negligence of our state, that we so quickly fall away from our former fervour, and are now even weary of living through sloth and tepidity. Would to God that advancement in virtue was not wholly asleep in thee who hast so often seen many examples of the devout! Read whole post......

Monday, December 18, 2006


"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful admonishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 18: The Example of the Holy Fatherspart 1.

1. Look upon the vivid examples of the holy fathers, in whom true perfection and religion were most shining, and thou wilt see how little, and almost nothing, that is which we do. Alas! what is our life, if compared to theirs? The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst; in cold and nakedness; in labour and weariness; in watchings and fastings; in prayers and holy meditations; in persecutions and many reproaches - Heb. xi. 37

2. Ah! how many and how grievous tribulations have the apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all the rest undergone, who have been willing to follow Christ's footsteps! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might possess them for eternity - John xii. 25. Oh, how strict and mortified a life did the holy fathers lead in the desert! What long and grievous temptations did they endure! How often were they molested by the enemy! What frequent and fervent prayers did they offer to God! What regorous abstinence did they offer to God! What rigorous abstinence did they go for thei spiritual progress! How strong a war did they wage for overcoming vice! How pure and upright was their intention to God! They laboured all the day and in the night they gave themselves to prayer: though even whilst they were at work they ceased not from mental prayer.

3. They spent all their time profitably: every hour seemed short which they spent with God; and through the great sweetness of divine contemplation they forgot even the necessity of their bodily refreshment. They renounced all riches, dignities, honours, friends, and kindred; they desired to have nothing of this world; they scarcely allowed themselves the necessaries of life; serving the body, even in necessity, was irksome to them. They were poor, therefore, as to earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtue. Outwardly they were in want, but inwardly they were refreshed with divine graces and consolations. Read whole post......

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gaudete (Rose) Sunday

Third Sunday of Advent
after Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's: The Church's Year

On this Sunday again, the Church calls on us to rejoice in the Advent of the Redeemer, and at the Introit sings:

INTROIT Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing by prayer let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4). Lord, thou hast blessed thy land; thou bast turned away the captivity of Jacob (Ps. 84). Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT Incline Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto our prayers: and enlighten the darkness of our mind by the grace of thy visitation. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE (Phil. 4:4-7). Brethren, rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What is meant by "rejoicing in the Lord"?
By "rejoicing in the Lord" is meant rejoicing in the grace of the true faith we have received, in the hope of obtaining eternal happiness; rejoicing in the protection of the most High under which we stand; and in the persecution for justice's sake in which Christ Himself exhorts us to rejoice, and in which the Apostle Paul gloried (II Cor. 7:4).

What else does St. Paul teach in this epistle?
He exhorts us to give all a good example by a modest and edifying life, to which we should be directed by the remembrance of God's presence and His coming to judgment (Chrysostom. 33, in Joann.); he warns us against solicitude about temporal affairs, advising us to cast our care on God, who will never abandon us in our needs, if we entreat Him with confidence and humility.

In what does "the Peace of God" consist?
It consists in a good conscience (Ambrose), in which St. Paul gloried and rejoiced beyond measure (II Cor. 1:12). This peace of the soul sustained all the martyrs, and consoled many others who suffered for justice's sake. Thus St. Tibertius said to the tyrant: "We count all pain as naught, for our conscience is at peace." There cannot be imagined a greater joy than that which proceeds from the peace of a good conscience. It must be experienced to be understood.

ASPIRATION The peace of God, that surpasseth all understanding, preserve our hearts in Christ Jesus. Amen.


“Is any one troubled, let him pray" (Jas. 5:13).
There is no greater or more powerful comfort in sorrow than in humble and confiding prayer, to complain to God of our wants and cares, as did the sorrowful Anna, mother of the prophet Samuel, (I Kings 10) and the chaste Susanna when she was falsely accused of adultery and sentenced to death (Dan. 13:35). So the pious King Ezechias complained in prayer of the severe oppression with which he was threatened by Senacherib (IV Kings 19:14). So also King Josaphat made his trouble known to God only, saying: But as we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes on Thee (11 Para. 20:12). They all received aid and comfort from God. Are you sad and in trouble? Lift up your soul with David and say: To Thee I have lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven. Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until He shall have mercy on us (Ps. 122:1-3). Give joy to the soul of Thy servant, for to Thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul (Ps. 85:4).

GOSPEL (Jn. 1:19-28). At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? what sayst thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not: the same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Why did the Jews send messengers to St. John to ask him who he was?
Partly because of their curiosity, when they saw St. John leading such a pure, angelic and penitential life; partly, as St. Chrysostom says, out of envy, because St. John preached with such spiritual force, baptized and exhorted the people to penance, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem came to him in great numbers; partly, and principally, they were impelled by the providence of God to demand publicly of St. John, if he were the Messiah, and thus be directed to Christ that they might be compelled to acknowledge Him as the Messiah, or have no excuse for rejecting Him.

Why did the Jews ask St. John, if he were not Elias or the prophet?
The Jews falsely believed that the Redeemer was to come into this world but once, then with great glory, and that Elias or one of the old prophets would come before Him, to prepare His way, as Malachias (4:5 had prophesied of St. John; so when St. John said of himself that he was not the Messiah, they asked him, if he were not then Elias or one of the prophets. But Elias, who was taken alive from this world in a fiery chariot, will not reappear until just before the second coming of Christ.

Why did St. John say, he was not Elias or the Prophet?
Because he was not Elias, and, in reality, not a prophet in the Jewish sense of the word, but more than a prophet, because he announced that Christ had come, and pointed Him out.

Why does St. John call himself "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"?
Because in his humility, he desired to acknowledge that he was only an instrument through which the Redeemer announced to the abandoned and hopeless Jews the consolation of the Messiah, exhorting them to bear worthy fruits of penance.

How do we bear worthy fruits of penance?
We bear fruits of penance, when after our conversion, we serve God and justice with the same zeal with which we previously served the devil and iniquity; when we love God as fervently as we once loved the flesh-that is, the desires of the flesh-and the pleasures of the world; when we give our members to justice as we once gave them to malice and impurity (Rom. 6:19), when the mouth that formerly uttered improprieties, when the ears that listened to detraction or evil speech, when the eyes that looked curiously upon improper objects, now rejoice in the utterance of words pleasing to God, to hear and to see things dear to Him; when the appetite that was given to the luxury of eating and drinking, now abstains; when the hands give back what they have stolen; in a word, when we put off the old man, who was corrupted, and put on the new man, who is created in justice and holiness of truth (Eph. 4:22-24).

What was the baptism administered by St. John, and what were its effects?
The baptism administered by John was only a baptism of penance for forgiveness of sins (Lk. 3:3). The ignorant Jews not considering the greatness of their transgressions, St. John came exhorting them to acknowledge their sins, and do penance for them; that being converted, and truly contrite, they might seek their Redeemer, and thus obtain remission of their offences. We must then conclude, that St. John's baptism was only a ceremony or initiation, by which the Jews enrolled themselves as his disciples to do penance, as a preparation for the remission of sin by means of the second baptism, viz., of Jesus Christ.

What else can be learned from this gospel?
We learn from it to be always sincere, especially at the tribunal of penance, and to practice the necessary virtue of humility, by which, in reply to the questions of the Jews, St. John confessed the truth openly and without reserve, as shown by the words: The latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose, as the lowest of Christ's servants, giving us an example of humility and sincerity, which should induce us always to speak the truth, and not only not to seek honor, but to give to God all the honor shown us by man. Have you not far more reason than John, who was such a great saint, to esteem yourself but little, and to humble yourself before God and man? "My son," says Tobias (4:14), "never suffer pride to reign in thy mind, or in thy words: for from it all perdition took its beginning."

ASPIRATION O Lord, banish from my heart all envy, jealousy and pride. Grant me instead, to know myself and Thee, that by the knowledge of my nothingness, misery and vices, I may always remain unworthy in my own eyes, and that by the contemplation of Thy infinite perfections, I may seek to prize Thee above all, to love and to glorify Thee, and practice charity towards my neighbor. Amen.

after Read whole post......

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday - Day of Our Lady


Queen of peace, pray for us!
The last invocation of Loreto Litany was added during the First World War. It was very long war and to many at that time, the war with no end nor perspective for peace between nations engaged in bloody battles. In all this misery, on November 16th, Pope Benedict XV made announcement about his intention to add this particular invocation to the Litany to beg Our Lady for her intercession to end world conflict. The invocation, by the way, is very approppriate one for in this way Church reminds the faithful: "Let us turn in trust to the Mother of God for she is our only hope, the sweet Queen of Peace!" This is a beautiful invocation to the graceful and full of compassion heart of our Lady, our Queen and Mother. This devotion is deeply rooted in faith, for our Immaculate Lady gave us Him Who is foretold by the prophet as "Prince of peace" (Is 9:5), as the One who "shall speak peace to the Gentiles (Zach. 9:10), who's coming was announced by the angels with words "peace to men of good will" (Luke 2:14). He Himself said to us these sweet words: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (Jn 14:27). The Apostle says about Him: "he is our peace" (Eph 2:14). Mary is the Queen of Peace, for through Lord Jesus she made peace between sinful world and heavenly God. For she herself is full of peace, she is Mother of all goodness as St Francis of Assisi said.
Let us go to our Queen of peace, if there is no peace in our hearts, nor in our families. Let us go to her if we desire to learn how to be peacemakers, how to become worthy of heavenly peace. For she, the mediatrix of peace, says:"Incline your ear and come to me: hear and your soul shall live"Is 55:3. Read whole post......

Friday, December 15, 2006

WITH THE MISSAL - meditations on the Missal and the Breviary. Ed by Fr M. Goosens OFM

Second week of Advent - Friday

During Advent, Bethlehem is our goal. The light that shines from the little town as if to meet us fills us with peace and hope. There is a great contrast between it and the surrounding darkness in which so many souls wander, far from the God who loves them. It is for us, children of the Spirit, to let our light shine before those who, having neither peace nor hope, are truly poor. In the dark days of Advent we look out for the light which is Christ. So sure are we of his coming that it seems as if we have already seen his star in the east, and in the light which illumines Bethlehem we discern the figure of the maiden Mother awaiting her Saviour and ours. Once the full light is there our minds will be illuminated, our hearts purified as by fire, and divine certainty will take the place of human doubt. Our days, no more solitary, will overflow with joy and our nights with the hope of blessings to come. God has made us children of hope, and that for which we hope is nothing less than he himself. The promise of his coming means even more to us that it did to our forefathers the prophets, for he has already truly come. We are on the road to Bethlehem, where we know that we shall find him, but all around us the darkness deepens and the heathen rage. Every day fresh rumours reach us of war. Yet it is God's will that we take heathens and persecutors to our hearts and pray that one day their conversion may glorify his mercy.
St Paul quotes the words of the Psalmist: "I will give thanks to thee for this and sing thy praise in the midst of the Gentiles." And also those of Isaias: "A root shall spring from Jesse, one who shall rise up to rule the Gentiles. The gentiles, in him, shall find hope." (Rom. 15.9, 12)
If you give us your light, Lord, it is not that we should hide it under a bushel measure, but that we should let it shine over your children who have never known you, or who have abandoned you. We trust in the power of the Holy Ghost who, at our Confirmation, anointed us to be your apostles, each in his appointed place. We have the right to hope for great things, since you pray in us for all heathens and sinners, and accept our sacrifice for the salvation of the world and the unity of your Church.
You have made the hearts of your elect as wide as heaven and earth, therefore we cannot be satisfied until we have called all those who dwell in the slums of our great cities or wander, homeless, along our highways and byways, to your wedding feast; till your banqueting hall is full and your praises are sung by all for whom you left your throne in heaven to dwell here below, the poorest of the poor, despised, persecuted, and tortured for love of those whom you have created.
O God of hope, grant that, by the power of the Holy Ghost, our hopes for the salvation of all whom you have created may be fulfilled. Read whole post......

Thursday, December 14, 2006


fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006


They haev a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Rom. 10:3
Yea the hour cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service of God. John 16:2
I before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious. But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 1 Tim. 1:13
Every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Jas. 1:14
They as it were on purpose have revolted from him, and would not understand all his ways. Job 34:27
They have laboured to commit iniquity.Jer. 9:5
He hath conceived sorrow, and hath brought forth iniquity, and his womb prepareth deceits. job 15:35
Behold he hath been in labour with injustice : he hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth iniquity. Ps. 7:15
Error and darkness are created with sinners: and they that glory in evil things grow old and evil. Ecclus. 11:16
In malice be children. 1 Cor. 14:20 Read whole post......

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


"My Imitation of Christ"
by Thomas a Kempis
Revised translation edited by Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur Thomas Edmundus Molloy, Archbishop of Brooklyn, 1954

Book One - useful admonishes for a Spiritual Life

Chapter 16: Bearing the defects of others

1. What a man cannot amend in himselfor others he must bear with patiencetill God ordains otherwise.
Think that perhaps it is better so, for thy trial and patience, without which our merits are little worth.
Thou must, nevertheless, under such impediments, earnestly pray that God may vouchsafe to help thee, and that thou mayst bear them well.

2. If any one being once or twice admonished does not comply contend not with him, but commit all to God , that His will may be done, and He be honoured in all His servants, who knows well how to convert into good.
Endeavor to be patient in suupporting the defects and infirmities of others, of what kind soever; because thou also hast many things which others must bear withal.
If thou canst not make thyself such a one as thou wouldst, how canst thou expect to have another according to thy liking?

3. We should have others strictly corrected; but we are not willing to be corrected but we are not willing to be corrected ourselves. The large liberty of others dsipleases us; and yet we would not be denied anything we asked for.
We are wiling that others should be bound up by laws, and we suffer not ourselves by any means to be restrained.
Thus it is evident how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves.

4. But now God has so sidposed things that we may learn to bear one another's burdens - Gal. vi.2, for there is no man without defect; no man without his burden; no man sufficient for himself; no man wise enough for himself; but we must suupport one another, comfort one another, assist, instruct, and admonish one another.
But how great each one's virtue is best appears by occasions of adversity; for occasions do not make a man frail, but show what he is. Read whole post......